Let's Hear It for Jennifer Sanmarco!

03 Feb 2006

If you've read the newspaper lately, I'm sure you know that Jennifer Sanmarco is the latest postal worker to demonstrate that the U.S. Postal Service probably has some issues in the HR department.According to CBS News, Sanmarco "shot six postal employees to death and committed suicide in what was believed to be the nation's deadliest workplace shooting by a woman. It was also the nation's bloodiest shooting at a postal installation in nearly 20 years." Way to go, Jenny! Your family must be so proud.

Of note, she broke *two * records during her spree --deadliest *woman * shooter and *bloodiest postal shooting * in 20 years.As for the first record, I suppose that's saying something. Maybe she knew about that record and came to view the goal of surpassing the previous recordholder as low-hanging fruit. Easy pickin's, right? As for the second record, it's kind of funny (in a not-funny way, of course) that this wasn't the "only" postal shooting in 20 years. It was simply the "bloodiest" one in that span of time.

Who am I to judge, though?I'm sure you're asking yourself that question right now. Well, I'd like to address that. You see, a year or so ago, I was an eBay "PowerSeller" for a little while.If you want to know about some of the whack-jobs that work at the post office, just ask any eBay Powerseller -- because we're the folks who deal with these people a little more than the rest of you. If you're an average person, you probably visit once a month -- maybe once every few months -- to send your great aunt Nellie a cheap picture frame for her birthday, and maybe pick up a book of stamps. Well, try walking in there every week (or even every day) with upwards of 80 packages that all need individual attention -- all with various combinations of priority mail, parcel post, media mail, air mail, international mail, customs forms, money orders, insurance forms, delivery confirmations, size regulations, weight regulations, content regulations, etc.

Oh sure, they're not *all * whack-jobs -- just like not *all * Moslems are terrorists. But, trust me, there are some friggin' SCARY people behind those counters. And, in my experience, it's the smaller post offices where the whackos tend to simmer. If you go to a major facility, those folks see a lot of heavy action. You can't faze those folks -- they're like war veterans. They say, "Are you a Powerseller? Come on in ... Take your best shot!!"

But, at the small facilities, it's different.I've seen them watch me enter the premeses. As the door chime rings out signaling a new customer, the clerks at the counter eye me up as I enter the queue. The massive sweaty guy squints over my way, turning a deeper shade of purple as his blood pressure ratchets up to about 200 over 180 at the thought of having to serve me. The bitchy manager lady quietly grits her teeth and considers hiding out in the back in a few minutes as I near the front of the line. The fragile older woman with the yellow hair ... Her lips tremble, as she just knows it'll be her who'll be the unlucky one to get me.They all know me, and they all hate me in their own special way -- partly because I'm seen as a pain in the ass (for merely being a customer, mind you), and partly because I've been at this long enough to know some of their idiotic regulations better than they do.

I actually tried to break the ice with these folks once.Unfortunately, my word choice was probably not so wise. A woman got really mad during one of my 40 or 50-package stints at the counter, and I made some flip remark like, "Jeez, you're not going to 'go postal' on me, are you?" I stressed the "go postal" part, offering a smile to indicate I was just joking.Well, let's just say that she didn't appreciate the joke.In fact, I got quite a lecture about how people on the "outside" aren't supposed to say that particular phrase. Apparently, that's roughly equivalent to saying the "n" word, if you know what I mean. If you're Snoop Dawg, you can drop the n-bomb every other word, but you don't see Eminem saying it too much, do you?

Later on, I tried to make nice with the ladies after a particularly nasty fight.

One manager wouldn't let me use a credit card one day because I hadn't signed it.I said, "Oh, come ON ... You all know me. I come in here all the time, and I use this very card."

"Not at my counter you don't," she said.

"Well, no, not with you, but definitely here at this counter."

"Oh no, not at THIS counter," she said.

"Yes, at THIS counter," I said.

"Well, I'm sorry," she insisted, "but you're lying."

"Oh, now I'm a *liar, * am I?"At this point I pulled a recent postal receipt from my wallet (bearing the number of the card I'd just been prohibited from using) and handed it to her. "Well, then, how do you explain THIS?!"

Just then, the older woman at the next station started to tremble (damn near in tears) and meekly said to the woman, "It was me ... I remember him. I let him use that card."

Okay, at that point, I felt awful.My goal was never to get someone in trouble. I could tell from the violent look that the manager shot the old lady that there'd be hell to pay after I leave. That manager was as close as I've seen anyone at that branch to officially "going postal."

When I left, there was an aura of pure anger over the whole building, emanating directly (and ironically) from the soul of that soulless bitch at the counter. I decided that only something highly unusual could bring at least a modicum of integrity to the day at this point. So, I drove to a nearby bakery and bought a half-dozen extra-large oatmeal raisin cookies. Ten minutes later, I walked back into that branch office holding the bakery bag. I could sense the anger building once again, but forced my way through it up to the counter and said, "Look, I'm sorry for the whole scene a while ago, so I brought you cookies. Have a nice day, okay?"

She made no reply, so I simply smiled and left.I've often wondered if they ate those cookies. They must have wondered if I'd laced them with rat poison or something. If they didn't eat them (out of fear), it must have been even more frustrating for that lady --because those were some really nice looking cookies.

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