The meanest post office in San Francisco

…is the branch located on the Presidio.

I haven’t been there in at least a year–ever since I left LucasArts, but my visit there this morning confirms that nothing has changed.

During my tenure at LEC, there was an older woman working there who’s the dictionary definition of “battlaxe”. She’s wizened and sour-faced and uses her graying Moe Howard haircut (paradoxically) to heighten her intimidation factor.

Every time I’d visit, whether there were ten people in line or I had the post office to myself, this woman would look at me with her cold, dead eyes and throughout the transaction, make it extremely plain that the only thing she loathed more than working at the post office was helping me mail something. Although the place had other employees of varying apathy, for years she’s remained the standout at this branch of the USPS.

As I headed up the steps to the Presidio post office today, I shivered in anticipation of once again enduring that steely glare. I shouldnt’ have worried though because when I got inside, not only was she not behind the counter, no one was. I and two other ladies waited in line, assuming that someone would come out momentarily. They didn’t.

After looking at each other a couple times, we hesitantly called out, “Hello? Is someone there?” Although we could plainly hear shuffling behind the wall, there was no response. “Hello? Is anyone working here?” *shuffle shuffle*

“‘Someone need help out there?” a creaky voice finally called out.
“Yes!” all three of us emphatically answered.

An old guy in a t-shirt came from behind the barrier looking more like a warehouse foreman than a postal employee and I’m suspecting that wasn’t far off considering how baffled he seemed to be figuring out how to mail the package of the woman in front of me. There was a long drawn-out discussion about insurance and tracking numbers, while other people came in and joined the line. The man behind the counter continued to look confusedly at the computer screen for a few more minutes and finally just shuffled off behind the wall again without saying a word.

After a longish interval, he came back, only to continue looking nonplussed as the woman explained that she needed a tracking number for her package. Finally, the ersatz postal employee took his glasses off, sighed and stood there for a moment with his head down, rubbing his eyes like he was having an aneurism, after which he once again shuffled behind the wall. Meanwhile, another postal employee got the line’s hopes up by walking out–then dashed those by hopes by ignoring us and walking away again.

Aneurism Man came back out once again and the woman he was helping finally said, “Maybe you could help these other people first so they don’t have to wait” whereupon he had an expected eureka moment and actually called out, “Can I get some help out here?” That brought the other apathetic postal employee back out and he succeeded in helping me with the least possible enthusiasm.

I swear–they must screen people at that location–make sure they score high on the misanthropy scale before hiring them. I think I’ll avoid going there from here on, just to keep my own love of humanity intact.

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