Friday, March 6, 2015

Five PM Frenzy - Creepy Things that Alien Body Snatcher Supervisors Say

By Mel Carriere

At long last the blessing of moisture has returned to the parched Southern California landscape, as you can see from this picture taken on my route from my LLV.  We actually had a brief thunderstorm on Monday that delivered exactly two bolts of lighting, two more than our annual allotment of atmospheric electrical activity.  The second bolt was so close it set off all the car alarms on the street and had me wishing I never removed that extra pair of underwear from my satchel.  But in spite of the lightning the storm kind of fizzled, and reminded me of the Jackie Chan version of The Karate Kid, where Jackie is trying to teach Jaden Smith to learn karate by having him drop his jacket on the floor. "Pick it up, Put it on, Take it off.  Pick it up, Put it on.  Take it off," he commands. That was me all day with my raincoat.

Jackie Chan has some strange supervision techniques, but in spite of his unconventional teaching methods he seems to be an honest and straightforward leader, at least in the movies.  The Postal Service, however, is not Hollywood, and the script our supervisors go by is more like a low budget science fiction movie where the aliens have landed and taken on human form.  Sure they give the expected sweet and sappy motivational speeches on the workroom floor, but you should hear the hair raising things they say when they think letter carriers are not listening.  At that time they turn into regular body snatchers - all blank, soulless smiles on the outside but possessed by a horrible blood-sucking alien worm within.

Lately we have been in a five PM frenzy in our district, where everyone in the office has to be clocked off street by the absolute drop dead time of 1700.  Our Area Manager gave us a little "get you sh-- together" speech on Monday where he tried to justify this from a customer service angle; telling us that our district is something like 54th out of 62 in customer service.  He claims that the auditors who measure customer service deliberately go out and open mailboxes after 5 PM, and this is the reason why 5 is now the new 6, at least where I work.

One unlucky CCA had the misfortune of clocking in at 5:05 that same day of the speech.  As I was docking my scanner I heard the supervisor give this poor kid a pretty severe verbal beat down, but I guess this wasn't enough for her.  I suppose she felt she needed to make points with mission control on the home planet, so as I stood there filling out a 1571 I listened to her eagerly spelling out the CCA's name for the Area Manager on the phone.  She had a beaming ear to ear grin on her face when she did it.  Then after she hung up the phone she actually high-fived the other supervisor, just like Borat did in the movie when the telegram messenger tells him that his wife has died.  Like Borat, supervisors are entertained by some really weird things.  Meanwhile, who knows what is going to happen to this CCA, who is a very likable young man.  He just bought a new truck.  Yeah I hate him because he drives a better car than me but this really sucks.

When I was growing up I was taught that tattle-telling was dirty and underhanded, but after 20 plus years in the Post Office I have finally figured out that this is actually the way to get ahead in life, which is probably why I am stuck where I am.  I think most people in postal upper management got there walking on a carpet of the bleeding bodies of the co-workers they disposed of, and that is why they actually appreciate people who throw other people under the bus to get ahead.  There is a sort of twisted, sinister sense of camaraderie they feel with people who use the same methods; like two maggots feasting on the same lump of rotting flesh.  Eeew - Is that a little too poetic, or what?

There are other unbelievably creepy and sinister conversations I overheard among these alien life forms this week, but I'll save them for later.  Maybe that one female supervisor thinks I'm not listening, that I'm not onto her, but the B-52s told me who she really is in a secret song message:

She came from Planet Claire

I knew she came from there

She drove a Plymouth Satellite

Faster than the speed of light

Planet Claire has pink air

All the trees are red

No one ever dies there

No one has a head

Photo taken from Planet Earth, not Planet Claire, on my own cell phone.

Lyrics from the B-52s song "Planet Claire"

The Postal Tsunami is a powerful wave propelled by copious quantities of Starbuck's coffee, which is not cheap.  I have nothing to do with ad selection here, but unless these ads completely annoy or offend you I would appreciate if you could check out what my sponsors to the right and down below have to say.  Thanks for your support.


  1. Planet Claire is aptly named.. I can imagine everything

  2. Thank you Sol. Planet Claire sounds like a nice place, but if you ever met any of the horrible alien beings that come from there you wouldn't think that.

  3. Mel, thank you for saving my ego! It is nice to find I am not alone... I started as a CCA in September of last year. Over the years, (I am a bit older than the average CCA), I have been a UPS driver, then spent 10 years in management with UPS until I "retired". I figured that taking a position as a CCA would be a great way to re-enter the workforce and eventually start a second career as a letter carrier... I have never worked harder, or been less appreciated in my life. (I am still trying to figure out how my "auxiliary" route, which has only 20 fewer deliveries than the regular route, can be completed in 4 hours including a 30 minute lunch, regardless of the large daily variation in volume). That being said, I love the job when I am actually out delivering.

  4. Thank you Cheyenmore, you are not alone. In fact, I am in the process of composing a blog on the weirdness of "postal math" right now, which may explain why the aux route numbers just don't add up. I invite you to check back in a couple days. You are right that the job can be fun as long as the supervisors stay off your back.