Sunday, June 28, 2015

Postal Saturdays Ain't What They Used to Be

By Mel Carriere

When you start to get nostalgic about the good old days, you know you've been working for the Post Office way too long.  Of course we didn't know they were the good old days  - lord knows we found a lot to bitch about then too, and nothing has changed.  If there were some sort of bitchometer that could travel back in time and take readings of the whining and complaining that used to snivel forth from our malcontent postal mouths 20 years ago it would be interesting to stack that up against the level of grumbling, fussing and bellyaching we rise to in today's Postal pressure cooker.  My bet is we piss and moan more today, but that's only because I'm looking at things from a modern postal perspective.  Maybe back then if we would have known how really bad it was going to get we would have kept our mouths shut to save our energy. 

One of the things that has definitely changed for the worse in the Postal Service is Saturdays.  Believe it or not all you newbies out there, but Saturday used to be an easy day.  The mail was almost always light, there was no pivoting to speak of and no busybody scanner snitches sticking their little blue noses into your business and tattling back to the boss via GPS.  Therefore, if you had a favorite shade tree you could usually get away with a little extra napping to rest up for Monday, which was a real pain in the butt even back then.  Your supervisor wouldn't catch you snoozing because he was probably sleeping with his feet up on the desk too in those days before nit-picking micro management became standard business practice.  As long as you were a relatively good carrier nobody was going to take you to task about your load time or your street time or any of those other times that snap at your heels today like that psycho Yorkie that nearly bit me in the foot yesterday, because those were the pre-DOIS glory days, nobody knew what any of those times meant, and nobody cared.  And guess what else?  We were PROFITABLE!

I know this sounds like a real fairy tale, children, but there used to be a thing called 701 time on Saturday that allowed carriers to go home an hour early.  You were supposed to help out on another route to get 701, but no one really enforced that rule, which is probably why they eventually did away with it.  In the halcyon 701 days if you were working 8 hours on a Saturday you were a real loser with no life, and it was awfully depressing to pull into the deserted postal parking lot at 3 PM to see the supervisor waiting by the gate, tapping his foot impatiently because he wanted to go home early too and you were the one epic fail dork in the bunch who just didn't get it.

Somewhere along the line things changed.  I think it was a gradual process, I don't think there was a date you could draw a line under and say - this is when it happened, this is when Saturday got all screwed up.  The first step in the insidious plot was when some sadistic District or Area Manager realized that those lazy carriers will run their butts off on Saturday and you don't even have to whip them to do it because every normal, non postal person in America is having a barbeque or a birthday party or watching a football game and they would like to get there too before the sun goes down.  So the powers that be decided to clean out all the bulk mail from the plant on Saturdays because they knew we would hustle and get it delivered without costing them overtime.  This was something like the phenomenon we call "load leveling" today, except without the fancy name that the post office probably paid some Think Tank 5 million dollars or so to come up with.

The transformation continued to get uglier and uglier until we were left with the unrecognizable monstrosity that Postal Saturday has now become.  I don't have a spreadsheet full of facts and figures I can use to prove how Saturday has become the second heaviest day of the week next to Monday, but I do have some probably meaningless anecdotal information to back up my theory, which in the absence of hard facts is the next best thing to outright lies that a second rate blogger hack like me can use to prove his point.

To cite one such anecdote, this past week my DPS count was between 1100 to 1200 Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  I was practically sleep walking out there wondering where all the mail went, but then on Saturday all the missing mail chickens came home to roost and my DPS skyrocketed to 2700, just like that!

I'm not a conspiracy theory guy.  I actually believe the astronauts landed on the moon, Paul McCartney is still alive, Obama's birth certificate is real, and every other conspiracy is bogus except the CIA black helicopters flying over my house and the DPS being stockpiled during the week so they can dump it all over us on Saturday.  Further proof of the conspiracy is that there weren't even any water or electric bills in the mail, just a lot of Presort Standard casino adds and stuff that says things like "send Donald Trump your money so he can deport Barack Obama and Ricky Martin."  This is the kind of crap that ferments all week in the stinking back bilges of the processing plant and then they scrape it up and run it through the DPS machines on Saturday so I can miss yet another nephew or niece's birthday party or, even worse, get there after all the beer is gone.

Okay, I admit that picture up there is not my LLV stuffed for Saturday, I just put it there for shock value.  I was looking for a gloomy quote about Saturday to close this out with, but it seems like the poets, songsters and everybody else are all in love with Saturday, so I couldn't find any sympathy.  It's just us lowly, lonely mailmen and clerks singing the Saturday blues, and no one else cares.

Here's a good read for a Saturday or any day:

The Postal Tsunami gains its coastal destroying power with copious amounts of Starbuck's coffee,  which is not cheap.  Unless they completely annoy or offend you, please see what my sponsors on this page have to say.

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