I haven't been writing a lot on the Tsunami lately for a few reasons; some personal, some logistical, some having to do with getting my butt kicked by the November mail flow.
The November mail flow is like a Tsunami in and of itself. It washes in a lot of unexpected debris from parts unknown - stuff that, while mildly shocking at the moment, doesn't really surprise you because at this point in your Postal career, if your Postal career is longer than a year or so, you've probably seen everything.
One of the things that washed up this November in our office was a new station manager. She actually has been our station manager for a few years on paper, but never reported for duty, probably because our backwater, out of the way office is somewhat of a career killer for aspiring bigshots. I think she must have gotten in trouble somewhere and finally had to lower herself, because I've never heard anybody use the word "respect" so many times in the same sentence. When she first started she was just full of love and the "utmost respect" for everybody.
That romantic ardor is cooling off now. She is finally learning why nobody wants to manage our office, why our place is only a temporary way station for managers on their way up or their way out, and this is taking its toll after only a couple of weeks. The cracks are showing. Any day now she is only to explode in a messy splatter of something other than the utmost respect.
This new manager has convinced me that lying shamelessly is an actual, premeditated management strategy that just might work in a lot of places. Of course, it doesn't work in our station because we have too many cynical, broken down, battle hardened old farts, like me, which is another reason nobody wants to supervise us. You just can't lie and expect us to believe it, because we've heard all the lies before. We don't get mad when people lie to us, we just shake our heads and patiently endure it, like it is something nasty but cute and funny at the same time, like when a baby spits up on you. You just smile, say "awww," pass the baby back to its Mama then go for a towel to clean yourself up; to get that nasty goo off of you before it dries.
Every morning this new station manager gives us a stand up talk, because "that's my style," so she says. During the stand up talk she tells us pretty much the same lies. I thought I would share a short list of some of these cute, colorful things she says:
There's no mail today: Of course, this lie is promulgated and perpetuated throughout every post office, everywhere, so nothing new. What amazes me, without really amazing me, is that managers have the audacity to say this when anybody legally licensed to drive can see there are dangerously leaning towers of 775 tubs stuffed with presort flats piled at our cases, along with holiday parcels stacked to the ceiling.
The parcels are finished: I have to give this new manager credit for putting an interesting new spin on lying, and going to great, creative lengths to make these lies seem like the truth. She actually has instructed the clerks to ring the bell for parcel completion when only the big packages have been distributed, giving carriers the false impression that we have all our mail going out the door. Of course, what this fibbing little bell isn't saying is that untold hundreds of SPRs still have to be sorted, and these won't be "finalized" until 12:30, meaning we will all have to drive back to the post office in the afternoon, then backtrack a couple dozen little guys.
The DPS is half of what it was yesterday: Technically, this was true, and if there was a court of Postal Prevarication somewhere she probably couldn't get convicted on it. In this case it really wasn't the lie that offended, but the facts that were omitted that gave the false conclusion that the having half of yesterday's DPS would create an easy, smooth, mail delivery day. In reality, the reason the DPS was light was because a significant portion of DPS-machineable letters were not processed by the plant, for whatever reason, and were at our cases waiting to be sorted by hand. Actually, only about half of these unprocessed letters were at our cases in the morning, on my route about a foot and a half. After securing time "commitments" from the carriers the manager then had the clerks spread the other half of the letters, at least another foot and a half, meaning all told about 700 pieces that had to be cased per route because they never found their way to the DPS machine. Legally she's in the clear on lying, I guess, but my prayer book talks about lies of commission and lies of omission; so Mom would still spank your blue Postal butt on this one, and the priest would give at least a half dozen Hail Marys for penance.
Postal Managers are tricksy hobbitses, everybody knows that. I've heard a lot of managers say a lot of dumb things, and most of these I could attribute to an inability to process facts correctly (meaning being ditzy), incomplete information, or going into Postal ostrich mode - in which managers bury their heads in the sand to blind themselves from the grim reality. But when there is such a deliberate, systematic, calculated effort to lie that includes bringing others into the conspiracy, it makes me shudder for what could happen. The lies aren't so cute and colorful anymore. When babies spit up it can be charming and lovable, when grown men and women do the same it's considered biological waste and can be highly toxic.
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