I went in the Raytown Post Office today to pick up some of those flat-rate Priority Mail envelopes. The places where they normally are kept out in the lobby near the post office boxes were all empty, so I went in to the counter. The man behind the counter was in the middle of explaining how I had just walked right past them – I hadn’t even gotten to protest that there were none there – when the woman at the next register sprang into action.
She announced that there is a thief on the loose in Raytown and that he’s stealing Priority Mail envelopes right out of their lobby.
The look on my face must have been amusing… much like the look on the counter worker to whom I had been talking. I managed the best response I could muster, considering I was completely befuddled over how you steal something they give you just for asking. I said, “Really?”
“Yes!” She exclaimed, and then proceeded to tell me she knew who it was and that she was having them install cameras so that she could catch them.
I wondered briefly why, if she knew who it was, she needed the cameras. But what I said next was, “What do you suppose he’s doing with them?”
Turns out she knows exactly what he’s doing with them. “He’s cutting them in half and trying to mail things in them with the wrong postage! That’s defacing government property! I’m holding all of them for evidence!”
Seriously. She really said that.
So… Raytown’s great crime spree is that some guy is coming into the post office, taking the envelopes that they give you for free, cutting them in half, putting standard postage onto them, and expecting his letters to go First Class instead of the more expensive Priority Mail. And the solution to this problem is not simply ask the man to stop and explaining that those envelopes can only be used for Priority Mail… the solution is cameras (plural) and an investigation by Postal Inspectors as to whether or not the man can be charged with (in Mail Court?) defacing government property.
Wow. And people wonder why the Post Office is bleeding money and wants to raise the price of stamps. Again. I’ve got a solution… put people in charge who aren’t idiots.