Private Ryan and I had the agreement that I would come in at 11 unless it was super slow in which case he would text me at 10:30 or so and say to hold off until noon. (I feel like that older NBA player with a long injury history who is still really good at one thing but coaches want to rest them as much as they can. That’s where we were at today. I was suddenly a 40-year-old shipping version of Dikembe Mutombo with terrible knees who is still really good at
blocking shots typing addresses.) Every hour matters.
Instead, this happened.
This morning we found out that the hundreds of USPS packages we shipped out on Black Monday reached St. Paul this morning. That’s where they go to be sorted. There were 56 massive trailers of letters and packages yet to be unloaded there. (They weren’t all ours, but it felt like it could be.) Typically, it takes 1 day for a package to reach the Cities and be delivered. This was 3 days to arrive.
We had the most anxious customer I’ve ever seen yesterday and they returned again today. They don’t know anything about shipping, but they did that thing anxiety causes people to do — Ask questions in situations they don’t understand and, instead of waiting for an answer, begin saying all the fears and concerns they have. The Field is typically a patient place, but this week is just a never-ending war with time so it is a bit less patient.
And if there is one thing that trips Private Ryan’s patience trigger, it is when people insist on watching him pack their stuff.
What’s interesting is that the people who insist on watching him are typically ones who are shipping books; or American Girl dolls going to American Girl hospitals (including our most recent one who had a hospital order form of “double arm amputation repair” and sure enough, someone had pulled the poor girl’s arms off but still this is one of the leading candidates for “how ridiculously privileged are Americans?” answers); or the black boxes from airplanes.
People will drop off crystal vases worth $8,000 without blinking. We have shipped a half dozen or more Playstation 5s which people just leave for us to pack when we can. We shipped a taxidermy black bear to San Diego. Ability and safety aren’t really an issue.
But this particular customer was adamant yesterday so he did it while the line extended out the door. When they returned today, it was the middle of a rush and the two of them went through a similar routine as yesterday. Then they stated he needed to pack it in front of them. The table was a pile of things to pack, line to the door, so Private Ryan told them they could sit if they wanted and he would get to it after the others in front of theirs. The customer objected, trying to force him to do it. He refused to budge.
The next time The Field was empty, I looked at him and said, “I was prepared to watch you begin to do box inventory before you were going to pack that in front of them.” He smirked.
“It’s bad,” he said. “I know. But I hate that.”
Yesterday, we told ROTC Laura that she didn’t have to come in, trying to give her some time off when we can. I hope she is prepared to never have one off again. She does our scanning and organizing and taping of boxes and just generally takes care of all the shit we never get to when we have a line to the door. Last night, when we locked the door, it looked like a Christmas tornado had attacked The Field. Tonight, it was pristine. Those cadets really work their asses off.
One of my favorite jokes to say during a transaction is when someone says they want it “fastest but cheapest.” I will occasionally say, “We can have it to Jacksonville by 8 a.m. tomorrow for $680.” They typically laugh. Today, one customer said, “If that’s the cheapest, I guess we’ll go with it.”
So zoned out, checked completely out of the reality. I can only assume they work in shipping, too.
I also believe I’m the only person in this town who doesn’t have loved ones in Idaho. We ship more packages to Idaho than seems disproportionate to our location to that state. Keen observation, I know.
**cue Les Miserables cast singing “One Day More” regarding how I feel about it being Thursday**
Today, I got the orange ones!!!!!