Field Reports

Field Report: The Week After

Sergeant K

How can you people have anything left to ship?

The phrase of the week (two days in) is, “So you guys must be slowing down now, huh?” I mean, comparatively to the rest of December? Or comparatively to The Before Times when the worst pandemic we faced in recent history was the ubiquity of Snapchat? Slow only exists if we know what busy is and busy is redefined basically every day. But I suppose, since we have enough time to answer that question, then it is slowing down. Sure.

I meditated Monday morning because The Week After is when all the returns come in and inner peace is necessary for this. I also have some PTSD from two years ago when Private Ryan became a father for the second time on January 2. At the time, we were a two-person army so with a man down, I had two days to myself. Alone with the 750+ Amazon returns and the incredible amount of leftover Christmas gifts flooding in.

Private Ryan says this is the only time he really saw me flustered. He checked on me by video and apparently tuned in just in time to see the line to the door, the stack of returns taking up a full half of the room, and heard me say something akin to, “I don’t know any answers to any questions.”

So there I was on Monday morning, meditating that I will not give my speech on hating Amazon to every customer I meet. I will be friendly and light.

I prepared for the wrong enemy. Because the enemy on Monday was Walmart.

When I tell you on the phone that I do not have the ability to do a thing, please believe me. Don’t push the issue. Don’t continue to ask me the same questions over and over again because each layer of answer will get more terse. And don’t expect me to be able to look up your Walmart order to find the tracking number.

And at the end of the conversation, when you say with a patronizing little chuckle, “Well you’ve been really fucking unhelpful,” I sincerely hope you don’t expect an apology or anything other than me saying, “Yep” and hanging up on you.

I didn’t throw the phone, per se. I just didn’t bother to set it down nicely. Private First Class was helping our long term State House Representative at the time and he looked at me and the rest of the line that had formed while explaining I wasn’t Walmart laughed.

He returned today and I got to help him. We talked about The West Wing. All of this cracks me up and I’m not sure why.

Photo of the Day

Behold this dropoff: Physical evidence of why the Postal Service may not have your package ready for you yet.

They wrote the recipient’s name in darker black. It’s too bad that the most important part of the label is the bar code for scanning. This package will be entering mail purgatory very soon.

Bonus Photo of the Day

Yep, it’s really slowed down. This was our outgoing U.S. mail at noon today.

We had exactly one package get misdelivered. FedEx told us that a “Good Samaritan” called them and they went to pick it up and it will be delivered to the correct address. Then they told us they have no idea where the package is. Then they told us they had the package with the same story as the first time. Today they told us to file a claim. At this point, we just popped some popcorn and hit refresh on the tracking page to see what happens next.

Private Ryan mistyped an address which is a cardinal sin in the world of The Field. However, the reason for this error is something that could only happen because of who he is. The customer came in and he got to talking because it’s a person who has shipped things with him since The Field existed. It was on Black Monday and we were all losing our minds. And he couldn’t come up with their name.

He prides himself on knowing everyone’s names. Customers love it. He makes them feel like he’s their best friend. I have heard a not-insignificant number of customers tell him they love him in a very serious, sincere voice. One customer once told him that “Even though I have no family, I feel like you’re my family.”

We ship packages, by the way. I mean, he is a notary. Is notarizing a secret love language?

Anyway, he couldn’t come up with this long-term customer’s name and absolutely refused to ask, so he sent the package from The Field. The customer told him the name of the recipient and address and zip code. The zip code was one very important number off. And now the package is apparently in USPS purgatory.

The customer is hot about this being in purgatory so we are having quite the existential debate on how to handle it. Though I am a huge proponent of never over-explaining anything, I feel like in this one case, based on the years of adoration and goodwill he has built up, the over-explained truth might be his best friend. This requires swallowing some pride and ego and rolling a quite large dice with quite a story. It’s the absurdist principle: When the truth is absurd, go with the truth.

We will probably end up taking the path of least resistance and refund the shipping and wait for the package to make its way back to us wherein we will overnight the damn thing to the right address.

Still, I’d much rather be present for him telling the actual story.

I’m taking a week off in January. We would typically be going somewhere, but since our choices are a staycation or Covidcation, we’re staying home and, instead, spending our vacation money on a dual zone wine and beverage fridge.

Just kidding. The U.S. Government will be purchasing our new wine and beverage fridge. They’re so generous.

Colonel C

I don’t know what the hell she’s talking about. I have $600 of red glasses ready to order.

Leave a Reply