Short version

Wrote this as part of a futile letter I am working on, an exercise in trying to digest something that is indigestible, addressed to the chef and server of the unpalatable dish.  I don’t know if it has any interest, but it’s a much quicker telling of the encounter laid out in the previous post, and I will most likely delete it from the letter I wrote it in:


I wrote this letter right after an encounter at my local post office. The encounter illustrates a personality type, all too common, that gives no quarter in defending why they are right and you, whatever the facts, are actually the asshole.

My rent check, in the landlord’s mailer, was returned to me, the stamp cancelled and no other explanation. Went to the post office to have it delivered.  The monkeylike clerk wordlessly studied it for a long time before telling me I needed to talk to the supervisor. The supervisor also studied the envelope for a moment.

“Must not have read the address,” he said, pointing to the address printed on the business envelope. “Machines, we use machines, sometimes they make mistakes.” I asked him to expedite delivery of the check, since it was now a week late. He told me he couldn’t expedite anything, only “overstamp” it and put it back into regular mail, unless I wanted to pay for overnight delivery.  He apparently thought I was being a dick, because he’d already admitted a machine had made a mistake, that it was nobody’s fault, and yet I was still demanding something from him. “Haven’t you ever made a mistake?” he asked me.

At this point, the guy who should have simply said “this shouldn’t have happened, I’m sorry for the hassle. I’ll hand cancel this, put it on the truck and make sure it gets delivered tomorrow, the address is only five miles from here” was staring at me like I’d just taken a piss at his window.  He slid a paper with a number he said was for complaints through the window, told me his name. He refused to give me a receipt or any proof I’d re-mailed my returned envelope to my landlord. Told me he could only give me a receipt if I paid for it.

The number on the form turned out not to have an option for “complaints” and the waiting time was 40 to 50 minutes to speak to a human. I have no idea if this dickhead gave me his actual name, whether he put my letter in the bin to be sorted and delivered or into the garbage bin. How would I know how much of a vicious psycho this guy potentially is, particularly after I finally told him to fuck himself after he told me he could only give me a receipt if I paid him? He’d certainly showed me a nice snappy catalogue of politely sociopathic traits.

With a stranger who is an asshole, this is standard behavior: never sympathize, or admit any wrongdoing, give a reason that sounds reasonable enough, deny any obligation to fix the mistake, put the complaining consumer on the spot by blaming him for being a hypocrite, and a complainer, tell him to fuck off, politely, give him a fake number to file his fake complaint and make up a name for yourself.

A loved one who does this is in a different category, no?  Do you want the lesson your kids get to take with them in life to be that trust is a delicate, transactional illusion, that to live you have to learn to tell yourself, and others, any lie that makes it possible to conceal shame and manipulation?


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