It’s A Cruel World

The line at the post office wasn’t long at first. The two clerks were each busy with someone taking what seemed like an inordinately long time. “Incompetence,” I thought to myself. “It’s in every government office I’ve ever known.” But as I waited I began to watch, and my attention was drawn to the customer with several bags the sort of which you get at Target; the opaque, flimsy, crackly kind.

The counter was covered with these bags. And stacks of small bills. And cellophane wrapping tape. And coins. “$40.75,” I heard the clerk say, and then the customer turned around to the counter behind which I stood, grimacing as he searched his pockets. I smiled at him, and saw that he was a person with special needs. “I got it!” he said triumphantly, while the line behind me shifted their collective feet.

“Maybe I should put some of this stuff in the box,” he said, and proceeded to shove the items from his bags into a white Priority Mail box. They were Cubs World Series memoriablia, being unceremoniously crunched into a box which surely would not bode well for the hats at the bottom.

When the box was finally all taped up, he help up a card. “I forgot this!” he said, after which the clerk slammed down his hand, and reopened the box.

“Should I put it in?” the man asked timidly. “Yes, you should put it in!” the sales clerk shouted.

The box is now taped shut for the second time, and the amount owed is pronounced. “$45.75,” says the clerk.

“But! But, you told me it was $40.75,” the man replied, clearly quite anxious.

“That was before you put it in this box!” said the clerk, holding up the priority box in comparison to the plain brown cardboard one off to the side.

“I want to speak to the manager!” the customer said, and was promptly told he was speaking to the manager.

“Excuse me?” I said. “Is five dollars all that is needed here?” They both turned to look at me.

“Here,” I said, giving the clerk the money, “here is a $5.00 bill. Please mail his package.”

Because I wanted to weep at the insensitivity far outweighing the incompetency in this situation.  The postal worker couldn’t summon up an ounce of patience? He couldn’t clearly explain the shipping costs, or even help the man pack his box? No one waiting in line could be patient while waiting for this man to send off his important package?

We cry at the injustice of Syrian refugees, and can’t even lift a finger in a public place to one of our own, a man who clearly needed some compassion. A little understanding. Five bucks. That’s all it took to solve his problem tonight. May all his worries be few.

May we all share one another’s burdens.

16 thoughts on “It’s A Cruel World”

  1. For some reason sensitivity and fellow feelings are the first to be sacrificed in a rush to get things done. I agree with you, may we all share one another’s burden, thats the only way to move forward!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How often do we stand in a line, unconscious of what’s going on in front of us. I often wonder if others see the same stories I see in front of me. Its nice to think humanity still goes to this level. Thank you Bellezza for being compassionate on our part.. post office, railway stations, cafeterias, chemists…. there are many places we might see someone trying to get through a difficult moment.. weatger its 5 dollars or just a hand..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post. I think we all get impatient as we rush to get things done, I know I do. But it pays to try to calm down in these situations and to try to see things from the other’s p.o.v. – reading fiction is great training for this skll.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That is the only thing you could of done. I would have reprimanded the clerk for his impatience also. But I am getting old and do not tolerate rudeness or impatient people anymore. In 10 yrs time I will no doubt be worse. I am so over selfish, intolerant people. You are definitely one of the good ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You did a kind and thoughtful thing there. We used to have a lovely man in our post office who would take a great deal of time to explain the various postage options. But he is long gone and now we have people who snap and snarl and rush. It’s a shame because for some people, especially the more elderly, maybe one of the few moments of human contact they have in the week is when they go to the post office.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Working in retail, I see this sort of behavior every single day. Customers are in a hurry, demanding we help them with lightning speed, failing to say a simple “Please” or “Thank You,” frustrated (and often times angry) if we are unable to locate the book they swear we have (according to our website), stomping off as they mutter “Amazon” under their breath. Of course, not every customer is like this, but when we are tired and overworked, the inconsiderate, rude patrons are the one who remain with me at the end of a shift. But then I try to remind myself of the sweet little boy who so politely asked for helped and smiled as he thanked me repeatedly for finding the book he was longing for. Or the older woman who slowly filled a basket with books, toys and games for her grandchildren, asking if it would be too much trouble to have someone help her to her car with her purchases, watching a young employee eagerly carry her bags outside for her. Or the cafe patron who jumped up to help the young mother struggling with a screaming toddler as she spilled her food onto the floor. A little kindness, people. It goes a long, long way and it’s free. Doesn’t cost one dime. Just a smile, a polite comment, a willingness to help a fellow human being.

    Thanks for reminding us all that we need not be part of a cruel world, Meredith. We all can make a difference.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Love this post. People are always in a rush lately for everything and forget that they are neglecting civility in so many ways. What’s the hurry? Why can’t you take a few minutes to explain something to someone who needs a little extra explanation? What’s going to happen if you do this kindness for someone? The line of people waiting is still there. Rushing and being rude doesn’t make the line of people disappear. I’m glad you were there to witness and to help that man. Its obvious the postal worker needed to be reminded of what kindness is.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Bellezza,
    I’m sure your kindness will be noted and remembered. I hope that postal worker was simply having a bad day. The help at my local post office are usually nice and helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Beautiful post and one that should remind us most things like waiting in line are not that important. I always have a book with me to read while I wait whether in a dr’s office or post office. There are many souls who would love to be able to wait in line but can’t due to illness or disability. Thank you for sharing and your very kind heart. Made my day – love your blog! Laura


  10. There is a quote or a poem that I can’t find right now, but it is humorous, about how the narrator loves the human race – it’s just his neighbor – or other person who is present here and now – that he can’t stand. Your post reminds me of this tendency of us fairly unlovable humans to be too theoretical in our love. I’m so glad you were practical and real, and the one next in line.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. You are so right. This is the story of thing that has been bothering me lately. I just can’t see how the world will get any better given the level of intolerance, impatience and aggression we see around our own little spheres. It’s gobsmackingly depressing.


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