I had the most outrageous experience at the post office today. Why do the most harrowing experiences in any foreign country tend to happen at the post offices. I think I will set aside another post to chronicle my experiences of post offices in foreign countries. There’s probably a whole book in it.
Yesterday I successfully wrapped and jammed into one box all my presents for nieces and nephews. The box I used was the one my lamp came in, perfect shape and easy to carry. I taped the box up like a mad man, laughing at the thought of the recipients trying to open it later. Well, joke was on me…
I printed pretty labels for the front and back of the box, and realised I’d forgotten to include the letter I’d written so made a special pocket on the side of the box for my Christmas Note. It was was a packaging site to behold.
This morning I took it down to the post office with a few other letters and small packages, so proud of my preparedness for Christmas (assuming that six working days is enough for international mail). When I got to the post office the woman greeted me with:
“You can’t send that box”
“Why not?” I asked
“It doesn’t have the Thai Post logo on it”
What?! In the best of circumstances I’m a bit of a pushover, I have a fear of authority from way back. Ordinarily if the post office lady behind the counter tells me I’m not allowed to do something I nod and plead for forgiveness for my insolence. But not today, the Christmas (fighting) spirit infused my body and I fought back. Not so helpful with a non-confrontational culture of Thailand.
I questioned her ruling on my box and she insisted that I would have to transfer my goods into a sanctioned Thai Post box. A brown box almost identical in size and appearance to my own.
I argued (without raising my voice) that the branding strategy of Thai Post was not my concern and that a brown box be a brown box, but my logic fell on deaf ears. I even questioned whether my other mail, in standard white envelopes, would have problems if they didn’t display the requisite number of Thai Post logos. Yes, I sank to argumentative lows. The supervisor stepped in to assure me they’d give me the new box for free and even help me repack it. Lovely sentiment, but he didn’t realise how much glitter I’d added to the box before sealing it.
So we opened the box and the glitter came flying out. It was pretty funny, but I think I’d pushed the post office lady to her limits because I could only get the smallest smile out of her.
Here’s the box, never to be received by those intended:
The last funny moment was when she’d finished the transfer to the new box and gestured to move my box behind the counter, presumably to a trash pile. “I’ll take that back, thank you!” She could take away my dignity but I wouldn’t let her take my Christmas box.