Through my eyes

living my life without regrets

Monday, February 06, 2012

Correo Argentina

We needed three stamps for our postcards; one for a U.S. destination, two cards to be sent to Canada.
Near us, on Santa Fe Avenue, is a post office, so we stepped in at 1:43 PM to buy the three stamps.
I walked up to an empty window and asked for 3 stamps and the man behind the empty counter said, “Take a number, you have to wait”. Well, nobody was at his window; he was looking at his fingernails.
Ok, Carol took a number, we are # 810. The No. board said next customer # 780 on window 8 please.

We waited, along with maybe 30 other people, coming and going for our number to come up to buy 3 stamps. There was a constant coming and going, some walked in and walked out, some stayed for a while and then just left.
And we waited……… and we waited………..customer 781 please, window 6.
Window 1 was open, manned by a blond woman doing nothing.
Window 2 had a sign on it, closed.
Window 3 had two clerks talking to each other.
Window 4 was open but empty, had no customers.
Window 5 was closed; a postage machine sat on the counter
At Window 6, the young female clerk had a customer
At Window 7, the rotund clerk had a customer
Window 8 was open, but not manned.
We waited…………and waited.
A total of 8 clerks or more walked around, or stood around or were on the phone, or looked at their finger nails, or talked to each other.
The waiting Postal customers sat on chairs; the room had a hushed atmosphere. # 782? 783? 784? 785? Ok, 786 at window 6, please.
After waiting an amazing 15 minutes the count was up to 793.
None of the waiting folks complained or talked much.

All the waiting clientele sat and waited for a clerk to call the next number. Most of the clerks however, were just hanging around looking bored, and biding their time to the extreme. After each No. was called, they left their stations and took a break. Only windows 6 and 7 were taking customers on a fairly continuous basis - for awhile. Talk about slow. 794? # 795 to window 1, please!
Wow, she got a customer! After the postal client stepped to the window, she got up and left him standing there and then came back 5 minutes later.
And on and on it went. I cannot believe the rudeness of the postal clerks.
One man walked up with a small package; window 6 took it, weighted it, shook it, measured it and then complained that the tape was not sufficient. No she did not have any tape to help him out.
He got the package back and left; I could see the frustration on his face. Some other folks had the audacity to ask questions. The answers were short, curt and the facial expression of the clerk was a frown, a “why ask me?”
I have never in my life seen such inefficiency. A woman sitting next to me told me that this is ‘normal’ for Argentina.
The phone on the wall rang and yes, someone picked it up but it took at least 5 minutes away from his time behind a station. One clerk in particular, a good looking guy with a goatee took just one customer in all the time we were there.

The other man took none. We waited and waited and waited.
# 805, we are waiting! People came and asked a question but again, the answers were curt, no smiles! All the clerks were young, between 20 and 35, none older. All wore white shirts or blouses and their uniform looked great. All were behind a glass partition; it seemed like a bank counter. Some waiting folks were agitated, pacing back and forth, rubbing their faces, scratching their heads, but can they do anything about the wait? NO! The power was with the clerks and they knew it. And totally abused it.
It was infuriating to wait for our 3 stamps a solid 45 minutes.
That was exactly how long it took me to buy 3 stamps. The cost to me…. 27 pesos for the stamps and 45 minutes of my time and 5 more grey hairs on my head. Argentina?? This is terrible, fix your Postal Service! Correo Argentina? Shame on you!

1 comment:

Michelle said...

wow. So sorry you had to put up with that. Who would have known. I don't know how locals take it.