Today I went to the post office. I took my many packages to the counter and just before the woman working waited on me, she asked the gentleman behind me in line if he had anything short before all of my packages. I didn't mind because I know I'm a pain to stand behind at the post office.
He needed a stamp and that was it. She explained that there was no stamp machine or automatic postage machine at this small branch and she didn't want him to have to wait too long.
This prompted me to say how I really love those machines. They are quick and easy. She responded with how the postal workers DON'T love those machines and that each time they get one at the other bigger branch where she works someone looses a job or hours. Also, because they have a "need" for less people, when you DO want to speak with a human rather than a machine, that the line is often longer because they are short staffed. (I know her pretty well so I imagine that is why she was so candid.)
I'm not writing this as a criticism of the US postal service or an expose on how the PO works in my area, it just got me thinking. We so often bemoan the fact that because of how our towns and suburbs are set up that we have lost a certain sense of community. We don't KNOW each other anymore. We don't have a butcher. We don't have a milkman and often we don't even know our neighbors. We replace people little by little in the name of convenience. What happened to communication and friendship? Is convienience our higest goal?
At Wegman's, my daughter has a friend named Ida. She's an older woman who works as a cashier. We look for her every week and have nice conversation when we see her. I swear the interaction benefits both Ida and my daughter. I would never for a minute consider a self checkout even if they had one. The human interaction is too important.
We worry about India taking our technical jobs and China taking our manufacturing jobs and yet we so willingly bow to technology here at home without thinking for a minute of the person whose job we replace each time we do so.
I'm guilty of this too. I usually print my postage here at home in my office. My printer is acting up (I know, another machine on the blink over here!) so I've been at the Post Office more than I usually am. (Now I actually do know my letter carrier by name so maybe I get some points for that) Also, not driving (the short distance to the PO) saves me money on gas and time. I don't know how to balance it all out really. I don't really know the answer.
Maybe I could split the difference and bring the boxes to the post office on days when I will be out and about and driving right by. I know one thing for sure, I probably won't use the stamp machine unless it's after hours.
And now I promise no more technology rants for the rest of the week!