See, I had something to mail that I wanted to be as secure as possible, and that had to be there on or before Tuesday. A little research at the USPS website led me to the conclusion that my best bet was a combination of Priority Mail and Registered Mail. I'd have liked to send it Express Mail, just to be sure that it would be quick, but you can't combine that with Registered Mail, so I decided that Priority would be sufficient. So I stopped at the post office on my way to work. I present the subsequent events in a little play:
I've put some key lines in bold.
I approach the counter:
me: I need to send this Priority Mail and Registered Mail.
post office employee: You can't do that.
me: Oh! Oops. The website said I could.
poe: Well, what is it you're trying to do?
me: Well, my passport is in there, so it needs to be safe, but it also needs to be there Tuesday.
She then explains that registered mail is a slow process, because everyone who handles the envelope has to sign for it, and that if I'm in a hurry, I'll have to use Express Mail. It won't be Registered, but it will be fast. She gives me a form to fill out and sends me over to the side so that she can help the next person. When I'm done with the form and she's able to help me again, I hand the form to her, feeling sheepish that I misunderstood what I was able to do.
me: That'll teach me not to do my research on the internet anymore.
me: Because the website said that it was okay to combine Priority Mail and Registered Mail.
poe: Oh, you can. Most people who mail their passports do it that way. But you're in a hurry. If you send it Express mail it'll get there . . . (she checks something on her computer) . . . Monday. But if you send it that way, it won't get there until . . . Tuesday.
me (mentally): WHAT THE HELL?! THAT'S WHAT I SAID I WANTED!
me (out loud): That would be fine.
poe gives me a Look: So you want to send it that way?
me: Yeah, I think so.
poe starts taping and stamping and gives me another Look: Now, don't change your mind again, because I'm doing the Registered Mail thing now.
The rest was just normal addressing and payment and stuff, so that is essentially the end of the play, but I think the basic themes have been illustrated.
1: She told me right away in No Uncertain Terms-before she even knew the Tuesday deadline- that what I wanted to do was not possible.
2: She acted like it was my fault.
3: What should have taken five minutes instead took three times as long, which, when one has stopped on the way to work, makes a significant difference.
Sigh. People. Now I'd like for something good to happen.