Written by: Leon Weinstein
Today in the post office I witnessed an interesting conversation. There was a usual for afternoons long line and not enough postal workers to serve it. In the mornings there were not a lot of customers but plenty of help. In afternoons when customers would begin to come after work in herds, the post office employees were leaving to do their own chores. It always reminded me of the Soviet Union where all restaurants were closed for at least an hour during lunch time because as the head of the Union of Service Employees put it "all employees in the USSR have equal rights and the restaurant workers earned a right for lunch like anyone else."
When I came to the office four out of six windows were open, but one of the clerks left explaining that this was the end of his work day and another concentrated on people who brought passport applications and stopped helping those who came for postal needs. After about ten minutes after only two windows were open the line became a bit restless. Several people demanded to see the manager. It took some persuasion to make one of the remaining clerks to call for their boss. The big boss came out, said that he is very sympathetic to our problems, but can't do anything. His people were overworked, underpaid, have their own problems, ill, have children and there are rules and regulations that he as a manager shall abide to. He smiled and disappeared again.
The line became even more restless. Someone said "If this was my business, I would kick this guy out of his job in a second." Everyone agreed. "I would change so many things in what they do at the post office, starting with cleaning and putting something nice on the walls" - said an older woman, who also added that she is here for about thirty five minutes and it is quite difficult for her.
"It is all because of the government" - said a young woman who balanced about ten parcels in her hands. "The moment government touches anything it stops working. Like me and the computers" she chalked. This statement made an impact on the crowd. Now everyone was talking at the same time. The last thing I heard was a statement by one of the people behind me "Can you imagine what they will do with our healthcare if they can't manage the post office?"
I didn't take part in the conversation. I was still thinking about the old Soviet Union where everything was managed by the government. Long lines to every room and service, no medical supplies, old equipment, overworked and tired doctors, underpaid and rude nurses. I remembered long lines in every store and deals made out of the "back doors" of every supermarket. Chronic deficit of products and bribes to get what is a total necessity.
I think today the government lost several supporters of the "government option" for the healthcare. Thank God, I thought, the people can taste a bit of what Democrats are offering and decide if they want it or not. In my post office they definitely didn't want it.