As the USPS prepares to dump its infamous “Perfect Transaction Method“, a columnist highlights one of the reasons customers (and window clerks) disliked it:
I was at my local post office one afternoon recently. When I gave a package to the desk clerk, she asked me, “When do you want this delivered?”
This question seems to be the U.S. Postal Service code for asking how customers want their mail handled: first class, business, media rate, etc. But they don’t ask that question directly. Rather than asking, “Do you want this to go first class?” they ask, “When do you want this delivered?” Probably someone in the Postal Service bureaucracy thought that was a nice, non-judgmental way to ask for this necessary information.
I answered, “This morning!” It was impossible, of course, but that’s what she asked, so I told her.
I got a strange look. And then the clerk asked, “First class?”
I said, “Yes.”
The entire conversation would have been much clearer if she had simply asked the right question in the first place.