One of the clunkier parts of The Letter Project is that every bundle has to be individually weighed. It requires me to physically go to the Post Office and wait as they enter the class of service + destination. On days when I am super busy, I'm tempted to guess how many stamps each one takes. But, time and time again, I get them weighed and they vary just enough to make it worth going in person.
I always get the same Clerk when I'm there. Some days, he's happy to see me - asking questions about where we are sending letters, telling me about his time in the Army. Other days, he's less friendly and I try to give him extra understanding, knowing it takes a while to weigh each bundle. And, seeing that people are often rude to Post Office employees, frustrated with wait times and having to run an extra errand, I can't imagine how old it could get.
Last week, I took a big batch to be weighed. I felt nervous with so many envelopes and tried to go when I knew it would be a little less busy. I walked in and he waved, but his demeanor shifted when he saw how many there were. I totally felt him. It was a lot.
I waited in line and, when it got to be my turn, asked him if it was too many to do at once. I can do half now and half later, I told him as I swiped my credit card for 100 stamps. I know it's a pain. I'm so sorry. He didn't say anything in response, but began weighing each one. My hands were shaky as I tried to rush through them, slapping the stamps on quickly, when I'm normally so careful to line them up. Sorry, I know it's a lot. I said again.
I kept checking the line behind me and, as we finished up, apologized to the next customer. He told me he didn't mind at all and smiled. His smile calmed me and suddenly I felt frustrated with myself. I was a paying customer and the entire transaction took less than 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, I was practically groveling. Why did I feel so guilty? Why did I feel like I was inconveniencing everyone, as I tried to execute a task that is crucial to my business?
I recently saw an Instagram that, in our overly apologizing [often female] culture, we should replace our sorries with thank yous. So, instead of "I'm sorry I have so many letters" I could have said "Thank you so much for taking the time to weigh these letters." I often aim to be kind by apologizing and, in reality, saying thank you is equally as polite and appropriate.
Later that day, I was checking out at IKEA (bless it.) and apologized to the cashier that it was taking a while for me to bag my items. This time, though, I caught myself. I just bought this stuff and, PS, why doesn't IKEA have any boxes or bags for customers? Are they sorry about this? :)