On Monday I walked into my nearby United States Post Office to mail a package. Yes, it was a federal holiday (Columbus Day), and yes, I knew the post office was closed. I went there because they have a cool little self-service center that is open 24/7, so one can always mail smaller packages and buy stamps.
This self serve center is located directly in front of the door of this particular post office. But because I was a police officer for many years, I don’t like to sit or stand with my back to the door in public places. So while I was touching the screen and entering all of the information necessary to mail my package and buy stamps, I was actually standing sideways so I could simultaneously keep an eye on the entry door.
Sure enough, during the few minutes it took me to complete my transactions, three different people walked into the building, then abruptly stopped right behind me. Then their jaws dropped, because this was what they saw:
Yes, the post office was CLOSED.
Now, I’m not faulting these people for forgetting (or maybe not even knowing) that it was a federal holiday and that government offices and banks were closed. I’m pretty sure I have done that myself. What surprised, and ultimately irritated, me was that after I smiled and told each one that the post office was closed for Columbus Day, each of those three people complained about these workers having the day off.
Really, people? Whatever you are holding in your hand that needs postal attention is far smaller than the package I’m mailing – so why don’t you just wait for me to finish and do it yourself?
Given the independent status of the USPS, I’m not sure if their employees are technically government workers or not, but why do people think that they have a right to complain about the worker benefit package? When I was a working police officer, people who didn’t like my service would say, “I pay your salary.” No, you don’t pay my salary. It’s paid by the City of Garden City. You, citizen, elect officials who hire administrators who determine my salary after negotiations with my union. If you have a grievance, it’s with your elected official, not with the government worker. Otherwise, I would ask you for a raise.
Also , if the government believes so strongly in the importance of an event that it creates a holiday to commemorate it, why not give its employees the day off? If it doesn’t, is the creation of a “holiday” just a meaningless gesture?