The following is a guest post by Megan Eckman
image via Pamela Rentz on flickr
If you’re like me, you’re at the post office nearly every day of the week. You know every postal worker there by appearance and they may even know you by name.
What you may not realize, though, is that you are only a few smiles away from some amazing opportunities and lots of money.
Over the past year, I’ve discovered 5 awesome things that can be gained simply by being kind to the person behind the desk.
1. They will stop asking if you need stamps. This is one of the most annoying questions you can be asked on a daily basis. However, once they know you, and you’ve proven that you’re not a royal pain whom they NEED to torment, they will stop asking. They know you’re in all the time and that you’ll tell them when you need another book of stamps.
2. They will let you ship right at closing time. Once I was rushing to the post office with an overseas package. The inner door had just shut and they were finishing up the last few people. I waved frantically though the glass and nearly dropped my package when they let me in! They even seemed happy to see their daily customer.
3. This goes along with the last point. If you are constantly kind to the mailmen at your local office, they in turn will be happy to see you! I have several people at the post office who always say, “Yay! You sold more prints!” when I bring in my packages. That enthusiasm makes me enthusiastic about my business and my day instantly brightens. Who wouldn’t love to have other people get excited every time they sell something?
4. They will help you outsmart the infamous ‘origami’ mail carrier. Everyone has had one: the mailman who can fit ANYTHING, be it gigantic, oddly-shaped, or covered in DO NOT BEND stickers, into your mail box. This was always a problem for me, since I ship my artwork in Stay-Flat envelopes that can still be curled by those strong, folding-master mail carriers. However, one postal worker helped me come up with an ingenious way to defeat them: shipping my Stay-Flat in a flattened mailing box! I never would have thought of shipping in a flattened box. That postal worker has saved me money, kept countless prints safe, and helped me get stellar customer reviews.
5. I saved the best for last. The best thing to be gained by being friendly to postal workers is money-saving tips. These people are a WEALTH of information and all it takes are a few honest questions or a call for advice and they’ll give it all to you. I’ve learned how to ship from my home (though I still go in every day just to get out of my apartment/ office), which customs forms to take home so I don’t have to hurriedly fill them out while standing in line, which ways to ship and in which boxes to ship for super cheap, and also what it would cost to send one print to many different countries. (The last one I asked while I was having a print shipped and there was no one in line. They ran through a whole list of countries and I wrote it all down so that I’d know what to charge BEFORE someone from that country bought from me and I lost money.)
Plus, if you’re extra nice, they’ll tape your packages up with their ‘official’ tape and put on extra stickers to ensure that their other employees are nice to your stuff. But, even better, if you ask nicely, they’ll take your package to the back and lay it in the bags in a safe spot so that it isn’t crushed on its first leg of the journey.
Okay, I’m not saving you millions of dollars, but every little bit adds up and I know that my local post office has easily saved me over $100 this year in shipping costs because of their pointers. They’ve also helped me gain a wonderful reputation as a fast and safe shipper. That is worth MUCH more than $100.
Plus, what does it cost you to be nice to one extra person a day?
Megan Eckman is an illustrator and freelance writer living in San Jose, CA. She creates quirky pen and ink illustrations and writes for national magazines, including Backpacker and Renaissance. Visit her website, StudioMME, to delve into her world!