About Me

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Brutal Antipathy is a pseudonym for a blogger and forum debate enthusiast whose views often rest well outside of social baseline. A self confirmed atheist, misanthropist, and sadist, his commentary ranges from parched textbook facts to satire and sarcasm. He is a proponent of free speech and individual liberty even when these are taken to excess. His political views shift between lower case libertarian and enlightened despotism depending on the level of contempt he is feeling for his fellow humans at any given moment. His reading interests include history, general science, archaeology, comparative religion, psychology, & sociology. Other interests and hobbies include practicing various crafts, torturing his slave, blogging, playing with his dogs, collecting antiques, role playing & tactical simulation games, renaissance fairs, and cheerfully making other people miserable by holding up a mirror of their shortcomings and repeatedly bashing them in the face with it. L is the owned slave of BA. She basically has the same interests and views as her owner except in music.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Going Postal

Our Dedicated Postal Employees
Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail shall keep the postmen from their appointed rounds, except in Alaska.

When you live in bush Alaska, you are forced to rely on the postal service for a lot of things we take for granted in the lower 48. The bulk of our groceries, housewares, and clothes come boxed through the mail. After nearly 150 years of continuous U.S. settlement, and because of our dependence and reliance on the mail, you would think that the postal system in Alaska would be running like a finely tuned watch. You would be dead wrong.

Bush Alaska post offices shut down operations for reasons that would never cross your mind. I'll give you a few examples.

1.  Nobody wanted to work today
2.  Gone fishin'
3.  Gone ice fishin'
4.  Gone carobou huntin'
5.  Gone moose huntin'
6.  Gone whalin'
7.  Gone seal bashin'
8.  Joe is drunk
9.  Larry isn't drunk                                                                               
10. Power outage
11. Plane didn't land. Why bother.
12. Annual muktuk eating contest.
13. National holiday.
14. State holiday
15. Local holiday
16. Canadian Holiday
17. Someone said it was a holiday somewhere
18. Ran out of stamps
19. Ran out of envelopes
20. Niece is drunk. Chance to get laid has arrived.
21. Think it might snow today.
22. Sled dogs need their immunization shots.
23. Party at Lisa's place
24. Iditarod tryouts
25. Looking for bodies of drunks that didn't make it home last night
26. Intimidated by the long line when I came in 5 hours late
27. Was open all day. Forgot to unlock doors
28. Waiting for it to warm up a bit
29. Thought I saw a bear
30. Was standing in line to check my mail
Typical Line at Post Office

Honest to goodness, there was a 2 hour long wait at the desk today, and 3 postal employees behind the counter. Were we a city I could understand this, but we aren't. We aren't even a town. We are a village. Once I tried to pick up my packages only to find a sign on the door reading "Closed for Customer Service". How can you be closed for customer service? You certainly aren't providing a service for your customers by being closed.

It isn't like you can wait and have you mail delivered. The luxury of mail delivery has never caught on here. You pick it up at the post office/lottery ticket distribution center/unemployment office/coffee shop with espresso and cappuccino machine that nobody knows how to work, or else you don't get your mail. A yellow slip in your box means packages at the front desk, a white slip is packages at the back door. You will frequently receive a "Last Chance" notice on packages that is in fact your first and only notice. Magazines arrive late if at all. The catalog for ordering bulk items for barge delivery arrived in the mail this year exactly 1 day after the barge landed. Just last week we got a catalog with offers expiring in mid September.
A Slightly Delayed Flyer

The Morning Paper Gets Delivered

If you absolutely must have something quickly, your best bet is to have it delivered through one of the air cargo outfits that cover the area. You can expect a phone call from them in a day or two for pick up of the item. The drawbacks to this are twofold. First they charge roughly $1 per ounce, and another $1 per square inch of the parcel, so if you are ordering a microwave you can expect to pay a couple of grand for it. The second problem is their handling. Remember the original Ace Ventura movie when he is pretending to be an HPS deliveryman? His handling of the box was like a man tenderly delivering nitroglycerin compared to their handling. The use of a sledge hammer seems to play some critical if mysterious role in their delivery, and forklift punctures are not uncommon.
A good Day. Parcel Still Resembles a Box.

In all seriousness, there are several factors that play a part in our mail service. Harsh weather, a government sponsored form of affirmative action that is Inuit specific, a decided lack of personal responsibility, and a general sense of apathy that would make the old Norse religion seem uplifting and cheerful. The postal experience is at best a social event where residents can test their joking sarcasm at the expense of postal employees, and at worst a migraine headache, aching calves and feet from standing for hours, and overall seething frustration. I do see some potential for the experience though. I could bring along a cooler & folding table and sell hot dogs & soda to the people waiting in line. Or better yet, assign the task to my slave. At the inflated rates we see here, she could easily bring home $500 a day from the post office trips.


  1. In all seriousness, this is very accurate but I think BA left out one crucial aspect that I have called the Post Master General about is the fact that when they are open, it's only for a few hours at best. Now, this is a federal job and these people are being paid for 9-5 M-F and 12-5 on Saturday. Most times you are lucky if they are open 5 hours during a week day and Saturdays are the worst because they will be open only 2 or 3 hours and will close the door even when you have stood in line for hours.

    They announce on a local radio station, AM band their hours for the day. If you don't listen to their crappy station, then you won't know when they will be open or if they are opening at all. You find yourself calling them all day to find out their hours or you go there a few times a day hoping by chance they might be open.

    It really is the one thing I hate about this village.