The busiest shopping day of the year? It’s not the Friday after Thanksgiving. No, it’s the last Saturday before Christmas. Busiest day of the year at the post office? Yep, that same Saturday.
Most people seem to be pretty happy while they are buying gifts, even though the stores can be crowded and the lines long. But those same people can get surly by the time they reach the post office. I have no idea how postal clerks cope during the holidays.
Actually, during a stop by the Yuba Street post office in Redding, I caught a glimpse.
Instead of playing one more round of clichéd Christmas songs, they had Creedence Clearwater Revival going in the background. I smiled as I heard “Keep on Chooglin’” while I took my place at the back of the line. My smile broadened when the very properly dressed, gray-haired woman in front of me paused for a second, said “Creedence” to no one in particular, and then nodded her approval.
As I stepped up to the counter, a 40-ish woman rushed into the room with a large bag full of packages.
“Is this free shipping day?” she yelled to the clerk standing across the counter from me.
“What?” the puzzled clerk asked.
“Is this free shipping day? I heard on the Internet that today is free shipping day,” she said.
The clerk chucked. “Uh, no.”
“I heard it on the Internet,” the woman insisted. “Maybe it’s UPS?”
The clerk glanced at me and simply shook his head. Both of us were biting our lips to avoid laughing out loud at the poor woman who was sure she wouldn’t have to pay to mail her Christmas presents.
I figure this is a second coping mechanism for postal clerks: Go in back and laugh hysterically at the clueless customers. I bet that free-shipping-day woman keeps them chuckling for a while and that the story gets resurrected during future holiday rushes.
• Thanks to all who commented on my recent piece about taking back South City Park from the bad guys. Readers provided interesting observations and suggestions. There are no easy answers to this situation. I’ll have more on South City Park in the future.
• Caltrans has been changing things on State Route 273 in Redding. At the intersection of South Market Street (which is 273) and Grange Street, you’ll find a new traffic signal. It replaces the flashing beacon at the crosswalk just down from the Good News Rescue Mission, which generates a ton of foot traffic. Caltrans also built a median island to create a longer left turn lane on northbound Market, and to prevent left turns from eastbound Grange onto northbound Market. The agency says these alterations should improve pedestrian safety and vehicular traffic flow. A little farther south on 273, Caltrans has built a second left turn lane at the highway’s intersection with Buenaventura Boulevard.
• Organizers of the annual Vintage Wine Bar New Year’s Eve party in downtown Redding are seeking artists to paint during the festivities and display their works. These painting demonstrations are a great twist to the usual New Year’s Eve revelry and were very popular last year. If you are an artist who would like to get in on the action, contact our friends at Hawkman Studios right away: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Sorry to close the Take Out Window for a week while I was on vacation. I keep promising myself – and now you – that I’ll get caught up soon. Really, I promise.
Paul Shigley is senior editor of California Planning & Development Report, a frequent contributor to Planning magazine and swears he won’t wait until the last Saturday before Christmas next year. He lives in Centerville. Paul Shigley may be reached at email@example.com.
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