Friday, December 31, 2010

Party on, Cliff and Newman!

Who has the best office Christmas parties? The U.S. Postal Service.

The traditional office party usually relies on participants self-catering the party with some array of potluck dishes and treats. If you’re lucky, most of the partygoers will bring items from the local supermarket bakery; if not, you’re stuck with an assortment of bean dips and fruitcakes that make you want to go back to work. But apparently, the postal service just goes to the back room to round up treats that were scheduled to go elsewhere.

Every year, St. Pauli Girl spends a week baking goodies and putting together spices, jams and sauces to send out to the lucky few on our Christmas list. This year she sent over 11 packages via the U.S. Postal Service (she had to use a little red wagon to haul them inside the office). The postal worker asked St. Pauli Girl if the packages contained anything perishable. Fearing it might be more expensive, she said, “no.” Then she thought she heard the worker happily mumbling, “One for them, one for us, one for them, one for us,” as he placed each package in different stacks. Turns out that may have been accurate.

Yesterday, I opened an envelope from the post office which contained a torn off address from one of our packages. The letter stated “this address looks like it fell off one of your packages. If you’d like us to look for the package, please fill out this form so we can better identify it.” Hmmm, a package full of goodies with an address label neatly torn off? They may as well have added: “P.S. Can I have the recipe for that nut roll? Fabulous!”

I suspect some genius postal worker goes through the non-perishable packages, shakes them, and sets aside any that sound suspicious to be enjoyed later at the holiday party. After all, the shipper won’t complain because if he/she does, he/she can be put in postal jail because the shipper lied about the contents being perishable. Victory for the postal party!

But actually, UPS and Fed Ex probably have better parties. While it is illegal to ship alcohol though the U.S. mail, it’s only frowned upon by UPS and Fed Ex. They have a “don’t ask/don’t tell” policy. Actually it’s more like a “don’t tell” or “act lawyerly” philosophy because they will ask what’s in the package. And you have to say something like “cooking supplies” or, in your best Jackie Chiles voice, “yeast samples.”

So while the post office has a guy in the backroom searching for cookies, UPS and Fed Ex has a team of people looking for hooch. End result: a much more entertaining party than the postal service. They also have foolproof logic: it’s not illegal to ship it but we forbid it and so not only do we not have to deliver it, we won’t give you your money back.

The lesson here is that if you’re going to ship holiday gifts, ship a fruitcake. Then get a job at UPS or Fed Ex and enjoy great holiday parties. We apologize to friends and family that did not get their packages. But the post office would like you to know it was delicious.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Sorry! fast fingers! Quick on the draw! What I meant to say was: Man, I would love to go to an all-American party! And I can't believe the post-office eats our cookies!