Princeton Boy At The Post Office

I've spent a lot of time at the post office recently. I mailed a book to a friend, express mailed something else, and today, I bought more of these cute superhero stamps. You know, stuff you do at the post office. Oh and you also stand in line forever and watch people, without making it seem like you're watching them.

One blond twenty-something man I saw , looking like a scion of privilege with his Princeton t-shirt, dark wash jeans and flip flops, really caught my eye today. Or rather my ear.

"Why isn't my f***king package here? Look at the f***ing package slip! It says right here to come pick it up here at the counter!"

The incredibly calm postal employee behind the counter spoke in a very low voice but it sounded like she was explaining that the package had been taken out on the mail truck again to be delivered at the address on the slip. To which, Cusser-Outer Princeton Boy replied, "Well there's NO ONE f***ing home, now is there? Because I'M RIGHT HERE! I want to see the manager RIGHT NOW!"

I guess he either a) watches too many Tarantino movies or b) missed all those stories of post office workers going postal.

The manager came and said they were trying to locate the package and asked Cusser-Outer Princeton Boy to wait a few minutes while they contacted the driver of the truck and got the package back. Princeton Boy sighed dramatically and then proceeded to whip out his cell phone and call up his friends to complain.

The first attempt to talk trash about the post-office went like this: "Yeah, dude, I'm at the f***ing post-office. This bi***h doesn't have my f***ing package! Oh, ok, you're busy. Ok. Yeah. Call me later. Bye."

He then muttered to himself, "A**hole!"

I'm still not sure if he was talking about himself or his busy friend.

Another number was quickly dialed. This friend was a more sympathetic ear, and, along with all the rest of us, got treated to the extended remix version of, "Yeah, dude, I'm at the f***ing post-office. This bi***h doesn't have my f***ing package!" Cusser-Outer Princeton Boy also felt the need to include the details of what he felt to be the incompetence demonstrated by the post office employee who'd tried to help him. "This stupid b***h said my package is out on a truck!"

And a few seconds later, this gem, "Yeah, I bet she didn't even graduate from high school."

I know she could hear him. He was only two or three yards away from her. After all, I could hear him and I was all the way on the other side of the room. I scanned the waiting line and the faces behind me looked nonchalantly bored, annoyed or else panicked over whether they'd correctly filled out the post office mailing and shipping labels. Nobody told this guy to watch his language or his manners, including yours truly.

As I got closer to the front of the line, I began to tune our insulting Princeton Boy out. Lost in my own thoughts, I started to wonder how it was that the postal employee and her manager both kept their cool. I wondered if they're used to that sort of behavior from customers and so it just rolls off of them. I started to wonder why they didn't have a security guard escort Princeton Boy off the premises with an admonition to get some class and better manners the next time he gets a $100,000 education.

I started to wonder if he would have been treated so well if he hadn't been a white guy with a Princeton t-shirt on.

When it was my turn to approach the counter, I ended up getting the same postal employee that had waited on Princeton Boy. She seemed relieved to hear that all I wanted was a sheet of superhero stamps. I asked her how her day was going and, without batting an eye, she said it was going just fine. She smiled heartily as she told me to have a nice day.

Princeton Boy still stood a few feet away, rambling on his cell phone about a property he was buying. I am clearly not so generous hearted as the postal employee. I wanted to kick him as I walked past him. I hope his package fell off the mail truck and got hit by a Hummer.


I find the sense of entitlement here a major problem.

p.s. I thought your post about Depeche Mode was hilarious.
Anonymous said…
I hate people like that, he deserved a property Marine Corps beat down.

Anyway, I got the superhero stamps too!! (Even though there was no Black Adam stamp!!)
1969 said… couldn't work in the Hotel industry.....we get some characters. How rude.
There ought to be a superhero that deals with fools like that, don't you think?
Anonymous said…
as much as she hid her emotion, i'm sure the woman appreciated that you took the time to ask her how she was. that someone noticed her was probably refreshing.

i probably would have stared the guy down. i tend to do that with people exhibiting thick layers of entitlement. but, then again, i know i can do it without repurcussion because i'm little and white... maybe i should also try communicating aloud too, instead of just relying on stares and "what the hell?" expressions.

Liz Dwyer said…
Yes, that sense of entitlement and the sense of superiority were killing me. It was like he believed the entire world revolved around him. I almost expected him to shout, "Do you know who I am???"

Yes, the Depeche Mode. I went back and read it myself and it made me chuckle too. I am obsessed, huh!

Weren't we supposed to have those holographic image things by now? If we had those, I'd just be able to beam you up so you can handle things with that proper Marine prowess.

I am really loving the Green Arrow stamp. But nope, no Black Adam stamp. :(

Your probably right about me not being able to hang in the hotel industry. I don't know if I could take folks like P-Boy every day. I hope you don't come across his type too often.

The problem is that there are so many crazy people that you don't know what other folks are going to do if you say something. My mom once told me a story about a man who stabbed two women who had just walked by him. He stabbed them because they were laughing as they walked by. He thought they were laughing at him. Crazy, huh? Now, that kind of story can have us walking around scared to talk to anybody, which is NOT a good thing, but I always think about it whenever I want to say something to someone. Anyway, I'm hope I made the lady feel better. Even though folks don't always go to that extreme of rudeness, I know people don't always say please and thank you.
Sundry said…
Your comment to Kari was dead on, Liz. This incident made me think back to something I witnessed once and did nothing about, wondering what kept my mouth shut. Just that...if the guy is willing to behave in such an inappropriate manner over a little inconvenience, what else is he willing to do, when pushed?

I realized a long time ago that that was what was in play when construction workers (or whomever) cat-called me on the street. If they're willing to be so rude, what would responding to them bring on!?

I blame Elizabeth Hasselback. But then, I blame her for everything. It's probably really just too much TV news.
People are so filled with misdirected anger these days. If they took a moment to reflect on why they are so angry, it might offer moment of enlightenment for them. Instead they strike out blindly at whoever is around them. I see it all the time. In my line of work there is a name for this kind of rage, narcissistic rage. This poor soul needs healing just as the woman he attacked does.
Jameil said…
MOUTH OPEN. that is disgusting. this is why i don't work in customer service. b/c i'm not good at holding my tongue when you're showing out. lmao @ "scion of privilege" until i read about his behavior. i would've told him to watch his mouth in the presence of ladies. i like checking scions of privilege. i grew up surrounded by them.
It's times like this that I think most about karma.

People who have been given so much more than their share in life have an obligation to be kind, but rarely are. It's just as easy to spread civility around as to stage such a tasteless and offensive performance that everybody in the room is affected by it.

I hope the little shit falls off his high horse and gets made into roadkill by that same Hummer.
Liz Dwyer said…
Yeah, I rarely say anything back to folks who holler at me in the street other than, "Have a nice day!" This is completely reprehensible, but I once faked sign language to someone on the street who decided to walk with me and spit game. I figured if I made him think I couldn't hear them or talk to him, he'd go away. It worked. And I agree, I'll blame Elizabeth Hasselback for that too! LOL!

You're right. He's clearly suffering. How do you treat this narcissistic rage? Now I feel bad for wishing his package got run over by a Hummer. Hmm.

This guy really struck me as so "American Psycho" that I really can't imagine saying anything to him. The last time I told some folks to watch their mouths was some teenagers in the Rite Aid. I was with my kids and these teens were in the next aisle over and just cussing up a storm. I yelled over the shelf for them to please stop swearing because I didn't want to hear it and neither did my kids...and they cussed me out. Sigh.

I do feel bad wishing something bad would happen to his package so I hope a Hummer doesn't get him. But I wonder what it would take to change someone who is feeling what Phillipe referred to as narcissistic rage.
Healing for someone with narcissistic rage is a real challenge. People suffering for narcissism are at heart profoundly insecure about themselves, while at the same time believing themselves to be superior to others and needing to constantly be reminded that they are. When this need is not met they get very upset because it triggers their deep sense of inadequacy. The rage they express is essentially the grown up version of a temper tantrum. The first step towards healing is for the person to recognize the inner truth that they do not really feel good about themselves and that no matter how much they demand that other people make them feel special, this feeling does not go away. They get stuck in a story that says, "I'm special and should be treated that way but no one understands how special I am." They need to recognize that this story is not reality and become empowered to reauthor a new story that is based on a true love of themselves that allows them to give and receive love from others in a healthy way (which is basically what we all want to some degree).

Don't feel bad though, people who are sick are very good at making other people around them sick as well. You could say that everyone in that interaction, including yourself would benefit from healing and wholeness in their lives. This is the path of transformation of human relationships such that the kind of behavior that you described will become less and less common to the point where the very thought of behaving the way this young man did would cause him deep inner pain and a sense of shame.

Our society is essentially pathological, and so produces pathological behavior on a massive scale everywhere, every day. Thus people acting crazy is to be expected. The question is how do we create a society that brings out the best in human beings rather than the worst.
Anonymous said…
Being in Israel for seven months has really opened my eyes to the contrast between young Israelis and young Americans. Perhaps it's because, on the whole, many young Americans haven't learned to deal with hardship, giving them that sense of entitlement. Young Israelis, on the other hand, seem grateful -- I guess they've dealt with so much conflict that they're happy for any day that passes where their friends and family safe.

I can think of about ten new discussions that can branch off of this one. We'll discuss when I come to L.A. and we're eating at House of Pies.
field negro said…
LMAO at that post.

Great stuff!
Ian Lidster said…
A Hummer isn't big enough, maybe a Mac semi. I hate self-righteous and abusive assholes and they deserve very, very bad karma.
Jameil said…
yeah i say i would say something but i don't know if i actually would.
Lydia said…
It's sad that we live in a time when you have to think twice about standing up for what's right for fear of being stabbed or shot.

It was just a week or so ago that a 57 year old grandmother was shot to death for flashing her lights and honking at a tagger. Just flashing her lights!

I believe if the guy had been black, security would have magically appeared.
Anonymous said…
I always wonder why when someones loud talking no one ever tells themn their behavior is inappropriate - maybe their worried they'll start cussing them out
Miz JJ said…
I use to work customer service. I find you always get more results with honey rather than with vinegar. If I were there I would have said very loudly "Some people have no class" and stared right at him. What an ass. when I use to get yelled at when I worked customer service I would just look right past the person yelling. I would not even give them the time of day.
Liz Dwyer said…
The way our culture is now, it's so difficult for any of us to feel adequate. We can never be too rich or too thin, right? I'll bet all of us have some of this narcissistic rage to some extent.

I'm sure there's a huge feel it the minute you step out of this country. But I think kids in other conflicted places in the world have a similar experience to kids growing up in low-income areas in the US. Those kids also deal with such violence and conflict in their neighborhoods...indeed, lots to talk about at the House of Pies!

Yes, there's a part of me that wanted to laugh over the situation, because it was so ridiculous, but then there's a part of me that cringes and thinks that the laughter is due merely to complete uncomfortability with the situation.

But wouldn't I be giving myself "bad karma" if I'm wishing something bad for this guy? After a couple of days, I think I just hope he gets some help soon.

I'm in lots of situations where I don't know what to say. I guess that's why I just come home and write it all down.

That story about the grandmother is so awful. It is a shame that we have to think of such things. I'm sure that grandmother was only being a kindhearted soul, trying to help someone and was repaid with such evil. And, I think security would have appeared too.

Well, if being cussed out was all folks had to worry about, wouldn't that be nice? It seems there's more to be concerned about that just that.

Miz JJ,
Yes, the honey thing works wonders, doesn't it? But I guess it doesn't work wonders for everyone. The postal employee was really nice to him, but he just was hell-bent on being the vinegar.
Anonymous said…
Yeah...having worked in customer service, I have recently started to feel inclined to tell dumb assholes like that to take their conversation outside because i have kids with me and we don't need to hear that type of language!Kids are useful in their own special ways!

W/o the kids I just tell the guy that I've had a shitty day and hearing him is not making it better so he really needs to take the conversation and shove it.
Hey there,
I loved reading your blog. I was born in LA and have moved around a lot thanks to my hippie parents.

I added you to my blog, so I hope you don't mind. If you do, let me know and I will take you off.


the last noel said…
Of the two people--Princeton Boy and Postal Worker--which one is more likely to get a heart attack. Hint: It ain't gonna be the Postal Worker.
Kate said…
I wonder why the post office employee or manager didn't call the cops while they were trying to locate the driver? Isn't it some kind of offense to accost a federal employee? If nothing else, when the cops arrived this guy would either a) feel embarassed about his behavior or (doubtful) b) escalate further and get arrested for harassing an officer. I don't understand why people put up with this kind of crap.
Liz Dwyer said…
Yeah, although those teens in the Rite Aid didn't care that I was with my kids, I think most folks would. At least I hope so.

Welcome and of course you can add me to your blogroll! Come by and visit me anytime you like! :)

I was thinking death by coke overdose myself, but a heart attack works too.

That's a great question and I wondered that too. I don't know if it's because he didn't make any direct threats to her or maybe the postal employees are just used to this kind of thing. It's a sad thought that folks get used to that.

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