Tuesday 29 April 2014

Depot Five

I started work today at the Post Office again. I suppose that I don’t have enough things to complain about and need to fill my “This is Bullshit” bag to the top again. I am only there for a couple of hours a day counting the letters and magazines for the next two weeks. I have done this before and it is very easy money.

The work is at Depot 5 which is located in an area of the city that is difficult to service from any of the “Super” Depots they have built over the past few years. Depot 5 is a tiny place with 31 letter carrier walks and is wedged into the end of a cul-de-sac. Parking is at a premium and the city parking assholes are constantly ticketing the unwary motorist. We park about two blocks away and walk in, which isn’t too bad.

This depot reminds me of the way depots were back when I started at the Post Office 35 years ago. They still have the old rock maple cases, probably some of the same ones I sorted on in years past, not the new plastic and metal ones that lack any personality. The old cases have a feel to them and in some ways are almost living…almost. The carriers can talk to each other easily and pass mis-sorted mail back and forth as need be.

Each aisle is like one branch of a larger family. You get to know your aisle mates very well and over time, the rest of the depot is brought into the family. Mostly, you get to know them all on a fairly superficial level, but every now and then you make good friends. Over years, people come and go from the depot but new friends replace them and in time the postal family grows.

This is a depot that is lost in time. They still have an honour system for goodies, with the candy bars and bags of chips just sitting on a table. Coffee is just the same as the coffee maker you would have at home and there is a kettle for tea, hot chocolate and instant soup. There is a refrigerator to keep lunch and snacks cool and I would bet that special occasions in the depot warrant a cake and a present bought with excess money from the coffee fund. It will be organized by one or two people who couldn’t imagine not doing something for any ocasion. There is more than likely a ball team formed in the summer and hockey or curling folk get their turn during the winter.

The supervisors are probably ex-carriers that due to injury or temperament decided to move inside. Supervisors and carriers are just workers doing different jobs for the Post Office and the mind set is to fix the problem, not the blame. This depot is like the land that time forgot and it should remain that way.

Unfortunately, the reason I and about twenty-nine others are in the depot for the next two weeks will change things for them. The Post Office is going through a complete restructure and nothing is to remain of the old Post Office. The cases are changing, the focus of the Post Office is changing and unfortunately, the people will soon be changing. They won’t look forward to coming to work anymore, but will look forward to getting in and getting home as soon as possible. The friendly chatter will soon cease due to the new cases and the desire to get out as fast as possible. The coffee fund will inevitably die out and those that arranged parties will have their time taken up trying to get home before dark. It is all changing!

I’ve seen the change in all of the other depots in the city and the letter carriers are either marking time till retirement or are actively seeking another job. I suppose this is progress and the Post Office will make more money, but it is just sad for me to watch. I have my memories of what a good job can be and just what makes the job a place that you look forwards to going to every day. I get to go to a place like that for the next two weeks and for me it will be a trip back in time to when my hair was dark, my waist smaller and I spent time with people that made me smile every day.


  1. Sad to see a great job disappear and become just another shit job that nobody stays with for any length of time. Your right Ken we looked forward to seeing everyone in the morning, except maybe after a long weekend! B

    1. I am so glad that I got out when I did. I do miss the people...not the assholes of course. I'll be seeing a bunch of Depot 6 people on Friday at Atlas Pizza, I will say hi from you and LInda.

    2. Yes do that for us , not sure how many even know who we are anymore.