Thursday, June 13, 2013

Will Miss #25 - Japanese postal service (reflection)

Notice that there's a postal worker (in the right, wearing a tie, and white shirt) helping people in the line as well as several at the counters. 

I made more than my share of trips to various post offices in my life, more so than many folks due to my carrying on a long distance relationship in pre-internet days from the U.S. and conducted a mail order service for collectible records from Japan. Since coming back, I have been reminded of the level of indifference that American postal workers often exercise while doing their jobs. The lines are slow and the workers couldn't be bothered to offer a little warmth or humanity while they weigh and stamp your packages.

That's not to say that Japanese postal workers were a bundle of kindness and humanity. It was actually far from it. They were generally the perfect picture of efficiency and professionalism. Here, the postal service itself runs quite well and the postal carriers are very nice, but the people in the post offices tend to be very sluggish, lines move slowly, and service is indifferent. Both will get your packages and letters there, but I felt like the ones I experienced in Japan were generally approached by people who took their job seriously and handled customers more carefully and with an eye toward good service.

I continue to miss the level of service and the attitude portrayed by postal workers who I encountered in Japan.


  1. Yep, noticed this too, across all U.S. government offices. I believe it's because the hiring criteria is not geared towards hiring the most qualified personnel, but towards serving various other political ends.

    1. My uncle was a postal worker for many years and I think he got the job because he was a veteran. I'm not sure what other people are favorably looked upon, but I am certainly inclined to agree with your opinion on this.

  2. When mail goes between my native Toronto and my wife's native Tokyo it takes ten days. Looking at the postal stamps on the letters, they spend less than thirty-six hours in Japan, and about a week in Canada...

  3. Don't forget the stamps. I still haven't warmed to the sticker type stamps the USPS switched to. Japan seems to have far more designs, reprints of famous artwork (modern and historic), and seasonal offerings. Even if my small town post office struggles with international mail my visits are still on a whole more pleasant.

  4. Are you sure you are doing the right thing for service? I realized that if you look sullen, confused, bored, ... basically any emotion other than EXTREMELY SUPER DUPER HAPPY!!!!111~~~12@! the postal service workers won't try to serve you.

    I've noticed this in America. People smile for no reason, and when you're happy, you're HAPPPPPPPY! My mouth muscles start to hurt after a while. I'm not a surly person by nature; quite the contrary. It's just most Americans are conditioned at a young age to smile at every little thing and pretend it is good manners.


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