armchair cultural observation since 1995

Postage stamp world

By Ann Davis

Yesterday, I had to go to the post office. Accustomed to long PO lines, I’d thought ahead and brought a book – which the clerk thought was funny, because there was only one other customer in there, and she was already being helped by another staffer.

After mailing a package, the clerk asked if I needed any stamps. She had Valentine hearts and flowers. I asked if she had any of the Edgar Allen Poe ones in (before leaving the office, I’d looked online to see what fun stamps are currently out).

She said, “Oh, yeah, we have lots of those. They’re not selling because no one knows who he is.”

“Except the girl who brought a book to wait at the post office,” I said, sadly, as a little piece of me died.

Now part of me thinks this story should encourage me, who’s starting a masters of Library Science this spring, to want to go into reforming libraries in lower-class, crime-heavy suburban areas such as the one near my office. But the larger part of me is just too disheartened. You can clean, stock and renovate all you like, but how do you make the people go in and read? But if I DO do it… and am successful… they can make a movie about it…

“And it’s a shame, it’s one of our prettiest stamps,” said the post office clerk.

If only that were the biggest shame!

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1 Response »

  1. I was waiting in line at the PO today and a guy in front of me asked the clerk for some Edgar Allen Poe stamps.

    Her response:

    “You mean the ugly guy?”

    After she said that, another clerk chimed in:

    “He wrote that one about the raven. He was creepy.”

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