Today Ana presented me with a problem she needed help with. She sent a package to someone in Spain but it was misdirected to Mexico and she couldn't get any farther than that. Luckily she had insured it for $200 and had all the paperwork.
She went in person to the post office several times, was told she'd have to talk to a supervisor, but each time was told the supervisor was "busy." She said to me in a way I understood to mean that she was disrespected because she doesn't speak English well -- which I am sure is true.
So I attempted to solve it... called all the 800-numbers I could find with the most annoying phone trees... I could get as far as inputting the tracking # only to be told automatically that the package had cleared customs in Mexico on a certain time and date... followed by "Is there anything else I can help you with?"
I tried every trick I knew to get a live person to no avail. Finally I was lucky enough to find an actual non-800 number for the local post office where she had mailed the package. In the meantime I tried to "file a claim" on line only to be prompted to enter my username and password. I let the phone ring at East 85th St post office for about five minutes -- really - I wasn't giving up.
I got a woman who basically told me there was nothing she could do. She said that the package must have been coded wrong leaving East 85th St facility and she tracked it along the way, all the way to Mexico customs, where the tracking ended.
She told me "my friend" should come to the post office in person and I said that had already happened a few times and how she had been told the supervisor was busy and how my friend felt as if she wasn't take seriously because she didn't speak English well. I said this all matter of factly.
I was then told in no uncertain terms that they are under no obligation to have a Spanish-speaking clerk at any window and that "your friend really should speak English."
It infuriated me. And what's funny is that I really don't feel that strongly about bi-lingualism... maybe because it never affected me. Beside the horrid attitude about how Ana "really should" speak English, the bottom line is that no one cares about this package. The woman kept trying to get me to go to the website, call another number, etc.
So now Ana has given up on finding the package and will file a claim and maybe when they have to pay they'll look into it more. Luckily she has all the paperwork.