City Paper is not for tourists
A 10-part series in which Justin Moyer, part-time musician, part-time journalist, and full-time USPS enthusiast visits a bunch of post offices in our nation’s capital so you don’t have to.
Location: 4005 Wisconsin Avenue NW Date: 4/8/09 Time: 4:30 p.m.
Up the street from the Obama-worthy Sidwell Friends School and troubled mortgage lender Fannie Mae, Friendship Station is the P.O. of choice for some of the most powerful names in American politics. But is 20016 doin’ right by Sasha and Malia?
1. Automated Postal Center (APC) Oh, glorious APC! Your convenient visage shines through a USPS-sponsored darkness! Ne’er will I deal with a disgruntled clerk within 20016’s hallowed walls!
2. Safety Glass Hell, no! What do you think this is, a liquor store on Georgia Avenue?
3. Prompt Service Keeping the American postal customer happy ain’t rocket science: three open cashiers equals a fast-moving line.
4. Parking Though difficult to access when making an awkward left while traveling south on Wisconsin Avenue, Friendship’s parking lot – just the parking lot! – is bigger than a number of other teensie post offices I’ve known and loathed. Parking enthusiasts will appreciate the idyllic mini-traffic circle (planted with a deciduous tree, no less) at the parking lot’s eastern end that obviates the need for awkward three-point turns.
5. Service with a Smile My interaction with competent, stone-faced clerk “D. Gaskins” was blissfully swift and unremarkable. I will point out that 20016 also has a passport office, a bulk mail drop-off, and a collection of framed postal art for sale. So, even if Friendship’s service-providers aren’t exactly friendly, do not doubt that there are a diverse number of services that they are ready, willing, and able to provide.
6. Triflin’ Factor Any place of business that opens its doors deep in Northwest Washington risks colonization by rich, politicized, triflin’ bastards, i.e. politicized WASPs and/or know-it-all lawyers, that are such a part of our fair District’s character. Though I did not witness any triflin’ customers go buckwild over the vicissitudes of priority mail or next-day delivery, I would avoid 20016 on any day that’s important the WASP-lawyer subculture, i.e. April 15.
7. Customer Comments “Two [clerks] are slow as molasses,” said Mr. Brown, a retiree who 1) refused to reveal his Christian name to your correspondent, 2) had not heard of the publication by whom your correspondent is employed, and 3) often pays “a few bucks more” for better customer service at UPS and/or FedEx. “”It’s like they’ve got an attitude. They can’t say thank you…if you don’t like your job, get another.” (FYI: Mr. Brown had stared disapprovingly at a car without handicapped plates parked in a handicapped spot in front of Friendship for some moments before I approached him).
Final Grade: What is Mr. Brown talking about? Friendship is a USPS enthusiast’s wet-dream. An enthusiastic A!