As a touring musician and owner of a small record label, I have not found fame and fortune, but I have spent a lot of time at the post office. Demo tapes, CDs, album masters, album art, press packets, promo posters, money orders from the road, gear sold on EBay—trust me, I’ve mailed a lot of shit. As a result, I know exactly what I want—and, from hours spent in some of the worst post offices in our fair District and, I expect, our nation, exactly what I DON’T want—from the blue-clad public servants I pay to handle my correspondence. And, as anyone who’s been to this post office knows, all post offices are not created equal.

Over the next two weeks, I will review ten U.S. Post Offices in the Washington Metropolitan Area from my hit list and my shit list. I will rank them and assign letter grades based on consideration of the following seven criteria:

1. Automated Postal Center (APC)
The best trips to the post office do not involve clerks. Is there an APC in the house?

2. Safety Glass
“What was your question, sir? Can’t you hear me, sir?” No, I can’t—because there’s a fucking one-inch slab of scratch-tagged safety glass between me, the customer, and you, the clerk who is handsomely paid to serve me. Fuck safety glass. Is someone going to steal the Forever stamps?

3. Prompt Service
Lines at the USPS can get longer than a Democrat’s dick when Obama’s on CNN. I don’t want to 1) wait in USPS lines, 2) make small talk with other USPS customers in USPS lines, or 3) sympathize with other people’s complaints about how long USPS lines are while waiting in USPS lines. USPS supervisors, take note—you don’t wanna give me time to fill out that customer comment card!

4. Parking
Fuck global warming – I drive my heavy-ass packages to the post office. Does your local post office have a normal-sized space for my Toyota Matrix stuffed with promo CDs? It’s not an SUV, but it ain’t a Smart Car neither!

5. Service with a Smile
Many postal employees are, as Aerosmith might say, “living on the edge.” A smile from a clerk makes me feel good—like I might escape the post office without staring down the barrel of an automatic weapon. A category related to, but not quite the same as…

6.”Trifling” Factor
Whether it’s an clerk that wants to see my driver’s license before letting me use my credit card or a blue-haired old lady holding up the line to buy one first-class stamp when she could use the stamp machine, there’s always some trifling motherfuckers at the post office.

7. Customer Comments
Postal customer, I give ye the opportunity to speak truth to power.

If you have problems with my methodology or have a post office you’d like to see reviewed, please leave a comment. Otherwise, I’ll see you at the post office!