The Tantrum Tales: Episode 3

I should be packing for our holiday. We set off first thing in the morning and I am nowhere near ready to go. But for some unknown reason I felt the need to write this. Now, tonight – the queen of procrastination. 

It’s been a good while since I last wrote here. For those who follow my blog on Facebook, you’ll know why things have been ‘quiet’ here. All the children, home, hungry, occasionally ‘fighty’, very often whingy, but all together nonetheless. And that has mostly been just lovely. There have been moments that have made me raise an eyebrow:


Some moments I have questioned my sanity:


But we’ve almost made it. Our holiday in beautiful Wales is the last stop before The return to school to my big boy and for the first time, my oldest girl (don’t set me off, I’m being brave, remember?)

Normal service will resume, when me and my youngest will spend our last year at home together before all of the children are in school. What will I do then? That’s for another day. Today is about putting off the job in hand, taking an opportunity to tell you a story of something I will never do again.

This episode of The Tantrum Tales is all on me. I’m not proud, but if I had the chance again, it would blatantly play out the same way! 

It was a day much like today, a race to get packed and a to-do list as long as my arm. I’d been nursing a parcel all week for my friend who had just had a baby. It was a treat package for her, with some nice bits and bobs and I really wanted to send it to coincide with her birthday. After finishing the packing I decided I had just enough time to go before the school run. In the queue at the Post Office I realised I’d been too ambitious: the world and its wife were there for all and sundry and the queue was creeping at a snail’s pace. And during that slow queue I remembered that the address book was still stood on the hall table (I know, I know). So rather than ruin the surprise for my friend, I figured I’d get the parcel labelled up correctly with stamps and throw it in the box on the way to our holiday.

Meet, my customer service representative, let’s call her Jane (she’s not called Jane). “Contents?” (Internally: good afternoon Jane. I’m so pleased to be served by you today.) “Oh, erm…Chocolates, fancy tea, magazine, popcorn… Nice treats really! It’s for my friend, she’s had a baby you see-”

“Mmm. Pass it through please.”

“Actually, I’ve left my address book at home, so I could do with the stamps and then I’ll pop it in the box later.” (I said ‘pop’ for crying out loud, that’s pretty jolly and inoffensive.)

“Can’t do that, sorry,” she looked about as sorry as I do when I eat my husband’s Easter eggs every year “you need to pass it through or I can’t sell you the postage.” No Jane. I don’t need to do that. A good ten seconds of stunned silence passed between us before I said “Fine. I’ll go elsewhere.” Swoop, I’m outta there.

In the car journey to collect the address book, load the car with the cases for our holiday, then collect my son; it dawned on me: I’m an idiot. Of course I can’t go elsewhere, the Post Office is my only option at this short notice. I need to return…I need to take on Jane once and for all. I relayed my tale of woe to my friend on the school run, she laughed her face off. During this interlude of hysteria, I realised something…Jane could sell me my stamps! She could sell me any damn stamps she wanted! I only needed to hand it through if I was using some kind of special service! Post. Office. Rage. Descended.

Husband and all three children in car, I left them fighting over who was picking which DVD and promised to return quickly. 

“Contents?”

“Well hi there, Chocolates, fancy tea, magazine, popcorn… Nice treats really! It’s for my friend, she’s had a baby you see…again, as I’ve just been here a minute ago.” Death stare from Jane. “Can you explain to me Jane, why did you feel you couldn’t sell me the denomination of stamps I needed? Cos it’s just dawned on me: you could do that quite easily…”

“Well, if you hadn’t stormed off so quickly, I might have been able to!” Did she just say that? I’m struggling to comprehend that level of- 

“Look, it is not my job to know the intricate workings of your hierarchy of stamp options, I’m a customer, help me! And while we’re on the subject there is no need to be so rude.” She rolled her eyes, she actually rolled her eyes. Ten minutes of back and forth continued, it felt like an argument you have with your boyfriend at 17. Full of rage, totally pointless and massively public and spiralling into raised voices. Getting nowhere I asked to see her manager (internally: why are you doing that? What are you going to say? She picked on me! The nasty stamp lady won’t share! Yes, yes that’s exactly what I’ll do.) I returned to the back of the queue as a) I had to keep my fellow queue friends onside – no one likes a pusher inner! And b) it gave me a good seven minutes to treat Jane to my Resting Phelps Face while I waited.

By the time I reached the manager, I had calmed down to an embarrassingly polite degree. I awkwardly slagged off Jane’s lack of customer service, her rudeness… I think at one point I apologised for inconveniencing the manager, who I must say was lovely. Lordy. That’ll learn her!

Package finally posted, no apology from Jane; I went back to the car, now 30 minutes late. Barrage of abuse from all three children about not returning with at least a snack, we went on our (modestly) merry way. My husband was treated to what will now be known as The Battle of the Stamps, as were my parents, sister and her partner on arrival at Centerparcs (I know, rent-a-party or what!) we settled into our lodges and set about celebrating Grandma’s birthday in style. Cake, delicious dinner, chats about the trip ahead…

It was only when we were putting the children to bed, that I remembered something I had meant to ask my husband earlier on, when I was looking for a clean t shirt for our youngest daughter. “Which room did you put the kids’ suitcase?”

“Theirs, you’re looking at it.”

“No, that’s ours.”

“Oh, it’ll be in ours then.” I stuck my head in our room.

“Nope. That’s our other one.”

“Huh. Well, those were the only two you left out to put in the car…”

“No. No no no no no no NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!”

Yeah, I’m pretty sure I could hear Jane cackling from over 200 miles away…

Life Love and Dirty Dishes
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18 comments

  1. Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!! That is one crapola day! I recently had the joy of applying for the kids passports. Seriously. The Post Office is one fiery pit of hell, but I had my sticky fingered kids with me. #FridayFrolics

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fiery pit of hell would have been an AWESOME phrase to throw into my complaint! I love it. Thank you for reading Anna – hope the passports arrive without delay, no one likes the second trip to the post office!

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  2. Haven’t you learned ANYTHING from me? No mention of “Did you get the money back from the charm school?” or “Can I see your security clearance” or “are you incompetent or just nosey” or any other of the myriad of conversation you have heard me have with banks and building societies around the North of England?

    Brilliant article and I hope that you only use that Post Office for difficult parcels/transactions at 5.29pm in future!

    Liked by 1 person

    • We (grandma and grandad included) bought some at the overpriced shop, we washed others. Luckily I have two girls 19 months apart and the youngest was potty training so lots of spare pants/trousers in the change bag. Plus it was my sons birthday – auntie Jo had bought him clothes as a gift. And luckily… By some MIRACLE, I packed the swimming stuff separately. I cried – the kids thought it was absolutely hilarious. Never, ever again.

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  3. Thank you for turning a day from hell (which quite frankly happens here in the states any time a visit to the Postal office is considered, let alone accomplished!) into a laugh or six for us readers! THank goodness we encounter such mishegas (crap) daily for us to write about and share at #FridayFrolics
    BTW, what did the littles wear?

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    • Haha I’m so glad you liked it Lisa. We coped with a combination of Grandad and Grandma’s generosity in buying new clothes, using my younger daughter’s spare clothes in our potty training bag and my son’s birthday presents (clothes) were opened a week early. It was a huge eye opener into how much I over-pack. Hope to see you here again soon 😀 #FridayFrolics

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ahem. On behalf of polite and helpful Janes across the country, I am sorry for your terrible experience in the post office. It was very funny though…Followed by the suitcase debacle. It’s my first visit here and I really enjoyed myself….At your expense. He He! #FridayFrolics

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  5. Haha! I bloody hate having to do anything at the Post Office! Like when you realise too late that you answered the questions wrongly (ie told the truth when you should have lied) & now they are going to refuse to post it. I have not yet done it, but always dread leaving behind a case!

    Thanks so much for joining us on #FridaFrolics. Hope to see you next time

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