They didn’t have any stamps.
“OMG,” I thought. “Was there an inflation crisis that I missed? Has the current national inventory of stamps lost all of its value?”
No, they just ran out.
“Ok. Well, where,” I asked, “could I possibly get a stamp?”
I was informed that I could go to another post office (up the steep hill) and perhaps they would have stamps. This helpful bit of information made the situation even more perplexing. Why wouldn’t the other post office just deliver (because that was what they were in the business of doing) more stamps to this post office.
Was this privatization at its worst? But I uncovered an article from May of this year about how, no way, the government was not going to privatize Correios, the postal organization. It’s just too important to the government (but not important enough to provide a branch in the largest city in its country with enough stamps). But good news, they would be adding more employees (nothing said about adding more stamps).
And speaking of stamps, they wouldn’t let me mail the postcard with a stamp I bought at a post office in Minas Gerais, another state in Brazil.
Remember how I raved about the toll road privatization (see Highway Service) and how nice the roads were and how someone would come to save you if you happened to be in trouble? Maybe, just maybe the government would want to consider a similar model. Especially with competition as tough as emails and texts, maybe you put it into the hands of someone who knows how to make it profitable and how to keep supply slightly ahead of demand not behind. Though an interesting PR concept, unlike Apple products, I sincerely doubt that the interest in mailing stuff will sky rocket if it gets around that the post offices are out of stamps. I’m pretty sure that will just make sending an electronic evite or greeting card more attractive.
It’s not like the post offices in the U.S. are great. They are generally not. The term “going postal” wasn’t coined for nothing. And sure, they might run out of commemorative stamps of Elvis’ birthday, and the vending machine might run out of 2 cents endangered bird stamps, but I’m pretty certain they don’t run out of stamps all together.
So on this particular day at this particular location I inquired, “When do you expect to get more stamps?” Maybe Friday, I was told.
It was Monday.