Actually if the Postal Service would invest in speeding up
the lines they wouldn't have to worry about this kind of
Dallas (AP) - Postal officials thought it was a benign little
promotional item: digital clocks counting down the days, hours,
minutes and seconds until the new millenium in offices around
But they didn't anticipate that the clocks - with their big
red numbers - would remind customers of how long they had spent
waiting in line - and of their own mortality.
"The customers said it made them feel more time-conscious.
It made them feel hurried, like their lives are going to fast,"
said Jackie Beall, postmaster in Colleyville, Texas, new Dallas.
"Some customers said, 'Y2K is coming anyway; why are you
putting this stress on us?'"
The clocks, part of a nationwide campaign, are coming down in
dozens of north Texas offices and in several northern California
offices. Recent customer surveys indicated that satisfaction
levels were decreasing for some Texas offices, so postal workers
started informally polling customers on what they liked and
disliked about the stations. they learned that the clock
distressed several customers, said Stephen Seewoester, a
spokesman in the Postal Service's Fort Worth region.
Some customers complained that the clocks made the wait seem
longer or made them feel older, said Sam Bolen, public affairs
manager for the Postal Service's Southwest area.
"We had 40,000 post offices nationwide," Bolen said. "Try as
we might to please everyone, there's always going to be
something that offends some people."
Alan Wald, Postal Service spokesman for the Oakland, Calif.,
district, said five clocks were removed form offices because of
Customers felt "the clock was a reminder that (doomsday) was
coming. And we didn't see any compelling reason why the clock
had to stay up," he said. Why only in Texas and California?
Are people's lives more harried? "I wouldn't begin to
speculate," Bolen said, "Talk to psychiatrists about it."