The Man Behind the Counter vs. the Nifty Machine

I’ve always enjoyed going to my local post office. It’s close enough that I can walk there, and the man behind the counter has always been very kind to me and my daughter. When she was a little girl, he always gave her a lollipop — and he let her choose which flavor she wanted. He always wears an interesting tie with an “American” theme:  American flags, or stars and stripes, or eagles. He’s friendly and helpful and never seems cross — no matter how long the line may be.

A few years ago, my local post office brought in a nifty machine. You can use it to buy stamps or to mail a package — and you don’t have to wait on the usually long line leading up to the nice man behind the counter. My daughter and I immediately liked the nifty machine. It asks you lots of questions, which you answer by pressing the screen, and it gives you fun tasks, such as weighing your package all by yourself.

But sometimes I wonder if I should be spending my time with the man instead of the machine. I mean, the machine may be quicker, but it doesn’t say pleasant things and hand out lollipops. The man doesn’t let me weigh my own package, but he always smiles at me. The machine just displays “It’s been a pleasure serving you,” although it does display it in a very pleasant-looking font.

I guess my worry is that one day the man won’t be there. He’ll have been replaced by the nifty machine. And that would be a sad, bad thing. So, the next time I go to the post office, even if the line is long, I’m going to wait on it to see that nice man. I’m going to compliment his tie. Maybe I’ll even ask him for a lollipop. I have a feeling the machine will be around for a long time, whether I personally use it or not.


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