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A man came into the post office today and asked for a chai latte. I said we didn’t have any. He didn’t believe me.

Are you sure? he said.

I said, look around. We sell envelopes, cards, boxes, jiffy bags. This is a post office, not a coffee shop.

He looked at the shelves then at the exchange rate board behind me and said: but I don’t need envelopes or anything like that. I need a coffee. A chai latter preferably. Why wouldn’t you sell them?

I said, because this is a post office. Post offices don’t generally sell coffee. It’s not what they’re for.

He looked confused, but you’re a shop, aren’t you? You sell things.

I said, yes, we are, and we do sell things. Just not coffee. You’re welcome to put it in the suggestion box, though, and I pointed at it.

He followed my finger there and back and said, you’re joking, right? This is a joke, yeah? Is there a camera around or something? Are we being filmed? Yeah, yeah, very funny. Okay, I get it. Now, can I have my latte?

I said, sorry, sir, this is not a joke. We don’t sell latte. The cafe up the road does, but we don’t. Why don’t you go there? It’s not so far.

He said, but I’m here. I came here. You were open. You were a shop. You must have latte. Some kind of coffee, at least.

I said, look, how many times have I got to tell you? We do not sell coffee. If anyone’s on some prank TV show, it’s you. Now, can you stop wasting my time? There are other customers for me to see.

The man turned around. The queue had been building. He said, but you need to deal with me first.

I said, I have. Next.

The woman behind him stepped forward. The man moved out of the way. I ignored him, smiled at the woman and said, what can I do for you?

She got a list out of her bag.

Mangoes, she said. Unripe ones. I’m making a salad.

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20 thoughts on “Mango Salad

  1. Yeah you know, I read pretty much everything you write, and have been for a long time. But this is my favorite that I can remember. It’s bizarre, it’s odd, it’s hilarious, and it strikes me as true somehow, even though it can’t be.

      • In some sense, where people go into stores and ask for the weirdest things sometimes, the improbable requests, and every single that this has happened in the history of humanity, I’ve been the person standing just behind them.

  2. I loved this! I kept imagining him swaying on his feet and smelling of alcohol 🙂 To be fair though postal workers generally cannot help me with my postage issues either so the coffee problem might be more solvable in some instances.

  3. Has your postie woken up in a parallel universe? Or the shop signs been changed outside? If the whole day continued like this, I’m surprised he was still sane at the end of it to be able to recount it!

  4. Cute! Actually, the USPS is so desperate to find revenue streams to pay their pensioners with, that I wouldn’t doubt it if they started serving up coffee, mango salads, condoms, and leaf rakes. Their new slogan? Go-Go Postal!

    … terencekuch@gmail

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