The small interior business area had a double line that went out the interior door and into the lobby. Signs at each clerk station apologized for the "inconvenience," announcing that "credit/debit cards could not be accepted." The clerk assisting us took about twenty minutes to affix the proper labels to the eight packages we presented for mail. Our entire visit to the Brownsville Post Office lasted roughly one hour.
Brownsville's postal clerks face unique challenges, not only needing to switch back and forth between two languages, but also explaining over and over postal regulations to individuals not born in this country. I've witnessed countless times a customer in line with an open box in one hand, an address in the other and questions for the clerk. It may take several trip through the line to finally get everything right, but, even then, the clerk may have to add government tape to secure the package and expedite things. These are issues not faced in Seattle or Peoria.
Interestingly, I'm told that if a Brownsville resident mails a letter or card to their neighbor across the street, that item goes first to McAllen, the region's postal hub, gets its postmark, before returning to Brownsville and being put out for delivery.
"McAllen has an anthrax machine. Smaller post offices like Brownsville do not have one, so all the mail must go their first, even if its addressed to Brownsville," explained the young lady behind the counter.