J.P. Duffy of the Family Research Council blogs about his experience waiting in line at a Post Office in Silver Spring, Maryland this weekend:
They were only a few notes into their carol when suddenly, out of the corner of my eye I saw a scowling postal manager rushing to confront the carolers. He angrily told them that they had to leave immediately because they were “violating the post office’s policy against solicitation.” Everyone was momentarily frozen in astonishment before customers began booing the manager. Even in the face of protests from his customers, the manager wouldn’t back down.
The carolers explained that they were going to each business within the shopping center to sing a couple of carols — as they have done for many years. However, this was the first time that they had been turned away. The manager said he didn’t care and that they could take it up with the postmaster if they had a problem. “You can’t do this on government property,” he said. “You can’t go into Congress and sing” and so “you can’t do it here either,” he said smugly as the carolers turned sadly to leave. I encouraged them to file a complaint but they had little hope that a complaint would resolve anything and felt they had no choice but to acquiesce.
I later described the incident to a friend of mine who had worked for the post office for 26 years. He couldn’t imagine that there would be any policy that would prevent Christmas caroling at post offices. Indeed, a Google search will show examples of post office caroling during past Christmas seasons.
Duffy goes into other details of the event (including his daughter’s excitement at the prospect of the caroling.)
What do you think? Was this postal employee Ebenezer Scrooge incarnate or just a bureaucrat run amok?