I’ve been told a butcher can hold a baby lamb in his arms and tell you how much it weighs. Helen Ann Lally, owner of Your Neighborhood Office (YNO), can do that with a bundle of mail, and after making that assessment, as an added bonus, she doesn’t carve it up with a meat cleaver. I have relied on Helen Ann and her crack staff team at YNO for over 15 years. When it comes to parcels, Helen Ann is like a seasoned carnie at the “guess your weight” booth. Recently, while moving, she came over to my previous apartment, quickly eyeballed my quasi-piles of semi-organized clutter, and blurted out the number of boxes I would need. She was right on the money.
Helen Ann makes my life easier in many ways, from shipping unwieldy pieces of lead painted antique furniture to England, to educating me on the right amount of change a person should carry in their pockets a twenty, a ten, a five, and singles. From the first day I set foot in YNO, I’ve preferred it to the post office. Yes, you may pay a bit more for the VIP treatment, but it beats standing in line for 45 minutes behind uneasy customers, swaying back and forth as if they are on cue at the methadone clinic.
What’s great about Helen Ann is that she is no nonsense and knows a little about everything. She treats all situations in a calm and practical manner. I asked her a few questions about her business, which she answered in her simple logical style.
Q: How long have you been at Your Neighborhood Office?
A: 19 ½ years.
Q: What makes a bad customer during the holidays?
A: A person who at the last minute, brings in six bags to be shipped to six different locations and wants them all gift-wrapped. Instead of waiting for us to be available, they proceed to gift-wrap the packages themselves, using the shop’s tools, tape and scissors, paper and boxes and then place a pre-paid label on it. And then they want me to have a nice day!
Q: What do you do if you catch someone trying to mail drugs?
A: I confiscate it and gift it to whatever friend likes that kind of high.
Of course, that is another reason I will remain a loyal customer of Your Neighborhood Office. Thank you Helen Ann, and thank you for all the gifts.