If you need to pick up a parcel or special-delivery letter at a Los Angeles post office, for the most part you need to be there by 5 pm. (One or two close at 5:30, others close at 4 but most close at 5 — 95% open their doors between 9 and 10 am.)

That means, of course, that if you work a regular 9-to-5 job you’ll either have to pick up the parcel during lunch hour (and thereby lose the comfort of a relaxing lunch) or leave an hour early. And relatively few businesses, remember, close at 5 pm — most are open until 6 pm and some later than that.

It seems to me that governmental post offices should, if they wanted to be half-humane about it, give people a fighting chance to pick up parcels or special-delivery letters at the end of the day by remaining open until 6 pm. Or, at the very least, by remaining open until 6 pm on alternate days. (Tuesdays and Thursdays, say.) That would be the considerate thing. And yet for decades 5 pm closings have been the rule. The message from this governmental agency to the general public, obviously, is “our internal scheduling concerns are what matter to us…we realize we’re making things inconvenient if not difficult for untold thousands of post-office customers on a daily basis, but we’re not exactly in the people-pleasing business…are we? We do things our way and that’s that. Adapt or lose.”