Instead of quietly waiting in line, Hesperia Post Office customers recently nibbled on cake and sipped on punch while music gently played in the background.


"It went really well," Hesperia Postmaster Victor Maldonado said about the facility's first-ever Customer Service Week, which was held March 4-7. "We had a lot of feedback."


But besides the goodies were helpful classes, handouts and an opportunity to meet the postmaster and regional representatives. On hand were U.S. Postal Inspector Tracy Putnam from the Los Angeles office and Elly Stanton, the Postal Service's consumer affairs manager from the San Diego district facility.


"We're also doing similar events in Apple Valley, Indio, Palm Springs and other locations," Putnam said.


According to Maldonado, Hesperia patrons had the opportunity to sign-up for a class on using eBay and new services offered by the Postal Service to help sellers mail their wares to buyers. Using a web page designed to assist Postal Service customers, eBay sellers can shop for packaging supplies and then contact the post office for free pickup.


"You never have to leave your business," Maldonado said.


The local event also coincided with National Consumer Protection Week, an opportunity to help inform consumers about fake check scams and provide tips to prevent identity theft.


Last year postal inspectors and law enforcement began a global fraud crackdown. Since then, more than 600,000 fake checks with a value of around $2.5 billion have been seized. Scam artists are getting even more clever and deceptive, Putnam said.


Consumers are urged to watch out for phone calls and postcards that bring too-good-to-be-true offers. A "Consumer Fraud by Phone or Mail" pamphlet that offers tips for indentity theft protection is available at the Hesperia Post Office.


The beefed up attention to customer service speaks of the Postal Service's dedication to its customers.


"We definitely want them to continue using the Postal Service," Stanton said.


For information on how the U.S. Postal Service can assist eBay users log onto http://ebaysupplies.usps.com/ or http://pages.ebay.com/usps/home.html. To report fraud, log onto www.usps.com/postalinspectors.