I know why the Post Office is going under


by Dan Lucas

We’ve all heard the unofficial creed of the U.S. Postal Service, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” It’s inscribed on the James A. Farley Post Office in New York City.

Snow, rain, heat and gloom may not stop them, but an inconvenient street will stop them cold. We moved into our new home two weeks ago yesterday, and we still haven’t had a mail delivery, and there’s no indication when we’ll get one.

I had a nice chat with our letter carrier on July 1st and she said she was glad to know that someone had moved in because she had been holding mail. She apparently didn’t have it with her. She went on to explain that there was some dispute between the land developer and the Post Office over who should pay for building the community-style mailboxes. I had heard something about that from a new neighbor and saw that everyone had built temporary mailboxes & posts and so I foolishly and hurriedly built one to be ready on our first Monday in the new home – the same day that I chatted with our mail carrier. Our mail carrier mentioned it was difficult to navigate our little dead-end street, and said it would be better if I (and my future neighbors) moved our temporary mailboxes over to the nearest cross street. I replied that I didn’t know where I’d get permission to put up my temporary mailbox on someone else’s property.

I foolishly assumed that since our mail carrier now knew that we were living here that she’d start delivering our mail. I dutifully checked a few times a day, every mail delivery day for the last few weeks.

As of today, July 13th, it is still a virgin mailbox – no mail has been delivered and there’s no mail delivery in sight. Our little mailbox remains optimistic nonetheless. The little mailbox that could.

Our lonely, but optimistic mail box

Our lonely, but optimistic mailbox

So the crux of the problem appears to be that our mail carrier doesn’t like having to navigate our little dead-end street, because it’s hard to turn around, especially when there are construction vehicles around. Since we moved in, we’ve had many, many deliveries from UPS and FedEx, who had no problems – even with very large packages. Different carriers from the Post Office had no trouble delivering a package to us at our door. Lowes, the moving company and others with big trucks had no trouble getting very large payloads delivered. But apparently mail, from our regular mail carrier, is a different story – way beyond gloom of night.

Because I need to renew my driver license as well as change my address, I need to bring a piece of mail that’s been delivered to my new address when I renew my license. Tired of waiting for my mail carrier, with zero communication, I guessed which mail station might be mine and went in and asked for my mail. The nice woman at the counter went to look for it and to my surprise it was brought out by my mail carrier. She was glad I’d come in – she’d been worried because so much mail had been accumulating. But there had been zero communication – not letting us know she wouldn’t be delivering the mail, not letting me know what I could do to pick it up in the meantime, etc. Who gets away with that kind of customer service?

My mail carrier gave me an update on her progress – she was working to engage her management on the issue. Translation: it may be a LONG time before I get mail delivered to my home.

So what had I been missing in the past few weeks? A birthday card from my daughter that she took the time to mail early enough so that I’d have it before my birthday. She didn’t factor in the Post Office. New checks from our banks – those are handy sometimes. The coolest thing, though, was my OFFICIAL CHANGE-OF-ADDRESS CONFIRMATION from the Post Office, addressed to my new address. But not being delivered, by the Post Office.

Update (7/16): We got our first delivery of mail today! Our little mailbox is so proud and happy. Talks with our mail carrier and a Post Office help line didn’t move things along, so I filed an incident online over the weekend, which generated a phone call and a promise to look into it, but no mail. Finally, Ron with the USPS ran across this article and called to find out what was happening. He apologized for what had happened, said that not getting my mail (and the lack of communication) were “not acceptable”. He made the necessary calls and now we’re getting mail. MUCH better customer service.

(7/16/2013) We've got mail!

(7/16/2013) We’ve got mail!