Tag Archives: United States Postal Service

Just Another Day in Postal Paradise

I’m trapped in postal paradise this week. Yes, that should be read dripping with sarcasm. If you have read here before you know that the United States Postal Service and I have a long history together. One filled with lost packages, disappointment and heart-break. We should break up all together, but I really want the relationship to work out so I keep holding on and hanging in there. I keep thinking the USPS will find a good therapist and change: That one day we will be happy after all.

I have had to go to the post office every single day this week. Monday I picked up packages. Tuesday I mailed packages. Wednesday my Elf on a Shelf was in lock down at the post office and I had to go post bond for her release. I bought the Elf at Target, online, for a ridiculous sum of money (this is my punishment for wanting to play with the cool kids adults in the blogging world). The elf was mailed through UPS and was supposed to come to my door via a big, brown truck. Somehow, mid delivery, Target decided to go with the USPS and so UPS delivered my Elf to the USPS where she sat on a shelf for two days and nobody bothered to tell me. I was in the post office picking up packages the day she was delivered and the day after she was delivered. Nobody bothered to mention I had a package sitting next to the other packages I was picking up. Thanks a lot, guys.

Then I got an email from UPS with my tracking code informing me that my elf was at the USPS. So, I went to get her yesterday. The postal worker behind the counter interrogated me for three minutes about my “so-called” package problem. “Your package isn’t here,” he told me, “We are not UPS.” Round and round we went. He told me that UPS is not supposed to deliver my package to the USPS (as if I had master minded the whole deceptive package delivery because it was so much better to spend my day doing THIS than having the package delivered to my doorstep) and even if he does have it he may not be able to give it to me. Also, he wanted to see my picture i.d. to make sure I was who I said I was. I became a criminal just by making a purchase online. Send help! I may lose my mind.

Finally, after much discussion and pleading on my part he decided to “go take a look” in the back, but he couldn’t promise anything. Then he returned with my package and handed it over the counter lecturing me on how “lucky” I was that the package had been sitting there for two days and was in his computer system, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to have it. He also said I was lucky it wasn’t in the “return to sender” pile where it should be. He gave me that look police officers give you when they stop you for speeding, but decide to let you off with just a warning…not that I would know anything about that.

I am supposed to learn some lesson here. At least that is the impression I got from the postal worker. What that lesson is I am not quite sure. Don’t shop at Target? Don’t buy things online? Don’t use the USPS? The workers in this post office don’t seem to understand that my use of the postal service is keeping their post office branch in business. Don’t complain to me that you are being forced into early retirement as you list all of the reasons I shouldn’t spend my money in here. I’m a customer. I’m not a criminal. Hello? Making me want to use your services less is not going to help you move out of the red and into the black. I get so tired of fighting with the men in this post office branch. They won’t let me get delivery confirmation on my packages even though the women do (and every other postal office I have ever been in lets me purchase it too). They don’t let me choose the method of delivery that I want. “You don’t want priority on this, it’s too expensive,” they inform me. Well, yes, sometimes I do want priority mail no matter how expensive it is, thank you very much. Stop trying to be the boss of me! Stop making up the rules as you go along! Stop making the more expensive UPS look like a better deal than having to fight for my right to mail something! Please. Stop being ridiculous and start following the rules printed on your own forms. Let me decide which shipping method to purchase. Stop telling me I cannot get insurance on my package because you just don’t feel like typing in three extra numbers! It’s so hard to refrain from screaming and crying…and begging.

I have to go to the post office today. I have Christmas packages to mail. I am dreading it. I really am. Four days together is just too much togetherness. All I can hope for is that the women are behind the counter today. They are the only ones who seem to know what they are doing back there. Jim lets people pass him in line and waits for a woman postal worker to be free. That’s how little faith he has in the men. What is up with that?

Hope your holiday mailings are going smoother than mine!

 

Want to read about my other experiences with the USPS? Check out this: Do Postal Workers Read Your Magazines And Watch Your Movies? and this: The United States Postal Service: It Isn’t What It Used To Be.

Do Postal Workers Read Your Magazines And Watch Your Movies?

 

Oh, come on, you must have suspected your postal delivery person of reading your magazines at least once in your lifetime. We certainly have. Sometimes, we get our magazines a week later than everybody else does, and the pages look, well, like they have been read before. It’s a mystery. Not to mention, sometimes my Netflix movies (I am old fashioned and STILL have them delivered by mail, mostly because our Internet is way too slow to stream even You Tube videos half the time) don’t show up and then a few days later are mysteriously mailed back to Netflix as if someone did watch them and then returned them just like you are supposed to do. It’s suspicious, and given our history with the local Post Office it really wouldn’t surprise me at all if this is exactly what is happening.

Recently, our news magazine, The Week, stopped showing up. It’s a weekly magazine, so when it doesn’t show up for two weeks you kind of take notice. Jim was getting pretty annoyed because the magazine is his primary source of news and he felt like he was behind on everything going on in the world. After not getting the magazine for three weeks in a row he decided to go down to the post office and find out what was going on.

When he spoke to the postal clerk behind the desk, Jim was surprised by the lack of surprise the postal clerk showed about our missing mail. “Was it Sports Illustrated? Or, Sport Magazine? Or, that ESPN magazine?” the clerk asked Jim. Jim told him it was a news magazine. Jim wanted to make an official complaint, but the postal clerk advised him to wait another week because he had a feeling it would straighten itself out. “If it doesn’t show up in another week, then come and make a formal complaint,” the clerk told Jim. So, that’s what we did, but we did kind of wonder about what happens to all of those sports related magazines. Are they just considered fair game in the postal world? Does anybody in town ever get the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated? Somehow, it seems unlikely that they do.

After waiting another week, low and behold all of the missing copies arrived along with the newest addition, slightly read, but still intact and in readable condition. We haven’t had any problems since. In fact, we’ve started getting the magazine a day earlier than we were previously. Was someone at the post office reading our magazine? We will never know, but it does seem awfully coincidental and suspicious that our magazine is now showing up like clockwork after Jim spoke to the postal clerk. This also makes me worry about all of our other mail. How many things are we missing every week? How much mail disappears that we don’t even know about?

The United States Postal Service: It Isn’t What It Used To Be

If the United States Postal Service (USPS) eventually gets the axe I’m pretty confident that my local post office will have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. The level of incompetence is incredibly above average, but the real spectacular problem with my post office is the horribly, dreadful customer service. I know I am throwing around some big, fancy adjectives and it sounds like I am exaggerating on a very grand scale, but I don’t think I am. Over the past few years, let’s say three, I have had some strange and also very frustrating encounters with my beloved post office. I say beloved because I spend an enormous amount of money, a very tiny fortune, on stamps and packages each month. In short, I am probably keeping them in business. I like to get and send mail, what can I say? Anyway, here is my list of horrendous service encounters. You be the judge!

1. The postal worker drives up to my mailbox. I am standing in my yard. She waves to me and puts my mail into the box and drives away. The mailbox is literally 15 ft from my front door (store this in your memory because at the end of this paragraph you will be nodding in disgust right along with me). So, I go get my mail. Inside I find a card from the post office saying I have a package. Checked off on the card is something like “Postal worker tried to deliver your package, but nobody was home.” I have to go to the post office to pick up my package. When I get there I ask why my package wasn’t delivered to me since I was standing in my driveway, waving to the postal worker as she drove by. She obviously didn’t “stop by” and find me not at home because I was home and I was waving to her and it’s not like she didn’t see me. The guy behind the counter looks at the card and says, “Well, your driveway was too far from the road. She couldn’t deliver it.” I counter with, “My driveway is right there next to my house, right on the side of the road, and I was standing in it …waving to the postal worker. She even waved back. How could it be too far from the road?” Then the guy says, “Ma’am it’s not our job to deliver your mail.” Seriously? Isn’t that your #1 job? Stop me if I’m wrong, but I thought the entire purpose of the USPS was to deliver mail. Do I live in an alternate universe? It sure feels like it sometimes. Plus, being called “Ma’am” always makes me feel old.

This is me waiting for the mail, if I were blond and made of plastic.

2. I started selling random junk on eBay. It was stuff I couldn’t bare to throw away even though I really should have, so I put it on eBay for a penny and then someone bought it. If you haven’t sold things on eBay before you probably don’t know it, but buyers are a little crazed and obsessed with delivery confirmation. They will email you on a daily basis until their package arrives if you don’t give them some tracking numbers to follow. So, I go down to the post office and they tell me I can only use deliver confirmation on priority mail. They tell me this even though the delivery confirmation sticker thingy says I can use it on any piece of mail I want to. Even after I show them the evidence they shrug and say: no can do. Even though every other post office in the country (including the one in the next town over) will let me put delivery confirmation on any package or letter I want to send, using any mail service the USPS has to offer, they act like I am just being difficult. This post office refuses to sell me my 80 cent delivery confirmation sticker so I have to drive 15 minutes to the post office in the next town and purchase delivery confirmation just so I can avoid eBay buyer harassment.

This mail has been stamped.

3. Finally, I think I have outsmarted my post office and I buy postage online, print it out (including delivery confirmation) and slap it onto my package. I waltz into the post office and drop it off. It’s so easy I almost dance home. I’m on cloud nine! Then I start trying to track my packages through the USPS website and there is nothing. Nothing! It’s as if my packages never left the building. I start to worry that my packages are sitting on a shelf somewhere in a dark, damp back room. After a few days I march back into the post office with my little stubs and receipt in hand and ask, “Where are my packages?” The guy behind the counter shrugs and tells me when people buy their postage online the post office doesn’t have to scan the delivery confirmation until the package is delivered. Even though every other post office I have ever mailed my packages through (with online postage) has scanned my packages the second they come into the office, this guy gives me the blank stare like I am talking to him in jibberish or asking for something so ridiculous he can’t even fathom the idea. Scanning my prepaid package is just so far off his radar he’s considering committing me to the hospital for observation just because I brought it up. So I say to the guy, “You mean you could scan them, but you choose not to?” He looks right at me and says, “Yep, it’s not my job to scan those packages.” It’s just too hard for him to pick up the hand held scanner right next to his hand and zap my package. It would literally take 2 seconds, but that is just too much effort for him to exert. I contemplate picking up the scanner and just scanning my package myself, but worry I’ll be hauled off to jail on some federal offense if I do. I’m so frustrated I fantasize about using Fed Ex and UPS from now on. Do they even take birthday cards and electric bills? I can’t believe I am trying to buy products and services from the post office and they are refusing me at every turn. I start to realize why the USPS doesn’t have any money. I smile and ask the guy, “Heard anything about which offices are being closed and who might lose their jobs?” He says, “I’m close to retiring so it doesn’t matter to me.” Of course a few months later I overheard him complaining that they were trying to force him into an early retirement. I wanted to butt in and say, “Doesn’t matter to me!”  I’m not surprised that they want to get rid of  Mr. That’s Not My Job. I’ve always thought that was a lame thing for anyone to say while at work. It’s a simple sentence constructed just to make people blow their tops. It’s like the polite version of go you know what yourself. Nice way to treat your customers! As a customer I don’t really want to pay his salary anymore. I hope he retires and someone that can read the directions takes his place. Is that too much to ask?

This mail has gone through the mail, but was never stamped. Does the postage even count if it isn’t stamped?

4. This is my last and worst experience. We get together and decide to send a care package to our friend in the military who was stationed in Iraq. We got his favorite hot sauce, his favorite candy, some games, etc. Then, at his request, we pack his expensive digital camera. We mail it and it never arrives. Weeks go by and still we wait. Finally the post office is called and all of the tracking numbers are given. Then we find out the post office has the box. Apparently someone who worked at the post office opened the box, took it’s contents out and then took them home. The box was folded up and squished behind something. A postal worker recently found it while cleaning out some area of the building. Yep, our friend, stationed in Iraq, lost his care package and camera to a thief who probably still works at the post office. We were angry and wanted something to be done. All we got was a shrug, no apology even. The post office just didn’t care that they have a thief roaming around in their back rooms. They didn’t want to be bothered with our complaints.

Loco-Lou-Lou even delivers packages to your second story window.

So, that is my sad story. I have always loved the mail. We even had mail in elementary school where we could mail our friends in other classrooms little notes. I don’t want our postal system to fail, but from my experience it seems determined to. It seems to be on the road to sabotage kind of like when someone with low self-esteem gets into a really good relationship and then tries to ruin it so they can prove to the world just how unlovable they really are. Failure seems to be the only things my post office has any success with. I just keep hoping my post office is one bad seed and maybe eventually someone will come in and clean out the Riff-Raff. It’s a long shot, but I am keeping my fingers crossed!