Category Archives: Complaints

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?

In New Mexico Pregnancy Is Considered A Disease

Tiny-Small is pushing 2 years old and I am sort of pushing 40. I still have a few years to go, but I can feel it breathing down my neck like Rosie does when she is anticipating a dog bone or a walk. My husband and I are asked on a regular basis when child number two is coming or, “When are you going to give that little girl a sister or a brother?” Insert wiggly eyes and goofy smiles along with every comment. Anyway, we started thinking about it too, in part because of the almost daily reminders from friends and family, and well, my biological clock IS ticking, ticking, ticking…. I am getting closer and closer to 40 and I know my chances of having a less healthy baby increases with every week I age. Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Tiny-Small is growing up and if we are going to have more than one chlid we better do it soon, right?

When I was pregnant with Tiny-Small we discovered my health insurance didn’t cover pregnancy. Apparently Blue Cross Blue Shield has determined that pregnancy is a pre existing condition even if the condition was not pre existing when you started the policy. Luckily, at that time New Mexico had a program for all pregnant women called Premium Assistance Maternity (PAM) insurance that we could purchase for $500.00. I had to jump through several hoops and fill out paperwork until my carpel tunnel erupted, but finally most of my pregnancy and deliver were covered. I paid a few thousand dollars in doctors bills for the first three months of my pregnancy (it took three months for the PAM to start) but at least I was covered for the $10,000  plus hospital stay and all of the procedures leading up to that. In short, it was a financial life saver, a godsend, and the only thing keeping us from the possibility of complete financial ruin and bankruptcy. Two days in the ICU does not come cheap.

We now have a new governor. Governor Martinez was elected and she cut the PAM program as soon as she possibly could along with several other programs like low cost insurance for children of working families. These are families that make too much to qualify for medicaid and do not have access to health insurance through their jobs. In fact, most of the people I know who work full time jobs don’t have access to health insurance through their employers or their jobs. We seem to be a state with few employee benefits, but I guess that should be expected in a state that doesn’t even require employers to offer their employees a lunch break ( that’s even when they work an 8 hour shift). Now I am left wondering how do I have another baby. Can we afford to have another baby? Where do I get insurance now? My private health plan isn’t going to cover it. I know that for sure!

My husband called and made an appointment with a local insurance agency. Over the phone the insurance agent informed us that, in the state of New Mexico, there are absolutely no insurance companies or insurance plans that cover pregnancy. If, and when, I get pregnant again we will have to apply to the New Mexico High Risk Insurance Pool. This is a state-run pool usually reserved for people who are deemed uninsurable due to having cancer or some other expensive disease insurance companies do not want to pay for. In this state, pregnancy is considered a high risk disease. I will likely have to pay an exorbitantly high monthly premium in order to have my next pregnancy covered. I am guessing this is one of the reasons why New Mexico has such a high infant mortality rate, why so many children end up suffering from developmental delays, and why we were declared the worst state for children by the Foundation for Child Development. In short, most pregnant women probably don’t get insurance and don’t go to the doctor while they are pregnant. At least not as often as they should. They can’t afford to. According to Childrensdefense.org a child in New Mexico (in 2011) dies before his or her first birthday every two days. The other statistics presented on this page are too depressing to list here, but I encourage you to check them out, especially if you are a New Mexico resident. I am beginning to wonder if living here is a good choice for families or more specifically my family, but on the other hand people like me need to stay here and try to make it better. When I say people like me I mean mothers, people with friends, and people who actually care about other human beings. In short, I mean all of us. This isn’t right and it doesn’t make me proud of my state. In fact, when I read that over 15% of our our children do not have medical insurance, that 80% of our fourth grades do not read at grade level, and that 10,984 high school students drop out annually I felt ashamed and also a little disgusted. I think we can do better than this and I also think an opportunity for a healthy, happy, and productive life starts with good prenatal care.

Next Monday we meet with the insurance agent in person to get all of the gruesome details. I’ll let you know what we come up with after our meeting with the insurance guru. It’s a little sad to think that the decision to have another baby has to be made in this way. If a different governor had been elected, if the insurance company actually covered pregnancy, if we lived in a different state or even a different country might a different decision be made? Would Tiny-Small have more siblings if we made less money and qualified for medicaid or if we made much more money and could afford to pay out of pocket for any medical surprise that might come our way? It’s an unfortunate and uncomfortable process because in the end I am not sure I am the one actually making the decisions. I know having a baby is always partially a financial decision, but it feels like a factor that has more weight than it really should or than it did even just a few years ago. We are trying to live responsibly, but sometimes it doesn’t seem like it pays off in the end. When I look at these pictures I can’t imagine not having a Tiny-Small-2, but when I look at out bank account I am not sure we can afford to have another baby. What if something goes horribly wrong with my pregnancy? I know a woman that calls her son “the million dollar baby.” He was born premature, flown by helicopter to Albuquerque for neonatal care and was in the hospital for over three months. I have no doubt his medical expenses were outrageous. How can I risk it? All I can do now is hope for some kind of insurance miracle. It happened last time so maybe there is still hope.

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!