Special delivery

James Farley Post Office, Zip Code 10001

James Farley Post Office, Zip Code 10001

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds”. This is not the motto of the United States Postal Service, it is taken from an ancient Greek work of Herodotus describing the Persian system of mounted postal carriers c. 500 BC, the United States Postal Service doesn’t have a motto, if it did, it might be “That’s not in my contract”.

My house is not visible from the road, but it has been here for over one hundred years. United Parcel Service, Federal Express, and several pizza, curry, and Chinese restaurants manage to make sporadic deliveries. Our regular mailman finds us ninety nine percent of the time (I think some days he just doesn’t feel like driving up to the house).  When our regular mailman goes on vacation, his replacement can’t find us. Unfortunately, our regular mailman takes off a few weeks around Christmas every year in addition to his other holidays. So if you’re one of the many people who received the Christmas card you sent to us marked “No Such Address”, now you know why.

I’ve worked with people who thought their perceptions were indisputable. One technician I was training took a dirty roller out of a machine, and then, looking at the replacement part which was clean said “This part doesn’t go anywhere in this machine” because it didn’t look like the other part. It was clean. So I understand how a mailman might think an address didn’t exist because he couldn’t find it. But at least my technician asked me about the part before sending it back to the manufacturer. And my guy was pretty freaking stupid.

After I was notified by the first sender that my package had been returned, I tried to contact the Postal Service. This took just about two hours online, during which time I also listened to hold music waiting for someone at the post office to answer the phone. After going through an intricate maze of questions to email a complaint (including such relevant questions as “How much do you spend on postage each year”) I requested a response by email. I was then asked if I would like to take a survey about the postal service.

There is a reason we call violent outbursts “going postal”.

I have yet to receive a response to my complaint, but I did receive the survey, and a call from my mother verifying my address because her package to me had been returned. My mailman is back from his vacation so I’ve started receiving mail again, although in today’s snowstorm I’m sure there will be none. I’m not going out, and I don’t expect him to come in.

Lacking an interactive component, the survey was laughable. If I’ve answered that I did not receive a response to my complaint, do you expect me to be satisfied with the response? Am I supposed to be satisfied with this method of contact with the postal service? And again, two questions about how much money I spend at the post office. Maybe those questions should have been worded “After this experience, do you still intend to choose the United States Postal Service for your needs?”.

The answer is no. I already avoid the post office whenever possible, and I’ve registered complaints with other carriers who are now using the “ship to post office” option. A few years ago our wedding rings were shipped by Federal Express. In one day they traveled from the jeweler in Colorado to our local post office. Five days later they arrived at my door. When I complained to the post office they said they were only contracting for Federal Express. When I complained to Federal Express they said “Sorry, but we did our part”. I complained to the jeweler and they reluctantly refunded the extra I had paid for two day shipping. I had received the rings the day before the wedding, hadn’t I?

A few months ago we sent a legal package registered mail. It never arrived, the case was continued until the defendant could be notified. The tracking number was traced to a mail handling facility, and the trail ended there. “Sorry”. We had to contact the post office after the court told us we hadn’t contacted the defendant. Just assuming something will be delivered at all is apparently foolish. Registering a package just allows you to find out where the postal employees last saw it.

How do you know if the post office is doing it’s job? For me, if nothing arrives for a week I know something is wrong, but how do I know what I didn’t receive? All of my bills are online, but sometimes good news arrives in the mail. But now I have to consider that “No good news” just means that it may have been lost in the mail.

Update later this morning.

Not to be left out, Federal Express delivered a package this morning. A cardboard box, left in the rain on my entryway, addressed to the Drumthwacket organization. It was addressed correctly, to my next door neighbor (the Governor). Somehow the driver missed his house, with the big sign out front that says “Drumthwacket”, and was confused by the historical markers up and down the road. He found his way up my drive, and missed the enormous mansion next door.

They missed this for my house?

They missed this for my house?

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3 comments on “Special delivery

  1. Mari Collier says:

    I’d say unbelievable, but I know better. FedEx has a difficult time finding my daughters address and quite often a scheduled maintenance for washer, heater, or cooler will elicited the call to me as to “where are you?” With the arrival of GPS systems, those calls to me have dropped, but when my postal deliverer goes on vacation, I’ll miss receiving mail. Since said deliver person has to drive by my street if delivering to another, I wonder who else doesn’t receive mail. Thank goodness for email. At least that is delivered most of the time, although cyberspace can swallow the messages at times. I did Tweet.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. MIke R says:

    Government-provided services will never be cost-effective or efficient as they operate outside of the marketplace, exempt from its rules. My experience with private companies, e.g., FedEx,UPS, and others, has been comparatively stellar. I purchase most of what I need through online vendors, so I am well-known to the local drivers. As online vending has become so popular, I have noticed issues increasing over the years, but they pale in comparison with the nightmare that is the USPS. Too bad Lysander Spooner did not prevail in court! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Letter_Mail_Company

    Liked by 1 person

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