Thursday, February 21, 2013

Going Postal

Today for the third time in less than seven days I’ve gotten someone else’s mail by mistake.

The first two pieces were for people with the same house number but who live on different streets and in different counties. 

The piece today had a different everything. House number, street name, and county.

Not to be cynical or jump to conclusions, but could it be that the mail carriers are pissed about the recent decision to end Saturday mail delivery and are getting a little sloppy on the job?

I know for a fact that the postal employees in my neighborhood have engaged in vindictive behavior from time to time.

Many years ago, I went to the local post office to buy some stamps. While purchasing the stamps, I asked the clerk at the window could she please mail this? “This” was an envelope containing payment for my gas bill.

She told me, “There’s a mail box outside.”

I said, “I know, but since I’m here, I thought I’d just give it to you.”

She sucked her teeth and reluctantly took my envelope.

Do you know that I got a shut-off notice before the check cleared, some four weeks later? Four weeks?!

I’m pretty sure that heifer threw my envelope on the floor and kicked it under her desk, expecting it to remain there forever. As I imagine it, the envelope was finally rescued by her kind-hearted but na├»ve coworker.

But flat-out maliciousness is not the only problem.

Just last week, I missed a package delivery. I was home, my husband was home, and my oldest son was home, but nobody heard the postal carrier knock on the door.

Seeing the pink “Sorry we missed you” slip mixed in with the regular credit card offers and catalogues, I said “Shoot!” According to the slip, I could retrieve my package the next morning, but I had appointments the next day, and I didn’t know if I’d make it to the post office before closing time.

Now, the post office is right down the street from me, and I know that all the undelivered mail is returned to that office the same day.

So later that afternoon I took a chance and went to the post office with my slip, hoping I could get my package early. I was praying that the clerk at the window wouldn’t notice the date on the slip and say anything to me.

Yeah, that didn’t happen.

Reading the slip she said, “Oh, this was delivered today. You’ll have to come back tomorrow. See, the slip says to come back tomorrow.”

Crap. I said, “I know, but I won’t be able to get the package tomorrow. I understand that undelivered mail is returned to this office the same day, so I thought I’d see if it was here.”

She frowned, then sighed. “I’ll check, but next time, could you please come back tomorrow? The returned mail isn’t brought to the front of the office until this evening. Now I’ll have to walk all the way to the back.”


To her credit, she paused and then said, “I know you don’t care about that.”

I smiled. “I appreciate your extra efforts.”

She didn’t find my package.

Okay, perhaps I should have followed the rules or simply been more patient, but imagine getting such a response from a customer service representative at a private business office?

It’s true that bad customer service is a particular pet peeve. But this business with the mail delivery is not just an irritant. If I’m getting someone else’s mail, there’s a good chance that someone else is getting mine, right?

Call me simple, but I’ve always marveled at the wonder of a letter being mailed from anywhere in the states and pretty much landing anywhere in the states a mere two days later for less than fifty cents. In other words, I’m grateful for the post office.

But don’t keep jacking up my mail, okay? It’s a little scary.

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