Neither Rain Nor Snow Will Keep the USPS From Sucking

Tuesday, January 04, 2011 , , 34 Comments

And you wonder why the Post Office is going broke! How about trying a little customer service instead of pimping stamps to stamp collectors?

Here's the deal: I was happy to see my mail carrier blast past my driveway (at 4pm as usual... and actually that's early, our mail can get here as late as 7p some nights) this afternoon but horribly disappointed when I went to check my mail only to find my stack of outgoing mail still sitting there and flag still up. What's this shit?

Keep in mind I live on a secluded street in the burbs overlooking the Potomac River, where we get maybe 4 cars cruising by on any given day, all of which belong to residents of our quiet little hood.

A quick call to our local Post Office to ask what the fuck happened to my mail brought me to a supaviso' (her word, not mine) who insisted that our mail carrier was under no obligation to deliver my mail if the box is blocked. Assuring her that it wasn't blocked nor unsafe, just a little annoying to get around and due to no fault of the people to whom our mail would be addressed (how are we supposed to control who parks on our street?), I fumed at the idea of missing out on my important Bed Bath & Beyond 20% off coupons and other assorted junk mail. A car was parked a bit close to the box but not in front nor blocking it and seeing as how no one even knows our street exists, it wouldn't be unsafe for the mail carrier to get off her ass and put the mail in our box. Hell, she could have backed the truck up and hit the car parked to the side of our mailbox for all I care. Besides, is it fair for us to be expected to run parking patrol on our own street, which is entirely public and open for anyone to park on? How am I supposed to be able to control who parks in the vicinity of our mailbox? With a rifle and a rocking chair on our front porch?

The supaviso' - who informed me that she was the only one working and didn't have the cell phone number of our mail carrier - insisted that there was nothing she could do. "So what am I supposed to do to get my fucking mail?" was my completely reasonable response, minus the fucking which I kept for this little rant. I was told that the mail carrier is under no obligation to give us our mail if something is blocking her way, which on our street could be a car or a deer or a family of deer on any given afternoon. I was invited to come to the Post Office to get my mail after the carrier returns (again, she doesn't have a phone according to the supaviso'), which would be a totally reasonable solution except for the fact that it closes at 5pm and it's now 4:30.

Naturally I asked if I am expected to play traffic cop on my block and keep people from parking within x amount of feet from my mailbox. The vague answer I got is that it's my problem, not theirs.

So there you have it. Neither rain nor snow will keep your friendly Post Office employee from delivering your mail but apparently cars within 50 feet of your mailbox are a huge problem.

Privatize the Post Office already, Christ.

Jr Deputy Accountant

Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.


Anonymous said...

get a po box, ignoramus

Anonymous said...

clean your mouth up

Learn to use the shift key, fucktard.

I have a PO Box (at the UPS Store, a private company that actually knows to EARN my money instead of just taking it because I have no other option a la our friends at the Post Office), obviously you missed the point.

Let me guess, you work for the Post Office?

Anonymous said...

What you don't realize is that letter carriers are being pushed and pushed to do more in less time and we are timed in everything. Even our bathroom breaks (and I am not kidding there).However If I see a flag up I will stop even if the box is blocked. All to often people put their flag up and do not put any outgoing mail out. they just do it to see if the carrier has come. However if boxes are frequently blocked supervisors are telling the carriers to just go to the next box. They too are held responsible for our street times. We have bar codes in boxes we have to scan so they know where we are and at what time.

Anonymous said...

I'll play your game.

Use online bill pay, fuckwad. Problem solved. Fuck the PO. Don't like them, don't use them. They aren't the only ones that pickup and deliver.

Feels good don't it, anon? Go on, let it out.

Listen, I have NO DOUBT mail carriers are being worked like dogs and if my experience is any indication, you have one idiot "supervisor" on top of an entire team of miserable fucks who wonder why their routes keep getting longer and their bags heavier with little consolation in return. I get it.

The villain here is the supervisor who blamed it on me, made no attempt to resolve it, and then suggested I come to the Post Office AFTER they are closed to retrieve my mail. The box WAS NOT blocked, a car was parked *near* it. The carrier just had to get around the car and stretch out. Given that directive, I could see a carrier's decision to blow off my box for the day but the flag was obviously up and we never "trick" the carrier just so we know she came.

Something's got to give.

GunRights4US said...

I bet you had no idea your blog was being read by the postal staff in your area. LOL

Screw the postal service. They like every other gubmint agency are a waste of oxygen (and MY tax dollars)

Anonymous said...

"Liability". If the carrier gets too close to a vehicle then the owner can accuse the carrier of scratching/denting the vehicle. Happens all the time, which is why most don't even attempt if a vehicle is 'close' to the box. The PO would rather avoid a possible lawsuit by using their right to withhold delivery service if the box is not serviceable from the vehicle. P.S. Postal regulations state that employees follow all state laws as well, and double parking to service your mailbox is against state laws too. Its not about being lazy, it's about protecting us from dumbass lawsuits with no merit. (False claims)

Anonymous said...

First of all, the Post Office does not get any tax money. They are by law required to be self supporting.
As far as getting out of the vehicle, First, we are required to curb the wheels, place the vehicle in park, shut off the engine, remove seat belt, open door, step out, close door, lock the door, then deliver the mail. Reverse all the above when we want to leave. These are the requirements of the USPS.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I have a home mailbox but don't use it because I have a PO Box. Mailman keeps putting junk in it. I asked him to stop and he told me he had to deliver to every box-you know, postal regulations and all. I put a trash can under the box and asked him to just deposit it there instead. I even wrote "mail" on the can. He told me postal regs wouldn't allow it. So, I just let him fill my box up until no more junk would fit. He left a couple of nasty notes on my door asking me to empty it out. Then he just quit delivering. Problem solved. I say disband the post office or go to once per week/month delivery.

Anon @ 7:44,

Two things: why aren't YOU the supervisor?! I would have totally taken that explanation and then railed on the asshats who sue people for no reason instead. Makes sense and would have been nice to hear that from the person I called instead of nonsense about it being my fault blahblahblah...

Second, define "close"... the car was not blocking the mailbox nor up next to it.

I suspect it was more laziness than anything else, we must be the last stretch of the route if my carrier "must be off by 4:30" according to the supervisor and they show up at 4:15, that gives her 3 minutes per box to get through the last bit of street. She could have easily taken an extra couple of minutes to maneuver around the car.

Anonymous said...

who do you think delivers your mail to the UPS store, idiot?

Anonymous said...

Keep watching for your welfare check, and get a job and life.

Anonymous said...

A $20 tip at Christmas time does wonders for improving mail delivery service.

I have customers on my route that haven't even given me a freakin' candy cane in 20 years. Amazing coincidence that there are always loose dogs hovering at these people's boxes on a regular basis. Think I'm going to get out when their box is blocked?

Get a life jackwad.

To all or any of the anonymous Posties:

Supposing my Christmas card to JDA was in today's mail (shut up, I'm lazy) ... where does it go until tomorrow's delivery? Does it stay in the truck? Is it carted back into the Post Office until tomorrow? Does a lawyer have to be consulted about liability issues?

How much more efficient is that than the few steps (curb the wheels, unbuckle the seat belt, breathe, blink, blahblahblah) it would take to put it in the box just like my happy mailman used to do when he walked through the neighborhood, carrying his bag like a lazy paperboy?

I'm getting a Rottweiler.

Anonymous said...

you do have an option most city ,towns, and townships have ordinances to handle people parking in front of mail boxes, call them a couple of tickets problemed solved. one of the main reason s they dont want people to deliver to blocked boxes they often cause the carrier to have to back away from the box, most accident happen while backing. so you should put the blame where it belongs on the person who blocked your box in the first place. an average carrier have any where from 500-700 stops a day what would happen if they had to exit their vehicle at even half of these stops, why should the post office have to pay a carrier for someone elses stupidity.

Is there an ordinance that allows my carrier to just throw my mail on the driveway and peel off if that happens again? I have no problem with her doing that.

Anonymous said...

If you have a Box at the UPS Store, why do you have mailbox at your house too? Convenience? WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FOR 44 FUCKING CENTS! How much financial advice can I get from you for 44 cents? Take you mailbox down today.

Anon @ 9:18a: I give away FREE advice all the time, call me a humanitarian just doing my part for the world.

Would it be legal for me to beat the shit out of my mailbox with a baseball bat? In front of my postal carrier? Or could that be considered a "threat"?

euchre said...

As a carrier I can tell you what a flag up AND a car blocking the box means to me: The customer OBVIOUSLY has a letter in their box that is very important. They absolutely want it mailed, but want it mailed the next day. They don't want to run the risk of forgetting to put it in the box the next day, so they have devised this brilliant technique to be sure I pick it up the day they want it to go.

I am more than happy to oblige that customer.

Do the math. I have 557 deliveries a day and 6 hours to do it in. If I add even 10 seconds to each delivery that would total about an hour and a half. It's easy to sit back and say "well, its easy, its just a few seconds, bla bla bla", but we have a job to do, and frankly, that job is to deliver the mail, not cater to people's individual problems.

To the lady that asked the carrier to not deliver the mail or throw it in trash can. Yeah, that's absolutely the easiest way for me to get fired, in either instance I'm throwing away someone's mail. I like to eat, and like to get paid, that's not happening. How about you just take your box down, problem solved. Why play games when it's so easy to fix? Why rely on OTHER people to fix your problems? How about you contact all the people sending you that mail and have your name taken off their lists? And people call US lazy? HA.

I'm euchre, and I'm open to debate any of this.


You're missing two important facts: it wasn't my car (nor did it belong to anyone in this house) and it wasn't blocking the box, it was parked near the box.

I do, however, love this:

"Why play games when it's so easy to fix? Why rely on OTHER people to fix your problems? How about you contact all the people sending you that mail and have your name taken off their lists? And people call US lazy? HA."

100% with you. My experience with mail carriers has been that they are generally not lazy (my carrier is the exception), especially the poor saps that actually have to shlep a bag around instead of hanging out in that little cart on wheels. It's the "supervisors" and "management" that sit on their asses and don't actually accomplish anything.

How can I get a piece of that action? I'd love to sit around doing nothing and yelling at my "customers" all day...

euchre said...

Actually, I wanted to comment on the "not your car and wasn't blocking the box" part but didn't. Since you brought it up again I will.

I'm on both sides here. I trust that you think that the car wasn't blocking the box. But I also know that until you've driven a postal vehicle you really don't know what being blocked means. I would generally give you the benefit of the doubt that you're not an idiot and should be able to determine the difference, but time and time again people have taught me not to assume this about you (sorry).

As far as it not being your car, that fact doesn't change my point regarding the time it takes.

Now, since we're talking about it I have to add this, which will just undoubtedly fuel your fire. We're having this discussion based on what some idiot at the Post Office told you was the problem. She has NO idea why your mail wasn't delivered. That's just what she told you to get you off the phone. Sure, it may in fact have been that reason, but I doubt it. That's just the fall back solution to every customer complaint. I'll also have to add, that I'd give you 10-1 that whoever was carrying your mail that day only knows about this situation if they read your column, because that supervisor didn't think twice about it after she (did you state a gender or am I playing the odds?)got off the phone with you.

My job is the easiest job in the world. I pass stuff out and they pay me for it. In second grade I used to pass things out for the teacher for free, and was happy to do it. I have no stress, because when I clock out I don't think about it again. I do have rules I have to follow when I'm at work, and I follow those as much as I possibly can, to avoid the wrath of management. They are looking for people to fire today. They can't lay off. The only way to pare the rolls is termination. That's not going to be me, if I can help it.

You asked how do you get in on that action? You have to get a job at the post office and show absolutely zero capacity to do any craft work whatsoever. It won't shock you to know that supervisors were previously the most worthless carriers, clerks, mail handlers that you could find.

Anonymous said...

JRD. I can understand your frustration. The supervisor spoke to you inappropriately, and you are a customer, the lifeblood of the postal service. So you can only imagine how she must treat her employees (your letter carrier). The carrier had no way of knowing whose car was blocking, or near your mailbox. Threats of discipline, up to and including being fired, are rampant in the post office. Carriers are expected to go slower, and be safe, but take no extra time during snowy conditions. An accident or a fall almost always results in discipline being issued. A letter carrier may have 500-700 homes on their route they must deliver each day. You are only concerned with your one home. During and after snow storms, there are normally 50-100+ blocked deliveries. Spending an extra few seconds on each one, while seemingly minor to you, would set an already time pressed letter carrier back anywhere from 15-30 minutes. This is unacceptable to the supervisor. I would love to be able to give every customer the best possible service and go out of my way every time, but that would cost me my job, seriously. Please understand your letter carrier is most likely not lazy, just under extremely difficult working conditions. The job, and workplace are no longer the nice things they used to be. It's not one big happy family looking out for one another.

Anonymous said...

If there's only 4 cars that pass by in a day, who would stop by your place?
Also, squeeze by a car and scrape it...don't bitch..just giving you your mail ass!

Anonymous said...

Part 2---There are decent guys and gals that try to do the best we can, of course there are a-holes here like every organization that gives us a bad name, but most are hard working that are just trying to do a decent job and go home, but Management makes it difficult to provide the service we should be giving to the customer. You are right, and some carriers SHOULD be fired, but most problems rest with the demands and lack of our managers backing us up. So our choice is this: get yelled at for skipping delivery for what I think is unsafe, or, get fired for damaging a vehicle and I'm liable for, and/or getting out for all the blocked boxes causing me to run past my authorized time creating overtime which is considered stealing from the Govt, then getting fired, etc. You see where this is going? In regard to how 'close' it is, well, that is a personal judgement call. I give myself at least 5-10 feet on both sides of box for me to make effort. Again, its what the neighbor may perceive what I am doing. I want to make sure that even the blindest old person can see I'm far away from the vehicle. The PO doesnt back us up, they will convict us and hang us first before we are proven innocent, its all about CYA.
It sucks but I just keep my customers happy by communicating to them and as long as they know where I stand and that I'm there to help them, not cause friction, it all works out well. Sorry its long, just my 3 cents.

Anonymous said...

P.S. One more thing....we don't get paid to deliver the mail. Many people will say that it's my job to get out and deliver, sad but not true. My first order is to follow instructions. Anything other than that is insubordinate and can get me fired. If box is blocked and is dangerous to serve the box in a safe manner without doing harm to myself or others then I am to curtail the mail. Again not my choice, just following orders.

Philip said...

Wow! I am a 25 yr letter carrier and I will apologize for the Bad service you are receiving. My route is a mix of Business(both walk in & outside box)delivery,apartment bldg,park & Loop(walking to each house) and curbside mounted. Most postal managers unfortunately are former clerks and carriers who were not very good at, or did not like the physical demands of the craft. I walk 7.5 miles a day on my route. When I get to the driving part of my route I do encounter an occasional car parked next to a box.My desire is to make my customers happy. I will get out and deliver the mail. As long as the engine is off and the vehicle is in park it is not violating any safety regs.If it becomes a regular problem or if the box is completely blocked there are official forms that can be used to notify the customer of the problem. I will admit that there are carriers who hate their job just like every business. They just do the minimum. You unfortunately have one of those carriers. And they have a lousy "supiviso"

Anonymous said...

Hey brainiac

How about I park my van in front of your computer? Good luck getting your job done! What would your supavisa say?

Anonymous said...

Lazy Paperboy? Ha you have no concept of this job. A paperboy (those that still walk) work for maybe an hour or an hour and a half- their bag does not weigh up to 35 lbs. They do not have to climb up and down steps all day. When it gets icy or snowny most wil drive their paper routes. whereas the lettercarrier has to trudge thru the snow. A full day of this and your legs are rubber. I have had my upper and lower eye lids freeze togther in a cold blowing snow. You have to take your gloves off and press your hand against them to melt the ice.
The paperboy doesn;t have to stand on cold cement porches waiting for someone to get a robe or a coat on to answer the door. My first route was 75% mail slots so on top of the walking (10.2 mile was my first route) stair climbing you can add opening the door and bending down and sliding the mail in the mail slot while trying to keep the bag from falling off your shoulder. Not to mention fido nipping at your fingers near the mail slot.

Pardon me, Anon @ 9:26, but I am the laziest of all paperboys. I was not disparaging the walking mail carriers ... note "my happy mailman" above. It's too bad that all carriers aren't able to walk their routes; makes for a nicer neighborhood and probably preferable for the carriers.

By the way, I didn't have the option to drive my route. Tough for a 12-year-old to get the keys, you know. And it would have been difficult to buy gas on a nickel a paper. Anything else I got came through tips (laziness was not a plus there). Oh and the pension plan sucked.

Anonymous said...

to answer your question about throwing the mail on the drive way the answer is no , we must place the mail in the mailbox, they wont even allow us to put it in a newspaper box. what the others have said is true, if this carrier was to have an accident ,whether it be with their vehicle or just plain slipping and falling , they would issue a letter of removal. generally on the first offence you can get your job back but that s after 3-6 months of unpaid leave. my suggestion to you is sit on the passenger side of your vehicle , try to approach your box and serve it , you will soon find out that its not as easy as it looks ,your other option is to move your box closer to your drive way as your looking at your house place the box on the left of the driveway , your drive way then prevents people from blocking your box, and will allow your carrier extra room to pull up to the box , but keep in mind they still need to be able to pull away with out backing

No wonder the post office is going broke. They can't get out of their little trucks to put the mail in tbe boxes if a neighbor blocks the mailbox but when the post office lays off another round of people, they will be able to run to their own boxes to get their unemployment checks.
The USPS...another government nightmare. We all have jobs that are hard to do but apparently the USPS are just fucking pussies