The Post Office Pisses Me Off A Little

28 Jul

Don’t get me wrong. The majority of postal workers I’ve met are lovely, helpful people. This is not an attack on post office staff, who are doing their jobs to the best of their abilities.

I value the service the post office performs.

No, this is a rant against the way the post office is doing business.

Hours

I have a full time job. Regardless of whether you think that’s a shame or a gift from God, it does mean that I am AT WORK and not AT HOME during a significant portion of my day.

If I need to USE the actual, physical post office building during the week, I am pretty much screwed. The post office closes well before normal work hours let up, and opens long after I’m already at my jobsite.

I can’t pop in quick before work, nor can I stop in on my way home. My lunch break doesn’t give me enough time to reach the post office, wait in line, conduct my business, and drive back. I know this because I’ve tried.

If I get home and I see a yellow note saying that the post office tried to deliver something to my home, I say a few choice not-safe-for-children things as I snatch it off the door.  It will be DAYS before I see this item. Why? Because the post office is already closed. Tomorrow, I can try to contact them and find out what I can do to get my package – even if I take off work early to go pick it up from the post office, it will probably be “out on the truck for delivery” so I still can’t get it.

I am stuck in this limbo hell, trying to get my package before it is returned to the sender as undeliverable, while working around the post office’s anti-work-force hours.

This was especially fun when I pre-ordered a Harry Potter book and didn’t get to read it for over a week while I played doorbell hockey with the post office. (Yes, I’m still bitter. I PRE-ORDERED, which meant I didn’t want a week’s worth of internet spoilers.)

Rule 1 of running a business should be : Be Open When Thy Customer Is In Need of Thy Services.

I know it’s not, though, because every restaurant in the city is closed during breakfast hours on the weekend.

Of COURSE people are using places like FedEx and UPS for mailing anything bigger than a postcard – those places are actually OPEN after we get off work. The only thing I use the postal service for is something I can slip in the “outgoing mail” slot or things that can wait for the weekend to ship out. (let’s not even mention the monstrous dragon’s tail of a line full of other people who had to wait till the weekend to use the post office … and of course, there’s only one person working the desk)

SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM

I’m not a hippie, but I’m pretty crunchy. I recycle. I try to minimize packaging in foods that I buy and I shut the water off when I’m brushing my teeth.

Hauling my recycle bag out to the trash every week or so, it bothers me that half of it is mail that I do not want, did not ask for, and cannot find a way to stop getting.

No, I do not want your credit card offers. If I did, I would seek you out.

No, I do not want your newspaper crammed full of coupons and sales to stores I do not shop at. If I happen to go to the store, I usually examine the flier just inside the front door before I begin shopping.

No, I do not want your internet or tv or dish or whatever it is you’re selling. My name is not “Resident.”

I can opt out of emails that bother me (usually). I can sign up for the Do Not Call list. I can verbally tell callers to stop calling me. I can do NOTHING about this antagonistic flood of papers.

Also, only marginally related, there’s someone named Jacqueline Moore whose mail I have been getting ever since I lived in my first apartment back in College Station, Texas. I have been getting this chick’s mail for YEARS, through several address changes, and no amount of “Return to Sender” and hand-written notes on the mailbox saying “Jacqueline Moore does not live here, please stop giving me her mail” keeps me from getting her stuff. She actually got a court summons once (which we panicked when we saw the envelope and opened before we realized it wasn’t addressed to us). The court told us to mail it back to them on our own dime and they’d make sure they found the right person. Yeah. Classy. Unless we have a domovoi named Jacky, I’m pretty sure we’d know if someone else was living in our house.

Business

I’m not even complaining about postage rates skyrocketing, although that, too feels antagonistic towards users. I know they need to stay in business and they’re operating at massive profit deficits.

There’s got to be a better way to run a business than this. I know it’s a government entity, but that just makes it worse. My taxes are paying for this craptastic service and it galls me. (UPDATE: This is apparently not true – it is not a government entity or funded by tax dollars)

If we looked at the USPS as a business, we would be disgusted.

Let’s re-evaluate the busy hours of the post office. When do people use it? When do they NEED it? The post office should be open during those hours.

Let’s get them a marketing department. Let’s get folks sending letters again. Let’s promote postcards in schools and encourage pen pals around the world.

Let’s use the post office to make connections, as the ORIGINAL social media network that it was. The post office was Facebook before anyone even DREAMED of MySpace.

Let’s get the post office some revenue by real people, sending things that recipients are excited to get instead of accepting spam mail from every shady business willing to give them enough money to stay afloat.

The post office is competing with the internet right now, and even though they offer services that email cannot, they seem to have just shoved their head in the sand and given up.

I think it’s time they were held accountable. Time they made an effort, put up a fight.

And DAMMIT, I think it’s time they let me read my gorram Harry Potter book on the day it was supposed to be delivered!

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7 Responses to “The Post Office Pisses Me Off A Little”

  1. Shadowspawnd July 28, 2011 at 10:43 am #

    We just had a postal strike here in Canada that did not effect more than a minor percentage of the population. Many people did not know when it started or ended. With online billing and internet banking for financial items, courier services for parcels and email, facebook and twitter for personal communications, who needs snail mail.

    • Tami July 28, 2011 at 10:48 am #

      That’s a question getting asked more and more often, and it’s not one I can personally answer.

      I DO know that if the post office (or at least, the government funding the post office) isn’t asking that question AND ACTIVELY SEEKING THE ANSWER, then we’ve got a problem.

  2. Dechion July 28, 2011 at 10:54 am #

    I have a few things to say on this one.

    1. The post office is not supported by tax dollars. At all. Period.

    2. Though not a government branch any longer they are required to follow certain mandates from congress about delivery times and dates, as well as office hours and postage rates. In short the same idiots that are in Washington trying to drive our econmy off a cliff have thier hands in the pie.

    3. The post office is also required to pre-fund retiree health care to the tune of billions every year, using a formula made up by congress. something no other agency or corporation is required to do. In fact, data shows that they would have been in the black for the last several years without that requirement.
    Those long lines with the lone clerk? Talk to your congressman about it. They are driving the bus on this one. Those billions have to come from somewhere, and it’s services that get cut.

    I could go on, but I won’t.

    I will say, I would like more office hours as much as anyone. I think that would be a great addition to what we do. I do know that in the near future we will be opening… you might call them auxilary offices.

    Small offices run by local stores (think grocery and hardware stores kind of thing) that will have additional hours and handle many of the more common tasks. We have one here in my town and it works out quite well.

    I have taken the liberty of printing this out and dropping it in the suggestion box. You never know, someone might pay attention.

    • Tami July 28, 2011 at 11:33 am #

      If my taxes aren’t paying for it, how can it possibly stay in business? I consider any sort of government funded to be tax-dollar funded, which may be a naive way of looking at it, but is the way I see it nonetheless.

      I’m not accusing X Post Office in Y city of being idiots – I’m accusing their BOSSES, the people calling the shots and making the ridiculous rules they’re having to follow. Those are the idiots. I tried to make it very clear that I wasn’t accusing the postal workers themselves, because I’m not. I just think this is a moronic business model.

      • Dechion July 28, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

        I may have been a bit short, or come off as angry. If so I apologize.

        If I had a problem with you I would have sent a private email as opposed to posting here. Let’s just say I have heard accusations often enough that I get a bit defensive.

        All of what I would like to say would take up a godly ammount of space here, so it’ll likely become a post of its own in the coming weeks.

        As to the funding issue, we are entirely self funded through the sales of postage and the payment for shipping, money orders, passports, and other services.

        The latest year I could find reliable data for on short notice was 2009. Here is the link: http://about.usps.com/strategic-planning/cs09/CSPO_09.pdf

        The actual revenue information is on page 61, though there is a lot more data there (obviously, the thing is a small book) It shows that about 80% of the revenue was actually generated through the postage on third class advertising mail, with about 20% coming from first class mail and shipping by individuals.

        The postal service has also in that time period cut about 160,000 jobs nation wide and cut 115 million workhours in 2009 alone.

        On a more positive note, I talked to one of the postmasters about the possibility of an hours change, perhaps one or two nights a week that they stay open late (like my doctors office does on Wednesdays).

        It was relatively well recieved, and forwarded up the chain of command. We shall see what happens.

      • Dechion July 28, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

        What a difference a single letter can make.

        My post would have taken up a goodly ammount of space, not a godly ammount. *sigh* I fail at spellcheck.

      • Tami July 28, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

        I apologize if my reply seemed to be attacking you back, I’m just trying to clarify, as your responses are making me think that I am not being clear.

        I am not attacking postal workers. I am not saying that they are idiots.

        As a matter of fact, as far as I can tell, everything you’ve commented on has been in agreement with what I’ve said. I think I’m confused here.

        I will concur that I did not do research to verify that tax money paid for the postal service we receive – I apologize and will go in and redact that portion of the post.

        I realize that as a postal worker, you could take my anger and the subject matter to indicate that I am attacking you, but I swear I’m not.

        If there is a way I could make the subject of my rant less ambiguous, please let me know.

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