It's a little irritant...

meldy_nva(z6b VA)March 12, 2012

Or maybe not so little. Every time I see/hear a mention of how broke the Post Office is, I think about what I see of the local postal services. Note that I live at a junction of 5 zip codes, each serving a combination of small/large business, industrial, and residential af all types from single dwellings on large lots to apartment towers. Whether walking or driving, I see a lot of mailmen.

I have never gone into any of the 3 closest post offices to find it without a waiting line.

I always find the clerks in each of these post offices to be non-stop busy while remaining courteous, patient, and efficient, and often cheerful. Kudoes to them!

BUT, why are delivery mailmen *walking* from door-to-door in areas where houses are spaced apart on lots of 1/2 acre or more? One neighborhood has houses on 1 to 2 acre lots on very steep hills; yep, one guy walks up and down each 100-ft driveway to put the mail into a front door slot! And then climbs four or five hundred feet up/down the steep street to the next driveway. What a waste of time!

And: WHY are there mailboxes (in those few areas so equipped) on *both* sides of the street? Surely it would be more efficient to locate all the boxes on just one side. True rural areas have long demonstrated the efficiency of delivering to several boxes at one stop.

And: WHY is all that junk mail paying so little postage? Each piece gets handled, sorted, and delivered just each piece of first class mail does, so why the teensy-tiny charge in comparison. IMO, if these junk-mail companies are so economy-minded, let them join together with other companies and format their ads into a booklet, or at least one envelope. I get a number of booklets and collections, and I do take a moment to look through the ads. Individual junk-mail is deposited straight into the recycle bin.

Does the P.O. need a busy parent [a.k.a time-management expert] to plan their routes?

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Hi Meldy. I drove from Baltimore to Spokane and return last year. I never saw so many UPS and Fed X trucks. I did not see one single truck marked (Under contract to carry US MAIL.) I am sure there were many there but I did not see them.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 4:23PM
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tibs(5/6 OH)

Now I have the exact opposite complaint. why aren't they walking more? Anytime a subdivision is built with houses just as close as in town older homes they have to have mail boxes on the curb so the mailmain can do rural route delivery style. And if anyone parks in front of your mailbox, they don't have to deliver it. All the folks working in the postoffice are nice and friendly but here is what happened at my last visit. It was lunch time, so only one person on the desk. Someone in front of me paid with charge card. The computer locked up. It was a prblem nationwide. The customer offered to pay cash, no go, the postal worker couldn't get out of the transaction. She couldn't go to the vacant cash register because she was only keyed in on the one register. The manager came out. Even she wasn't authorized to get into the other register. Probably this was all to stop theft, but definately not user friendly.

A few months ago we got a wrong letter. Not even close to our name or address. DH returned it to the post office. Guess what showed up a few days later? Dh actually knew the person it was meant for and hand delivered it himself. Doesn't the mailperson look at the addresses?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 4:28PM
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I just luv our local postman. He's been with us for a lot of years now and he always delivers the mail on time. He is ready to retire and he's really worried about his retirement package.

There are still a lot of post office trucks in the area. However getting to oscarthecat's point about other carriers, there are several "local" carriers in the area. The PO is in a flux and private industry is trying to get a foothold.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 7:48PM
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I totally agree on well trained and courteous workers. I thought it was just my small town.

I guess Nashville is the baby bear. Not too hot, not too cold, just right. Sometimes the post office is crazy, sometimes almost no one is in there. They drive, but they need to. In our part of town (Belle Meade) where there are monstrous, ritzy far from the road homes, the mailboxes are all on one side. They're even aimed towards the driver. Got lucky!!!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 10:25AM
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My brother is retired from being a mail carrier for quite a few years. It is a difficult and rewarding job, difficult because there are requirements to meet and rewarding in meeting a large number of people. There are things that need improving constantly but the PO is one of the few government entities that actually make revenue. Much of that revenue is used for other programs as it is a nice target for politicians.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 11:45AM
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Wouldn't it be wonderful if the PO decided that they couldn't afford to tote all that junk mail?

I think I would be willing to PAY for the priviledge of NOT getting the stuff.

They can't possibly make money on it with home delivery and a stop at every house.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 11:39PM
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They should charge an arm and a leg to the advertisers. That would kill two birds with one stone!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 11:01AM
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Our mailperson is wonderful. She goes way out of her way to be helpful. Our mail is always neatly rubberbanded and delivered as early as she can manage. She has to put up with unfriendly dogs and people who enjoy complaining about every little thing. She has no choice except to walk some miles on her route and climbs six to eight stairs at each house in our crowded neighborhood, but we never hear a complaint even when she is fighting the extremes of our weather.

We have to stay home when a package is expected to be delivered by UPS or Fedex. Its often late afternoon before they arrive and if we aren't home the package is likely to be left out on the porch, no matter the value of its contents. Our Cheryl will make sure that we know there is a parcel if we are home or hide it from view and leave us a note if we aren't.

I hope that the politicians will take off the ridiculous and onerous conditions they put on the post office and allow them to continue their six day a week service.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 4:42PM
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meldy_nva(z6b VA)

Seriously, do we really need 6-days a week postal service?

I know I don't: those companies which mail bills to me always allow plenty of time before payment is due. Personal mail wouldn't be harmed by having weekends off. Junk mail is junk mail; advertising circulars are always well in advance of the sale, and a day's difference in delivery isn't going to affect them.

Every work location I've been involved with had business offices which were closed on weekends... they sure don't need 6-day service. I can understand that a business based on sending merchandise to customers might run their operations 6 or even 7 days a week. They might like service every day, but I honestly don't see that those businesses would be damaged if the P.O. was closed (or at least not delivering) 2 days a week.

I'm old enough to remember when getting the mail was A Big Deal. After all, communication among friends and relatives mostly fell into three catagories: face-to-face, telephone (expensive, and there were no answering machines), and mail. Mercantile sales were found in the newspaper, or when you walked in the door, or -in the case of mail-order companies- when they sent a quarterly catalog. Nowadays, none of that is true. So let's have the P.O. go with some of the flow: stop walking in areas that would be more efficiently served with curbside mail boxes; realistic charges for delivery - whether it's a birthday card or an ad; and eliminate service where the service is not needed, such as Saturday mail deliveries.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 11:07AM
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Well, when one works a 9-5 Mon-Fri job, yes, Saturday is needed. I can't think of another way to get something sent certified, return reciept without physically going. Is there a way?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 11:41AM
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It hardly seems worth while to keep the PO open on Saturdays just so a few people can use it once in a while. Most folks would rather take a little extra lunch time during the week than go to the PO on the week-end.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 12:57PM
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Wish I could go at lunch. I am certainly not there by myself on the weekend. Loads of people getting their passports, mailing, buying packaging, checking boxes... Doubt they'd find themselves to be a "few". By the time I walk to my car, get into it and drive someplace--my lunchtime is over--only half done, haven't even driven back or walked back into the building! What needs to be done cannot be accomplished in my timeframe. Likely, I'm not the only one.

Does anyone know if this can be done online and has done it?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 2:03PM
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There is no reason a retail postal center cannot operate on a Saturday even if delivery is curtailed.

Postal carrier was my first 'real' job. I was the first 'femail' they ever hired in that area and era. The old P.O. has changed enormously over those years and I'm not so sure for the better.

I agree that that should not be any discount pricing for floods of junk mail. The postal service does not, nor ever have made a profit on that service. It runs basically on subsidy from first class mail yet with only minor restrictions takes just as much time and effort to get to the customer who probably doesn't want it to begin with. It's called the power of lobbying and the same reason you get junk phone calls because some organisation whines it needs that price break or their business will be ruined.

I agree with Don that there is a lot of politicking concerning operation of the postal department.

The services provided are a fraction of when I worked there. I used to do pickups of the boxes around town. They were put in numerous places and picked up twice daily. Now you have to look long and hard for one, and it's only picked up once a day, instead of twice, and the collection time is mid-morning. The carrier is also not obliged anymore to sell stamps or bring letters back in from a postal box to mail. Even the drop boxes directly in front of the post office are only emptied until some ungodly early hour and then they just let the box gets stuffed to where the mail hangs out the chute and sometimes falls out. Nobody comes out to collect it or make sure it's secure. It's not a 'sacred trust' anymore.

Each vicinity used to have its own sectional center and there were numerous small ones across the state. That's been traded in for one or two mega centers where all the mail in the state is sent to be processed and then sent back. Lots of money went into the machinery and the personnel and there has never been the mail volume to run them to capacity. Waste.

We also used to take great pride in getting a letter to its detination. Once when sorting the mail I ran across a letter to 'John Smith' and the address said lives by the big red barn near the bridge over the creek in Podunk. Words to that effect. We figured out where it needed to go and how to get it there. Now, if you have one number off on your street address, the carrier is just as likely to send it back 'no such address'.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 12:01AM
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I stayed out of this, because it's mostly about the home delivery of mail. But the problem is more serious than that. I don't get home delivery on the county road, consiedred a "private" road.
When we first moved here (in 1984) we rented a P.O. Box, as all the people in the "outback" did, $20.00 per month, were assigned a box # and paid each year.
Then, in response to a class action law-suit, I suppose, we were told we were to get the P.O. Box free, becuase we couldn't get our mail another way - happy dance, fair enough.
So two years ago, new Post Mistress (not a local person)
blocked the boxes. Yes, we could get a free box - smallest size and on top of the row of boxes, could not keep our Box# - no, if we filed a change of address, the P.O. would not re-route to the new box but return to sender
Paid $56.00 per year for the old box to keep our return address.
I had the same box# for almost 25 years, did not want to go through the hassle of address change, so I am paying.
Almost every one I know is doing the same thing. Some are renting a mail-box at a private venue and pay a lot more per month for the P.O. to deliver their mail across the highway to that facility.
The Postal Service is following Homeland Security directions, it is assumed if you have a P.O. box you have doubtful connections and want to keep your home address secret. If you get bank statements and financial mail from a P.O. box you are immediately suspect.
We used to have local people working in our local P.O., now they are strangers, rotating, so you never know who you are dealing with
And the biggest irritaion: local mail is not cancelled and delivered to the P. O. boxes from the site, all has to go to a sorting center and cancelled and returned to the P.O.
Used to be it was sent to Petaluma (175 miles away) but that facility is closed now, so it all goes to Oakland. 200++ miles away, gets cancelled and then returned, local mail in this village takes now 3 days to get to the recipient.
I miss the days when, reading a wedding(or death) notice, one could get a card, write the name of the recipient on the envelope,, pay the postage and the mail-clerk cancelled the stamp and put it into the sppropriate box.
Times sure have changed - and not for the better -

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 12:45AM
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They are closing many smaller PO's but the ones that make the least are in smaller towns and rural so it will create a hardship for those people.

Here is a link that might be useful: Special Report: Towns go dark with post office closings

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 12:05PM
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