Monday, August 4, 2008


It was the second post I did on this blog. It was called "Roadkill...." I thought it would get a response from postal workers, but it didn't. Anyway, here we go again. UPS left a 46 pound parcel on my doorstep Thurs. late afternoon. Wrong address, wrong name, wrong town, wrong zip code. This would never happen at the Post Office. The carriers know every address on their route and often everyone who lives at each address. If they can't find a house (because mailboxes are frequently far from a house in the country or woods) they don't leave parcels on front porches of any house they can find. They don't do it and keep their jobs that is.

This is the fourth time UPS has misdelivered parcels to my house that I know of. Twice my parcels were either left at the end of a dirt road in the middle of winter, when my house is clearly visible all around or dropped in the road (parcel containing glass), reported as delivered while they returned it to the sender three days later. Then twice they have left other people's packages on my porch.

So here we are, Monday, and they finally came back to get it. They didn't knock or leave a note that they had come, they just took it. I know because I was here. But just suppose I wasn't here and actually the parcel was stolen? Then whose fault would it be? Would they accuse me? Not a good way to do business.

I see they finally have gotten some new trucks, but they have not improved service.

Meanwhile my letter carrier, has had his route cut. That means he works 5 days one week and 6 days the next week. He gets 2 days off one week and 1 day off the next. And less pay because the "evaluated" time is shortened. Rural carriers are paid by the day, no matter how many hours it takes.

And people still make "going postal" jokes. How would you react to this treatment?

I met a psychotherapist the other day who leads groups for postal workers. He said he used to include them with others, but soon saw that they had special problems and needs, so he made separate therapy groups just for them. He said he could hardly believe the stories. I told him I don't know what they told you, but even without hearing, I will say this: based on own my experience working for the Postal Service, they are all true.

It's a shame that given the responsibility and the huge, yet fantastic job they do, they still have to treat their employees so badly. They might say the reason the service is so good is because of their employee policy. Who knows.

I prefer to see it the way I saw it when I worked there. I was told that carrying the mail was like a sacred trust. It was not just a job but a tradition, part of the founding of this nation. Benjamin Franklin started it here, but the phrase "Neither snow, nor rain, nor sleet, nor dark of night shall keep them from their appointed task." was said by Herodotus way back during the ancient Greek period when couriers ran documents from one town to another.

Most of the time, I carried junk mail and tons of catalogs, but sometimes, it was a card to Grandma for her birthday from a child in Iowa. The address might read, "Grandma Jones on Westside Road." Well, I sorted that mail everyday and I knew who Jones was on Westside Road. And I knew she was old enough to have a grandchild, so even though the address was incomplete, I could get it there on time. Or the people who waited by the mailbox, expecting a check. I knew my arrival would make them happy, because I knew I had it in my tray.

Christmas was especially good. Yes, we killed ourselves walking up endless slippery steps in the rain, but when someone opens a door and sees a load of boxes from family members all over the country and you are the one carrying them, you get all the smiles. Those were the kind of moments that made all the xxxx I got from management or even fellow employees, bearable. And yes, sometimes I actually miss it. But not right now and not on 100 degree days.


Margaret said...

Being a post person is not what it used to be. Privatization and all that you know. Still you have to admire them. Living in a rural community has made me appreciate my letter carrier all that much more.


seanymph said...

I have the most wonderful mailman. He knows all of us around here. He watches over the houses even and tells us when something is wrong. He even dropped off a car part for an old bf of mine, for free, cuz it didnt fit his daughters car. When he went on vacation for 3wks he warned me. Im glad he did I was gone two of those 3 wks too and important mail was stolen from me and some neighbors. I was able to report it to our PO and tell them it wasnt him , it happened while he was away. Im moving soon to a rural area. I hope I am as lucky up there to have a mailman like the one I have down here now. He truly is a good citizen. I told the PO too. :)

Anonymous said...

Being a rural carrier I truely appreciate the comments and blog, most people tell me what a great job you get to drive around all day LOL. It's sad the USPS treats rural carriers so bady. We (most of us) try very hard every day to do the best we can for our customers. I've had the same issues stated in your blog with ups since they got different delivery people in my area.