Wednesday, July 25

I am PO'd with the PO!

Back here in April and here in March, I wrote about the problems I was having with the Post Office. You may refresh your memory, if you like.

The only response I ever got (in late May) was from a woman who said she was a Customer Service Representative for the Postal Service. I explained the problems to her and she asked for the envelopes from all the delayed mail I had eventually received, claiming they would "tell her" what had happened to the mail that caused it to be delayed for so long.

You know how you put something in a special place so you'll know exactly where it is when you need it? Yeah, right. I couldn't find them to save my soul! So I told her if I did find them, I'd call her again. Two weeks ago, I found them (right under my nose) and promptly called Ms. Hill. She was on vacation, so I left a message asking her to return my call. That didn't happen; I had to call several times, and this morning I finally got a real person on the phone instead of voicemail.

I had to read the postmark on the letters (which ranged from December 6, 2006 to February 28, 2007), and then the dates on the yellow forwarding stickers, which were either March 5th or March 6th, 2007). Her explanation for the delays was that the mail had been mis-boxed, and the person(s) who had received them had delayed returning them to the P.O. Furthermore, she blamed the mis-deliveries on temporary workers hired for the Holiday season.

Now I can understand a few pieces of mail being mis-boxed by a harried temp, and I can also understand a person taking the mail out of the box and home without checking to see it if was all for them. I have done that too, but I always took the mis-delivered mail back to the P.O. by the next day. I hope others would do that too. I just don't think any other customer held my six pieces of mail for three months! That is a cop-out.

I guess the thing that bothers me the most about this is that I had no response from the local station manager, no response from the local postmaster and no personal response from the Postmaster General of the US. And the woman I spoke with offered no apologies for the poor service at all. She did admit that she had had other complaints about the physical appearance and parking-lot problems at that station, so she was going to report them to the local postmaster.

The purpose of writing this is to ask all of you to be careful if you have a Post Office Box and you close it. Stay on top of the employees there, to make certain that your first-class mail is really being forwarded to your new address. I wish I had.


Elle said...

When I first scanned the headline I thought PO was short for "Parole Officer." :)
I've also received mail that didn't belong to me, but I've always returned it asap. Who would want someone else's mail laying around for 3 months anyhow????

Mahala said...

I'm not crazy about our post office either. They close from 11:30 to 1:00 every day for lunch (I go from 12:00 to 1:00), they close for the day at 4:30 (I get off at 5:00) and they're only open until 10:00 on Saturday mornings. If you live in the city limits, you are required to have a post office box, they won't deliver to your house. I've never seen anywhere like it. We don't even have a stamp machine in the lobby.

ET said...

It is a huge organization that handles a huge volume of mail - with the human element, errors are surely to happen.
And I think the chance of human error increases when long hours six or seven days a week are a factor, which is usually the case.
But, being a retired postal employee I just hang my head and say, "Opps!"

Bob-kat said...

It is so frustrating isn't it! I think they have added insult to injury here. They certainly have Teflon coated shoulders! The fact remains though that are responsible for the safe delivery of your mail adn the fact they had temps or anything else is NOT your problem. It just underlines that something went wrong their end.

I think you need to take this up with head office or a higher manager. None of this is your fault adn even if someone held your mail for 3 months it is their fault that they had it in the first place. It is all just excuses!

I get SOOOOO angry at rubbish customer service. It's more insulting than the initial bad service! I think you have been treated really badly by them.

David said...

isn't it good that the post office is not in charge of blogs?
then we would rant, and they would lose that, too.
there is outright theft in the postal service also, an admirer once mailed me cash, it "disappeared". OOPS

utenzi said...

For the most part I'm happy with the postal service, Judy, but PO boxes are an exception. They pay no attention at all to what they put in the boxes--in the future if I need a box I'd only go with one of those privately run mail box places.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

It seems this is another example of the true breakdown of "pride in one's job"....There are problems here ALL the time with the Post Office...Maybe it was ever thus...BUT, I do think it is much worse in..."They just don't care"...which is what my postwoman said to me yesterday when I mentioned that I knew she had been off the day before because I had outgoing mail and put my little sign on the mailbox and whoever was the delivery person never rang the bell, as asked. And when I mentioned it to Cheryl...she said the above! OY!

Why it took so long for the Post Oofice to respond to yoyu...? Well, maybe it is that same non-caring attitude!

Nancy said...


We rented a condo in Florida once for 3 months. We gave all of our forwarding info to our mailman and he promised to send our 1st class mail to us. The address was 101 Palmtree road.I won't give the P.O. name. Well, we moved in and waited and waited and NEVER got any mail. I called our Northern P.O. and was told that the mail was being sent to us every day and the Florida address was doublechecked again. Still no mail. By the end of the 3rd week I went to the Postmistress in Florida and told her the story. She told me that NO mail was coming through for us.I was frantic because all the IRS stuff comes in then and we had to file our taxes but we had no info.
Finally, we had to call our accountant and ask for an extension which I hated to do.
We never got one piece of mail the whole time we were there and when we got home the first letter we got was from THAT postoffice telling us to come and clean out our P.O.Box and pay the bill for renting it. Mystery solved. Some clerk had been putting our mail in Post office Box 101, and that same clerk never wondered why we didn't pick it up, and never notified the Postmistress that the box was filling up to overflowing .
Meanwhile I am in the P.O. every other day and calling the Postmistress by her first name and she has no idea this person is misplacing our mail. In the end there were NO apologies and the mail was all torn and misshapen due to being crammed in that tiny little box.
What a fiasco!

kenju said...

Nancy, we ought to mount a national campaign to get them to clean up their acts and quit raising rates until they do!!

Rick said...

We have exactly the same problem with our regular (locked) mail box! Every time I call to complain about some missing but confirmed piece of mail, we get a flood of old crap delayed by as much as a year! NO reaction from the PO at all. Not even an "oops." No wonder UPS and the like are putting them out of business.

BreadBox said...

Some years ago I lived outside Toronto, and sent my parents in the UK a card on their anniversary: I sent it by some sort of express mail service run by Canada Post: it took 9 days to get to them: 7 1/2 days to go the forty miles to Toronto airport, and a day and a half to go the 4000 miles to London! The funniest thing is that they had stamped the letter at every location in between where it had rested for a half a day....


Nancy said...


Jay Leno said one night.'The Post Office made $200 million last year.

Just think what they could have made if they had opened that second window.

Carolyn said...

Judy, I agree, I think it sounds like a cop-out. I don't like holding on to mail mis-delivered to me, and I hope others don't keep or toss mine unless it's obviously junk mail, which would be fine 'cause the PO don't fwd it anyway. Since we moved to town, our box is attached to our house. Often, if I put 5 pieces of stamped, outgoing mail in my box, he'll p/up 4 and leave 1. I don't know why-- but it's always the bill that's due the soonest. Harrumph!

Shephard said...

Like Lily Tomlin's character Ernestine used to say, "We're the Post Office. We don't care. We don't have to."

Sad but true.
I think they hide behind the "going postal" excuse and hope we don't get angry and push.

Good advice for people, Judy. Thanks for sharing it. You've inspired me to go return that mail that was misdelivered to me 3 months ago.


Laura said...

I had no idea the PO boxes were such problems! There are three local post offices near me that have several large rooms loaded with PO boxes, so I thought they were popular choices.

I wonder if you'd get better service with the private companies?

rosemary said...

I bought a whole boatload of the "forever" stamps because I sure as heck am not going to pay one more penny for cruddy postal service. We live on a rural route and have our box on our road. Our mail person will cram a box into our average size mailbox rather than just go a few feet more, honk and have me come down to pick up the mail. She has broken 2 box door flaps doing this. She sure as heck leaves her Christmas card yearly hoping for a tip though.

Evil Twin's Wife said...

I can't even go into the problems we have had at our current location without losing my mind (and in less than 5 paragraphs or so) with our local Post Office. The employees inside are nice enough. It's the Postmaster who's a complete flunkie. Ugh!!!

PI said...

Whenever we have an airmail from a relative in the States it almost always has been tampered with.

Carmi said...

"Post Office" and "Customer Service" are oxymoronic terms, in my book. It's no different north of the border, Judy. Almost everyone I know has some sort of crazy story about ridiculous "service" from this organization.

Thankfully, time seems to be rendering the PO increasingly irrelevant. Eventually, the only thing they'll be handling is junk mail. And I'm sure we'd all be perfectly happy to have them misplace that.

Maybe Michele would be able to talk some sense into them.