A Post Office Rant!

Martha Scott
July 6, 2019

A rant!

My newest postman is lazy. My. mailbox is not on my house but rather is on a post in FRONT of my house. Sizewise it is about the size of two shoeboxes on top of one another. It's big and even small packages can be put INSIDE the box! And unlike my neighbor to the north and my neighbor to the south, he doesn't have to go on my porch to deliver the mail. Being on a post in front of the house saves him steps. It's on a direct path from when he leaves the north house to the south house.

The new postman continues to put the mail in the slot only as far as he needs to in order or it to stay. Which means a part of the mail is OUTSIDE the box.

It rains here. Normally I'm home and I do get the mail as soon as I can. However, I've had some wet edges over the period that he has delivered my mail. Nothing that didn't keep me from reading my mail but just irritation that the edges of my magazines are wet (and I hate that since I pay dearly for magazines) because when they dry they're crinkly.

If it is raining he DOES open the back of the box and stuff the mail inside (there is no lock on the back -- it's open) but if it isn't (even though it might look like it could) he just shoves it in the slot.

The mail was delivered yesterday (when it was dry) but it rained after. I was gone. I came home to every piece of mail being a soggy mess. Two newspapers that were soaked, a soaked catalogue and two envelopes that were wet (but not quite as wet as the newspapers because they were mostly INSIDE the box but they were damp). Because he had just "tucked" the mail into the slot. As wet as it got, he might as well just laid it on the ground at the base of the mailbox!

I took my soggy mail and went to our post office and asked to speak to the postmaster. The window clerk looked at what I had in my hand and said "oh, my" and got a supervisor. "You're the one with the red box aren't you" he said. "Yes, but it's black now. I repainted it". He used to deliver my mail and said when he did it, he used to open the back and put the mail in. "The new guy doesn't" I told him. "He only puts it in as much as he has to so it doesn't fall out". Another guy came out. He looked at the mail and said "You're the one with the red mail box aren't you". The other guy told him it was black now! He also used to carry my mail and he did the same thing -- opened the back and put the mail inside. He was the acting postmaster and gave me his email and his phone so I could call if I had more problems. They kept my newspapers and will call the newspaper to see if they can send two more (obviously as wet as they no one was going to read them) and they were going to dry out my catalogue for me.

I was sorry to have to report our mailman but what he did was ridiculous and lazy. My dried out catalogue is supposed to be delivered today and it will be interesting to see where my mail is -- hanging out the slot or inside the box!

Comments (90)

  • Funkyart

    I am not going to go into all the reasons the mailman's delivery of package to an unprotected area IN THUNDERSTORMS is ridic.. I think they are obvious. However, I will say that all the previous mail deliverers delivered to the side porch. It's not only protected from the weather-- but from the view on the street. I have never had an issue with packages being stolen-- but others in the area have. It's just common sense. I am not asking for special treatment-- I am asking that packages are left where protected. No additional steps. No additional work.

  • Raye Smith

    Typically the box will be marked with "U.S. Mail" in raised lettering somewhere on the box.

    Martha Scott thanked Raye Smith
  • patriciae_gw

    Funkyart, write a nice note. Some people really object to people wandering around their house. How is your carrier to know? Nothing like saying what you want. The PO used to supply plastic bags to protect packages, they don't around here now to save money.

    I know that most of the mail is presorted now-come in long gray trays from the sorting centers. The PO want the carriers to take it out in the trays. Some raw(PO speak) mail comes as well and magazines and packages are only sorted to the route so some sorting still goes on. The carrier has to blend all this stuff (hence the missing magazines?) Remember they have hundreds of boxes and homes to service. We don't pay much to mail things here compared to the rest of the world and the PO cant raise rates without congress agreeing plus they have to do it all in all sorts of arcane ways. there are some very bad carriers but in the main they do the best they can. I know rural and city carriers(one leads to another) I have learned the most astonishing stuff over the years. I volunteered for our local foodbank collection that the PO does in the spring for years when I was still able. They volunteer their time for that.

  • Martha Scott

    Raye -- oh, that's for rural mail/car delivery not a walking route. And yes, it is my understanding that there are approved boxes and height of pole it sits on is regulated as well as the location from the street (how many feet the pole has to be) for car delivery.

    Ours is a walking route and there is not a guideline for mailboxes on a walking route -- most of which are attached to houses (some houses even have slots in the door or next to the door for the postman to put the mail through). We've had this mailbox for 28 years or so (perhaps a tad longer) and until this postman have never had a problem.

    It's really easier for him to get to our box where it is than if it WAS on the porch -- it's a straight shot once he gets off the neighbor's porch to our mailbox and then on to our other neighbor and up on their porch. If we had our mailbox on the porch, it would be like the other two sides of the triangle -- so twice as many steps for him.

  • Martha Scott

    Oh, and another thing. Every. Single. Time. We go on vacation, we ask that our mail be held and then delivered to us. He delivers the mail the day that we're back but doesn't bring our accumulated mail. So I have to go to the post office to fetch it. Which always leaves me questioning why it's an option since in my case it never is. But I think that's his laziness. He knows if he doesn't bring it that I will go get it!

  • functionthenlook

    Cool mailbox, but not functional. Apparently it is problematic for you becaue your mail gets wet and apparently problematic to the carrier because the mail does not drop easily down into the box from the slot. He shouldn't have to open the back to deposit the mail. The front is where the mail is suppose to go. Maybe it is time to get a new mailbox and everyone's problem is solved.

  • Raye Smith

    In the USPS there are regulations for everything, I would doubt that there aren't any regulations for walking routes. After all, they are a quasi-government entity.

    Following up on functions post, what if you turned the box around so that the door would be at the front?

  • Martha Scott

    function -- for 28 years or so the box has worked until we got a new guy. Even my former carriers (who are now an assistant postmaster and a supervisor) said that they just put the mail in the back and it wasn't a problem for them.

    Raye -- I looked and could not find "regulations" for home mailboxes for walking routes. Only what I call "country routes" where the mail boxes are out by the road and mail is delivered from a car. And if you turned the box around, it would look dumb.

  • functionthenlook

    Just because something worked for years doesn't mean it will always be the same. I think you were just lucky that for 28 years the P. O. took the extra time to reach around the back to put in the mail. Did you nicely talk directly to the new mail carrier about the wet mail problem or did you run directly to their boss to complain ? Do you tip the carrier at Christmas? Yea, I know they arn't supposed to accept tips, but. ........ A little tip goes a long way for the extra service your mailbox requires. Our carrier drives back our private road which she doesn't have to do to deliver packages that don't fit in our box at the main road. She could require us to pick it up at the post office. A little Christmas cheer goes a long way during the year. I was talking to our mail lady and with increased mail order and adding more mailboxes to carriers route to decrease personnel they really have to move to be finish with their deliveries by the end of the working day.

  • Raye Smith

    Tip a postal worker? Never heard of that one, leave them a Christmas card yes, but not money.

  • Martha Scott

    Function -- it really isn't extra time -- it's as easy to put the mail in the back as it is to try to jam it in the front slot (because you have to make sure that it stays and it doesn't fall to the ground)-because not getting it in and falling to the ground is more of a no-no than making sure the mail is dry.

  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio

    RE vacation hold: here, it has been the rule that one must go to a certain location to pick up held mail yourself -- the carrier will not deliver it. It's been that way for many years.

  • functionthenlook

    Yep, depends on your zip code if they will deliver it to the house or you have to pick up your held mail. I have both options.

    Yep, we tip the postal worker and garbage man. Not much. Usually just a gift card from the local chain grocery store. The carrier will deliver our packages down our private road and the garbage man will take on the rair occasion we have something that they really aren't allowed to take.

  • hcbm

    I am sorry you are having problems with mail delivery. In rural Pa. where I have a second home I had a carrier for a while that even the supervisor said was a pain in the a**. Everyone on the route including the supervisor was ecstatic when he retired. In NYC I tip both the mail carrier who happens to be fabulous and the very well paid municipal sanitation workers. I live in a multi unit condo complex and the Condo Board gives each sanitation worker $100 each. The complex never gets a ticket for trash issues. I personally give the mail carrier an American Express gift card for $25. Tipping in NYC is a way of life.

  • murraysmom Zone 6a OH

    You can tip the mail carrier. They are allowed to accept no more than $20. At least that was the limit when my friend, Kim, was delivering for us. My carrier that became my friend was the best we ever had. She knew all the dogs and gave them biscuits, never had a problem with the dogs at all. She knew all her residents on her route and everyone loved her. Her particular route at the time was a coveted one and they have to put in their request if there is a change in carriers on a route. We lost her when she took the test to become a supervisor. I'm still friends with her and I brought my dogs up to see her at her new post office location. She just is a very, very nice person.

    At some point the post office redistricted our area and we became a partial route so we had an endless parade of carriers because we weren't a full route anymore. I think enough people complained that that changed because we have a permanent carrier named Rocky now. He's a pretty good guy. Not as friendly as Kim was, but he's pretty good.

    I agree that with the introduction of free shipping by Amazon, the post office's load increased tremendously. They often have a guy in a truck who delivers nothing but packages, even on Sunday! On the other hand, I'm sure the post office welcomed the business.

  • Martha Scott

    We have both options and I always check deliver but he doesn't so I go get it.

  • Elmer J Fudd

    We give our USPS carrier $50 every year. Our vacation hold mail is always left next to the front door as are all packages (even those that could fit into the mailbox). There's no mail theft issue in our neighborhood but I think he likes making the extra effort.

    Whether our gifts are the reason for our excellent mail service or not doesn't matter, we give year end cash gifts to thank all our service providers.

  • rob333 (zone 7a)

    Mine refuses to pick up mail. I have two outgoing bills I'm mailing for my mom that have been there for days. I'm about fed up. If he skips it today, I'm calling and complaining. NOT bringing them to the post office. I work. I can't get there during their hours. Not going to make it easier for him either. Grr!

  • PRO

    I'd rather eat nails that tip my awful mailman. The same goes for the garbage men - they invariably leave my household waste can smack dab in the middle of the driveway. When I go into my basement garage to go out, I have to remember on "trash day" to look and see if it's in place. It never is but it's easier to move it before I get in the car than to have to get out (carrying my oxygen!) to put it back in place. Why offer house-line pickup and then not replace the can where it was found? We pay for this!!! Our subdivision is a Sixth Class city and our property taxes pay for the city to have a contract with Waste Management.

    The guys that pick up the yard waste (must be at the curb - yard man comes and puts it out as it would be hard for me to do these days),always throw the lids in my flower beds that are there. If they must throw them, why not on the gravel pull-off instead of smack dab in my perennial garden that is there at the corner of the driveway and pull-off!

    Do you all also tip your UPS/FedEx drivers as well? Only the trash pick-up people are paid low salaries - the others are very well paid.

  • functionthenlook

    Our garbage man puts the can back where we place it. Our can is supplied by the township and the lid is attached. Our last house I would find my cans in the driveway and the lids in the garden. Tipping solved that problem. $25 once a year isn't going to break me. If it kepts the lid and can where it belonged it is well worth it.

    I haven't had a fedex delivery for a long time. No we don't tip UPS , but most of our deliveries are by Amazon drivers and it is a different driver all the time.

    If you only pay for the basic required service that is all your going to get.

  • pennydesign

    I'm with function here, I think. Is all of this worth it?

    No matter how lovely, if something causes enough problems that I get heartburn over it, I generally will take the route that gives me less grief. I would get a new mailbox.

  • maddielee

    Obviously your cute mailbox doesn’t work for the amount of mail that you receive. You might want to look for another option.

  • Raye Smith

    I always tip at restaurants and at the hair salon. I've never heard of tipping the mailman or garbage collection, is this a tradition in Canada? In the country we take care of our own trash, it really it much easier that way.

  • functionthenlook

    Raye Nope, I am in the US. What do you do with the garbage like cans, glass, foil, plastic, etc? You can't burn it. Or do you just create your own dump on your property.

  • maifleur01

    Tipping depends on the situation. I for one if I would ever have the same collectors for more than a couple of weeks would gladly tip at the holidays simply as a thank you for the work that they do. They are out there in all kinds of weather and the collectors work hard. My normal mailman is switched to package delivery and since I have known him for 40+ years we would both feel odd if I gave him a tip.

  • patriciae_gw

    It is against postal service regulation and federal guidelines for your postal person to accept any amount of money. They can accept gifts up to the value of $20 with a cumulative value of $50 for the year. I give my carrier a small gift at Christmas. I usually give a nice Christmas ornament-value about $10. If they don't want it they can pass it on. No gift cards either. Lots of people ignore this but your carrier could be fired if they get a Post Master who is a stickler for the rules.

  • Olychick

    Anglo, you might check with your trash collection company to see if they have special services for people with ADA issues which make moving the cans difficult for you. They just might.

  • Raye Smith

    Function, we have drop off locations around the county that include recycling. I don't use a can just one trash bag every 7-12 days. For larger items we have a landfill to drop of furniture, appliances and yard debris. I like being able to drop off the trash at my convenience instead of a set schedule.

  • Elmer J Fudd

    It's hard to understand why you think having to make trips to haul your own trash is more convenient than putting out a wheeled bin on a regular schedule.

  • Uptown Gal

    Your mailman is paid by your tax dollars...they are Federal employees. You

    really shouldn't be tipping them with money. A card, small gift at Christmas...ok, if it isn't worth more than $20.00. Do you tip at the local

    Social Security office, the IRS office. DOL, DOD, etc.? (not trying to be

    mean...but it is the truth of the matter).

  • rob333 (zone 7a)

    can't help someone who knows it all and has clean garbage....

  • Elmer J Fudd

    No, not at all. Note that the main thought in my question is about the choices being "convenient".

  • Elmer J Fudd

    You know what works for you but it's easy to see when driving through a neighborhood on "trash day" that few hold your view. At least in my area.

    Today happens to be trash day here and there are bins in front of every house (I just came back from an errand). We have three - trash, recycling, and yard waste. I wouldn't for a moment consider hauling it myself and I think most share my view. Dump runs are infrequent, they're not conveniently located for regular visits.

  • functionthenlook

    I wish I could burn my trash and take the remainder to the dump, but it is not allowed in my township. Instead we have to wheel this huge heavy garbage can up the driveway every week. Plus the recycling can. My driveway is short, only 100 ft but in winter it feels like your lugging that thing a mile. Convenient it is not. Elmer have you ever lived in the country. Driveways can be very long and unpaved. It is much easier to throw it in your vehicle and take it to the dump when your out and about.

  • Elmer J Fudd

    " Elmer have you ever lived in the country. Driveways can be very long and unpaved. "

    No. It doesn't appeal to me for a variety of reasons and the possibility of inconvenience for trash disposal is one of what must total dozens and dozens of reasons why. Although, I can recall seeing refuse bins when driving through many rural areas. Trash disposal is a public health concern first and foremost but I wouldn't assume or presume to know anything about other areas.

    We once lived in a house on a couple of acres (but in a residential area) and the paved driveway path to where the bins needed to be taken was downhill and then uphill for a fair distance. I hated taking out the trash. Where we are now is much shorter and easier.

    It isn't something I need but our trash company does offer off-road pickup for an extra charge. Or, you could hire a neighborhood kid to do it.

  • Elmer J Fudd

    " Maybe others just haven't thought it through enough "

    Really? I suspect it's the opposite, it's something requiring little thought to figure out what's easiest. When 90+ percent of people come to the same conclusion, that the charge is worth the convenience, there's nothing more to think about. But I agree, there's no one path to happiness. When you're loading your refuse and putting it in your car (yuck) to take to the dump, I'll go to a brew pub with friends and explore their offerings.

  • Raye Smith

    Nope, you haven't thought it through. Tossing a bag every week or two weeks in the back of the pickup and going to a drop off facility that I'm already going past while running errands is much easier than trying to pull a bin over a tenth of a mile on gravel in heat or snow. My bag is light and there's nothing yucky in it, no smell. I do the same thing with food packaging that everyone that has a can does, store it in the freezer until I'm ready to take out the trash.

    At the facility you drive up and toss the bag into a ground level container, no fuss - no muss. Takes less than a minute to do.

  • IdaClaire

    Good lord.

  • Raye Smith

    There are some neighbors that contract private garbage pickup. The trucks are here between 5 and 6 in the morning, bang, bang, banging away. They drop the bins wherever in the street so on that morning, driving becomes a dodge the bin game. Then we have frequent wind storms and the empty bins can end as far as a mile away from where they started.

  • Elmer J Fudd

    "you can stop trying to sound like your way is smarter now."

    What I was trying to explain was that it's not hardly just my way. You're in a small minority, likely a small single digit percentage one. I don't think you've discovered a great idea others have missed.

    Raye, I'll put your suggestion on a list of why I should buy a pickup truck. That won't be happening anytime soon. If you want to store your trash in the freezer, again, you should do that but without thinking you've discovered a great idea others have missed. I'm happy to prefer having food in my freezer and trash in the bin.

    " the empty bins can end as far as a mile away from where they started."

    Sometimes they get pulled over for speeding on the interstate, I'll bet.

  • Raye Smith

    Elmer - I been in many friends kitchens, when there's something like meat wrappings, bones every lady puts the item in a bag and tosses it in the freezer, there's nothing new or novel about something that's been done for decades. If you put that kind of stuff in the bin and let it sit for several days in over 90 degree weather than bin must stink to high heaven.

    Sixty to eighty mph winds are common here (at least once every month or two) and yes, that can easily push an empty bin over a mile downhill on the street.

    If you don't want a pickup truck that's your decision but I can easily haul a ton of dirt/rock, sheets of plywood, help friends move something, etc., it's well worth it to me.

  • Raye Smith

    Function - Amen, you hit it on the head with NPD! I'd never heard of it but it does fit Mr. I must insult everyone.

  • Elmer J Fudd

    Another instance of profound internet knowledge spreading has just taken place.

  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio

    The post office is a federal agency, but does not receive tax dollars -- they are required to operate with only the revenue from the business.

    After our neighborhood was designated a "training route" and we had new carriers dropping mail in yards and streets, misdelivering constantly, a sudden increase in missing mail, and so forth -- I stopped ever putting mail out to be collected, and make the effort to go into the post office to drop off my outgoing mail. Even with working 12 hour shifts, it is an easy detour for me, only 1.25 mile from my house. I won't even use the drive up boxes along the street, because items were disappearing from those also (this last year the culprits - who had keys to the drop boxes - were caught, but this wasn't the first time and won't be the last I am sure!) The building is open to the inside drop boxes, scale, stamp machine and private mail boxes 24/7.

  • Elmer J Fudd

    I believe the USPS receives subsidies sourced from federal funds.

  • Indigo Rose

    In my area, a lot of people use private trash haulers, but don't think there are only a few of us who prefer to bring our trash to the dump. People are pulling in all the time during dump hours, and I live in a fairly small town. Why do some of us consider it smarter to DIY? In my case, and also for my daughter who lives nearby, WE decide when to go, and I never have to roll a barrel out to the street in the dark if I'm home late, in the rain, if it's snowing, icy, freezing cold etc. or haul it back in the am or after work. And if I want to go more than once, or multiple times, I can. No stinky trash hanging around until the trash haulers come, and if I'm not feeling well, or not home, I don't have to get it out to the street. We use bags bought through our town, and I've never had one leak in my car. Ever. And similar to Raye, it's easy to pop in while doing errands. Like going to the post office and the bank. All are just a few minutes away........I haven't received mail at my house in years as my PO Box is my official mailing address for everything. No worries about stolen or wet packages and they sign for packages while I'm at work. Mail at the PO and trash to the dump = a win win for us.

  • functionthenlook

    Indigo, I possibly can see the number of people that use trash haulers higher than people taking trash to the dump because like my current and last township and many townships around my area trash collection is mandatory. We don't even have a choice of the hauler or the trash cans we use. If we were allowed to dispose of our own trash I bet those numbers would be different.

  • Indigo Rose

    Function, at my last house, there was an annual fee, and the city supplied large lidded different colored barrels for trash and single stream recycling. Here, there are a number of private haulers, and the barrels are mini-sized compared to the old place. My town offers dump stickers for about the same fee my old place charged for curbside pick-up, but then to bring trash you must then buy town bags, large or small, the large costing about $3.00 each. One does tend to start thinking carefully about packaging, and purchases given the cost. My old city sold stickers for putting old furniture and stuff on the curb. Here, there is no provision for getting rid of bulky items, so again, makes you consider carefully...As long as my town has a dump service and recycling center, I will gladly prefer using it. I've never heard of mandatory trash collection!

  • jojoco

    My small village in upstate New York had a very popular dump. It cost $20 a year for a pass and you were guaranteed to run int everyone you knew. The guys were very helpful and on one occasion notably referred to themselves as Lord of the flies.

  • Oakley

    When we built in the country it never crossed my mind about what to do with trash. Then we found out we had to burn it or drive to a dump many miles away. We did both but it was a pain.

    About 20 years ago a company started renting dumpsters. I love it. The dumpster is emptied every other week, bright and early.

    I'm a bit peeved at them right now. Because the dumpster faces north, a good strong wind blows the lids open. No problem really, I'd get the mail and put the lids back. Until a raccoon decided to take up residence nearby. I'd lay in bed and hear one of the lids going up and down and the next morning I noticed he got into the trash.

    We found a big cinder block and put it on top of the lids and try as he might the Raccoon couldn't open it. Most of the time I remembered to take the brick off so the trash guys wouldn't have to deal with it, but there were other times I forgot and the brick would end up in the grass. The last time I forgot, they deliberately put the brick in their truck! How do I know it was deliberate? Because I was laying in bed hearing the lift thingy going up and down over and over and I couldn't figure out what they were doing. The brick was gone. Grrr.

    Anyway, if you live in the country where there's hardly any traffic, get a dumpster. I take the trash out when I get the mail. Easy.

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