I ‘ve had snail mail problems since 1988, for as long as I’ve lived in my house. I live in a village that usually has less than 200 residents. Therefore, the postmaster for any year knows everyone in the village.
As the problems continued I reduced my use of snail mail to a bare minimum. Since the postal service decided to raise the cost of stamps by 5 cents in a single increase, it seems likely that other people are making the same choice to use the U.S. Postal Service less. I decided to conduct polls on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to discover how widespread the problems are. I hope to get responses from 1000 people. With 1000 people making similar complaints, maybe we can make enough noise to get the Postmaster General to pay attention. Maybe we can get the U.S. Postal Service to fix its problems instead of raising its prices.
This blog post provides detailed explanations for all of the problems I list in #PaulaPolls1. I plan more #PaulaPolls on other topics.
Many postal workers do their jobs well. They are productive postal workers. Others are pussyfooting postal workers. They pussyfoot around actually doing the work required by their jobs. Another group is probably a mixture of productive and pussyfooting. Postal workers undoubtedly pussyfoot around doing their jobs for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they don’t like the work. Perhaps they are lazy. Perhaps they feel overwhelmed by required procedures. I’m certain that the problems come from both the postal service system and pussyfooting postal workers.
Which Of These Problems Have You Had?
Slower General Delivery
It now takes three days for first class mail to travel between my village and another village three miles away. The mail travels the equivalent of one mile per day.
Months Late Delivery
A friend who lived 18 miles away mailed a thank you card to me in June. I received it in September.
Take A Detour Delivery
I ordered plants. The plants went from southeastern Wisconsin to the Minneapolis area of Minnesota before arriving at my post office in central Wisconsin. Most of the plants were dead on arrival.
Disappearing Incoming Mail
I took an advertising class in college. For one advertising project, I contacted a cereal company and asked for information I could use in my project. When the material did not arrive, I called and talked to the same woman. She said she had sent out the 9×12 brown envelope soon after I called. She sent me another 9×12 brown envelope full of information. When that envelope didn’t arrive either, I asked her to send the information to a friend in a nearby small city. That envelope arrived. I believe the woman did send me all three envelopes because my class project was free advertising for her company’s cereal.
Other mail has disappeared from the village three miles away and from the small city 15 miles away. I know the mail disappeared because it was mail we expected but didn’t get until we had it sent again. Three notices in a row from my bank in the three-miles-away village disappeared.
Disappearing Outgoing Mail
I started paying most bills online after two checks to my utility company disappeared in consecutive months.
I’ve also started calling local businesses when I mail them a check, asking them to let me know when my check arrives. One business told me that other people make the same request.
Mixed Up Incoming Mail
At times, people in my village receive mail meant for village neighbors. We leave mixed up mail on a table for the addressees to find.
Revolving Door Wrong Mail
I twice received mail from different counties that kept revolving back to my P.O. box. The only similarity between my address and the other two addresses was the P.O. box number. The names of the addressees were different (one addressee was a business). The towns were different. The zip codes were different. But in both cases the mail revolved back to my box twice more after I put the mail in the outgoing box. I had to write notes on the envelopes to get the mail to stop revolving back to my box.
Hungry Postal Machines
The last time I had a parking ticket was decades ago. I mailed a check to the police department within the prescribed time. I was unhappy to receive a second notice about the ticket with an added fine. I took my checkbook to the police department to show that I had written a check within the prescribed time. The woman at the desk said, “The machine probably ate it.” Her statement means she had previous experiences with postal machines eating mail. How hungry are the postal machines? We’ll never know.
Partial Procedure Postal Workers
I placed an order that meant parcel post delivery. When my parcel should have arrived, nothing was in my post office box indicating a parcel had arrived. The company insisted the parcel had been delivered. The postal worker insisted she had not received the parcel. After two weeks of my asking about my parcel, the postal worker decided to look through the bigger post office boxes where she put parcels. She found my parcel. My parcel had arrived on time. She had put the parcel in a bigger box, but then failed to place a key to that box in my post office box.
Picky Perfection Postal Workers
For several years, we had a postmaster who refused to deliver mail when the address was not absolutely perfect. One big business owner in the village got into trouble with the state because the postmaster refused to deliver something about taxes. The part time post office employee working with this picky perfection postmaster told me every village resident would be horrified to learn what the picky perfection postmaster did with our mail.
When I was on a jury duty list, I called the county clerk in charge to say that the picky perfection postmaster did not deliver all of our mail and would she please call me when she sent me mail. She told me about a picky perfection postmaster in another village who also refused to deliver mail that was not addressed perfectly. One of the potential jurors lived across the street from that other post office, but the picky perfection postmaster refused to deliver the mail because some little detail in the address was wrong.
Pity Party Postal Workers
Even on one job I had to cope with poor mail service. Decades ago, I did customer service for a company that did its biggest business during the Christmas season. One customer called to complain that her post office had decided to return all parcel post boxes to the companies instead of delivering them to their customers. Yes, you read that correctly. The post office decided to return all parcel post packages to the companies instead of delivering them to customers for Christmas. Apparently, the idea of doing the work of their jobs was just too much for those postal workers. How many Chrismas parties and Christmas mornings did that post office pity party ruin?
Twin Post Office Pity Parties?
Many years ago, I was standing in line at the post office in the village three miles away when I heard an incredible complaint. A woman had delivered postcard invitations for a big wedding anniversary party to that village post office. Half of the postcards never arrived. The half that did arrive had the postmark from the small city 15 miles away. The only way for those postcards to get from the village post office to the small city post office was for a village postal worker to deliver the postcards to the small city post office. Pity party! Did the small city postal workers have a twin pity party and decide to toss half of the postcards? Did twin post office pity parties ruin a big wedding anniversary party?
The Icelandic Model For Postal Delivery
Contrast pussyfooting U.S. postal workers with productive Icelandic postal workers.
“Letter Sent to Iceland with Hand-Drawn Map Instead of Address Actually Arrives at Destination”
My Modern Met
September 1, 2016
The U.S. Postal Service Could Get It Right
I have a hint for the U.S. Postal Service. They should use the technique the late Ken Hendricks (ABC Supply) used to become a billionaire. When Hendricks considered buying a business, he spent as little time as possible listening to the executives. This was Hendricks advice:
“Walk in the back room and talk to the warehouse guy or the forklift operator and say, ‘If you were running this business, what would you do differently?” says Hendricks. “I guarantee if you fixed what they tell you, 95 percent of the time that would be a successful business. These guys hit it on the head all the time. But management never asks them.”
Is the Postmaster General going to be as smart as billionaire Ken Hendricks?
“How To Buy A Business”
Inc Magazine Staff
December 1, 2006
Your Turn To Speak Up
Please join me in holding the U.S. Postal Service accountable for both its problems and its prices. Go to one of the links below to give your responses to #PaulaPolls1. I will keep reposting #PaulaPolls1 on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter until I get a combined 1000 responses.
Paula M. Kramer
Resource Rock Star
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Posts on this blog alternate with posts at the link below. Posts for both blogs are published on Wednesdays as they are ready to be published. Time between posts could be weeks.