Thursday, March 7, 2013

Please, Mr. Postman

When I see this truck parked on my street, it's no guarantee that you will be getting your mail any time soon.  Indeed, it usually takes about four hours for our postman to cover the four blocks around my apartment.

One of the great mysteries of life.  The United States Postal Service.  Bloated, overpaid, and there are days when my guy doesn't show up until almost 6PM.

I know it's probably a sin to complain about these beacons of American life.  Rain, sleet, snow.  You know the adage.  Nothing stops them.  Well, come to my neighborhood.  When there was a mailwoman on our beat about two years ago, she regularly took an hour and a half to have her lunch in the truck.  One day, I saw her reading the latest Entertainment Weekly while choking down a Subway six-incher.  

And, yes, it was my Entertainment Weekly that showed up with a mustard stain in the corner.

Unfortunately, I'm still a little old school.  I like sending mail.  I like getting mail.  I am one of those relics who hasn't given in to paying my bills on-line.  I hear my father's voice in my head, even though he didn't live long enough to see the technological boom of computers and such.

"Don't give your credit card number to anybody you don't know."

And I don't.  So, I write out a check to the phone company.  I put it in the envelope.  I put a stamp on it.  And I put it in the mail box, which you can certainly find a lot less of them in 2013.

99.9% of the time there is never a problem.  The payment goes to where it needs to go.  So, in that respect, I salute the United States Postal Service.

But let's not make the salute a week-long event.  There are serious problems with them.

They have better pension plans than you and I.

They have better health plans than you and I.

They have better benefits than you and I.

Yet, some do nothing more than sit on a stool all day.  And spend most of their time trying to protect their manicures as they type in how fast you need your package to get to where it is going.

Very soon, they won't even be working on Saturdays anymore.  And this will mean that your weighted-down Monday mail might be showing up as late as Jay Leno.

They say that the Postal Service is losing money because nobody sends letters anymore.  It's all e-mail.  Okay, guilty as charged.  Lots of folks are paying bills on-line.  Okay, not me, but I get that is a growing trend.

But that's not even one-tenth of the money loss.  The USPS is in financial doldrums because of a union that is so cushy it might even be a country club that Groucho Marx would like to join.

And, despite that, the service of the individual letter carrier is starting to completely fall apart.

Here in my land right now, we have a bizarre relic now delivering our mail.  Clearly in his 70s, he reminds me of Mr. Bojangles.  Oh, he's very friendly when you run into him.

"Hiya, buddy."

Except he sometimes shows up long after you've locked your doors at night.  Meanwhile, I look at his route and he starts the process of delivering mail to this neighborhood  around 10AM.  The maple syrup in Vermont doesn't drip that slow.

Not that it's any better when he's off for what is likely his six or eight weeks of vacation a year.  I ran into the guy on the beat yesterday while he was sorting our mail into the appropriate slots in the lobby.  He was laughing to somebody on his Bluetooth the entire time.

This morning, most of us had dumped our mail on the table in the lobby.  It seems everybody got at least one envelope that should have been delivered to somebody else.

So, let's not necessarily wax romantically about the US Postal Service.  That would be an obviously misguided message.  Just like my electric bill this month.

Dinner last night:  Leftover spaghetti and meatballs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tell me about it. One former postman could not arrive before sunset. Imagine waiting all afternoon then getting your mail delivered after dark. Why not skip it and show up tomorrow, asshole?

I don't live in the boonies. It never snows here. It never freezes over. We have months and months without rain. What's the problem, L.A. Post Office?

How could you not deliver during daylight? And how could the service vary so radically depending on who is schlepping my mail?

I've had great carriers. I've had horrible ones. It's the same neighborhood, same weather, same junk mail and bills. Why do you employ these Leroy-Come-Latelies?

And why did you remove the only mailbox on my street?

And why don't you have more than one clerk at the post office?

I'm not waiting for your answers.