The US Mail Fail


When I was a young child, I loved watching Sesame Street. One of the bits I remember vividly was the song “These are the people in your neighborhood…” Remember that? Yeah… Good times. Juice and cookies. Furry guys singing. I loved it.

One of the people they talked about in my neighborhood was the postman. I thought that was really cool because I knew the postman in my neighborhood at the age of 4. He wore an awesome uniform, drove a one-of-a-kind Jeep and carried mace (just in case!). Awesome.

Back then, I used to love to go to the post office, too. The clerks were always so friendly and there was just something magical about how you could send a package anywhere in the world… Right from that counter. Amazing.

My how times have changed.

In the last couple of weeks, I have endured several experiences that makes it really easy for me to see why the US Postal Service was a $7 Billion loss last year (yeah, that’s ‘Billion’ with a “B”). If  they weren’t government supported, they would be gone. But would we miss them? I doubt it.

Here are some of the moronic things I have encountered:

  • When ordering stamps online from the USPS site, expect to pay $1 for them to mail them to you (WHAT?!) – and – for it to take 9 days to arrive (even though they will tell you 5-7 days).
  • Being a government agency, don’t expect them to open until 8:00 am (even though that’s when the majority of working adults need to be at work!). Oh, but be prepared for the window to actually open at 8:07 (by their clock) and for the clerk to not have change so you will have to use your credit card for an $.88 purchase.
  • Do NOT expect the post office to carry all of their stamps. They have 8 or 10 designs. That’s it. Don’t ask for others. They don’t have them.

Can you imagine a private business trying to compete like this? It would never work! People wouldn’t put up with this BS… And, apparently, they’re tired of putting up with it from the USPS. A $7 Billion deficit and the elimination of Saturday deliveries is a testament to that.

In this Digital Age in which we live, we don’t really need the USPS anyway, do we? I mean, we have UPS, FedEx and a plethora of other carriers to deliver packages. Email is quickly replacing handwritten notes. Bills can be accessed online. These are all quicker, cheaper and more effective ways of communicating.

Heck, even the most famous postman of all-time, Mr. Cliff Claven, said, “They did a study between postal workers and chimpanzees. They proved chimps were 32% slower. Of course, they were better with public relations.”

But, you know what? I still like the idea of the post office. I just wish they would pull their heads out and run things like a private company would.


9 thoughts on “The US Mail Fail

    1. Thank you, sir.

      And, yeah… I liked the Claven reference a lot. I was also thinking of adding a gem from ‘Newman’, but since I can’t stand that guy, I had to stick with just Cliff. 🙂

  1. Well, the post office in Yukon is pretty darn good. I can’t say that the postal clerks smile much, but they’re efficient and good at what they do.

    My complaint is with our mailman. We had the best mailman in the world for many years–Chuck. He was always happy. Always helpful. Got out of his car and put the mail in the box if the teenager had his car in the way. Personally handled the annual mail forwarding. Brought packages to the door. Asked about the family. He was a dream. He spoiled us. Oh how we miss him.

    The new mailman is surly. He would never do anything extra. He doesn’t deliver mail if the car happens to be by the box. And he couldn’t smile if he tried. None of my new neighbors will ever know what a truly great mailman looks like.

    1. Their customer service skill are next to non-existent.

      Well, I don’t know every single person in the USPS, but from what I have encountered recently, they are rapidly declining.

      Sad, really.

  2. This is eerily reminiscent to the adventures in bulk mailing I have been having lately at my job. Starting three months ago, I began making a monthly run with a small assorted bulk mailing to the BMEU (big business post office) on Reno. Each time, this awesome friendly buff blond guy helps me unload the packages from my car and get them where they need to go, check over my paperwork, etc, etc. He is so great! Last Friday, I was making my monthly drop off, and the loading dock was deserted. I wandered around until Mr. buff blond guy found me and offered to get me a mail cart. He sent me inside to get a clerk to check me in. I do, and the clerk says “ok, let’s go back to check over your packages” but when we get to the dock, no one is there. he says “where are the packages?” and I say the blond, buff guy in the blue shirt went to get a cart. The clerk says “we don’t have any blond employees back here.” A minute later, blondie shows up with my cart, and I say “see, him!”. Come to find out HE DOES NOT WORK FOR THE POST OFFICE. He works for a local mailing service and has just happened to be there every time I dropped my stuff off. He’s gone out of his way to help me EVERY SINGLE TIME. I couldn’t believe it. That guy gave such a wonderful impression of the mailing house he worked for (Presort First Class, if anyone is interested) and when I found out he wasn’t USPS, I thought… ahh, now that makes more sense. He blew the PO employees outta the water in customer service. I am still in shock and awe over that incident.

    1. Heh, heh… That is awesome! The best employee they have works for someone else. Take THAT, Nuuuuuman! 🙂

      Thanks for posting, Mia.

  3. So true. Excellent blog post. Customer service is so important and the USPS just doesn’t get it!

    1. Amen.

      When I started working at the Little Giant Pump Co., Gabe Zablatnik was the president. One day, I was giving a tour to some visitors and we ran into him in the hall. Gabe stopped us, introduced himself (just his name – no title) and asked what they thought. After some Q&A, we started to move on, but one of the guests asked him “What do you do here?” Gabe didn’t miss a beat, saying “I’m in customer service.” As you can imagine, the group was really impressed later when I told them that he was the president.

      Gabe got it, though. We’re all in customer service. It is Job One.

      Thanks for the comment, Sarah!

  4. Until I read this I didn’t realize how bad off the USPS has became. It is certainly understanding with the rise of UPS and FedEx. I guess you have to go by the old saying “desperate times calls for desperate measures” and it sounds like they are getting pretty desperate.

Comments are closed.