We saw a lot of great changes with our move into the country eight years ago. Unfortunately for us though, better mail service was not one of those positive changes.
Over the years, we’ve had many issues with our mail carrier. And what’s more, our postmaster is not responsive at all. In fact, she’s almost impossible to contact. This is a real problem when there’s an issue in need of resolving but my husband only has access to three business hours each week at the post office. (The post office is too far for me to walk to, and since I’m blind, the only recourse I have is phone calls.)
I realize we’re not the only folks in the country who’ve ever had issues with our mail. It was just particularly surprising to us because until we moved to the homestead, we’d always dealt with really professional folks who were great at their job. Unfortunately that’s not the case now though.
I remember when the problems first started. We ordered a set of cordless phones from Amazon. Amazon and USPS claimed that the package had been delivered, but we couldn’t find it. It wasn’t in either of our enclosed porches, it wasn’t outside any of our doors, and it wasn’t in the mailbox. Turns out, the package had been thrown down in the driveway. No attempt was made to put it in a place where it was protected or even visible. It actually looked like it had been tossed out a car window.
Over the years, we continued to have issues with packages and certified letters. We’d get notices in our mailbox claiming that an attempt was made to deliver our item but no attempt was made. Then later, packages started getting delivered outside regardless of weather conditions. I got tired of wet or missing items, so I contacted the post office, and I was told that they weren’t allowed to open doors to dliever items without express permission, so we gave them express permission. (Remember, we have enclosed porches, but they are just that — porches.)
I thought things were going okay until a few weeks ago. We got a notice from the post office claiming we had a package but it wasn’t delivered because “no turn around”. We were perplexed because nothing had changed on our property. And since it was a Saturday, my husband was home. Nobody had come onto our property that day.
Of course I couldn’t call anyone since we got our mail after normal business hours, but I did call the post office first thing the following week. The person I talked to claimed that they had a “no backing” policy for safety reasons and our mail carrier didn’t feel safe on our property. I tried to get some more details, but the gal on the phone basically said, “I can’t determine what makes others feel safe.” Okay, I can accept that, but I still couldn’t figure out why our property was suddenly a problem. Our property has had the same configuration since before we owned it, and until this month, USPS was delivering packages in a timely manner.
I was annoyed. My husband was annoyed. It seemed like the mail carrier’s refusal to deliver our packages was an issue of laziness or unprofessionalism more than anything else. My husband and housemate get off this property every day of the world with nothing more than a three-point turn. Even large delivery trucks come on and off the property with nothing more than a three-point turn. So what’s the deal here? I can understand if you don’t want someone backing onto the state highway on which we live. I can also understand if you don’t want someone backing off the highway, but that isn’t necessary.
Given the circumstances, my husband filed a complaint. We expected to have some sort of reasonable discussion with the postmaster, but that wasn’t what happened. I was sitting at home minding my own business when the phone rang. I didn’t recognize the caller ID and the person on the other end of the line was agitated and unprofessional. She didn’t appear to know who she wanted to talk to, and after several offers to take a message, I was finally able to guess that I was talking to our mail carrier.
The upshot of the phone conversation was that she was going to come to our property to take pictures to prove why she couldn’t deliver packages. After I hung up with her, I told my husband that I didn’t really feel comfortable answering the door when she came because she was so hostile. When the bell rang though, I changed my mind and decided that I’d go out and talk with her. When I got to the door though, she wasn’t there. She was backing out of my husband’s parking spot. So apparently she CAN maneuver on our property when she’s here to show how she can’t maneuver on our property. I was really upset.
Shortly after the mail carrier’s visit, my husband’s complaint was marked as closed despite the fact that nothing had been resolved.
So fast forward to December 20.
- 8:07am — one package shows in the USPS system as “out for delivery”
- 8:22am — second package shows in the USPS system as “delivery attempted, Notice Left (No Secure Location Available)”
- 10:00am — I went up to the mailbox to see if we had our mail yet since supposedly a delivery was attempted. No mail.
- 11:37am — The first package (along with that day’s mail) was delivered.
When Fred came home at lunch, he was obviously upset and frustrated. That package that wasn’t delivered contained a prescription medication. Since our post office isn’t open between noon and 1:00pm though, he couldn’t go to the post office to collect it.
Fortunately, my housemate was available to go to the post office for me. She went fifteen minutes before it closed, but our package was not there. Where it was, we have no idea, but we could only assume that it went home with the mail carrier since she finishes her route between 1:00pm and 2:00pm (or so I was told.)
We ended up retrieving the package two days after it got to the post office. Since it was right before Christmas, we figured there wasn’t anything we were going to be able to do then, but we had plans.
Today (December 26), I decided to call the post office at the county seat. My postmaster was on vacation (which always seems to be the case with her when we actually need something), so I thought the postmaster in Columbus might be able to help.
I found the direct dial number for the Columbus post office, and when a friendly voice picked up on the other end, I said, “Hi. My name’s Sarah and I have a question for you. You may or may not be able to help, but it’s worth a shot. Do you happen to know if you guys have an jurisdiction over the post office in my town?”
“No, I’m sorry, and I would know because I’m the postmaster.” WHAT? Not only was the postmaster friendly and professional, but she was the one who answered the phone! I was shocked!
For now, we don’t have a good solution to our issue. We won’t be able to attempt to have a conversation with our postmaster for ten or so days. In the meantime, I’ll have to ship packages that come USPS to my husband’s job or I have to pay extra to avoid them altogether. I don’t have any other course of action until I can have a conversation with the postmaster. VERY frustrating!