Saturday, March 16, 2013

Mystery Mail Bingo

Just a few months ago, our mail delivery was perfect. Beyond perfection, even.

Our mail arrived each and every day at the same time of day for seven-and-a-half years. Packages that were marked "Do Not Bend" weren't. Packages too large for our mailbox were hand-delivered to our door. Packages and parcels belonging to other people were not mixed in with ours. We were spoiled.

At least, that's how the United States Post Office must have considered us, because the new year brought the announcement of a change. Our mail carrier, Kim, was retiring and another would take her place.

What I've learned over the past few weeks is that the Post Office for the village in which we live does not directly hire employees as mail carriers. Why? I don't know, and neither does anyone at our local Post Office. Someone, ages ago, determined that's the way it should be and that is how it has remained from farther back than living memory appears to serve.

Instead, a contract specialist two states away in Maryland solicits and reviews bids from anyone literate enough to complete a form and who also happens to be interested in managing one of the many local delivery routes in our area. Past experience is supposed to be taken into consideration, but in this case it doesn't seem to have been a priority.

These days, our mail delivery is one of the greatest mysteries going. A local bookie could clean up taking bets on all aspects of service:

  • Time of mail delivery;
  • Percentage accuracy of mail received;
  • Whether or not you received any mail at all;
  • Whether or not outgoing mail left in your mailbox for the carrier to take with her remains in your mailbox at the end of the day;
  • The number of days outgoing mail remains untouched in your mailbox;
  • Number of days you receive mail without a single piece of it being addressed to you or any other member of you family;
  • The number of bills you neglect to pay because you never received your statements;
  • The number of confidential documents (bank statements, credit card applications, car registration renewals, medical bills, W-2 forms, etc.) you receive that are not addressed to you;
  • Whether or not the carrier understands why mailboxes have those little flags on them;
  • How many mailboxes the carrier runs down before she acknowledges having run over any;
  • How many pieces of mail are lodged between the cushions of the backseat in the mail carrier's car on any given day;
  • Whether or not the mail carry can read.
You see? The possibilities are endless!

In response to the postal mayhem, I'm doing my part by calling to complain every few weeks to keep our local postmaster apprised of how abysmally horrendous mail service continues to be and spreading the name and mailing address of the contract specialist in Maryland to all who live along our delivery route.

I would post it here, but it's probably illegal and I'd end up getting subpoenaed, or audited, or cavity searched, or some silly thing like that. So just shoot me an email and I'll respond back with it so you can write the guy a letter, too. Just make sure you don't leave it in your mailbox for the carrier to take.

© 2013 Mark Feggeler

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