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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Going postal

It's hard to believe anyone can match the MBTA on poor service quality. But truth be told, the T is only living down to the champion of the customer is always wrong. Meet the United States Postal Service.

It's bad enough when the letter carrier dumps mail for multiple recipients in a pile on the stairs for you to sort out. Or delivers mail for someone who moved out months ago with a valid forwarding order. Or anyone who lived in any of the units since the dawn of recorded history. Or puts neighbors' mail in your box or vice versa.

Those are just the petty and annoying mistakes. It gets better.

Recently, Mrs. OL and I took a vacation and decided to stop a newspaper and mail delivery, filing the appropriate forms and making the right calls.

Your businesslike and efficient postal service (you know, the one that keeps jacking up the cost of stamps so it can turn a profit) has a nifty online form spelling out all the details. All that's required is for your letter carrier to read it.

That's where the problem starts.

We returned to a jammed mailbox, every variety of junk mail under the sun jammed into the tiny space, crushing the important pieces. Nevertheless, slightly jet lagged, we trundled on over to our local post office. We had to. The stop order required that we pick up our mail before delivery resumes.

To be fair, for the first time in recorded history, there wasn't a line snaking through the lobby and up to the door. In fact, there was no line at all. Except at the complaint window.

After patiently waiting while a customer who works from home explain she could not possibly have missed three "we tried to deliver your package notices" -- and hearing a postal employee strongly insinuate it was all her fault that the package was returned -- out turn came.

The employee oozed with sincerity. "Let me check with the carrier" about why deliveries continued despite the stop order, he said. "I'll call you tomorrow at 8:30 a.m."

That was about 10 days ago. Good thing we didn't hang around waiting. Oh, but delivery had resumed during the time we we waiting at the complaint window. We came back and found a full box.

In the meantime, the ever-so business-like USPS mailed a survey -- how did we handle your complaint? Oh boy, I thought, a chance to get it off my chest.

Armed with my special code number, I went to the special link to log into the survey. It didn't work. I tried again. Same result.

So I filled in the form, (no there isn't a category labeled "you suck worse than Hoover, Oreck and Eureka combined"). Nor did the form have sufficient writing area to spell out the problem or the response. Too many trees would have to die for that kind of space. But, I licked the seal of the postage-paid envelope and dropped it in the nearest mailbox.

That was a week ago. Maybe they are mailing me a response.

At least a disgruntled postal employee with a Uzi hasn't show up on my doorstep. Yet.

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Blogger John Mc said...

Well, definitely blame your local branch for this. I've had great success with short stop delivery orders. Stop putzing around though. Get the number for the supervisor for your local zip code and complain directly. Then also complain to your local 'area' person (like boston or such). Believe or not the people 'upstairs' worry about these things even of local carriers and storefront post offices do not.

September 10, 2007 8:42 AM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

The people "upstairs" don't care in my experience. The person who promised the call that never came is a branch manager. I've battled them on-and-off for years and I know that this complaint went right off into the dead letter office. But thanks for the thought!

September 10, 2007 6:16 PM  

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