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Chasing The American Dream

May 26, 2008


Round 1: 12:38 p.m. I walk into the Coconut Grove Post Office. First reaction? Everything is normal. There is a huge line, there are too few employees to help, and it’s hot as hell in the building. It took me 22 minutes to get to the front of the line. I had my package all ready to mail except for the label. Why? Because there were no priority mail labels in the little self-help section and there were no pens to write on your label should there have been any. The postal employee weighed my package and gave me a label and told me to step to the side until I filled out the label. She called, “Next,” before I could even say anything. Naturally, the next person had some complicated transaction and I was forced to wait 15 minutes for a label that took me a whole 45 seconds to fill out. During those 15 minutes I’d built up enough anger to really let this lady have it. But that was the old Plantation. The new Plantation could calmly discuss his difference of opinion with said postal employee. I explained to her that I didn’t think it was fair to push me aside for a label that took me less than a minute to fill out, and that had they properly supplied the self-help area, I wouldn’t have had this problem in the first place. Let’s just say I didn’t receive a whole lot of sympathy from her. OK, now onto the actual mailing of the package. She asked me if there were any breakables, liquids, blah blah. I didn’t really think about any possible consequences so I answered honestly, “Yes.” I was mailing back Andy’s cologne bottle that he left while he was here. The postal employee apologized and said I can’t mail the cologne. No perfumes, liquids allowed unless…unless I could tell her the explosion point of the bottle. I told her I left chemistry behind in the 10th grade and I walked out. Round 1 winner: USPS

Round 2: May 7th 12:30 p.m. I walk into the Downtown USPO. Short line. Wow, my lucky day. Mom’s having trouble with the State of Vermont Department of Taxes. So I have to mail all her tax support and her tax return (being the good son I am, I do her federal and state tax return) back to her. I had her Mother’s Day card also and just figured I’d throw it into the folder and mail it all together. Priority Mail once again. 2-3 days arrival time. I never buy the extra services like delivery confirmation, signature required, or insurance. It’s a box of papers. Why bother? I called mom on Mother’s Day and she can’t figure out why I didn’t send her a card? What??? That box should have arrived Friday at the latest. I told her to let me know if it showed up the next day. Nope. So I went back to the USPO and asked them if they could trace the package. Well, since I didn’t buy any of those frivolous extras, there was no way to track the package. The postal employee thought there was still a chance it could arrive at its intended destination but if worse came to worse, it would come back to me because I had a return address on the label. Two weeks pass and there is no sign of the package anywhere. Round 2 winner: USPS

Round 3: May 21st 12:15 p.m. I walk into the same Downtown USPO, but today there are tons of people. I’m the 10th person in line and it is extremely hot in there. Unbelievably there is only one cashier. If each person takes 5 minutes, it’s gonna take me 50 minutes to get to the front. Another weird thing is that there was actually another employee in there. But she was simply telling us where to stand in line. I was really dumbfounded as more people entered and waited. 20 people in line and only one cashier. Who is the brains behind this outfit? I wouldn’t have to be in there if they hadn’t lost my package, but I had to re-mail my mom’s tax return. Well, it ‘only’ took me 45 minutes to get to the front and I think I sweated off around 5 pounds. Yes, this time I paid the extra and got delivery confirmation for my priority mail. Another lunch hour ruined by the USPS. Round 3 winner: USPS

Round 4: May 23rd 8 p.m. I get home and checked my mail and almost passed out when I saw the mangled box in my mail slot. The lost package found its way back home. It had taken a beating and had holes down both sides of the letter box. I checked the package to see if there was any clue as to why it was not delivered. There were two such clues. An Air Force One Stamp for $4.60 and a blue label that said, “Important Customer Information.” I read the blue label. And I quote in exact replicate font, “We regret that your mail was not collected or is being returned to you due to heightened security requirements. All mail that bears postage stamps and weighs more than 13 ounces MUST be taken by the customer to a retail service associate at a Post Office.” Hmm, seems to me I held up my end of the bargain. I was the customer, and I went to a retail service associate at a Post Office. But it seems the retail service associate at said Post Office slapped a stupid stamp on the package instead of metering it properly and violated her own heightened security rule. Round 4 knockout winner: USPS

Why is it that any U.S. corporation can balance their budget but our own government can’t. What’s the budget deficit these days? How many trillions of dollars? And the poor USPS, they must get their budget cut down to the bone. I think the employees who work there are actually very nice but the system they work under is clearly broken. I’m sure this is not a priority fix for the next President, but I for one, would love to see an improvement.

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  • You have the WORST luck, I swear.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:50 PM, May 26, 2008  

  • Dude. W-o-w. I know the post office and postal system is a real pain-in-the-ass, but you tip the scale.

    What about using their online services (www.usps.com)? My husband uses it all the time and has no problems. They even pick up your package at your front door!

    By Blogger catsteevens, at 6:30 PM, May 28, 2008  

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