The U.S. Post office won't give me my mail

The U.S. Post Office Won’t Give Me My Mail

I’m getting to be an old grouch. Seems like every time I turn around something else goes wrong. I live in an apartment building and the tenants pick up their mail from mailboxes that are located next to the elevator in the garage.

For the past year, I’ve turned the key in the lock and — voila! — there is my mail. Until yesterday. My key stopped half way in and I couldn’t make it budge. I tried my spare key and even used WD40 thinking that might help. No such luck.

I learned to my dismay that the U.S. Post Office (USPS) won’t give me my mail.

Give Me My Mail!

I pasted a note on my mailbox in big red letters, “Postman: My key won’t work. Can you help?” The note was still there this morning (so much for a tip at Christmas). So I hopped in the car and drove to the post office.

I explained my problem and was told that possibly a new tenant moved in, requested the lock be changed and the post office locksmith made a mistake. OK, things happen. So, can you send someone to fix it? Today is Wednesday and their locksmith only changes/fixes locks on Wednesday and he was already done for the day. I’ll have to wait until next Wednesday to get the lock fixed and access my mail. What?!

Where is the vaunted service the post office brags about? I checked the USPS website and not a single thing about this problem. To add insult to injury, I can’t pick up my mail at the post office while I’m waiting for the lock to be fixed. I would have to stop home delivery, but then I would only be allowed to pick up my mail ONCE during this period. Am I having a bad dream?

Is This Good Customer Service?

I have to wait a week for my lock to be repaired and if I stop delivery I’m basically denied my mail. What the heck is going on?

The agent behind the counter tried to be helpful, “Why don’t you wait around for the postman and when he arrives to deliver the mail, ask him for yours.” I live in Florida and it’s 90 degrees — hot and humid and, based on my observations, the postman usually shows up within about a two-hour window. That would be fun, to stand there sweltering for the privilege of getting the mail that the post office owes me.

USPS reported a net loss of $5.1 billion in FY 2015. Postmaster General and CEO Megan J. Brennan reported that revenue was up but, “To maintain this success we will need to continue our efforts to grow the business and drive operational efficiencies.” That’s word speak for “we’ve got to cut expenses.”

Too bad they can’t afford to send a locksmith so I can get into my mailbox. I don’t know why I’m so upset: most of what I get is junk mail. But it’s MY junk mail.

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  1. The government is NOT known for its customer service Jeannette. In general customer service is still not up to par even in industry. I can remember Tom Peters on stage at one of the business conventions I attended, talking about different people and the crazy situations companies were negligent with delivering a positive customer service experience. Be grateful Wednesday is around the corner. Be grateful for the downtime from the junk mail. be grateful you were inspired to write this post from the experience!

    • Patricia — So much correspondence is by email (including junk, of course) that I’m too worried about missing something important. And I pay my bills direct from my checking account. It’s the principle, darn it.

  2. Another true and great post, Jeannette!

    USPS now partners with companies like FedEx and UPS to provide local delivery for parcels transported to the “last mile” by the private carrier. The service is called SmartPost.

    Last year I placed an order for an old fashioned Day-Timer, which is now owned by a huge corporation. They shipped the package by SmartPost at no additional cost. The package was to be delivered to my office at the time, which had a staffed reception area from 8:30 to 5 every day. The package was addressed correctly, complete with the suite number.

    The day the package was to be delivered, I checked the carrier’s website (I think it was UPS). The package had been marked “incorrect address” after NEVER attempting to deliver it. Here’s what I said, the USPS received the package, never removed it from their facilities to attempt delivery (to the correct address on the package), and returned it as undeliverable.

    The story gets more fun. When I called Day-Timer to tell them what happened, their disinterested “customer service” rep told me if I had paid for upgraded shipping rather than taking the free option, I would have received my package. I couldn’t resist; I replied “so I can take the ‘free shipping’ option and never receive my merchandise, or I can pay if I really want to receive the merchandise I paid for.”

    The USPS is broken. Sadly, as most organizations have now become part of large corporations, they are broken as well.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Jeff. Your story had me laughing, not funny laughing, but “are they kidding?” laughing. Gee, I’ll never let a company send me something without a delivery charge again! I agree, all these mergers are supposed to improve service, when in reality they are intended to cut costs, people, and customer service.

  3. Hi Jeannette, well you have summed up nicely why the United States Postal service is going under. I can’t believe their brilliant suggestion was for you to stand there for 2 hours and wait for the mailman to show up….like you have nothing else to do. Even on a beautiful day that is just a ridiculous suggestion. I hope you get some resolution soon. Never know what you want might be missing out on in all that junk mail. 🙂

    • Susan — Basically the agent told me in so many words that it was my tough luck. I have it marked on my calendar next Tuesday to stop by the P.O. to be sure the locksmith is coming on on Wednesday.

  4. Sorry to hear about your problems with US Post, Jeannette. But I’m not surprised. Postal authorities all over the world have a tendency to behave like bureaucratic dictators. Lamentable that they are allowed to behave like that considering that not getting your mail can cause all kinds of problems and cost money.

    It also seems to be extremely difficult to get them to change their behaviour and be responsible. Whatever mistake they make they are not responsible. We are.

    Hope the problem is sorted out soon.

    • Catarina — I’m going to the post office tomorrow to be sure they send someone on Wednesday — the only day of the week when they repair locks. Ridiculous.