Enter Postman

Another episode in my ongoing contretemps with the world. One more of these, I swear, and I become a Buchananite Public Choice theorist, Nancy MacLean be damned.

Online complaint to the U.S. Post Office, Bloomfield, New Jersey:

Your menu doesn’t allow me accurately to describe my issue. This is the second time I’ve complained about this. My mail is being misdelivered now every single day. Some days I get someone else’s mail. Some days I get no mail. Some days the mail is left on top of the radiator in the foyer of my building but not delivered to boxes. A debit card that was sent to my address last month has not arrived. There has been no improvement whatsoever in the mail service since my last complaint [March 3, 2017].

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Response from the U.S. Post Office:

Dear Postal Customer,

This is in response to your recent inquiry.

I was disappointed to learn of the situation you have encountered with misdelivered mail.  It is certainly not unreasonable for you to expect your mail to be delivered properly, and you have every right to receive better service.  To ensure that this matter is immediately corrected, appropriate action will be taken.  Moreover, we will monitor the delivery of your mail for a period of time.  In the meantime, I would appreciate your contacting my office if this situation is not resolved to your satisfaction.

Please accept my sincere apology for any inconvenience you may have experienced.  Every effort will be made to serve your future needs in a manner more consistent with your expectations and our standards.

Please accept my sincere apology for any inconvenience you may have experienced.


Ursella Dawson

Supervisor Customer Service

Yeah, that’s what you said last time–in March of 2017.

Respondeo, via The Marvelettes:

Just to be clear: there are four units per building: A, B, C, and D. The postal carrier’s job is to deliver A’s mail to A, B’s to B, C’s to C, and D’s to D. It’s not to scramble the mail, or play musical mailboxes with it. It’s not to leave the mail around in the foyer so that it can be stolen, thrown on the ground, or thrown in the trash before it’s opened. Nor is it to deliver the mail to the right box, but try one’s best to crush, tear, or otherwise destroy it en route.

Requesteo: Just put my mail in my box, in tact, close the box, put everyone else’s mail in their respective boxes, close those, and so on. How difficult is that? How does anyone manage to get it wrong every other day for fifteen months, after promising last time not to do it again? 

So many days you passed me by
See the tear standing in my eye? 
You didn’t stop to make me feel better
By leaving me my debit card or a letter

Please, Mr. Postman, just put the mail in the right mf box, for once. I know you can do it. Please.

Update, June 26, 2018: As I say in the comments below, they misdelivered the mail again on June 22. I called Ms. Dawson to “follow up,” but she wasn’t in that day. And apparently, no one else in the Bloomfield Post Office was equipped to handle customer service issues: when Ms. Dawson is out, customer service at the Bloomfield PO simply grinds to a complete halt. This despite the fact that she’s a “supervisor” of customer service: whom does she supervise if no one else works in her department? So I emailed her, but the email bounced back: she has an email address listed, but it doesn’t work.

I don’t have dogmatic views on whether private firms offer better service than public agencies, but I’m at least moderately receptive to the idea of privatizing the Post Office. My own experience with area post offices has been mixed (some are excellent, some, like Bloomfield, NJ and South Bend, Indiana, suck), but (a) I don’t see why the U.S. Post Office should have a monopoly on first-class mail, and (b) don’t quite see why the government should be in the postal business in the first place. (Should it be in the fast food business? The residential or commercial real estate business? Should it have a monopoly on over the counter medications?) As it stands, it’s obvious that they have no incentive to improve their service, and every incentive to offer half-assed pseudo-service. The Economist gets the last word on this one:

If Congress has struggled with even minor postal reforms, is there any hope that it could pass a sweeping one? It can take inspiration from how Britain privatised Royal Mail. The government should assume USPS’s legacy pension and health-care deficits, to make it more attractive to investors, and also placate workers by giving them shares in the new company. Republicans would need to accept that the government should not pull the rug out from underneath retirees, and realise that if taxpayers do not foot the bill for their benefits, consumers will have to instead. Democrats would need to concede that the purpose of policy is to benefit the public, not to justify the existence of government jobs and state-owned organisations. Privatisation might not be what Mr Trump intends. But a large dose of the free market is what the post office needs most.

2 thoughts on “Enter Postman

    • They lost my debit card, then they lost my employment contract. Today, three days after I get their response above…they’ve misdelivered the mail yet again! Today, I got the mail for Apt. D. I guess the occupant of D got my mail, which includes my replacement debit card. So I call Ms. Dawson above, and turns out she’s not in today, and no one in the entire Bloomfield Post Office can deal with customer service complaints, because those exist uniquely in her computer. Who knew that a person with so much power over complaints could do so little about them? So I’m supposed to call her tomorrow–exactly what I want to spend my Saturday doing.

      Ironically, Bloomfield PO and Whitehouse Station PO get the same ratings on Yelp, except that Whitehouse Station’s customers sound more entitled than Bloomfield’s, and make heavier demands. Also fewer of them and a much smaller Post Office.




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