Orphaned Coyote Pup

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Contacting the US Postal Service

I had an enlightening, in a way, experience earlier this week. When I stopped to pick up my mail at my neighborhood community mailbox station, I noticed that the uppermost parcel box had had its door pried open. There were no keys in the door, which usually means that the box holds a package for one of us who share the station. The keys enabling access are put in our smaller letter box, which is also locked, by the postperson so we can access the parcel box and get our delivery. No package in the ruined box that day.

A few minutes later I sat down at the kitchen table to begin a frustrating series of attempts to let someone at the Post Service know about the break-in. First I tried my non-emergency police department number, where an operator answered promptly and let me know that problems with mail theft belong to the federal government. He gave me two long distance numbers to try. First, though, I called the Pino Station. The phone rang until the phone service cut in to tell me that no one was answering and for 95 cents I could free myself from waiting for an answer and the service would let me know when the call was connected. I gave up on that one and went on to the long-distance numbers. The first number rang and was answered by a pleasant fellow who told me that I had reached the night number; try this other number, he said, and I would get to the correct office on to which I could pass my report.

By this time, I had invested maybe 20 minutes in my effort. I tried the new long-distance number and it rang for quite some time, finally getting answered by someone who said hello, and then hung up on me. Enough, the hell with it, I said, let them figure it out on their own.

A while back I put on the web a spoof press release about how the US Postal Service had decided to undertake a radical new cost-cutting measure in mail delivery. Instead of going through the costly, time-consuming process of sorting mail and placing it in residential mail boxes for delivery, trucks would now simply dump the mail into a pile at the end of each block, allowing customers to gather and sort through the mess themselves. I was just kidding.

Or so I thought.

The next day, still trying to be a conscientious citizen, I went online and filed my report.

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