I worked for the United States Postal Service for 26 years. I would like to give you a view from that perspective. One of the hardest things as a carrier filling in on a route you don’t know is “where is the mailbox?”. Common sense says front door, you can see it from the street. More often than one would think that door is locked, you go to the driveway (don’t walk on the lawn) and sure enough don’t see it on side of the house. Walk up the driveway open rear door, still no box. The regular carrier knows you place the mail in the little basket on the table on rear breezeway. The carrier filling in just spent three minutes in search of a box.
Three minutes may not seem like much but if you have to do it twenty times during your three hundred deliveries, your an hour behind.
Where’s my check
This isn’t as bad today now that direct deposit is popular, but back a few years ago it was a nightmare. Customers all seem to feel the mailman has one job, getting their check to them before the bank closes, just them, the rest of the time they do nothing. Today direct deposit may have taken away the check issue, the Internet has killed most of the magazines. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by management. As carriers like myself either retire or have to leave due to illness they are not replaced, instead routes get longer. Automation has cut thousands of jobs, carriers get out of office earlier than they did, routes get longer, less people hired. This time of year is the worst, not because of the heat, vacation time. Those carriers searching for the mailbox increase. A carrier who has been doing this for a while knows a few secrets to staying hydrated. Freeze water, as it melts it stays cool, as a customer offer your carrier a cold bottle of water, many have a cooler in truck, but the offer is a nice gesture.
A question I heard often was “what about the dogs?” 99.9% of dogs are great. I was bit twice during my time in uniform, I wish I could say the same for customers who didn’t get their check. Verbal abuse almost always followed after”check your bag again”, like it happened to jump in the bag.
Carrying mail is not for everyone, you spend many long hours alone trying to stay on time. Technology has hurt the Post Office and carriers are feeling it because they are being watched via GPS. Each carrier is issued a scanner for delivery of packages, customers know when a package is delivered because of this. Carriers also have scan points on each route, as well as being monitored live. Add that to the mailbox hunt.
I enjoyed my time in uniform, it was cut short due to illness. The thing to remember is the Postal Service is there to serve you. Use it when possible for should the day come it shuts down life will change. WE DELIVER FOR YOU.