Friday, September 10, 2010


A follow-up on the postal worker

Last week I wrote about a postal worker who spewed a foul tirade while he delivered the mail. Frisky070802 suggested, in the comments, that I should talk with the postmaster about it, just in case this really indicated trouble brewing.

I decided to do that.

I got the phone number of the office the guy works out of, and called it. I called at 9:00, at 9:20, at 9:30, at 10:00, and once or twice more on Wednesday morning. No one answered the phone.

I had to mail a package, so I made a point of going to that post office to do it, about 1:30 Wednesday afternoon. When I was done, and the clerk asked if there was something else she could do for me, I said that I’d like to speak with the postmaster about another matter. She said she didn’t think the postmaster was in right now, but she’d check. She told me that the postmaster had told them never to page her, and that she — the clerk — had never been able to get the postmaster to come out and talk with anyone.

The clerk asked if it was about my mail delivery, and I said yes, sort of. She paged the supervisor of the carriers, instead, which seemed right. He didn’t respond to the page. She tried again. Then she paged the customer service manager. He also didn’t respond, even after she tried a second time, and a third. Finally, she gave me his direct phone number, and said that he wouldn’t answer when I called, but I could leave a voice-mail message that way. I thanked her for her help, and left.

I did call the number, I did get voice-mail, and I did leave a detailed message. I left my number for a call-back, but, given my experience at the station, and what the clerk told me, I don’t expect to hear anything.

This is horrendous. The customer service manager, and he won’t come out and talk with a customer? They don’t answer their phones, ever? And the postmaster, the overall supervisor of the place, tells people never to page her?

I know they’re busy, but really: they have jobs they’re supposed to do, and part of the job of a supervisor — and especially of a customer service manager — is to deal with customers who need something that the front-desk staff can’t help them with. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect them to handle this sort of thing.

I’m going to try to report this whole incident somewhere else in the USPS, though I have no confidence that anyone will do anything. Maybe I’ll write my congressman about it, the next time the USPS wants to raise the postal rates.


Sue VanHattum said...

But can a congressperson do anything? Isn't the USPS semi-private now? (Whatever that means...)

That urge to privatize public services will never make them like regular businesses, and seems to make them worse. Amtrak, also semi-private, is an embarrassment - can train service be worse?

Barry Leiba said...

It's a regulated company. Its rates are controlled, and they have to get approval for rate changes.

Thomas J. Brown said...

What drives me crazy is that my neighborhood post office is open during regular business hours. You know, when we're all at work and can't go to the post office. Go at lunch, you say? I would, but everyone at the post office is at lunch too, except for a single desk clerk who lackadaisically assists a line of people that often stretches out the door.

Brent said...

If they won't answer their phone, maybe you should try a registered letter :-)

HRH said...

Perhaps, you may want to file a complaint, with the “New York State Attorney General”. Normally, I have used them, for consumer fraud cases, however, once I filed a complaint against the DMV and I was happy with the end result. They act rather hastily to respond to the consumer’s complaint. Check out their web-site for consumer complaint.

Brent said...

@HRH - but it is a federal "agency", NY would have no jurisdiction?

HRH said...

@Brent: That's a good point!