Does anyone else feel like there is a big lack of communication when it comes to the post office?
Yeah, I thought so.
I see so many posts everywhere on social media from people who have problems with their mail, looking for answers, frustrated by the same problems over and over, and then those that answer the questions don't really know the answer. Sometimes with the most basic of questions they'll get answered, but there are some comments that are either someone's opinion of how it should be, or just completely off the mark....or they're not answers but other people sharing their own frustrations, which turn the post into a huge gripe fest about how horrible the mail service is.
Customers don't like calling 1-800-ASK-USPS because they're talking to a customer service rep somewhere on a computer who's only help (usually) is to connect them with their local office. Then when you get in contact with the local office (usually the supervisor or a clerk) that person doesn't know anything about your mail delivery until they ask the carrier who delivers the mail. That's why so many people turn to social media.
All of that frustration could be avoided if they would simply leave a note for the carrier, or talk to the carrier in person. There are some really simple things you can do as a customer though, to prevent common issues with your mail service. Believe me, most of these things are NOT high-tech, and won't cost a dime.
1. Make sure you KNOW your address, and when you give your address to people double check that you wrote it right, and that it's legible for them.- Mail comes through all the time with no direction on the street address- if there's a 676 N. Pinal and a 676 S. Pinal on 2 different routes it's hard for the clerk to know which route to give it too. Also, if you move- spend the next 6 months to a year checking every website you order from and make sure you completely DELETE your old address. Amazon, Etsy, Ebay, any stores you order from usually have a quick ship option and it's easy to forget your old address is in their system.
2. If you live in a neighborhood with cluster boxes- mark your keychain with your box number- especially if you don't live at one address full time. Several times this past winter I had seasonal residents trying their keys in the wrong box because they simply forgot. All of those sets of boxes have a number/letter combination, for example you may be in Set 17 box B #12.... so label your key 17-B12. Also, when you move, do the next resident a favor and leave your mailbox keys behind with that tag so they can easily find their box.
3. Label your box. On the inside, tape the (last) names of everyone who receives mail there. Please realize that carriers aren't mind readers. We have hundreds of boxes we deliver to daily (850 in my case)- with multiple last names in EACH box usually. I once had 3 address in a row with the same last name- it's not easy to figure that stuff out.
4.Check your mail- at LEAST once a week. This sounds so elementary, but sometimes the only way you KNOW there's something going on with your mail is if you suddenly have a change in the patterns of your mail delivery. Some customers get 8-10 pieces of mail daily, some only 2-3. If you suddenly have a full week without 1 piece of mail, contact your carrier. Don't wait 2-3 weeks and then be mad because your mail had disappeared. If your box gets so full that there's no room for more, the carrier doesn't know you- people leave all the time and don't change their address, your mail may be returned as unclaimed. If you're picking up your mail on a regular basis this can all be avoided.
5. If you get someone else's mail- give it back to the carrier. Don't write ON the mail. Use a sticky note, piece of paper and tape, whatever, but definitely give it to the CARRIER. It seems like doing a favor to just deliver it to the right address, but if the carrier doesn't see the mail, isn't told what happened or when it happened, they don't know there's a problem. If you consistently get mail for the same number but wrong street it's really not always an obvious mistake. Most likely it will keep happening until the carrier is aware. If you've told the carrier- get some bright paper and tape a note in the box with your address on it, underline the street you're on, and put PLEASE CHECK. I personally have 5(yes 5!) of the same street number on my route- not to mention many, many duplicate numbers. I personally go by name when I can but the substitute carriers don't know names.
One more thing I would like my customers to know. We're NOT lazy (most of us). You may only see us for a couple of minutes per day, but please remember that what we do takes a LOT of preparation, a LOT of concentration, and a LOT of information. Regular carriers do the same route each day- we make it look easy. Substitutes do different routes (sometimes 2) each day. We start the day sorting out the mail and getting it ready, then loading it all up, then delivering it. I get asked a lot if I have to sort my own mail- most people assume we just pick it up and it's all ready for us. Let your carrier know if you have problems for sure, but also let them know if they're doing a good job. It's always nice to feel appreciated and most of the time we only hear about the negatives.