How stupid can you be? (USPS related)

We live in a very small town. Because our house is so close to the post office, they won’t deliver, so we get a P.O. Box for free.

Now, I know it’s Christmas, and there’s millions of Christmas cards and presents winging their way across the country, and God knows, at 37 cents a pop, it’s a bargain at twice the price.

Yet, on Saturday, we ran out of stamps. I knew that neither Ivylad nor I would get to the post office until the next Saturday, and that was too late to send out Christmas cards.

Remembering that I used to order stamps by mail up in South Carolina, I enclosed a check for $37 along with a brief note, asking that 100 self-adhesive stamps be put in our P.O. box with our next day’s mail. I dropped this off in the incoming mail slot on Sunday.

There was no stamp on this envelope.

I put our return address sticker, but all I wrote in the address portion was “(Name of Town) Postmaster.”

No stamps yesterday in our box.

Oh, well, says I. Maybe they didn’t get around to sorting the mail until Monday afternoon, so we should get our stamps on Tuesday.

Ivylad checks with the postmaster today. It turns out that this letter, with no stamp and no address is on its way to downtown Orlando. Despite the fact that I did not put it in the Orlando outgoing mailbox!

As I said, it’s a very small town! There’s not that much mail that stays in town, and I would think the fact that there was no stamp and addressed only to the Postmaster would have been a clue that maybe it wasn’t supposed to be mailed!

Maybe my reading comprehension isn’t up to par today but perhaps all the mail is sent to Orlando for sorting?

Sorry about that. So does that mean all your Chrimus cards are going to be late?

In my very small former town of 350 residents, there were two boxes for outgoing mail.

There was the Town mail and the Out of Town mail.

Anything put into the Town mail was hand cancelled and immediately put into the mailbox of the person it was for. Anything put into the Out of Town mailbox was sent to Pittsburgh for sorting.

The postmaster there was often not very good at putting mail in the correct box (we got mail for everyone whose box was near ours), but was good at such things as noticing that a letter dropped in the Out of Town box didn’t have a stamp, and putting one on. She’d then leave a note in the mailbox of the preson who sent it to pay for the stamp. She did that for me once when I forgot to put the stamp on my student loan bill. I realized it six hours later, went to the post office, and paid her.

There are two mail slots, one for in-town, and one for Orlando. The one for in-town clearly states “ONLY,” so I thought I was safe dropping off an unstamped, unaddressed envelope to the attention of the Postmaster in that mail slot.

see you sent a piece of mail. You addressed it to the Postmaster. Sure you addressed it to Postmaster of “Ivytown”. But Ivytown probably doesn’t have a post master. They’ve only got a clerk. So if’n it’s goin’ to get to a Post master then it got to go to Orlando, I’d think. The clerk doesn’t know what’s in the envelope. Is the clerk supposed to open the envelope? What if you were complaining about the clerk to the postmaster and the clerk opened the envelope.

Don’t stores sell stamps in suburban Orlando?

Merry Holidays.

  1. The USPS does have special envelopes to accomplish what you are looking to do. It gives the clerk or mail carrier a heads up of what it is you want to do. If this is something you want to do on occasion, pick up some next time you are in the post office.

2)The USPS makes its permanent personel decisions based on the early May volume. That is the time that the volume is lightest. The volume this week in december is 30% over average and something like double the early May volume. They do a little light hiring of what they call casual employees, the rest of it is dealt with by forcing overtime. Some casuals are ok, some don’t have another job for pretty good reasons Their training is minimal at best, and the regular employees haven’t seen a day off in weeks. In a small post office this most certainly includes Sundays.

  1. People send unstamped mail all the time. Sometimes they forget, sometimes they are playing a credit card float, sometimes they are running a scam to get the government to pick up the tab. Usually the post office employees catch them. This time of year those mail boxes in front of the post office are emptied between three and 5 times a day. Sometimes a person has to climb in and unjamb them. They can have up to 1000 pieces of mail in a small mail box, somehow each piece of mail is not individualy perused for meaning.

  2. Although the USPS has not removed those mail boxes labled In Town they are making it manditory that all mail get sent to central processing sites now. They think they can remove the cost of hiring more clerks by doing this, and also they got burned a couple years back by a mail carrier and a post master running a drug money laundering scheme through the mail by use of the local boxes. ( Pretty sure i can’t find the site on this one but i can look)

  3. You may not realise it, but you put people who are tired, desperately need a day off, and just want to get off their feet, in the position to guess what it is you want. Maybe if they only had that piece of mail to deal with it would be apparent, but your average clerk is dealing with thousands of pieces of mail a day, and are expected to be processing 70 pieces of mail a minute. As much as they would love to help you get your Christmas cards out on time, they are not going to spend one or two minutes guessing what it is you are looking for. Give them a break and write it on the outside or use one of the envelopes designed to let them know.

Um, if you live so close to the post office that they won’t deliver, can’t you just walk there and pick up the stamps yourself?

Yeah I know…

:::smacks self with the “that’s not the point” stick:::

why don’t you just buy them online from