Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I really don’t like doing business with the United States Postal Service. After all, I gave up licking stamps and paying bills through the USPS nearly 20 years ago when my old Macintosh SE/30 was connected to CheckFree (the online banking approach of the 1980's). So why did two recent events rattle my cage so much?

I mailed a letter to my sister (who unfortunately does not have email access) and incorrectly addressed the envelope by only one digit in the address line. Today I received this returned mailing stamped “outside of delivery area.” Now I admit, I don’t know what "secure system" they have engaged to determine when a letter should not be delivered, but it seems that someone in charge of mail going to 138th Avenue in Holland would be familiar with her name. But, no! The address incorrectly listed as 5178 instead of 6178 prompted something in their system to remove my letter from delivery status. Returned letter, new envelope, new stamp, walk to mailbox.

A few days ago I needed to pick up a certified letter at the post office since their attempt at delivery didn’t find me at home. Honestly, how many working people really are at home in the middle of the day when USPS delivery is attempted? Well, my next discovery was that this taxpayer is certainly not “next in line” at the local post office. Only two postal employees were at the font desk in a futile attempt to serve a continuous flow of customers. I held the lobby door open as I began the not-so-patient wait all the time hoping my mail carrier wasn't attempting another delivery at this very moment. That would have really sent me over the edge.

Okay, I have to give them some credit: I did know the postal clerk and she did know me, so it wasn't that I had to prove my identity with a driver's license. They did have my certified letter. But what happened to those great days when my uncle walked his route in the village of Spring Lake and even delivered a letter addressed to Ruby Cluttendon? Who was this Ruby guy that lived at our house? I guess someone had difficulty reading my signature. Go figure.


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