Post Office on my mind

I don’t know how long the Post Office has been employing this procedure, but twice in recent memory I’ve received mail stuck inside a “special” envelope from them. See, if your mail somehow gets mangled en route, the Post Office places the crumpled envelope – or whatever pieces they still have – into a flimsy, larger envelope and sends it on the rest of its merry way. In the old days, a mangled piece of mail simply arrived….mangled in your box.

This newish procedure seems okay I guess. I’m not surprised at all that some mail gets messed up. Geez, it’s a wonder no blood or severed digits arrive with the mail given all the fast-moving machinery postal workers use, not to mention the pace they’re required to maintain. As I say, it’s all well and good, to be expected, except for what is printed on the outside of the postal envelope.
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I know many people wouldn’t, but I always read stuff like this. And look for reason and logic. (Therein lies my downfall. Oh hell, that’s probably my whole downfall in life.)

The most important thing the Postal Service wants to get across, if the font size & bold type are to be believed, is that they CARE. This is indeed excellent news because as the saying goes, you can’t have too many friends. Next time I’m feeling low, or want to borrow $5, or need a ride somewhere, I’ll just give the local Postmaster a call. If he or she balks at my request, I’ll set to whining, “But you said you cared!!”

The text is fairly boilerplate: A supposed apology that really isn’t an apology so much on closer reading. After acknowledging how important my mail is to me, it goes on to say that’s the reason they’re forwarding this piece in an “expeditious fashion.” The use of that phrase starts us off on the wrong foot. It’s too high-falutin’ for what is actually occurring. What’s expeditious about it? They mangled my envelope and then put it a second envelope to complete its postal journey. What other options could they have? To sit on it for awhile? To send it off to the Postal Correction Center where pieces of botched mail are painstakingly glued and taped back together before being forwarded so the customer will never know anything went awry? They’re SENDING it. That. Is. All.

Then comes the mitigating. The Post Office handles A LOT of mail so problems are only natural. This sentence – which somebody probably gets paid A LOT of money to write – is a beaut: “While each employee makes a concerted effort to process, without damage, each piece of mail, an occasional mishap does happen.” Awkward! And c’mon, bad sentence structure aside, you really expect me to believe every employee feels that way? In an occupation known for its stress and pressure? I’ll bet some of ‘em have days they’d like to grind up and mangle a whole lot of mail.

It goes on with, “We are constantly working to improve blah blah…” but then they really lose me with this: “You can help us greatly in our efforts if you will continue to properly prepare and address each letter or parcel that you enter into the mailstream.” Huh? What’s this now? How’d we go from a purported apology to a thinly-veiled finger-wagging admonishment directed at the customer’s lackluster addressing and package-prepping skills?? What a twisted way of shifting blame back to the customer! A customer just sitting at home, minding their business, not crappily addressing envelopes or doing a half-assed job of packaging parcels. A customer simply receiving what would be perfectly innocuous mail but for the fact it got caught and damaged in a postal machine. If they REALLY wanted to take this message all the way, they might as well just go ahead and further say that I should pass their thoughts on to my “friends and associates” so that “all of us working together” could maintain the “effectiveness and success” of the postal system!

And, as if they catch themselves, the Post Office wraps up the message by saying they appreciate my “cooperation and understanding” (who says I’m volunteering either?) and “sincerely regret any inconvenience” (you do? How ’bout throwing in a free book of stamps for my trouble, or if that’s pushing the envelope – haha, I’m funny too, Mr. or Ms. Postmaster – make it 3 or 4 stamps).

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32 thoughts on “Post Office on my mind

  1. battlewagon13

    I’m so so sorry if I have subterraneanelously guided you to this epistle. It sounds like one my rants about a one-line news headline. Of course, you’re 100% correct about everything you’ve said here – but aren’t we always? Along the same lines, do you get all excited when the UPS truck stops at your house only to be bringing an advertisement for mortgage dealers in a certified envelope? Am I the only one that gets those monthly?

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      I knew this post sounded a bit like you Tim, but really my ranting side has been here all along, lurking! Yes, we ARE right. Yes, you ARE the only one getting certified nonsense. My nonsense arrives in the usual way crammed in with the incessant cable company flyers.

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      I know! The post office playing the shame game! Kind of takes away a bit from the “apology.” I checked the link – I see I already liked & commented earlier this year but I enjoyed the re-read. It’s annoying when an outfit like the post office assumes everybody just “knows” how they do things.

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  2. Andrew Davis

    Happens often with us. We’ll get the clear envelope and the mangled piece of mail stapled inside. I’m always curious about the state of distress the original envelope is in. Where did the envelope go wrong? Sometimes there will be a rip along the top, like someone opened it and then stapled it up again. Or the filth accompanying the world-weary envelope.
    It makes receiving mail all the more exciting.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      Haha. I was excited the first time I got a special postal envelope although who knows what treat I thought it might contain. I’m with you on wondering where exactly things go wrong. It might be interesting to visit the sorting centers but they probably don’t offer public tours for a reason. I’ve seen film footage and it looked miserable.

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      1. Andrew Davis

        I visited the back of several USPS offices while in my second career of healthcare sales doing open enrollments. This was in the 90’s. Everything was all in cubbies. A wooden slot for every zip code and dissected miscellaneous slots for the weekly circulars. They all had the smell of must and cigarettes. I’m sure it’s changed in 20 years, though.

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        1. writerinsoul Post author

          Interesting. The most I’ve seen is TV footage of employees processing mail by zipcode and being timed. I think a lot of old places of employment smelled like must & cigarettes!

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      The U.S. postal service could give them a few ideas. They are good at marketing, especially with creative stamps – featuring icons, celebrities & such – that people want to collect. Also, they recently (wisely) made a deal with Amazon to deliver Amazon shipments on Sundays when there is no regular mail service.

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  3. Laura L.

    They’ve been doing this a while, since I recall once such envelope years ago. We can, we should point out to them, also help this situation by paying our bills online, writing emails instead of letters, using FED EX instead of the parcel service…. All done to help them not mangle any more mail than necessary! 😀

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  4. Pingback: I THINK it’s big enough | WriterInSoul

  5. Tim

    In my experience, care and generosity are the sorts of things that should be self explanatory. If you need to loudly point out your kindness for someone to notice it, you are doing it wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

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