A Letter from the Postmaster


I received the following notice with my mail: “Dear Customer, the Postal Service depends on you to meet postal requirements regarding delivery and collection of mail to curbside boxes. Please keep the full approach and exits to your mailbox clear, as illustrated in the examples below. Removing trash cans, snow, vehicles, and any other objects from the area allows the carrier to deliver your mail safely and efficiently without exiting the vehicle. Your cooperation in this matter is sincerely appreciated.  Thank you. Your Postmaster.”

To explain: our house in on a small court with limited parking and space. It has a one car garage with a short ramp leading down to the court. The mailbox is located right beside this ramp. It has been since the home was built in 1973. I always enter the house through the garage, which often has some project going on as it did when the Postmaster sent me his notice. So I park my car in front of the garage, which means the mail carrier has to get out of his truck and walk several steps to put mail in the box. I have been doing this for 21 years. There have likely been a lot of different postmasters during that time.

I wrote the following in response to the Postmaster’s letter.

“Dear Sir or Madam: I am the homeowner in receipt of your message requesting that I park my car at least 30 feet away from the mailbox so the carrier will not have to get out of his truck to deliver our mail. Since the box is located at the entrance to our garage this would mean that I cannot park my car in front of my own garage, as I have done for 21 years now. Instead, you want me to park away from my house and walk in, so that your carrier will not have to walk a few steps from his truck. Even though I am the customer here, you want me to take many extra steps so the carrier will not have to make even two or three. For me, this is an example of why the U.S. Postal Service is in the trouble it now is. I remember when letter carriers walked to homes and to mail boxes, and even walked up to your front door. The FedEx and UPS delivery people gladly negotiate any traffic or parking on our court and come right up to my door with their parcels or letters. None have ever left them down at the street so they would not have to get out of their trucks and walk some steps. If I meet them at the door, most smile and wish me a nice day. I am treated like a customer they appreciate. The Postal Service is near bankruptcy today, not just because of email, but because of its lack of customer service, which your letter to me perfectly illustrates.”

While I was still forming this letter to the Postmaster, our handyman Theo came by to clean the fall leaves out of the gutters. I asked him about moving the mailbox and showed him a location away from where I park. The price was very modest and he expects to take care of it in a week or so.

I should not be getting more complaining letters from the Postmaster. My feelings about the matter remain unchanged.

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