Why The Chicago Post Office Can't Hold Your Mail While You're On Vacation

4 years ago I wrote about how the Chicago post office is the worst in the nation. It’s like a third world country here. Ever since I came back to Chicago 16 years ago I’ve had numerous issues with the post office – especially when it comes to getting them to do a vacation hold on my mail. Once I came back to find a week’s worth of mail scattered all over my front porch, buried in the snow. Who does that?
I’ve lived in my current home in East Village for about 2 1/2 years now and I don’t think I’ve ever succeeded in getting them to hold my mail. Prior to my most recent vacation I even stuffed my mailbox with plastic bags so that they wouldn’t be able to put mail in there and then I put a note on top of the stuffing that reminded them that I had placed a mail hold request. They crammed whatever mail they could fit in the box anyway – right through the note and on top of my stuffing.
So when I went on my most recent vacation I totally removed the mailbox from the house and then I called the supervisor at the local carrier station to beg her to make sure that my mail was held. I had already submitted the hold request through the USPS Web site a couple of days prior to departure like I always do.
The conversation which ensued was most enlightening and I really appreciated her honesty. It turns out there are two reasons they can never hold our mail.
First, the supervisors have to manually pull down the hold requests from the Web and they only do that every couple of weeks?!?!?!?!?!? Uhhhh…..excuse me…..the whole concept behind the Web is that things happen instantly with minimal human intervention. She told me my best bet was to come into the office, which is only open from 11:00 – 4:00 for their convenience, and fill out some kind of yellow card. So a physical trip to the office and a paper form is more effective than a Web form?
Second, it turns out that my route has been in the hands of temporary workers ever since I’ve lived here. Why? Oh…because the postal workers get to choose their routes (they even have a formal bidding system for this choosing process) and my route is a very demanding route that no one wants?!?!?!?!? Who runs a business where the employees get to choose what work they do? And if the workload is that badly unbalanced then why don’t they rebalance it?
Just more evidence that the Post Office needs to be privatized. You won’t find the private sector operating like this – OK…unless it’s like AT&T or Bank of America or something.
#PostOffice #USPS
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