dear santa can you help?


Dear Santa,

Hi there! Are you getting your letters from Chester County, PA?  I am sorry to ask  during this time of year, but you see parts of Chester County has an on again, off again mail problem.

You see, part of Chester County PA’s Mail sorts through another city and state. Yes, it’s true, part of Chester County’s mail sorts through Wilmington, Delaware!

Imagine, you send your next door neighbor a card and it takes not days , but weeks to arrive. Why? Because the mail sorts through Wilmington, Delaware!

Imagine you have an awesome local post office and equally terrific mail carriers. Imagine how awful they feel when they have to knock on your door and hand you damaged mail and damaged packages that sometimes look like the football after Monday Night Football! Why? Because the mail came to Chester County via Wilmington, Delaware!

Imagine you are waiting for a registered or priority package and you are tracking it on USPS.com and you watch it travel from pillar to post and then it just stalls for a couple of days…in Wilmington, Delaware. (with no explanation, ever.)

Santa, it is sad but true. When you complain the United States Postal Service doesn’t honor their “we deliver for you” they terrorize your local mail carriers and post office or they blow you off entirely. Heck maybe YOU can get them to respond to emails – because unless you are contacting the Office of The Inspector General, you stand a pretty good chance of being totally blown off.

Last time I went on a tirade against Chester County PA mail partially sorting through Wilmington, Delaware I was told off the record that the reason mail from Chester County sorts through another state entirely was Joe Biden and is this true?  So should I be writing to Joe Biden instead of you Santa Claus?

I have a theory and that is the postal workers in the sorting facility in Wilmington,  Delaware resent having to also sort Chester County, Pennsylvania mail.  And that is why I hypothesize why mail goes missing, has inexplicable delays, and gets damaged. And who can blame them?  Wouldn’t you be upset if some politicians just doubled your workloads because they thought that was the solution to some stupid political agenda? 

December 1, 2016 update: spoke to consumer affairs personnel in Washington, DC in the Postmaster General’s Office after getting blown off by Philadelphia Consumer Affairs and the office of the USPS OIG. Santa would you like to receive a priority package marked fragile that looks like this?

So Santa, if you can talk to USPS about the mail and ask them to do something about the Chester County, Pennsylvania mail partially sorting in Wilmington, Delaware that would be an awesome stocking stuffer this Christmas!

apparently complaining about the postal service is un-american ?? their customer service doesn’t think so…



Yesterday I finally had enough of mail going missing, arriving opened or damaged, and so on.  So I blogged about it.

I have received many, many comments and not just the ones I have published on my blog.  Here’s one  I received off blog:

I mailed a couple of things a couple of months ago. It never got there and was never returned. The guy I spoke to said they have had problems since they go through Wilmington. My question is why did they have to change things?  😦

I totally understand how the commentor above feels. I am actually sitting on hold for the United States Postal Service in Washington DC, not that I feel it will do any good.

My mail , even local mail, also gets routed now through Wilmington, Delaware. I find it ridiculous that is a Pennsylvania resident, my mail goes out of state before comes back in state. 

Other commenters mentioned similar issues of mail not arriving, arriving damaged, arriving reeking of cigarette smoke.

But then there are the commenters who feel they have to defend the United States Postal Service at all costs. I am exaggerating , I don’t understand how hard they have to work , and how they now have to pay for some of their benefits and so on.

Here’s  one of my favorites, because it had absolutely nothing to do with what I was discussing in my previous post:

Perhaps you need to learn something about the USPS … it has to sustain itself since it does not receive US tax dollars. However, it has Congress critters who are determined to kill it since USPS has to ask Congressional permission for virtually any action to become more efficient or to streamline. On top of it, USPS is the ONLY entity that has to prepay retirement liabilities for retirees decades in advance … for future employees who are not even born yet. That was a bon-bon that Congress enacted during the Reagan years on the march to privatizing the USPS. Of course, private companies are not going to maintain service to Podunk USA. After all, for those places,UPS hands off the packages to USPS since USPS, by law, must deliver to Podunk.

Funny, I don’t remember writing about their retirement benefits or “liabilities”. And I’m sorry it has to sustain itself as a business and it is supposed to be a business? And as a customer isn’t my part in sustaining this “business” dependent upon the service received and delivery of my own mail? And yeah, Podunk. Sorry, I kind of live in Podunk so I hope that’s not too dreadfully inconvenient to deliver mail to us?

Then there is the man who keeps writing in that I am exaggerating and basically he knows this because his mail is perfect. HUH?

I am not exaggerating. My mother sent me a card, nothing fancy just a greeting card… Over a week ago. She lives in Center City Philadelphia.  Still hasn’t arrived.  Someone else has sent me something from Holmdel, New Jersey twice in two and a half weeks. Neither times has it arrived. Things mailed to me from Berwyn and Wynnewood have also not arrived. 

A package marked fragile containing a gift for someone arrived yesterday looking like it had been kicked around like a soccer ball. And that was sent some degree of “Priority” mail.

I have a great postmaster at my local post office, and the gentlemen who handle our residential route know where everyone lives and do a great job. But they are only as good as the mail that the actually reaches my local post office. Obviously there is some sort of problem with where my mail goes before it reaches my post office.

So it has been a while since I started this post.  I called the hotline number for the Office of the Inspector General for the United States Postal Service this morning. Hotline phone calls are answered M-F 11:00am – 3:00pm EST 1-888-USPS-OIG (1-888-877-7644).

The customer service woman I reached took close to an hour with me on the phone going over delivery issues and opened, destroyed, and missing mail. I have opened a case and she also gave me the number to consumer affairs in our area which I’m going to share with you my readers. That number is 215-863-6060.

This woman I spoke with tracked the path of some of my mail that she was able to track using basically the tracking numbers that a couple packages arrived with.  And she agreed there was an issue with my nail because I wasn’t just telling her about one type of mail going missing routinely, it’s a little of everything , bills included.  

I told her honestly that I was a blogger and I had written about this on my blog. And that I was doing a follow up post. I told her about the comments I had received, and she was very polite and didn’t discount anything I was saying. She also told me if mail is arriving and it reeks of cigarette smoke that means my mail is sitting somewhere for longer periods of time then it should be. She said people smoke, but for me or anyone to get mail where the odor is pervasive and strong and lingering it means that your mail was sitting somewhere. For quite  a while. And I have read this complaint in groups I belong to.

Maybe this hour out of my day will amount to nothing, but I hope it will amount to mail reaching me better and reaching my friends and neighbors having issues with their mail delivery as well.  

I think it is absolutely ridiculous that they used to sort or mail through Southeastern PA, and now it sorts  through Wilmington Delaware. This woman also suggested that we contact our Congress people. So Ryan Costello tag you’re it.

I end with USPS trivia: the new postmaster general is a woman and she hails from Pottsville PA



u.s. postal service: they deliver for who?

USPSWhat is your mail delivery like? The only thing I like about my mail delivery are our mail carriers. And our postmaster is really nice. But that is where the liking of the U.S. Postal service ends.

THE US POSTAL SERVICE IS SO NOT IMPROVING!

I have a great post office and mail carriers BUT the US Postal Service  changed how our mail gets routed to our post office to deliver to me! My mail used to go through Southeastern PA and now they route my mail through a different state— my mail routes through Wilmington, DE!

A lot of our mail goes missing.  One person mailed me something almost 2 weeks ago at this point…and I should have had it in like 3 days. And yes, they had the correct address and so on.

A lot of mail is damaged or arrives partially opened like someone was taking a peek.

And sometimes it smells like the bottom of an ash tray.

And when I call to ask, well what can they do? All of the local mail gets routed out of state so it can come back in state. (Or so my postmaster tells me.)

Unacceptable. (But so is much of anything else which has born the touch of the US Government…..)

 

mail trucks and fog do not make beautiful music together…

mail truck in fogA friend of mine e-mailed me this photo.  Taken on top of Valley Forge Mountain on Diamond Rock Road, about 1/2 hour ago. I hope the postal service worker is o.k. Please be careful out there this evening!

(And yes the person who snapped the photo was a passenger in the vehicle in which they were riding.)

usps they deliver for who?

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We have an awesome mail carrier. But I think the actual post office he is out of has issues. Frazer, PA in the shopping center to be precise.

We have had packages opened and resealed when they ended up being boring things like the vitamins I sometimes have to get delivered by mail because as a breast cancer survivor of a hormone driven breast cancer I need to take vitamins that don’t contain soy or other phytoestrogens and it is hard to find them at chain drugstores regularly. We have had things just not get delivered. We got a Christmas card written shortly after Thanksgiving the first weekend in March.

When something is damaged our delivery guy makes sure he speaks with us and doesn’t just leave it. Again, he is awesome and conscientious. But when we have to call Frazer and speak with Cranky the office manager it’s a different story.

Cranky is the perfect civil service type. He has his little fiefdom there and extends himself to no one, especially women. I used to think my difficult experiences were just me, except if you call the Malvern Post Office to see if they can help you and avoid Cranky they laugh almost…even they get it.

The first time I had to deal with this Cranky on a misdirected package, the first thing out of his mouth was not how can he help but rather did I try the USPS.com website. And every time I have to call, he is the only one who ever answers the phone and he always says the same thing, or occasionally he says something borderline rude or even sexist. Bottom line? He never goes out of his way. If you can get to the actual postmaster you can get help when you need it and he is very nice, but this Cranky is just perpetually cranky.

I find that frustrating. My old post office wasn’t perfect, but they actually attempted customer service at the post office branch level. Face it , after you try to either get a live person if you call the toll free number of the United States Postal Service or attempt via their convoluted website how to send an e-mail if you have a problem, you would naturally think it would be so much simpler to just call your local post office, right? Face it, most of us operate under the delusion that the postal service is still that folksy place where people who live in your neighborhood work.

Wrong.

They lose and mutilate mail. Stuff gets pinched and when you have the temerity to actually call them, you get attitude. It’s not just things that come through Frazer Post Office, it happens all over. I don’t get how we can have nice actual mail carriers and the office people aren’t . They aren’t out in the elements, they are in the offices. They aren’t the one delivering mail when the rain is beating down.

Today I realized something I had ordered had not arrived. So I tracked the package. The tracking said it had been delivered March 13, only I was home and I never received it. So where was it? And guess what happened when I called the post office actual office and got Cranky for a change? He asked me if I had used the website to track my package!

I had had enough today so today I pushed back. Yes I was snippity because I had checked the website and THAT is why I called. You know to see if I could file a lost package report or something?

So I just have to ask: when the United States Postal Service runs their multi-million dollar advertising campaigns stressing customer service and that slogan “We Deliver for You” I always think it should be “USPS, They Deliver for Who?”

And again, I want to make it abundantly clear that our regular letter carrier is awesome. It is the office Cranky and the problems with packages and mail I am less than enthused with.

I don’t order much. I don’t order super expensive or frivolous things. I think I should get what I pay to have delivered and also get packages that are un-opened.

bah humbug u.s. postal service!

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WARNING: this is a RANT against the United States Postal Service. So if you think they are fabulous, turn away now.

I ordered a small something. It was breakable. The seller thought a super padded, bubble wrapped, and cardboard shield of protection would keep it safe. Unfortunately, they didn’t ask me about it or I would have told them differently.

I have seen it happen dozens of times. You’ll be standing there and the post office and inevitably someone ahead of you will ask whoever’s behind the counter “is this wrapped well enough?”

Of course most of those people behind the counter say yes, especially during the holiday season. They don’t want to be slowed down at all.

And then there is the issue of postage is getting so darn expensive, that people are looking at ways of getting things to recipients less expensively.

One also can’t forget the fact that sometimes the post office just doesn’t deliver things. That happened last October when I mailed my sister her birthday present two and a half weeks ahead of time Priority Mail. You know that overpriced service that is supposed to take two or three days?

She lives in New York City. You would think that a city so fabulous would also a fabulous services like mail delivery. The phrase “Hell no” applies here.

I made the United States Postal Service reimburse me for postage on that package. It took a couple weeks to get them to do it, but I had paid for service I had not received. The idea was to get the birthday present to my sister ahead of time, not after her birthday had passed. It took the post office 2 1/2 weeks to deliver something I paid for Priority Mail delivery on.

My sister’s stories of United States Postal Service in New York City are legendary. My favorite stories are always her recounting how she is treated when she actually has to go stand in line for something in the post office. Apparently Mother Russia has nothing on all of those postal workers in New York City.

For years I had the same post man. He was awesome. When I moved out to Chester County, it was like getting indoctrinated into a new society. Once again, I have an awesome post man, but there are these rules I’m just not used to.

For example, because of liability now they don’t get out of their post office delivery vehicles unless they are delivering a package that doesn’t fit in your mailbox.

So, say that you are having something delivered when the mail arrives, or a work person is at your house and parked on the road. If their work vehicle is blocking your mailbox, you don’t get your mail that day. Or if you are having company, and they foolishly want to park in front of your house, the same thing applies.

How did I discover that? When we had just moved into the house and had some work truck parked outside doing something, the post man left us a note in our mailbox telling us about that? But if we did not have a nice mailman, we never would’ve known.

So yesterday this package was delivered. Usually, when the mailman is delivering something, he rings the bell. This time he didn’t and I just happened to hear the truck pulling away from the house.

I went downstairs to retrieve the mail left on my front porch. I see this small package with red stamps all over saying “DAMAGED IN HANDLING IN THE POSTAL SERVICE”. There was nothing affixed to the package however, telling me what to do about this.

I picked up the package and all I heard were the sounds of broken glass. I am so glad that the person who sold me this tiny Currier and Ives print shipped it Priority Mail aren’t you?

Not only is the glass shattered in dozens of pieces and shards and nearly cut me opening it, but the glass was the vintage kind that was painted on the back to look like matting.

The glass shards sliced the brittle paper of the old print. So the whole thing is useless. And it is a waste, and that pisses me off.

Now granted, the seller should have rethought her packaging. There are plenty of helpful bits of information out there on how to ship artwork. But this was so small a piece, I know she thought she would be fine.

The person who shipped this to me will be reimbursing me for my entire purchase. But the United States Postal Service seems less than interested in this. They have definite culpability here.

I tried contacting them by phone twice yesterday, and couldn’t get through. I tweeted a picture of the package at them on Twitter, they didn’t flinch. I sent an email to “customer service” but never received even an auto reply.

The United States Postal Service likes to tell us “We deliver for you” and “With Priority Mail, we’re here to help.” But they seem to do neither.

When I ship a package I don’t usually use the United States Postal Service any longer. I use UPS or FedEx. They aren’t perfect either, but they do seem to have a slightly higher degree of accountability.

I’m getting ready to put my Christmas cards into the mail, just a few, I’m not doing a full load this year. Yet still I wonder how many will actually reach the intended recipients.

This is the busiest season of the year for the United States Postal Service outside of tax time, and among my friends I am already hearing tales of things that are just delivered in pieces.

It would be nice if the people at the counters of the physical post offices actually took a minute to tell people that certain packages probably weren’t packed securely and should go in a box, or have more padding. But I know that won’t happen.

It would also be nice if the people behind the counters and post offices were little more pleasant during the holidays. But, if the West Chester main post office is any indication, that’s not happening, either.

Sign me irritated.

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chester county vatican?

Ok, I am sorry but it is a little freaky amusing to discover that Immaculata has its OWN zip code.

I used to joke about Hershey’s Mill being the retirement Vatican of Chester County because it is like its own city-state with its own roads, security (complete with sirens), personal entrance to the mall where the Giant is, etcetera.

So I read a blip on Malvern Patch about Immaculata and their acceptance letter tweets and went to check out their twitter page. It says:

Immaculata, PA? HUH?  It might be Malvern, some call it Frazer, but is Immaculata in fact Chester County’s true Vatican? In Chester County do all institutions get their own zip codes? Wow Cabrini College and Eastern University, which are in Radnor and St. David’s PA respectively are going to get jealous and make demands on Delaware County!   Do we think Cabrini, PA and Eastern, PA have nice rings to it?

Immaculata lists their legal mailing address as: Immaculata University | 1145 King Road, Immaculata, PA. 19345

So does that mean that people who live in the residential neighborhoods along King Road adjacent to the school don’t live in Malvern, PA (zip code 19355) they live in Immaculata, PA (zip code 19345)? So does Immaculata have their own post office and police force and fire departments and all the other services that create a city-state, borough, township?  Where is their town hall?  When do they have supervisor meetings?

Is this because Cheyney has their own zip code too?

I find this all VERY confusing.  Hope the schools have paid for this privilege as opposed to taxpayer dollars funding their independent zip code. With the U.S. Postal service in such a shambles is this in fact just a way for them to generate revenue? But again, what about those people near Immaculata, on the same road and in the same area as Immaculata who think they live in Malvern, PA East Whiteland Township?

Are they in fact living in Immaculata, PA?

But hey, maybe if they are handing out zip codes I can apply for one and we can all live in chestercountyramblings, PA?  It might be fun and there would be lots of great recipes and photos of barns!!

Are we to assume vanity zip codes are the new vanity plate?

Happy Friday people!