Friday, August 30, 2013

An Open Letter to the Postmaster General

Patrick R. Donahoe:

I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with the United States Postal Service.  The quality of service is severely lacking in many areas, especially in St. Augustine, Florida.  Thinking that a gift card had been removed from a birthday card I received last week, I queried on Facebook as to whether anybody else had found that things were missing from their mail.  I was shocked by the responses I received:

     "I've had two packages go missing this month; I reported them as stolen, but they didn't do anything."

     "I got an empty box delivered last spring."

"I've had checks and gift cards not show up that I did not even know about until my Mom asked if I got them months later. This has happened, I think, 3 times at my current address."

" My parents sent a Valentine card to my son with a gift; it never arrived. In March my family sent birthday cards to us that were not received.  There must be some theft issue..."

"I have had a couple of packages never get to me."

"My mom sent my daughter a birthday card with money that we never received."

"I have had multiple gifts partially opened with things missing, and they say they can't do anything about it."

"They never delivered my daughter's birthday card with check enclosed. We later found out that the check was cashed."

Months ago I also heard a story from a friend of mine whose father sent her $300 worth of gift cards in the mail.  She never received them.

There is definitely a problem here.  Considering that tampering with the mail is a felony punishable by jail time, I would think that those who work for the USPS would morally be aboveboard.  Sadly, in some cities, this appears to not be the case.  In a day and age when the USPS is struggling financially and continues to need to raise the price of stamps, it would make sense to attempt to hire individuals who are not morally bankrupt.  I understand that some folks who work for the postal service are struggling, as many of us are, but those who purchase these gifts for friends and family members are not purchasing them for the postal workers.  How, you may ask, do I know that the post office is to blame and not some random person pilfering mailboxes?  The mailboxes in our neighborhood are locked, and the origin of the packages that were missing items was a post office where they were weighed and paid for.

I find myself wanting to pursue any other avenue for sending things.  I will use the Internet for as much as possible as these things do not need to go through the hands of fallible human beings.  When I need to send a package, I will probably be looking at Federal Express or the United Parcel Service.  Of course, I could always purchase insurance for the items that I send, but that would mean more of my hard-earned money would be going to the USPS just to protect myself against thieves.  Maybe, though, if the Postal Service has to spend enough of its own money to pay people back for things that have gone missing, it will do something about the theft that occurs.

I do know that there are post offices around the country that are extremely trustworthy.  I never had an issue with the post office in Canonsburg, PA, and I have a friend who gives kudos to her post office in Eighty Four, PA, as well.  However, the St. Augustine Post Office on King Street is despicable.  It is frustrating, as a consumer, to have no choice but to hope that the important mail reaches me, to hope that the day it is supposed to come the one responsible for the theft decides he is not in the mood or is not working.  There are post offices elsewhere that have issues; it is not isolated to St. Augustine.

Allow me to apologize, though, to the hard-working and honest people who work at the St. Augustine Post Office.  I mean no offense.  Unfortunately, that one bad apple has ruined the whole batch.

Postmaster General, if you have any control over the system, can you please help the consumer as that is why you are in your position, that is why the post office exists?  If you want people to feel confident in the service they are receiving and that the mail they send will reach its destination, can you please enforce some rules and hold accountable those who are committing crimes?

Thank you,
A Concerned Citizen

Note to victims of mail fraud:
If you have had an item stolen, go to the following website and report it.
If the Postal Service receives enough complaints, maybe they will do something about the problem.

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