By Mel Carriere
Not much of a Postal Tsunami today, I'm afraid, just a few quiet ripples that may start to gather momentum and eventually set off the warning siren on your calm postal beaches as this cup of Starbucks Sumatra I'm sipping starts kicking in. So don't panic, everybody move to high ground in an orderly fashion, and let's get started. Here are a few postal news "ripples" that gained my attention, in lieu of a more substantial topic to write about.
- In Hanover NJ a letter carrier sorting mail in the back of his vehicle was hit by a motorist who was temporarily blinded by the sun. I have been skittish of this practice myself since a friend of mine sorting mail in the back of his LLV was hit by an unoccupied car that rolled a short distance down a very gentle grade and pinned him to his postal vehicle. My friend was a real trooper and wanted to keep delivering, but it turned out he had a broken leg that kept him out for months. Since then I'm always checking my back as I'm stuffing my satchel. In the New Jersey case the carrier's injuries are said to be "non life-threatening," but if that is the case what the heck is the guy with the shovel in the picture up there scraping off the road?
- I guess the ads with the cute kid in his little brown mini delivery truck didn't work as advertised, because UPS has reported a less than stellar holiday season again. Unlike Big Brown's 2014 undelivered package debacle, this time the company overcompensated by bringing in too many people, which meant there were a lot of drivers in cute little brown shorts chilling in the truck while some "holiday helper" flunkie ran out and dropped parcels on doorsteps. I actually witnessed the UPS driver on my route doing this with his ride-along during the Christmas season, and the Thing 1 and Thing 2 tag team irritated me because they parked in my spot! A UPS driver years ago confessed to me that these holiday helpers just get in the way. UPS's proposed solution for 2015? RAISE PRICES! Great plan, score one for the Postal Service.
- Are the downgraded service standards for first class mail delivery that were initiated on January 6th starting to have a negative effect? In South Bend, Indiana, customers are complaining about delayed utility bills that have led to harassing phone calls. On my own route in California (proving that you can't just blame the weather) a customer received a regular monthly check from Texas three or four days late. She was starting to give me ugly looks, claiming this had "never" happened before, so I was relieved with her when she finally got the check last Tuesday. I can't help but believe that lower service standards coupled with plant closures may be negatively affecting our "most trusted institution" status, just at the time when we are starting to blow UPS out of the water. I told the customer to write her Congressman and I wasn't just trying to blow her off, like people usually are when they use that expression. I was serious!
Just a few gentle ripples to stir the still surface of your placid postal lake. Of course your postal lake may be covered in ice, so these ripples are probably frozen. I wish I could help keep you all keeping warm; if I had a big enough pipe I would most definitely try to assuage my Palm-tree Postman weather guilt by pumping some warm temperatures in your direction. It hit the high 70s here in San Diego today, and is expected to top out at 80 tomorrow.
Links to these stories:
UPS's Non-Happy Holiday If this link doesn't work go to postalnews.com and you can get it there.
Image from: http://postalnews.com/blog/2015/01/23/whippany-road-motorist-blinded-by-sun-crashes-into-postal-truck/