Friday, February 27, 2015
Tax Season Means Broken Mail Boxes
By Mel Carriere
Just an introductory word to endorse Danny Glover for President, and then I'll move on to today's topic.
I took over a new route in late September. I call it a bipolar route because the time it takes me to do it can vary as much as two hours, depending on the day of the week and the mail volume. It is also bipolar in the income cross section that it covers. The people who own the large acre plus lots on the edge of the river valley could be said to be borderline wealthy, while the folks who live in my large condo complex could be said to be lower middle class. It wouldn't be fair to call certain parts of my route "ghetto," but ghetto is sneaking up quickly in the rearview mirror - riding the bumper, if you will.
The photo above is evidence of this semi-ghettoness. In the five months since I've been on the route the gang boxes for the condo complex, which has 300 units and six separate stops, have been broken into at least a dozen times. I've stopped counting. Since the boxes have been raped and ransacked so many times they have no uniformity anymore. Some of them are really old and some of them are relatively new, like the ones you see above. The new ones pretty much have to be ripped apart to get into, and then are rendered useless. The older ones have been jimmied so many times that they are easily pried open, and are so pliable that I can still lock them up the next day.
When I first got the route I thought I was leaving the boxes open after I dropped in the mail, but then after seeing pried open boxes at several stops I realized it was theft. I mean, I'm not above an absent minded brainfart once in a while, but I know I wouldn't leave boxes open at every single stop no matter how much my whip-cracking supervisor was breathing down my neck.
During W-2 season the theft got really bad and it seemed like the crooks were ripping through the complex twice a week. The boxes at two of the stops became so completely unserviceable that the homeowner's association finally replaced them with really nice CBUs that are near impossible to break into. So in certain ways the thieves have been doing me a favor, while on the other hand they have been sticking me with that same mailbox-jacking crowbar because I have to do the extra work of holding mail for the broken boxes all the time.
An employee at the 7-11 across the street who lives in the complex told me last week that they finally caught the thief. This employee wears a Star Trek Federation emblem on his uniform shirt and I think speaks fluent Klingon, but that really has nothing to do with anything. No matter what his hobbies are, he seems to be an intelligent young man who has the buzz on what's going on in the complex. He told me (in English, not Klingon) that the thief was some tatooed parolee who was busting into the boxes very early in the morning, when there were plenty of witnesses to see him. From the sound of it, the thief probably couldn't find a job and chose mailbox theft because it's a Federal crime and from what I hear Federal prisons are better. The Klingon-speaking 7-11 employee assured me that Federation prisons are better still, but this mailbox crime was out of its jurisdiction.
I don't know if there are any morals or conclusions to be drawn from any of this. You try to tell customers to use the US Mail because of the computer hacking identity theft problem, then something like this happens that kind of makes it a hard sale.
Star Trek guy was happy because his mailbox was not one of the ones broken into, but his paycheck from the Federation is still missing because of "Network Rationalization" plant closures, which I guess is a problem on every planet.
Live long and prosper.
The freaky thing is that when I wrote this post last night I had not yet heard the news that Leonard Nimoy, the actor who portrayed Mr. Spock on the TV series, had passed away. Even if you aren't a serious trekkie and you don't speak either Klingon or Vulcan, I think we can all say that Spock entertained a lot of us in an endless loop of weekday afternoon reruns when we were kids. May he rest in peace.
Photo is my own.
The Postal Tsunami is a powerful wave propelled by copious quantities of Starbuck's coffee, which is not cheap. I have nothing to do with ad selection here, but unless these ads completely annoy or offend you I would appreciate if you could check out what my sponsors to the right and down below have to say. Thanks for your support.