Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Eye in the Sky - A Postal Blowhard Speaks on Authorized Lunch Spots

By Mel Carriere

From Mel's Postal Dictionary:

Blowhard - a bag of wind of the high temperature variety, usually visibly bloated, commonly inflated by a belief that its talents and intelligence level are responsible for its elevated position in the workplace hierarchy, but more often than not occupies its present position because they couldn't find another butt to fill the seat.

There, you see, I could have been a lexicographer instead of mailman because I can write dictionary definitions like nobody's business.  So here is your ever humble Mel to report on blowhards and other topics at the end of physical year 2015, which up until recently I thought was fiscal year, until my error was pointed out Wednesday, the last day of the physical year, by a supervisor who is obviously smarter than the rest of us, thank God, and that's why she's in charge.  She kept saying physical year over and over again, so after the stand up talk, having realized I had everything mixed up, I walked back to my case singing Olivia Newton Jaundice Let's get Fiscal, thinking about how Zed Leppelin's Fiscal Grafitti was my favorite rock album of 1975, and worrying over the impending fiscal I had to get at the doctor's office on my upcoming day off, which might include a finger wave. So let's all get Fiscal, and talk about things that are happening at the Post Office as the new physical year rises from the ashes of the old.

Specifically, I want to discuss blowhards, a term I defined above, and I want to pose a question to those of you who are more knowledgeable in contract matters than I, in hopes that you will post a reply in the comments section below.  I have to confess I am confused by something a supervisor said at another stand-up talk (Not Olivia Newton John gettin physical), but another male supervisor who is king of the blowhards and will make bold pronouncements with little regard for whether they are true.  So even when he's right, as he might very well be in this case, I tend not to believe anything he says.

Postal Blowhard Supervisor started off his grandiose speech by implying that we should be grateful to him because he was going to share some of the elite inner circle secrets that were revealed to him working at the great Postal Eye in the Sky for several weeks, a place located in a concealed bunker at a former processing plant on a lot that is up for sale for scrap but nobody wants to buy it because it's contaminated.   According to him he is sharing this privileged information with us because he really appreciates all the work we do, so he said. The main theme of his speech was that letter carriers were getting busted left and right by the great Postal Eye in the Sky, which of course spies on you through your friendly blue hand-held scanner.

He related to us the story of one carrier who got called out because he was stopped 22 minutes in the same place.  The Eye in the Sky was on the job, thank goodness, and dispatched a supervisor to the scene of the crime to investigate before matters could escalate.  

"What are you doing here for 22 minutes?" the supervisor asked.  I'm paraphrasing the story.

"I had to use the bathroom."

"The bathroom?"  The supervisor looked around.  "This is a residential area.  Tell me where you used the bathroom and I will go and tell the customer thanks, on behalf of the Postal Service."

"Okay, I lied," the letter carrier quickly confessed.  "I was taking my lunch."

Immediately I was confused, so like I should have done a little over three decades ago when I was in school and in the same state of befuddlement, I raised my hand.  "We're not supposed to eat lunch in our vehicles?" I asked.  I eat mine in my LLV everyday, so this was troubling information.

"Oh no," he quickly clarified.  "You can eat lunch in your vehicle, but you have to be in your authorized lunch location."

Mr. Blowhard dismissed us from his little smoke blowing, chest thumping party, and I went back to my case, where I spent a few moments digesting the information we had been blessed with by this generous, nice Supervisor who really cared about us. 

A couple things started to bother me.  First of all, I suppose I have been mistaken to believe that I am entitled to eat where I want to during my unpaid lunch break, as long as it falls within the magical mile radius I think we are granted by the contract, outside of which the LLV turns into a pumpkin or you drive off the edge of the Earth, whichever comes first.  I mean, by definition the word authorized, as in the term authorized location, means that somebody is exercising authority over me, which by extension extension implies that I am on the clock.  And if people are authorizing me, or giving me orders at any given moment of the day, that means that I should be getting paid for it, and I'm not.  What I'm trying to say is that if you want to tell me where to take lunch you ought to be paying me for it.

For those of you heavily immersed in the chapter and verse of the letter carrier contract, is there any validity to this concept of authorized lunch locations, or was Mr. Blowhard Supervisor just spewing out superheated air from his inflated head to intimidate us into staying in a place where we can be easily cornered.  Or was he trying to imply that 22 minutes is way too long to spend on a thirty minute unpaid lunch break, and maybe we should cut it to 15 or better yet, zero.

I am trying to update the items in my Postal Dictionary, if you could give me a hand.  Does the word authorized lunch spot really have any contractual basis, or does it mean whatever Blowhard Supervisor says it does?

Happy Physical year 2016 - Mel.

Who is the most postal-friendly Presidential candidate, or should I say the only postal-friendly candidate? - More Mel on Hub Pages. 

 The Postal Tsunami derives its coastal destroying power through copious amounts of Starbuck's coffee,  which is not cheap.  Unless they completely annoy or offend you, please take a look at what my blog sponsors on this page have to say.


  1. M-39 Section 251.6

  2. Yeah I know you are right. It just rankles me that they can tell me where to go when I am not being paid.

  3. I eat lunch on my route at my home 99% of the time. Any time. Most of my coworkers only eat lunch during the "lunch scan point" so as not to cause problems with management. If I'm hungry, I'm hungry. I always get asked why It sometimes it takes an extra 30 minutes to get to my route.They are too lazy to do the math and see that there isn't any other large unauthorized use of time. They just hate that one carrier that knows the rules. The pm even asks where my lunch scan is. I tell him there isn't one anymore. It's just another msp scan.

    1. I don't have an out to lunch scan either. I still say that if they want to interrogate us so relentlessly on when and where we are lunching, they ought to darn well pay us for it. Thanks for reading!

  4. Happy physical new year Mel! Is this a new holiday? My brilliant supervisors want me to read the four page safety talks out loud because they can't pronounce words like "asbestos" and "applicable". Words with more than one syllable cause them much "consternation". You've just got to laugh because otherwise you'd cry.

    1. The only way to keep our sanity in this organization is through humor. The bad part is the jokes are all real. Thanks for reading.

  5. Form 1564-A carriers have 3 authorized lunch location and 3 break location

    1. Yeah Javier I got it but think it sucks.