By Mel Carriere
I'm sure that if you work for the Post Office your Mailbox is flooded with Postal propaganda designed to boost your employee morale by reassuring you that our leaders are wise, enlightened people who have weighed their decisions carefully and have a firm grip on the reins. These newsletters are decorated with pictures of employees who seem to be so happy going about their daily duties that they would probably work for free, if allowed to. This, of course, is their desired effect, to hypnotize you into thinking that it is such a privilege working for the PO that you really don't need to be asking for more money when contract time rolls around.
The colorful bulletins - sometimes spewed out from the Area Office, sometimes by the District, are so littered with lies, misrepresentations, and half-truths that they would make Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels shake his head with shame if he was still alive, and not rotting in one of the nine circles of hell.
This mailbox littering, straight to recycle bin fodder I refer to as the District Dementia; not because I'm making fun of Alzheimer's victims, but because this tree killing waste of paper is really out of touch with reality, makes me shake my head too - not with shame but with disbelief. On Page 5 there is a photo of a new Postmaster being sworn in. She looks incredibly wise and benevolent standing there raising her right hand, but having personally made her acquaintance I know she is neither of these things. On Page 8 there is a diagram of some trendy pie in the sky abstraction called the 5-S system. Did we give up on six sigma and are now subtracting because smaller numbers are better for small minds? The 5-S flavor of the month announces that it involves employee participation, which elicits a chuckle from my cynical head, because Postal Service and employee participation mix together like Trump and Sanders supporters at an Albuquerque Cinco de Mayo fiesta.
The photo on Page 3 is the most egregious of all. This is the one that really rankles me, because it shows a Postal Employee standing up in the rear compartment of one of the new Promaster vehicles, which the Dementia proudly proclaims to be "State of the Art." The letter carrier in the picture is grinning so widely it looks like his face will split in two if he gets any happier. Somebody probably just told him a dirty joke, and the Dementia photographer happened to be walking by just as he was giggling at it. He can't be smiling because he is actually happy driving this beast. There's no way.
Neither the Promaster or the Postmaster particularly inspired me, in this Dementia issue.
Here is a direct quote of some of the Dementia's lies and made up facts about the Promaster:
With our demand and schedule of the cargo vans that are on the road for a minimum of eight hours per day, facilitating stop-and-go deliveries and retrievals of packages, and operating in all types of weather conditions (Incomplete sentence not mine - Mel). Our specifications for replacement vehicles included: an increased cubic capacity to accommodate a changing mail mix, as well as improvements for operator efficiency, ergonomic benefits, and the higher roof and better access to the rear cargo area. The cargo vans had to be customized to accommodate our fleet's specific needs, such as form holders and mail trays.
I have had the misfortune of driving the Promaster, so my experience is not of the "wishful thinking" variety, as is the case of most of the new postal systems lauded by the Dementia and other self-congratulatory rags published by the Postal Service. Here is my personal review:
- The Promaster does not, as stated, facilitate "...deliveries and retrievals of packages." The thing is as long and cumbersome as a battleship to park, and you have to exit on the traffic side of the street. This is a dangerous feat, as are other negative features. For one, even though UPS big brown blocks off entire parking lots to deliver one shoe box size package, we are not supposed to double park, which I don't know how the hell is possible with this Promaster dinosaur.
- Climbing down from behind the wheel is difficult, not to mention a safety hazard. There is a huge step down (more like a flying leap), on the driver's side, and a thin running bar on the passenger side that you can easily miss if you have big feet. My driving instructor actually slipped and fell on this while he was showing me what a bitchin' safety feature it was. Furthermore, if you have old, painful postal knees like me, climbing down the nose bleeding distance from the driver's seat to the Earth's surface is something like rappelling down the north face of Everest. It's not a user friendly small step for mankind, like in the LLV.
- I will admit to the increased cargo space, but it comes at a cost, because it ain't easy to climb up to access it. As I mentioned in the previous bullet, you almost need mountaineering gear to make it safely up that running board into the cargo compartment.
- Ergonomic? Are you kidding? Okay, if you are a sugared-up CCA straight out of kindergarten you can probably bounce up into the cargo space to fetch your mail, but as for us old timers ravaged by years of pounding, bumpy, grinding pavement, crawling up there to get a package off one of the shelves is a painful proposition; a four Advil affair on a good day.
- Outside of the considerable package delivery difficulties I mentioned earlier, if I had been in a perfect postal paradise with no parcels I wouldn't have had particular problems parking the day I drove it. A coworker of mine, however, with a Promaster permanently assigned to his route told me that on garbage day and Saturdays all bets are off. Sometimes he has to rearrange swings to get the mail delivered, because he just can't squeeze it in.
- Where are the advertised mail trays? They vanished somewhere in the Dementia's brain fog, where I am sure you could find the elusive, mythical ergonomic features too, swimming side by side with Nessie in that Loch Ness of wishful thinking.
Who the hell talks like this? Sounds like it was cut and pasted directly from the Promaster sales pitch, because they couldn't reprint the off color joke he was really smiling at.
Oh - there is one good thing about the Dementia and similar other raving rubbish - it's fun to go through and see if any of the satisfied, smiling faces are people you know. It's the postal version of Where's Waldo.
Have you been tempted by an offer to move up to Postal Supervisor? Read Mel's latest on Tough Nickel before you leap:
In order to endure the painful ordeal of crawling into the Promaster to review it for you, Mel needs lots of pricey coffee. Being the self-indulgent narcissist that he is, he is never satisfied with mere Folgers, but has to show off to his friends by drinking Starbucks. Please show your appreciation for his constant sacrifices by clicking on his ads.