I went today to collect my mail and found that I was locked out of my P.O. Box. The post office sent me an envelope earlier this month so I could send in my annual POB payment, but they neglected to note how much to send in...Typical. Usually they send me a notice threatening to reissue my box to someone else if I don't pay the rent due, having never sent me a notice that the rent was due in the first place. I guess this is an improvement... I haven't been back to the post office during office hours, since the day I received the notice, so I had no idea how much the payment due was.
Today I was out running errands and got to the post office during business hours so I could pay my POB rent. Wow... What a shock! When I first opened the POB in 2001 the rent was $12 for a year. Today I had to shell out $44 to get my mail out of jail. Gulp! I don't like to complain, and I normally try not to grumble about my local post office, no matter how much they ask for it... but really? Last year the fee was $32, that up from $15 the year before we went to Costa Rica... It just seems kind of steep for the kind of service that my post office provides.
The cost probably wouldn't bother me if it weren't that the service to my POB is so very bad... I regularly receive mail for someone who is deceased, two other people have rented that box since she held it, I also get their mail. This means that every time I check my mail, I have to go to the counter and wait for them to take the errant mail from me. Then I have to remind them again that this person hasn't had this box in at least 5years, that I would like for them to stop putting her mail in my box. I get the customary, "I'll take care of it", as I watch them take the mail from me and throw it back in the to be delivered box, where it will go through the system again and then end up in my box again a day or so from now. Sigh.
I try hard not to, but I really dislike my local post office. The employees are rude, intolerant, seemingly incompetent and insist that I answer their long list of questions and options individually. If I try to interrupt the process by stating that, "I only want my stamps, nothing else thank you", one particularly irritating postal worker will hold her finger up and say "Please let me finish", then go on to ask her questions while holding my stamps hostage until she is done. I have to confess that the last time she did that, since I was just needing to make sure I had the enough postage on a letter and had confirmed that I didn't owe anything, I turned and walked away while she was still going through her little schpeel... I am not proud of that, I try to be polite and considerate to everyone I come in contact with, but when she stuck her finger up, it was either walk away or say something that I know I would regret...
Usually, I just check my box at this post office, since the postal workers are not very helpful. If I need to buy stamps or do other postal transaction, I wait until I am driving towards Charlotte, and conduct my business at one of the post offices there. But on occasion, like the POB rent, I have to deal with my local postal workers. It is almost always an unsatisfactory experience and I walk away wishing I could rent my POB in Weddington, a couple miles up the road. But when I asked the U.S.P.S in Weddington, they said I have to rent a box within my zip code, so I guess I am stuck with my Waxhaw P.O. Box.
I really enjoy writing letters and I need my P.O.Box, since the home delivery person is worse than the workers at the post office... letters go missing, the box lid not properly closed in the rain resulting in soggy mail, letters are delivered to a similar address on the other side of Waxhaw, where since the mail doesn't belong to them, they just throw it away! *We found this out when a piece of their mail was delivered to our box twice in the same week, (even with the street named circled so they would realize they delivered to the wrong address and it was placed back in the mailbox with the flag up for the postal worker to see...), so we hand delivered it to the person. They cheerfully told us thank you, and then blythely mentioned that the post office has been goofing up with our mail for quite some time, and that since telling the postal delivery person about it didn't remedy the problem, they just started throwing it away! Who does such a thing??? Did it never occur to them that we might like to receive our mail? What if it was important? So I decided that all important mail would be sent to a P.O. Box, at least there the mail wouldn't get wet!
I wish that I could have the kind of relationship with my postal workers that I hear about from others in the letter writing community. I would love to look forward to going to the Post Office. My mail is one of the highlights of my day, but more often than not if I have to interact with the postal workers I go home from the post office feeling out of sorts. I hope for the sake of the U.S.P.S. and the future of letter writing, that my experiences with the postal system are the exception instead of the rule...