Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Things That Make You Go ... Hmmmm?

The charmingly empty mailboxes in the building where I live.

I know it's been awhile since I've written here. I'm in 'waiting mode' on a couple things and until things move into 'final mode', there's no point discussing publicly.

However, I did want to share a story that happened on this past Monday, 7/21, because it's really just too ... well, you decide.

Back on June 28, our mail route was assigned a new permanent mail carrier and then on July 3 our mail suddenly started being delivered again, which was pretty cool. There was rejoicing and dancing in the hallways (slight hyperbole).

I haven't met the new mail carrier, but neighbors say he's a very nice guy. I believe it because I saw him saving a balloon from the middle of Chicago Ave. for some kids. That says something about a person, you know?

Anyway, we'll call him Mr. NPMC (New Permanent Mail Carrier). 

Mr. NPMC had a vacation planned, apparently. It started on Monday, 7/21 and is scheduled to last two weeks. A neighbor told me this, I assume she must have talked to Mr. NPMC about his vacation.

A quick side note: when a permanent mail carrier is on vacation or out sick or is otherwise unavailable to deliver mail to their usual route, a temporary or back up mail carrier is assigned to fill in for them until they return to work.

You can probably see where this is going. And no, I'm not even kidding. Just remember, truth is stranger than fiction.

The person assigned to fill in for Mr. NPMC? SP - the very same mail carrier involved in this entire ... thing debacle fiasco series of events. Yes. Yes, really. No, honestly, I'm not joking. 

Now, Nano and I were in my apartment because that's my agreement with the USPS. Nano isn't out and about between 8-10am. This means, I didn't witness any of the following, but after working with Kris, a neighbor in the building, closely over the past month and a half, she's not a person given to exaggeration. She keeps things pretty factual.

To be clear: the following in italics is all second-hand information.

Kris was waiting for some important mail on Monday and saw SP walk directly past our building. Did not deliver mail or take outgoing mail. Did not enter the building. 

Kris, in a panic about the mail she was expecting, went outside and headed down the sidewalk to ask SP about our mail. 

She caught up with her and, from what I understand, the exchange went something like this:

Kris: Excuse me, do you have any mail for me?
SP: No.
Kris: Well, do you have any mail for anyone in our building?
SP: There's no mail for your building.
Kris: Is our mail at the post office?
SP: There's no mail for your building.
Kris: Okay, well, I'll call Powderhorn Station and talk to the manager.

So, that's what Kris did. She called Powderhorn Station and spoke to the manager, PH. She explained what happened and that she had seen SP walk by our building and had gone to ask her about the mail for the building residents. PH was very polite and said that the mail for the building was in SP's van and that he would call her and ask her to deliver it to us. This was around 9:30am.

Right about then, I started getting text messages from Kris, so I'm using those as reference for what happened and when things happened.

By 1:30pm we still didn't have any mail. Kris called Powderhorn Station again and was told that PH was gone for the day. Unfortunately, he had not gotten back to Kris to confirm if/when we'd be getting our mail delivered.

Kris emailed our primary contact in Consumer Affairs, Ms. N, who promptly and politely responded and said she'd escalate the issue and help in any way she could to get our mail delivered. Yay for Ms. N! Someone give that woman a raise and a promotion. Or whatever she wants.

I called Ms. S (another truly nice and helpful person at the USPS) at the Postmaster's office and the conversation went something like this - I'm paraphrasing from memory here:

Me: Hello, this is Alicia Patrick. I'm really sorry to be calling you again.
Ms. S: That's okay, what can I help you with?
Me: Well, our mail wasn't delivered today. Our regular mail carrier is out and SP was put on our route but she didn't deliver our mail and then told another tenant there wasn't any mail for anyone in our building. However, PH at Powderhorn said there was mail for our building and it is in SP's van.
Ms. S: I may need to put you in touch with Mr. M, he's the one handling this.
Me: Okay, sounds good.
Ms. S: I'm going to put you on hold for a moment because Mr. M is on his line.
Me: Okay.
Ms. S: (comes back on the line a few minutes later) I called the station. Someone will deliver your mail today. I'm very sorry for the inconvenience, there was some kind of miscommunication.
Me: What kind of miscommunication?
Ms. S: I'm not sure, but you will get your mail today.
Me: I have to wonder why SP would be assigned to this mail route given that there is a pending legal action and everything. I mean, I'm sure it's not comfortable for her and it's certainly not comfortable for anybody who lives in this building.
Ms. S: I'm not sure how the decision was made but I will pass along your concerns.
Me: Thanks so much for your help and, again, I'm really sorry I had to call you.
Ms. S: It's no problem. Have a good day.
Me: You too, thanks again.

Yay for Ms. S! Someone give her a raise and promotion too! Or free parking for a year. Or her own personal helicopter. Or whatever she might like.

Kris and I compared notes and agreed that both Consumer Affairs and the Postmaster's office had been very helpful, professional, responsive, etc. All good things, in other words. 

Tuesday morning comes. We brace for a repeat performance. Instead, some guy we'd never seen before shows up and delivers our mail. A neighbor talked to him to get a change of address package and asked if he was our new carrier, he said he was filling in because someone "didn't show up". Of course, there is no way to know who he was referring to - it could have been anyone - so don't go jumping to conclusions, people. What we know for a fact is that someone who is not SP delivered mail to our building and for that, we are grateful. Thank you to the unidentified mail carrier who made time in his day to deliver our mail. All 10 households here appreciate you.

Wednesday morning comes. We brace ourselves again. A different guy delivered our mail around 11-11:30am. Again, whoever you are, thank you! We really appreciate your efforts. 

What will Thursday bring? Who knows. But, we'll find out in about 12 hours, give or take. We got our mail today! A bearded mail carrier delivered it. YAY for Bearded Mail Guy! You're awesome!

In the meantime, who knew mail delivery could be so filled with tension, drama and mystery?! 

I'll keep you posted (pun intended - sorry, not sorry).


  1. You can't make this stuff up, folks.

    1. You really can't. I was rendered speechless when Kris first told me what happened. Followed by sputtering and completely incomplete and fragmented sentences.