My Mail Carrier Likes Throwing Our Packages Up Several Flights Of Stairs

Reader Misha would like to know what can be done about a mail carrier who seems to enjoy throwing packages up several flights of stairs, and supervisors at the post office who don’t mind that she does this.

I love your website, and I figured you could help me out with some trouble of my own.

I went home for lunch yesterday and my USPS woman was trying to free throw a package from the ground floor up to my apartment on the 2nd floor. She missed both times and it fell down the flight of stairs to the landing in the middle, and she eventually walked up half the stairs and threw it at my door. At this point I was standing behind her and confronted her because it was my apartment, and my package and she didn’t care. I asked for her name [redacted] and her boss’s name (a shrug) and she said that she didn’t care and walked back to her truck.

The package is an ipod that my sister left at a family member’s house last weekend… The ipod worked as of last weekend, now hard drive is now making a grinding noise and not turning on.

I called the Raleigh Post Office for my zip code and spoke with a supervisor who said that they’d talk with [redacted], but they really didn’t seem to care. After that I went to speak with my apartment managers and they were shocked, but there isn’t much they can do. One renter said that she had seen the Postal Woman do the same things with her neighbor’s packages and another person in the office made a comment that [redacted] was crazy, suggested I contact the Post Office and watch out for unusual things in the mail.

Needless to say, I’m really pissed. The ipod was well packaged, but /somewhere/ in the trip and falling down 2 flights of stairs, it has stopped working.

Do you have any suggestions? I might call the post office back and speak with the manager who is higher on the food chain but I’m not sure it’ll make a difference. My boyfriend suggested contacting the Post Master and you guys, because you always know what to do.

Erg.

Well, since a) this seems to be a hobby of your mail carrier’s b) you already reported it to the post office and they didn’t seem to care, you’re probably going to want to escalate this complaint to a higher authority. The best we could find was the Office of the Inspector General of the USPS. They have a hotline that takes complaints from the general public. When filing your complaint, we suggest that you concentrate on the fact that this behavior is routine and that you and the other renters in your apartment building fear retaliation for reporting it to the mail carrier’s supervisor.

You might also consider starting a petition within your apartment building and submitting it as well.

Anyone have any better ideas?


Contact Information
[Office of the Inspector General]
(Photo: Joy Of The Mundane )

Comments

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  1. Argh! My mail carrier does this too.

  2. FreemanB says:

    Don’t forget to get a video. An embarrassing video is often the fastest way to get results, particularly if you submit it to a local news station.

  3. fjordtjie says:

    @FreemanB: now THAT would be perfect! no denying it when you can see her doing it, but now it comes down to timing…

  4. pda_tech_guy says:

    That is just crazy.
    Well first I would wait to see if it happens again. Chances are that even thought your post office didnt seem to care, they still talked to [redacted]

    I agree with Meg though, get together with your neighbors and get a petition started.

  5. sir_pantsalot says:

    I wish you all the luck in the world but you are asking the government and the post office in particular to care about something besides themselves. I just don’t see this getting resolved properly.

  6. Starfury says:

    One day I was working in the garage and the mail guy came to drop off our mail. He walks up, puts the mail in the box, then pulls a package out of his bag. He drops it onto the brick porch from at least 3′ up. He walks off and I get my package. Luckily it wasn’t anything breakable but…how hard is it to place it on the porch.

    We’ve got a new mailman now and he’s good about packages.

  7. chiieddy says:

    Since the item was damaged in shipment, you could sue them for the value, especially if you manage to get video taped proof this is standard behavior.

  8. PinkBox says:

    @fjordtjie: Maybe the OP could start making some small online purchases and lay in wait… ;)

  9. Nogard13 says:

    The problem with Postal Workers is that they’re federal employees. As such, it practically takes an act of Congress to get them fired!

  10. vladthepaler says:

    Freeman’s idea is a good one. If you can get this on your local news, that will probably take care of it.

  11. describe_one says:

    Mail carriers hate vicious dogs. Just leave one tied up at the bottom of the stairs that will scare them and they will leave the packages by the door.

  12. Sockatume says:

    The local news station would probably be willing to set up hidden cameras for it, too. Maybe even a wearable one so the carrier’s belligerence to you can also be caught on tape.

  13. @FreemanB: That’s Exactly what I would do.

  14. ordendelfai says:

    If she comes around the same time every day I would take a video of her doing this using your phone or better yet a digital camera (of which almost all have decent video recording). Post it to YouTube and include the link in your correspondence with the Post Office and Inspector General.

    Oh, and share it with us too, got to see that!

  15. se7a7n7 says:

    Here’s what you do… Have your sister send you another package with something fragile, add insurance to the package (doesn’t cost much). When the package is expected to arrive, have video cameras set up to record what happens to the package.

    If the item is damaged, you file an insurance claim and include the video tape. Even if the package isn’t damaged you send the video to the local post master, Inspector General, local news and YouTube.

  16. apobull says:

    What is it with these postal workers that think they can get away with something like this(which unfortunately seems to be the case most times)? Where I live we have community mailboxes. For whatever reason(s), our carrier would drive right up onto the grass area in front of the boxes, thereby ruining the grass. After repeated offenses, it eventually got to the point that the area in front of some boxes would be substantially flooded during a heavy storm. Several of us complained to the local office but of course the driver denied it.

    Aside from that, we’ve had issues where the carrier decided to place a package, letter etc that didn’t fit in the recipient’s box in the package compartment but leave the door wide open instead of placing the key instead of the recipient’s box like they are supposed to! In this age of rampant identity theft, that’s totally unacceptable.

    The real kicker was a broken door on one of the package boxes. It took them 18 months at least and countless complaints before they finally fixed it. While nice, the other package door is still left wide open instead of being locked by the carrier.

    It’s a real shame that we don’t have choices aside from the USPS for regular mail. If we did, the competition would / could lead to some semblance of improvement with service.

  17. IphtashuFitz says:

    Unfortunately this sort of treatment of packages isn’t all that uncommon. I spent a few winters working as a drivers assistant for UPS (20-some-odd years ago now) and you’d see packages getting tossed around, crushed, etc. fairly regularly. UPS would hire a lot of temporary assistants to deal with the Christmas flood of packages. When I’d meet my driver in the morning the truck would be stuffed to the gills with packages, sometimes to the point of needing to kick one or two of them just to get the door closed. And sometimes in the middle of the day we’d meet up with another truck to transfer more packages between the two. If you think the packages were gently passed between the two trucks you should have your head checked. Just back the two trucks together and start tossing stuff between them.

  18. SkokieGuy says:

    Not only a hidden video, but make some shipments to yourself of somewhat fragile items. Ship them insured.

    When you submit a damage claim AND video of the handling AND it costs the post office money, then you will possibly get some actual action.

    Postal workers do get reasigned to different routes when there are problems and continuing complaints. Perhaps if others in your building won’t speak up, other people in your area or neighborhood business will share in your dissatisfaction.

  19. TornadoRex says:

    I’m going to agree with the “call the local news” comment. Government agencies HATE being on the local news for this type of stuff. I can imagine it would be twice as bad for them in an industry competing with an increasing amount of private outfits (UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc).

    Plus they’ll probably use their own hidden cameras so that’s a cost you can skip :D

  20. outinthedark says:

    My girlfriend had a problem once with a carrier leaving her college text book package on the curb and it rained. We were only able to get someone’s attention by being super persistent and not leaving them alone until they fixed the problem. Our carrier was nice though and it was an honest mistake…a $125 mistake but she paid for the package out of her own pocket.

    I would call and hound that post office, get names, get numbers keep going up the ladder. After I had called repeatedly they just got irritated of talking to me so I started coming in until they finally did something. It took a week and a couple dozen calls but it got the job done. Also call the 1800 number and make a complaint. That seemed to light a fire under them. If they refuse you can simply take them to small claims court they are a business and can be sued.

  21. Pizza_Guy says:

    Usually when sending an item worth over $100, people get insurance. For a grand total of $9.40, the iPod could have been sent priority mail with insurance covering up to $300. It’s been my experience that unless your package is insured, the USPS won’t do dick to help you out.

  22. A.W.E.S.O.M.-O says:

    Funny this comes up now, just the other day I was waiting for a FedEx package and when I thought I heard the truck, I came to the door and peeked out the peephole only to see my package fly in with a “thud.” It was a digital camera too…thank god it works.

  23. tape says:

    In the city in which I live, there is one “main” post office, and several other “branch” post offices for the other zip codes in the city. Complaining to someone at the “branch” office for your zip code has no effect, but complaining the “main” post office tends to get things done.

    Don’t know if this necessarily applies to everywhere, but I can see this being the sort of thing that might be a pattern.

  24. post_break says:

    Just use pepper spray next time. Guaranteed she wont throw them up the stairs again. Be sure to video tape it with your cell phone and post it to youtube for all the other terrible mail carriers.

    I like how our mail used to arrive in the morning but since we have some new guy I can put a bill in my mail box after I get off of work and it will still get picked up that same day.

  25. matt314159 says:

    You’re not alone with the crazy mail carrier. Ours, in the past six months has:

    1) Sat in front of our house honking the horn for several minutes at a time so we can COME OUT TO HER to get the package from the truck, instead of getting out of the truck and taking it to our door

    2) Smashed a box in order to make it fit in my mailbox…I had to squash the box even further to get it back out of the mailbox.

    3) “delivered” a package by setting it on the crossbar that holds both my neighbors and my mailbox (which is across the street from my house…so the box was just out by the street all day, in plain sight.

    4) Left a “Sorry we missed you” slip instead of trying to deliver a package when I was home, WAITING FOR THE PACKAGE. I saw the truck stop at our box, then just drive off…when I got the mail it was the orange “missed delivery” slip, and I know she didn’t even try to deliver it.

    5) When #4 happened, I IMMEDIATELY called it into the post office and spoke with a “supervisor” who happened to be the same person answering phones. I told them that I indeed WAS home and they never tried to deliver the package, and asked them to send the mail carrier back, as I could still see her truck down the road. I was told that it’s “Policy” that they are not allowed to send a truck back after it has already passed an address. I call BS on that one.

    6) We get people’s mail from the same address # but different street name about 5-6 times a year. When we took it to the post office and told them about it, they said WE WOULD HAVE TO PAY POSTAGE to get the parcel delivered to the right person.

    Gotta love the USPS!

  26. ac13 says:

    My advice is to call your local Post Office and inquire how to file a complaint with the U.S. Postal Inspectors. These people are responsible for investigating complaints like this.

    The following is taken from the Postal Inspectors’ website at [postalinspectors.uspis.gov]

    Mail or Mailbox Destruction (18 USC 1705)
    The Postal Inspection Service is committed to ensuring the safety of the nation’s mail by securing letter boxes or other receptacles for U.S. Mail. To this end, Postal Inspectors aggressively pursue individuals who willfully or maliciously injure or destroy such receptacles.

    Call the USPIS and let them deal with the mail carrier and the supervisor who don’t seem to care that a federal crime is being committed.

  27. Grabraham says:

    holly crap I dated a girl named [redacted] and she was a FREAK she loved [redacted] and when I would [redacted]her in the [redacted]!! man those were fun times I wonder if it the same [redacted]???

    ;)

  28. matt314159 says:

    I forgot #7 – Our carrier also has left elongated packages sticking out of our mailbox with the door flipped all the way open.

  29. wordsmithy says:

    I had success by contacting my Congresswoman’s local (not the one in DC) office. Each office has someone dedicated to running interference with Federal entities. The Congresswoman’s aide called the local post office and within days the problem was solved. She then called about three months later to check if things were still okay. And someone from the post office called regularly to check on progress.

    Worth a try.

  30. Seiko says:

    Didn’t have time to read all the comments….

    Call and speak to a Postal Inspector.
    They are the law enforcement division of the USPS, screw dealing with managers and so on. The inspectors are like having the wrath of god come down on you if you are a mail person.

    I had a mail person steal a lawn ornament from my house a few years ago. Talking to managers did jack. One phone call to an Postal Inspector, I had a check in my hand and the mail person fired within a month.

  31. caffeinequeen says:

    My favorite personal mail experience: I subscribe to Star (yes, I know, guilty pleasure) and once it came four days later than usual…

    …with the crossword puzzle filled in.

  32. mbriney says:

    One word: YouTube

  33. Nighthawke says:

    They do have a complaint ticket that you can fill out and drop into the mail slot. Generate a paper trail starting with the ticket and work upwards, keeping a journal as you go.

  34. JN2 says:

    An act of congress may not be enough to remove a federal employee from office, they tried that with my husband a few years back, we just laughed at them and he stayed in his position until he retired. Collects full benefits too!

    C ya! Hillary C.

  35. RonDiaz says:

    Write the inspector general.

  36. samurailynn says:

    @matt314159: We have a separate package deliverer and mail carrier. Our package deliverer did something like your #4 once.

    My husband works at home, and sits at a computer about 15 feet from the front door. Someone knocked on the door, he stood up, walked across the room and opened the door to find a slip saying “sorry we missed you! Your package will be available for pick up at the post office tomorrow” and he could see the package deliverer driving away. So, she basically knocked on the door to leave us a note instead of waiting for someone to answer the door. If I had known about it before he went to pick up the package, I would have asked the post office to reimburse the amount spent on shipping, since they didn’t even try to deliver it to our house.

  37. RonDiaz says:

    @JN2: Not totally inaccurate. The local rural route carrier here was fired for plowing over a mailbox while delivering mail drunk. the Union forced USPS to givehim his job back.

  38. katylostherart says:

    federal government, nuff said.

    good luck.

  39. ThinkerTDM says:

    @wordsmithy: I think this would solve the minor problem (the mail carrier) but not the larger one- lazy, inept, unsupervised government employees. There are a lot of good ones out there- responsible people who give a damn. But they are overshadowed by the incompetent. DMV, post office, police. Services we depend on, yet are filled by the lowest member of society.

  40. DallasPath says:

    @matt314159:

    Our old carrier pulled #4 on a continual basis and would even do it when we were out in the driveway and she could see us. I never complained to the post office, but we got a new carrier who doesn’t do that but does #2 on occasion. I don’t think you can ever win with the post office, but #4 is more annoying to me than #2, so I’m currently ahead (until they change our mailperson)

  41. MyPetFly says:

    Although our current mail carrier is good, I had one stuff a book with an attached CD into our mailbox. He/she had to bend the book, thereby snapping the CD in half.

    I was ripped off by an eBay “seller,” having paid by postal money order. The postal inspectors were no help — they never responded to my criminal complaint.

    When living in Temecula, California, the mail carrier refused to comply with our official mail forwarding request. I complained to someone at the post office and was obliquely threatened with arrest for threatening a federal employee (the mail carrier). Thanks for nothing Temecula Post Office!

  42. Burgandy says:

    @JN2: Funniest thing I have read this week!

  43. dako81 says:

    @katylostherart: YES!

    Don’t use USPS. Use a private company who has to compete to earn their profits and to stay around.

  44. SkokieGuy says:

    Just as a point of interest, I have a friend who is a Chicago area mail-carrier. She is getting her first raise in 8 years this Fall. It will amount to about $25.00 a week.

    If our government can’t even provide cost of living increases, is it a wonder why some of its employees are surly and unmotivated to do a good job?

    That being said, this doesn’t excuse this carrier’s performance or the lack of responsivness to the OP’s complaints.

  45. juniper says:

    A possible workaround: get the landlord to install postal boxes for all tenants on the ground floor of the building, eliminating the letter carrier’s clear issues with having the climb stairs.

    May not be feasible, but worth a try.

  46. britne says:

    Wish UPS/DHL/FedEx had reasonable pricing for simple letter delivery. Or a new competitor would join the market. I think some healthy comeptition in this arena would go a long way.

  47. silver-spork says:

    @matt314159:

    For #6, you should be able to put first-class mail not addressed to you back in the box with the flag up. It may help to put a note in indicating that it was delivered to you by mistake.

    I love forwarding the USPS threads to my mother (a postmaster) and listening to her bitch about crappy employees. She’s had good luck with her mail carriers, but it did take her almost a year to be able to fire a clerk who was stealing money orders. Go government!

  48. annab says:

    I would absolutely contact the local news. The OP mentioned Raleigh (where I happen to live), and the local ABC affiliate has a rather good Troubleshooter segment. Email troubleshooter@abc11mail.com or call 919-688-4357 to get in touch with them.

  49. GMFish says:

    Despite the fact that the USPS is quasi private, it’s actually still a government bureaucracy where it’s nearly impossible to fire employees, not matter how egregious their behavior may be.

    Complaining simply will not work, I would find out her name and address and sue her personally in small claims court for the price of the iPod.

  50. totoro says:

    Video Tape does wonders. Do your duty!

  51. MyPetFly says:

    @britne:

    “Wish UPS/DHL/FedEx had reasonable pricing for simple letter delivery. Or a new competitor would join the market.”

    I may be wrong, but I believe that the USPS are the only ones legally allowed to handle mail meeting the definition of First Class Mail. If it was allowed, I’m sure private companies could do it cheaper (maybe even free letter delivery, as long as the free envelopes included advertising…?)

  52. MyPetFly says:

    @GMFish:

    “I would find out her name and address and sue her personally in small claims court for the price of the iPod.”

    Wouldn’t she be indemnified since it happened during the course of “performing her work duties?”

  53. JaneBadall says:

    Ugh! This happens to me all the time. The postman tries to throw packages up and over the railing of the balcony to my front door. He misses, a lot. So I’m sitting there at my computer and I’ll hear the “ka-thoing!” as it bounces off the rails, run to the door, to tell him to stop but he ALWAYS gets one more useless damaging toss in.

    I have asked him to call me and I’ll come get it, I’ve told him to leave it by the mailbox, called his supervisor, etc, etc. Nothing works.

    Although I did give him a decent holiday bonus last year. Maybe I’ll just mention that there will be coal in his stocking this year if he doesn’t knock it off.

  54. tinycorkscrew says:

    @MyPetFly: You are correct.

    The USPS enjoys a monopoly over letter mail. See for example:

    [www.aei.org]

  55. edebaby says:

    Send POSTCARDS to everyone on your block with the message “do you think our carrier sucks too?” written boldly on the card, so the carrier has to personally delivery each card.

  56. MyPetFly says:

    @edebaby:

    Send POSTCARDS to everyone on your block with the message “do you think our carrier sucks too?” written boldly on the card, so the carrier has to personally delivery each card.

    What do you want to bet NONE of them get delivered? ; )

  57. RStewie says:

    @britne: This is not likely to happen, since the Post Office is not a profit-generating business, for just this reason.

    Those “unreasonable” prices FedEx and others charge amount to what the Gov’t eats every time you mail a letter.

    That being said, the Main Branch in your community is your best bet to escalate a problem. If you have a smaller branch that services you, though, you might try going in once in a while and chatting up the people there. That’s one of the first things I did after moving into my new house. It really does make a drastic difference.

  58. LAGirl says:

    i had problems with my mailman. but after getting nowhere with the local post office + his supervisor, i escalated and called the 800 number for USPS, 1-800-275-8777. once you call + file a complaint, they will pass it on to the local consumer affairs person in your area. they should be able to help.

  59. incognit000 says:

    I find that postal quality varies greatly from region to region. When I was in CA I was lucky to get my mail at all, but here in WI the postal workers seem to take their job more seriously.

    Important to remember: the USPS is semi-independent, and is supposed to be treated as an independent company, like UPS or FedEx. Treat them like one.

  60. SkokieGuy says:

    If you want to get dirty:

    You could always give your postal carrier a lovely holiday card with a check enclosed. If the check is cashed, the carrier is violating Federal Law and would likely be fired or severly reprimanded.

  61. Gokuhouse says:

    @edebaby: Brilliant!

  62. dragonfire81 says:

    This reminds of that scene from Ace Ventura where Carrey is posing as a courier and just beating the crap out of the package as he takes it up to the guys room.

    Of course I guess it’s funnier when it DOESN’T happen to you.

  63. cf27 says:

    @se7a7n7: Problem is that for insured packages, they have to actually climb the stairs and get you to sign for it. The USPS is much better about how it treats insured packages.

  64. snoop-blog says:

    A) always get insurance on electronic items, it’s really cheap (usually under $10) and easy.

    B) mail yourself a package (so you know it’s coming and make sure you write fragile on it for good measure) and set up a way to record the insanity.

    C) post to youtube and call the local media.

  65. snoop-blog says:

    @snoop-blog: If she’s a repeat offender, it should be fairly easy to catch her in the act…

    I got a mini (very very small) wireless camera off of ebay for $50, although, I don’t suggest you have one mailed to you, unless of course it’s ups, or fed-ex, me personally, I hate dhl.

  66. MyPetFly says:

    @SkokieGuy:

    “If the check is cashed, the carrier is violating Federal Law and would likely be fired or severly reprimanded.”

    I like that idea! The only thing is, how would you report it, under what statute, etc., or how would you refer to it?

  67. snoop-blog says:

    I love how the neighbor said the woman was crazy, I mean to be pc about it I belive the correct term is “postal”.

  68. AvDub says:

    @chiieddy: In addition to the iPod’s value, don’t forget about all the songs that I’m sure she paid for! That could really add up…

  69. lowcajones says:

    contact the postmaster general. they have no right to damage your parcel like that; it would probably be considered interfering with the mail, and that’s a federal crime. like, a big deal federal crime and usually if you’re accused of it, you’re probably going to be in gigantic trouble.

  70. SkokieGuy says:

    The general rules are pulished [www.usps.com]

    You would take the evidence (cashed check) to the Post Master. This isn’t merely a ‘complaint’ anymore. It is now a black & white violation of a Government regulation. They would have to take action, even if they didn’t want to, as you have presented proof of the breach of regulation. If they take no action, that now have exposed themselves to discipline.

  71. JGB says:

    Hell, my mail carrier delivers packages without stopping the truck. Just flings them out the door. I saw him try to deliver a flat rectangular package by throwing it frisbee style from across the street. Amazingly, he actually hit the door he was aiming at and…busted the glass doing it. He could not have cared less. Just drove off. I spoke with the homeowner that evening and he told me a couple of days later that the post office ignored him.

  72. nicemarmot617 says:

    Oh lordy. My father was a regional manager for the USPS before he died in ’99. Half his career was made tracking down and firing employees like this. The other half was un-made when he attempted to reform the hiring and firing practices of the USPS so that crap like this would stop happening. They threatened to fire HIM and cut his salary. He died six months later at the age of 51. They refused to pay his pension. When he died, he had been there for 30 years and was something like 4 months away from his full pension.

    Yeah, I don’t use the USPS anymore, even though before his death it would have been blasphemy to even think of talking to the brown truck!

  73. MameDennis says:

    I don’t know if this applies to the OP, but it’s a good tip: If you ship a fragile package, do not mark it “FRAGILE”. Your more antisocial postal employees will read that as “DROP-KICK ME MULTIPLE TIMES”.

    (Before anyone bashes me for stereotyping postal employees, this advice was courtesy of my late grandfather, who was a postmaster.)

  74. MyPetFly says:

    @lowcajones:

    Postal inspectors are worthless, from my personal experience.

    @SkokieGuy:

    Thanks SkokieGuy. Hopefully I’ll never have to spring the trap, but it’s good information to have.

  75. enine says:

    “Office of the Inspector General of the USPS.” As soon as you escalate there you will also find that they don’t care either.
    Before I moved I asked if we could at least be serviced by a different post office after not reciveing a christmas present and a neighbor delivering it that spring when the snow in her back yard melted and she found it.

  76. caederus says:

    If you ever visited a BMC (Bulk Mail Center) you wouldn’t worry too much about tossing a package up a flight of stairs.

    The packages get fed into the top of a sorting machine about 2 stories tall and about as big as a football field. As the packages are sorted they are dropped into shipping boxes at the bottom of the machine. The shipping boxes have a square base as wide as the inside of a trainer. They are as tall as the inside of a trailer.

    Just take it as a basic assumption that your package will be the first one in a new box. So you fragile electronics/glassware is dropped 20 feet into this box. Followed by 100 custom bowling balls. Is it packaged well enough to survive?

    After you receive you package in it’s new flat shape, just start taking it up the chain. Local supervisor, local postmaster….. Till you do a ECB on the postmaster General and your members of congress.

  77. organicgardener says:

    Mail yourself a package so you know when to expect it. Have a video camera set up and record the whole thing. Submit it the Postmaster, Office of the IG, TV news stations, YouTube, and anyone else you can think of. I’ll bet you get a response after that!

  78. njovin says:

    Not caring is pretty much a standard with the USPS.

    My wife’s mom used to work in a Post Office. One day they find out that this guy has been stealing packages. Not one or two, he’d pretty much made a career out of it. He’d been working there for about 15 years.

    So they fired him, right? Wrong. They forced him into early retirement, giving him his FULL PENSION along the way. So he gets out like five years earlier than everyone else with the same benefits. Crazy.

  79. ogman says:

    The USPS has the worst customer service I’ve ever seen. Their office supervisors rarely take any action and frequently blame the consumer. Escalating rarely brings any action, because the people you escalate to seem to be former location managers (or have very much the same attitude). The best thing to do is request another shipping method as often as you can. You may also try writing to your Congressional Reps.

  80. Video tape to the inspector general. Without proof, it is your word against her word, and she is an union employee incapable of being fired short of grave errors.

  81. joeblack13 says:

    Thankfully in my part of DC, the mail carriers don’t seem to last long enough for their bad habits to really become a problem. I think I’ve had 5 or 6 different carriers already this year. Now, the UPS guy, THAT’S a different story…

  82. salguod_senrab says:

    Our neighorhood has been trying to address the chronic shortcomings of our local post office in Brooklyn (Times Plaza) for about ten years. It’s a nightmare. Mail misdelivered, not delivered at all, stuffed into inappropriate places, thrown on the stoop, packages sent back with no attempt at delivery, and so on. We’ve done a neighborhood survey off and on for years, and it just keeps getting worse.

    The management is inept, the personnel are inept, and even when management can be roused (e.g. petitions, complaints, angry public meetings), the bureaucracy and the union combined give them almost no incentives or penalties to remedy bad behavior of any sort. Good luck.

  83. Darkwing_Duck says:

    No tip for him this December!

  84. OneMHz says:

    I had a mail carrier ignoring outgoing mail. Even going so far as to crush it when shoving in the mail she was delivering (the Netflix return envelopes had to offer SOME resistance). When I called my post office I got the Postmaster General. He was very helpful and said he’d talk to the carrier, offered alternative ways of sending outgoing mail, etc. Course, that was for MY post office. Your mileage may vary. But if it was just a supervisor, you at least have one option up the chain that is still local.

  85. Darkwing_Duck says:

    @apobull: A lot of workers who come for our neighbors, and people coming to our neighbors’s parties park on our lawn. The best method of retaliation (if they don’t stop after being asked politely once or twice) is to just turn the sprinklers on around the time they’re going to leave. It’s legal, and fun!

  86. Darkwing_Duck says:

    @ThinkerTDM: Unions probably made the way we do things now possible, but I am sick of the idea of ugh I want to get paid $30 an hour to do a monkey’s job!!!!1111

  87. stupidjerk says:

    [consumerist.com]

    maybe it wasn’t the mail carriers fault that the ipod is failing…

  88. ddhj says:

    wow. that is appalling. i feel really lucky to have cool mail carriers. my USPS carrier always walks up to my door on the second floor to see if i’m home to receive any parcels, even though i’m usually not home or asleep. on rare occasions when i do get to the door to personally receive the parcel she greets me with a “Hey, you’re home today!”

  89. Dobernala says:

    @OneMHz: You talked to the Postmaster General? Awesome!

  90. crazykathyp says:

    As a postal employee I will try to explain: Although it’s not the way one should handle a parcel by throwing it up a flight of stairs, the real problem starts at the P.O. where they are doing more with less people expecting carriers to deliver double the amount of mail in a certain amount of time which takes away the quality of delivery. But also know that they now have these large machines that do the parcels and the parcels are all dumped on top of each other (no matter the weight- a large one plopped on top of a small one) and go up this conveyor, just to have the address read by a machine and then again go down a conveyor and be plopped into another large container with other large boxes being plopped on top of them, thus any parcel can already be damaged way before the carrier plays basketball with it. USPS has taken away the human touch for any fragile parcels-sad but true. I still do not think the carrier should do this out of being disgruntled for having to do more work, We owe it to our customers to handle their mail correctly-after all they are the ones that are entrusting in our service. If this carrier keeps doing this it can drive a customer away to other services and give us a bad/worse name. She should realize this, but apparently she doesn’t care, especially when she does this infront of you and says she doesn’t care. I wonder how she would like her own parcels flung the same way??!! I apologize for your carriers unprofessionalness,but know that not all us postal workers act in this way. It’s the upper management system that is damaging some of their employees good work ethics. Contact the Inspector General office-that usually gets their attention fast–keep calling over and over, and also have your friends call with their complaints–until you get satisfaction!!

  91. azzy says:

    @Grabraham: holly crap I dated a girl named [Sally] and she was a FREAK she loved [holding my h]and when I would [walk with] her in the [park]!! man those were fun times I wonder if it the same [Sally]???

  92. crashfrog says:

    DMV, post office, police. Services we depend on, yet are filled by the lowest member of society.

    This article aside, I’ve never had anything but good experiences with the Post Office in three different states I’ve lived. Service was always fast, the staff were friendly and knowledgeable – they once practically bent over backwards to help me find a package, and it turned out I’d had it all along.

    Fed-Ex and UPS charge ten times as much, or more – and don’t deliver to my mailbox, regularly mistreat and lose packages, and in about every way are inferior to the USPS. At best, they’re about one day faster on the delivery.

    This is not likely to happen, since the Post Office is not a profit-generating business, for just this reason.

    It’s my understanding that, in fact, the USPS does generate a profit over their operating budget, and that profit goes to fund other Federal programs. At least that was true a few years ago, maybe it’s not anymore. (It’s possible that they’ve been killed by fuel prices, along with everybody else.)

  93. timmus says:

    Ugh, I hate it when I have a good suggestion and the thread already has 100 comments.

    Solution: Have some packages sent to your address and wait around with a good camcorder (not a cell phone camera). Rip the video and post it on YouTube, alert the media, and let us know on Consumerist. I can guarantee you that will light a fire at USPS.

  94. spazztastic says:

    I just want mine to close my mailbox after he puts the mail in. Your problem sounds worse than a wet cable bill.

  95. timmus says:

    On further review, I see many other posters had the same idea. Hats off to them.

  96. Jackasimov says:

    There is/was a guy in my neighborhood that would load and unload the “green box” on my corner. A few times I’ve seen him take an entire large bag of parcels/boxes and chuck it off his truck onto the ground – a least a distance of six feet. If shit didn’t get damaged by his negligent and malicious behavior I would be very surprised.

  97. @matt314159: [i]Left a “Sorry we missed you” slip instead of trying to deliver a package when I was home, WAITING FOR THE PACKAGE. I saw the truck stop at our box, then just drive off…when I got the mail it was the orange “missed delivery” slip, and I know she didn’t even try to deliver it.[/i]

    This EXACT thing happened to me. Exactly. She was a rural route postman on contract, but she still got her arse chewed out when I reported her. It was infuriating to watch her drive away without even trying to deliver the package.

    Even better, she told me that it didn’t look like anyone was home. Hi, I have a garage. It contains our cars. You couldn’t possibly know if I was at home or not.

  98. woohhaa says:

    Arma Lite Inc. makes some really nice carbine rifles.

  99. Zerkaboid says:

    We live in an apartment that up 1/2 flight of stairs so my mail carrier routinely throws packages to my door instead of climbing 4 steps. I’ve only caught him doing it once, but packages are generally upsidedown and a few feet from the door so I imagine it’s a regular occurrence.

    I have most anything fragile sent to my work address to avoid this, because he didn’t seem to care when I saw him do it and I’ve even left a couple notes by our mail boxes asking him to be careful (he also manages to crush EVERYTHING that goes into our box. Yeah it’s small, but it’s to the point where greeting cards are crushed like an accordion, ridiculous).

    I still can’t believe the post office manager/whoever she talked to just didn’t care.

  100. blockbustarhymes says:

    If you were going to send a package and buy insurance, you could also tape some cheapo shock sensors to the three axes of the box. They have varying scales (5g, 10g, 15g, etc) and they trigger once that acceleration has been reached. Take some before/after pictures of the sensors.

    So you could put a wide range of sensors on there and have some qualitative measurement for how rough the carrier was being with your valuable stuff.

    Then again, for the expense of doing that, is it really worth it? Up to you I guess.

  101. aka Cat says:

    I had horrible delivery at my last apartment — in Raleigh.

    If the package was insured, go to the Westgate office to fill out the paperwork for it. In fact, the Westgate office is a great place to go, period. Two of the three folks who currently work the main counter there have been with the post office for ages, and can give you some good advice.

    Westgate USPS office:
    [www.switchboard.com]

  102. rychdom says:

    I once shipped a TV, DVD player, remote, and some random picture CDs to myself (I couldn’t take it all home on the plane). It was all well packaged in one box and insured. When it didn’t show up I called UPS and they informed me the TV was damaged in transit. They had to do a damage assessment, then they would send it back to the location of origin. It took several calls explaining that I sent it to myself to get them to send it to my home.

    I wasn’t home when it was delivered, but my wife was. The UPS driver set it on the front step and started to walk off. She’s a small girl, so she asked the UPS driver to help her in with it. He ROLLED the box over the front step and left. The box was completely jacked up, and she could hear the shattered TV inside.

    When I got home, I opened the box to find the TV completely demolished, the remote for the DVD player missing, and the CDs missing. The DVD player was fine. My experience working in several shipping & receiving docks and seeing how these drivers treat their cargo told me to make sure the package was insured. What I didn’t know (because I didn’t read the fine print on the back) is that the insurance is void if you pack the box yourself. My bad, can’t blame them for that…

    Lessons learned: Always read the fine print, and LET THEM PACK IT.

    Just after that I had two separate online purchases damaged by UPS. I cringe whenever I see a UPS truck outside my house…

    Of course, after the attitude of the driver and employees I talked to over the phone, I avoid UPS at all cost.

  103. Simple solution: wait till she comes to your apartment building with a package and is set to hurl it up the stairs, then hurl a large bag of garbage down on her and explain that she should complain to the building super.

  104. spazztastic says:

    @rychdom:Since when is the insurance void if you pack it yourself? I’ve had to ship several computers through UPS, always insured, and I packed them myself 9using the original box and packing material, or insta-pak foam). One time, the package arrived and it looked like it had been run over by a forklift. I filed a claim, they sent a rep, and two weeks later, we had a check in-hand for our maximum insured value.

  105. iCanhasLs2plz says:

    The incompetency they show is pretty disturbing for people charged with safely delivering your belongings to you. On many occasions I would come home to find extremely important packages left sitting in the driveway by the door, or important letters sent to neighbors numerous times, while this mailman walks away on his ipod.

  106. HogwartsAlum says:

    @crashfrog:
    “Fed-Ex and UPS charge ten times as much, or more – and don’t deliver to my mailbox, regularly mistreat and lose packages, and in about every way are inferior to the USPS. At best, they’re about one day faster on the delivery.”

    FedEx hauls most of the mail.

  107. sicknick says:

    Good luck getting anything done about this. I’m good friends with the Assistant Postmaster in my town (she’s a Burning Man person too!) and even with that sort of connection our mail carrier had nothing done to him after two incidents that played out like this:

    I have a day off work and am expecting a package from across country. One was Burning Man tickets for 2007, the next was a special delivery package I’d ordered on ebay almost two weeks prior and was not in the warehouse. So, totally different days, comepletely different houses (I left my girlfriend and moved across the highway to a friend’s extra bedroom) same mail carrier. Both times, I’m in my living room, waiting for the mial to be dropped in the slot. Both times, I hear mail in the box, run to look, and find a “I tried to deliver, but you weren’t home!” both times, I stick my head out and yell “Hey, I’m right here! You didn’t even knock!” and the guy looks all sheepish and says “I’ll be right back.” (didn’t even HAVE the package out of the truck!)

    Guy still works the route, and has made a point of not delivering our mail if there is anything more then 1/4 inch of snow on the walk in the winter. It’s utter bs, but it’s the post office. Where else are you gonna go?

  108. HogwartsAlum says:

    Here is a link I forgot to post in my previous comment.

    [www.usps.com]

  109. TiffanyEbonifly says:

    My Los Angeles post office suddenly stopped delivering certain mail – I
    only found out about it because a couple of friends asked if I’d moved,
    since they’d gotten mail back marked “unknown at this address” by the
    USPS. So I went over there and asked — my mail carrier told me that
    the manager of that post office had told all the carriers that they
    “didn’t have to deliver any mail that didn’t have an apartment number on
    it.” (!!) So I got the name of the carrier and the name of the post
    office manager and wrote a letter of complaint to both my senators and
    to my congresscritter, copying the post master general. It worked. I
    got calls, letters, apologies, and, apparently, Congress looking into
    the matter. I never lacked for a delivery again. The carrier may not
    care, but the manager doesn’t want to lose the cushy job and if the post
    master general is being hounded by your senators, things will be fixed.
    At the very least, the manager will probably transfer your carrier to
    another route in order to report back that he (or she) actually DID
    something about it.

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  110. props_nyc says:

    my girlfriend shipped a package recently through the USPS that contained a record player lots of vinyl records, some books, and some clothes. it arrived late and minus the record player and several records, and with some unknown persons hats inside. The package had clearly been opened (it was sealed with different packing tape than we used.

    she didn’t have insurance on the shipment so she pretty much has no recourse. she reported the theft, but the USPS site actually states that you won’t receive a response.

    i would recommend shipping via UPS or FedEx for anything of any value.

  111. preservationgal says:

    When I moved to DC last year, my post office forwarded my new car title and my social security card to the new Massachusetts address of the girl who had lived in my room before me. Her name is similar to mine, but if her fiancee hadn’t googled my name and emailed me, I’d have never gotten that car title.

    They also decided to “return to sender” all my medical bills last spring, for no apparent reason. I’d wondered why my health insurance was being so generous.

  112. crashfrog says:

    FedEx hauls most of the mail.

    If you say so. That just makes the USPS an even better deal – FedEx service for the cost of a 40-cent stamp.

  113. sponica says:

    I live in Park Slope Brooklyn, and my mailman has a tendency of just leaving things in the front vestibule….especially magazines. I’m worried about having any packages shipped to my apartment, since neither my roommates nor myself are home during business hours…now I have everything shipped to my office.

  114. InThrees says:

    The mail carrier featured in this story confuses me. Why isn’t she like my old mail carrier, who would just leave a “you have a package, come pick it up at the PO because you weren’t home” slip in my box at the fortress of mail. (apartment complex centralized mail thinger.)

    Thing is, she never knocked on my door. I don’t think she even took the packages for apartment complexes with her in the morning.

  115. Danj3ris says:

    Tell supervisor first. Then letter to the Postmaster. Then letter to office of the Postmaster General explaining the lack of effort on the Postmaster’s part of fixing the problem.

    If none of this works, go postal.

  116. Leohat says:

    I doubt this has changed since I spent a summer working as a postal carrier sub.

    The carriers don’t really get paid by the hour, they get paid based on a set amount of time per piece of mail per route based on a semi-annual adjustment. Basicly it is Xsecs times average number of peices per day equals time paid.

    So if the route is rated to take 8 hours, they get paid the same if they do it in 6 or 10.

    So if they can shave 30sec here, a minute there, it adds up. That’s why they don’t wait for the door to be answered, or drive down a long driveway (there are also regulations against backing up a postal vechicle). Because packages take longer to sort, load and deliver, the carriers generally dislike packages.

    Also, the USPS has some pretty severe union/mangement issues which does contribute to employee disgruntlement.

  117. SinisterMatt says:

    @post_break:

    That’s assault. And I believe that assaulting a government worker, even if they are being a dork, is a felony with time in the pokey.

    The mail people around here are pretty good. They even bring boxes to the door if they don’t fit in the package holder. I wonder if some mail carriers’ attitudes and the shenanigans they pull is related to that mentality because it is a government job it is a lot harder to be fired.

    Cheers!

  118. SinisterMatt says:

    @MyPetFly:

    You’re right. They are the only one mandated by federal law to deliver the mail (minus packages of course). Wikipedia has a good explanation about that:

    [en.wikipedia.org]

    Cheers!

  119. Sarcastikate says:

    There was a mail carrier I had for many years – this guy was a hopeless alcoholic. He was filthy, had BO, reeked of booze, and every night my neighborhood had to do a “mail exchange” Complaints did nothing. He outlasted at least 5 postmasters in town. Some of them actually tried to do something about it – but the most they could do was to send him to rehab now & then. Finally he retired. Mail carriers must have some crazy good union. Postal workers – gotta love ‘em!

  120. FrankReality says:

    I had a recurring problem with mail arriving damaged/ripped open and receiving boxes smashed and half torn open.

    I contacted my congressperson’s constituent services office. I don’t know what the heck they did, but the problem disappeared within a week.

    As usual, your mileage may vary.

  121. chwebb1 says:

    Thus is why I don’t use the USPS if I can help it. They are the most inept people I have ever dealt with. Do yourself a favor and ship DHL or FedEx. Generally, they’re cheaper or about the same price, and have better customer service. I have NEVER had a FedEx/DHL driver throw my packages, and they always arrive in good condition and on time. That’s more than I can say for both UPS and USPS. Avoid them at all costs.

  122. 2copper says:

    REVENGE!!
    What you do is get a scrap piece of granite countertop from a kitchen and bath shop. Some shops have a scrap bin that will let you have pieces for free. A piece small enough to fit in the USPS Flat Rate box. The box that if you can fit it in they can only charge $9.80 NO MATTER WHAT THE WEIGHT! Mail that box to yourself and let us see how far she can chuck that box!

  123. EdnaLegume says:

    @describe_one: No, then they’ll just launch the packages from their vehicle.

  124. FlashBuddy says:

    Hire a thug to break the throwing arm, continue with replacement carriers until satisfied.

  125. MMD says:

    A previous poster suggested complaining to the 800 number, and I second that. My local post office was much more responsive to my consistent delivery problems once they were getting calls from the local consumer affairs office. Also, you get tracking numbers for your problems when you call the 800 number so there’s a slightly higher level of accountability.

    I started making regular complaints to generate a paper/computer trail about my carrier who was constantly mis-delivering mail and not delivering packages (he wouldn’t even leave a notice that he’d attempted delivery…I had to track them down myself). Finally, after months of doing this, they moved my carrier to another route in my neighborhood. I wish he wasn’t someone else’s problem now, but I’ve done all I can do, and I actually get decent mail service from my new carrier.

  126. zgori says:

    The forces experienced by your ipod being thrown up a flight of stairs are probably no greater than those it has experienced on the other legs of its long journey from China, on a container ship, through several warehouses, multiple trucks and forklifts, maybe a train or a plane, a packaging line, a few sorting facilities with high speed conveyors and deep bins, and countless low-wage package-slingers. It’s supposed to be packaged to withstand those forces and if not, that’s what the warranty’s for. Your postal worker may be lazy and rude, but I doubt you’ll get her to change. And even if you did, it wouldn’t make your shipments any safer.

  127. coolkiwilivin says:

    Not surprising. What do you expect from the government? Anyone who thinks the USPS or federal employees are motivated by good customer service also probably thinks Obama will fix all their problems and will somehow magically cause government to be efficient and effective.

  128. Charlotte Rae's Web says:

    I live in Cary, right next to Raleigh and our carrier’s favorites include leaving packages right ducked inside our garage if it is open OR right in front of it if it is closed.

    I drive a SUV, so I open that garage door and pull out – hearing something dragging. It’s a package!

    We only figured out what they were doing after my daughter was playing outside and figured it out.

    Of course, no one cares and the Cary PO office just says we’ll report that to the area supervisor.

  129. verdantpine says:

    You should probably not use the Inspector General, that’s their fraud investigation team. Use it if you think people are stealing mail, sending illegal material, etc.

    I’ve had to complain (I’m a shipper of moderate frequency through my business) re some various USPS issues.

    The OP should kick it upstairs to the postmaster for the region by sending a CMRR letter. I had some luck sending a faxed letter, you can try that. You can use this link: [www.usps.com] to find the local postal customer council. Each website lists the postmaster for the area, or it’s listed on the locator.

    For Raleigh (where the OP lives) here’s the information for your postmaster:

    Greater Triangle Area PCC
    1 Floretta Place
    Room 88
    Raleigh, NC 27676-9998

    Howard Sample, Postmaster
    howard.e.sample@usps.gov
    T (919) 420-5134
    F (919) 420-5114

    Be persistent and keep kicking it upstairs. Expect supervisors to wash their hands of certain issues; often they are the ones giving clerks the wrong information.

  130. verdantpine says:

    Re the complaints about the postal inspectors and customer service issue. Yes, they suck at handling customer service issues – because they’re too busy chasing illegal pharmaceuticals, check thieves and employees who are hoarding mail. In other words, they are the wrong people to talk to about a regular customer service issue.

    From their own website: [postalinspectors.uspis.gov] – “U.S. Postal Inspectors are federal law enforcement agents with investigative jurisdiction in all criminal matters involving the integrity and security of the U.S. Postal Service.”

    You don’t ask the FBI to handle a dispute that belongs in small claims court.

    If a postal employee is stealing or hoarding mail, or if you know someone is committing mail fraud, then you call the inspectors.

    Trust me, before you call the Postmaster General, try your regional postmaster first. It usually does the trick.

  131. imsomeguy says:

    A good idea would be to talk to your post master and at least ask how to get a parcel locker installed, they useually cost a bit of money so I’d try and see if every one in the complex wishes to pitch in. It doesn’t seem right to throw a package like that, but your package is thrown around a lot more than you realize. I worked at post offices for two years. Every morning parcels are thrown to their according bins, and they also can bump around inside the vehicle if theres no way to fit them right.

    Another more obvious way is to have your package insured. It requires a signiture to be delivered. I am not sure why this person ordered something electronic costing over $100 witout ensuring it. Reguardless of the carrier damage could havew happened at any point getting to your place.

  132. timesquare says:

    Oh God I have a story for you… I ordered canned tuna from Amazon. Got home from and smelled something horrible outside my door. Smelled like a dead animal. I carried the tuna box inside the house and proceeded to open it while the stench got worse. To my surprise, one of the metal tuna cans was crushed open…. Now someone explain to me.. What kind of force do you need to crush open a can of tuna?? which is already hard to open with a darn can opener!

  133. dazzlezak says:

    BHD-Big Hungry Dog

    fight fire with fire!

  134. GrandizerGo says:

    I had a problem with the delivery people many years ago when I was just…
    Nevermind…
    It was embarrassing…
    Let’s just say that many adult magazines in unmarked packages were being delivered opened and fingered through.
    The Postal Inspector stopped that in less than 3 months.
    In fact he could have stopped it in the first month, but he wanted to see how many others were breaking the law.
    New people working in the back after that.

  135. HogwartsAlum says:

    @crashfrog:

    For the most part, USPS does pretty well. I’ve mailed and received packages (I order from Amazon a lot, among other things) and I really don’t have a lot of complaints about them. And you’re right, a stamp is much cheaper.

    I love to see people’s faces though, when I tell them that. >;)