The U.S. Postal Service Doesn't Want Night Owl Business

Most people occasionally need to mail packages. Most people also have jobs. The U.S. Postal Service is in financial trouble, and desperately needs our package-mailing funds. They’re not about to expand the hours that post offices are open to accommodate office workers, though, so they compromise: post office lobbies are open 24/7 and Automated Postal Centers are ready for your package-mailing needs. Blue mailboxes can only accommodate parcels up to 13 ounces, but you can drop much larger boxes in the package drop at your local post office. In theory. Dan found that this was trickier in practice, when every post office nearby had an operational postage machine, but the package drops were all locked.

The vast majority of USPS office lobbies are open 24/7. I assume this is because the post office wants to give its customers opportunities to utilize it’s services after hours. Which comes in handy if you work during the hours the postal service is open, are a night owl, or, in my case, are both.

Needing to mail a package to my mother, I decided last night to take said package to my post office ([redacted]) and use the centerpiece of this 24/7 service to purchase postage and mail off my package.

I find that this time, unlike on my previous attempt at doing this five weeks ago, my transaction is actually processed, and postage is issued for my package. I’m politely asked upon the completion of my purchase to deposit my package in the deposit box to the left of the machine.

Which is locked.

After regaining my composure, and with the next post office only being 15 minutes away, I decide to make the drive up to the next post office ([redacted]) to attempt to deposit my package in the deposit box next to that machine.

It is also locked.

Because, at this point, I’m a glutton for punishment, I find the next closest post office ([redacted]) to try and deposit my package in the deposit box next to that machine.

It too is locked.

Having run into this at three different post offices in my metropolitan area, I can only assume that this is some sort of policy. Which is not a particularly smart policy. If I can purchase postage for a package, but can’t actually mail a package unless it’s during business hours, then what’s the point, exactly?

For curiosity’s sake, I decided at the latter two post offices to pull the handle to the FedEx deposit boxes that were out front.

They opened right up.

Sure, but how often does FedEx in Dan’s area have to deal with flaming bags of poo in their drop boxes? We’ll never know.