Check With The Postmaster Before You Install A Mailbox, Or Else

John Conway paid $1,300 for a lamppost and matching mailbox, but the Thiensville, WI postmaster refuses to provide service because the mailbox is on the wrong side of the street. The disputed mailbox is part of a new housing development located twenty minutes north of Milwaukee.

“I’m sort of the guy who set the pace here,” Conway said, pointing out that he and his wife are the first residents of Concord Creek. “I’m cemented in.”

The Conway’s concrete stance has the post office in a tizzy. They have refused to answer the Conway’s phone calls, and a local paper quoted one postal supervisor threatening to mark the Conway’s mail “return to sender.” A killjoy postal spokeswoman later retracted the statement, adding “We don’t do that.”

Postal regulations require new developments to place mailboxes on one side of the street so mail carriers don’t need to venture far from their trucks. Several nearby developments have mailboxes on both sides of the street.

If you plan to install a mailbox soon, something you probably only do once or twice in a lifetime, check with the postmaster ahead of time. Tell us in the comments who you think is right: the postmaster with the rule book, or the resolute homeowner. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

Mail is signed, sealed, but it won’t be delivered [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]


Edit Your Comment

  1. benn09 says:

    Why doesn’t someone just buy them a Segway?! Or better yet, a Vespa. Then they could just weave back and forth across the street to deliver the mail and be able to out-ride any vigilantes in the Concord Creek development.

  2. itchy feet says:

    He paid HOW MUCH for a mailbox and stand???

  3. BluePizza says:

    Sue the Post Office. If you have enough disposable income for something as frivolous as a $1300 Mailbox and Lamp, you have enough to afford a lawyer.

  4. ahwannabe says:

    Why would anybody deliberately put their mailbox on the wrong side of the street? I’m trying to think of any possible advantages to this, and coming up empty.

  5. faust1200 says:

    Headline should have read: “Whiny prima donna forgets to check regulations about mailbox installation and installs box against regulations. Now wants special treatment.”

  6. zolielo says:

    Better check with the city for the lamppost before installing that as well.

  7. grouse says:

    Yeah, what faust1200. I don’t want to pay extra for stamps so that this guy won’t have to walk a few feet.

  8. spanky says:

    @ahwannabe: His mailbox is in front of his house, but there’s some kind of regulation requiring all the mailboxes in new developments to be on one side of the street.

    As soon as I am finished laughing at that guy having to pay $1300 for that fugly mailbox and a matching lamppost, I will maybe start to think about who is stupider in this case. But for now: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

  9. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    $1300 for a lampost and a mailbox????? I mean, yeah, I can see that cost if they had to run electrical wires out to the lamppost and set it in concrete and all. Why the heck didn’t he ask first? It varies by community. Some carriers will make two passes on a street, some won’t. If the mail is all sorted out by odd and even sides of the street, and there’s a box out of place, it’ll screw up the whole works.

    On my road, there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason, but I stuck mine on the same side that everyone else’s was on, even though it meant a grueling 8 foot walk across the street.

    I live in a rural area, and it’s rocky, so half the mailboxes are in a 5 gallon bucket filled with concrete, so if they’re on the wrong side, you just move ’em across the street. The other half of them are nailed to, ditto on moving them. My rural mailbox is bungi-corded to the bridge that goes over the stream at the end of my driveway.

    I hope he didn’t spend too much money on his mailbox, because every year the kids come by with baseball bats and go mailbox smashing. One guy down the road thought he’d show off his wealth by constucting a beautiful mailbox from hand-soldered copper. Well, it got the bat too. My $5 mailbox…I beat it back into shape with a hammer and screwed the post back together, and it’s good for another year.

  10. AgentMunroe says:

    ahwannabe, it’s not that they put it on the opposite side – the postal service is saying that all mailboxes need to be on one side of the road, and they happen to live (and therefore place their mailbox) on the wrong side. Nobody told them, and most of the other subdivisions in the area had mailboxes on both sides of the road.

  11. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Oh, and I forgot to add…the solution is easy. Buy a $5 mailbox, a $20 post, and one of those “easy up” bases with the long spike in it. Move it to the other side of the street, push it in, and there you go, problem solved. So the lamp-post is on the wrong side…that’s life.

  12. mrmysterious says:

    In my development we didn’t have a choice on the mailbox nor the location of the mailbox. The type, style and color are all dictated in the covenants.

  13. dantsea says:

    I don’t think he had a choice regarding the postal hardware. In the article:

    To build in the subdivision, the Conways had to agree to pay $1,300 for a lamp post and matching mailbox.

    The article also mentions that everyone else in the area has a traditional mailbox in front of their homes, so the developer and the Conways are a bit surprised by a seemingly arbitrary decision from the local postmaster. Returning to the article:

    But if the Thiensville post office decided on one-side-of-the-street boxes for Concord Creek, [the USPS spokesman] said, it should have informed the developer.

    I’m guessing there’s some good, old fashioned ass-covering going on here. The postmaster forgot to inform the developer and knows it, and don’t you just bet there’s some even more onerous USPS regulations covering such a lapse.

    But shouldn’t the Conways be prodding the developer to dig up and relocate the mailbox on the other side of the street? If there was a mistake made, it was between the USPS and the developer.

    Also, I think Mr. Conway is a bit of jackass and acting like a spoiled toddler shouting I DON’ WANNA! I DON’ WANNA! WAAAAH.

  14. y2julio says:

    Talk about lazy postman. They should come deliver mail in NYC. They would all have heart attacks. Lazy f**ks.

  15. chickymama says:

    My thoughts exactly. I am suprised that the developer has not done more to remedy the situation. From what I can tell from the picture, the development isn’t completed yet. With more families moving in, this will be an ever bigger issue.

  16. mopar_man says:

    No doubt. Where I live, the mailmen drive their little trucks from the post office to the area where they deliver. They walk the entire neighbourhood whether the sun can fry an egg on the street or snot freezes as soon as it leaves your nose. They go back to the truck, reload with mail and continue on. While I have to agree that this guy should’ve checked on the code before spending that obscene amount of money on a mailbox, the mailmen in that area are incredibly lazy. An endurance test between a mailman and a cop would be entertaining.

  17. Tallanvor says:

    “Postal regulations require new developments to place mailboxes on one side of the street so mail carriers don’t need to venture far from their trucks. Several nearby developments have mailboxes on both sides of the street.”

    This isn’t correct… According to the article,

    “if the Thiensville post office decided on one-side-of-the-street boxes for Concord Creek … it should have informed the developer.”

    And that was a quote from a postal service spokesman. So either the developer didn’t tell the homeowner where to put the mailbox, or the post office never informed the developer. Somebody dropped the ball, but it wasn’t necessarily the homeowner.

  18. Roundonbothends says:

    Does anybody see any mailboxes on the OTHER side of the street? And he was there FIRST and the first to erect a mail box?

    Apparently the Post Office wants to specify the side of the street, too.

    Or the acting Postmaster is a bit of a jerk.

  19. zingbot says:

    That image is the perfect expression of the greed, stupidity and wastefulness of sprawl.

  20. Karl says:

    I’m envisioning a new service for people with way too much money to spend on their mail:

    Every day, a courier stops by the mailbox that the USPS delivers to, picks up the mail, and delivers it to your special mailbox. As a value-added feature, they can optionally discard junk mail for you.

  21. joopiter says:

    Isn’t it the job of mail carriers to deliver the mail? Regardless of what side of the street the mailbox is on? Is that really so much of an issue? As much as I dislike, suburban sprawl Mc-Mansion housing developments, this is pretty asinine of the post office.

    I, personally, have no use for the post office. My mother (and all her neighbors) once got a note in their mailboxes one winter that said if there was too much snow in front of the mailbox that prevented the mail carrier from reaching the mailbox from the truck, no mail would be delivered. I got into a fight with my mail carrier in my first apartment because she was actively destroying tenants’ mail by crumpling into a little ball before sticking it in our mailboxes. (At the time, I had a Netflix subscription too). My current mail carrier doesn’t bother to close my mailbox (which opens from the top) in driving rain or snow. My opinion of postal employees is really rather low.

  22. tadowguy says:

    WWKD: What Would Kramer do?

  23. Bay State Darren says:

    And why exactly do we still have USPS?

  24. Dustbunny says:


    Do you live in NYC and is your mailman a fat guy named Newman?

  25. TPK says:

    This brings up a beef I have had for a long time.

    I live in a suburban area that is undergoing rapid development. New housing areas all have community mailbox pods, with anywhere from one to two dozen mailboxes per pod. Residents have to walk from 15 to a couple hundred yards to collect their mail.

    However, on the next street over from my development, for example, is an older neighborhood, where the mailboxes are at the end of each driveway, on BOTH sides of the street. And farther over into town, mailboxes are physically attached to each house right next to the front door!

    My question is this: Why am I being treated as a second class citizen for living in a newer house? My postage stamps cost just as much as everyone else, and the people who send me mail pay just as much as the people who send mail to the folks who live in the older neighborhoods. Yet the service I receive for that identical cost is demonstrably below that of other residents in the area.

    There is something inherently un-American about this. I’m surprised nobody has yet filed a class-action discrimination lawsuit!

  26. mkechaz says:

    Years ago while living in Milwaukee I moved my mailbox 4 feet. Not knowing about the regulations either. But since it made it easier for the mail carrier (it was up 5 steps on the porch and I moved it down to the sidewalk. Well, Postal bureaucracy prevailed and I didn’t get mail for two weeks. When I inquired, I was told about the regulation.

    So, I installed a new mail box in the original location but the type where there was just a narrow slot. The mailman had to “feed” the mail a few pieces at a time.

    Gotta love the postal system.

  27. A_B says:

    Disclosure: I delivered mail summers during college.

    The reason that the post office has these regulations is not because carriers are lazy. It has nothing to do with that at all. It isn’t a consideration.

    It’s all about efficiency. There are two overriding concerns here: (1) customers like getting their mail early and (2) mail carriers can only go so fast (spare me the jokes; it’s reality that carriers can’t run their entire route from a physical fitness stand point and safety).

    Regarding (1), you may or may not be surprised, but a incredibly large number of people are home all day (retired, homemakers, out-of-work, students), and they want their mail ASAP.

    By requiring the boxes on one side of the street, mail carriers can process their mail much, much faster.

    By catering to the location of each mail box, up stairs, behind doors, up drive ways, the mail slows, way, way down.

    My town had a mix of old houses and new developments. The old houses were “grandfathered” in to the system, but the new developments had to have curbside boxes, and where feasible, on the same side of the road (nobody is required to cross busy roads to get to their mail boxes).

    I was a floater covering for people on vacation so I did all sorts of routes. I could do two or three times the volume of mail when in new developments. Old neighborhoods where I had to go up flights of stairs, find oddly placed mail boxes (two front doors, where’s the box? By the garage), particularly in winter, people wouldn’t get their mail until the sun was coming down.

    If you don’t follow the rule, say put your mailbox on the wrong side of the street, then the entire system is screwed up and everyone gets delayed on the entire route.

    Think of it this way: if the carrier gets to sit in the truck, he just has to reach over to his left (he sits on the right), and can go from box to box in seconds.

    One box on the wrong side of the road requires the carrier to stop the engine, curb the wheels (roll aways are a huge deal), grab the mail, watch out for traffic, cross, put the mail in the box, run back to the truck, start the engine up, and head out. Imagine if the carrier has to do that on every other house?

    This impacts other factors, like overall expenses (gas, more carriers required, etc.) and then hits the consumer with higher stamp prices.

    For what? Because one guy and/or the developer didn’t check where mailboxes were supposed to be placed.

    “The Conways acknowledge that they did not check with the post office before putting up their mailbox. But they don’t understand why the one-side-of-the-road rule would suddenly be applied to their subdivision, or why no one ever told them about it.”

    That’s unbelievably stupid. A $1300 mailbox and they don’t think to check the regulations? Ignorance of the law/regulation is no excuse. They should have checked.

    When the developer began building, I can guarantee he checked various zoning requirements and regulations. He didn’t build and make a stink when he found out that he was in violation of the zoning rules for the neighborhood. He wouldn’t tell the inspector, “why didn’t you tell me I couldn’t put in a water treatment plant???” You check first.

    Same thing here. If they’re going to install a mailbox, they should have checked on where it needed to be placed.

  28. The Big O says:

    Heck, we have a “rural” carrier here even though we live in the middle of the burbs.

    It’s so bad here that if someone parks in front of your mailbox you don’t get your mail.

    Instead the person who parked there gets a little message on their car saying that the mailperson can’t get out of their vehicles to deliver the mail, and since they’re parked in front of the mailbox the mail is undeliverable.

    What I don’t understand is that if the mailperson has to get out to put the message under the windshield wiper, why can’t they just put the mail in the mailbox.

    I guess hoping they stay open past 4 AND getting out of their vehicles is a bit too much to ask.

  29. deweydecimated says:

    i had something similar *nearly* happen to me. we moved in to a newly-constructed home in an established neighborhood. we bought a regular ol’ mailbox and attached it to the house near the front door, after seeing that all the other houses on our street had their mailboxes attached near their entrances or had built-in mail slots. i then called the local post office and asked if there was anything i needed to do to establish service, since the building was new. i was told that we should have installed a mailbox on a post near the curb – even though we’d be the only address with such a mailbox. somehow the carrier has seen fit to put our mail in our mailbox anyway.

  30. nequam says:

    @zingbot: Exactly. I think the picture turned me off of this guy’s “plight” before I even started reading.

  31. Mr. Gunn says:

    In my old neighborhood, we used to get the mail delivered into our boxes attached to our house. Suddenly, the postal service decides that they don’t want to do that anymore, and they go install ugly grey and black mailboxes next to everyone’s driveway, on their property. I didn’t live there much after that, so I don’t know what ever came of that, but I was a little surprised that they thought they could just come and do something like that.

  32. silenuswise says:

    I’m absolutely on the side of the postmaster. First of all, I don’t know about what goes on in New York, but mail carriers in Wisconsin (where I live) and Illinois (where I grew up) are fit as hell, and work their asses off to get their routes finished before 7 P.M. (a friend of mine did this for a summer in college, and was exhausted every night). Secondly, this homeowner’s prickishly irrational attitude is beyond moronic: hey dude, next time you plan on installing a $1300 mailbox (?!), might make sense to ask about regulations first. You’re a big boy, you can do it.

    Hmm, or maybe I should take that approach the next time I go to a fast food drive-up: instead of driving right next to the speaker, I’ll instead park on the other side of the lot and wait for someone to walk over to me to take my order. Hey, it’s my right, and it’s all about me!

  33. Matthew says:

    Maybe you mean “the Conways’ concrete stance,” “the Conways’ calls” and “the Conways’ mail.” Unless people really do call John “the Conway.” (In which case, wherefore is this Conway different from all other Conways?)

  34. superlayne says:

    Both groups are being lazy. Why not stick the mailbox in the middle of the street and compromise.

  35. NaturalDesignChick says:

    If he can afford a $1300 mailbox, perhaps he can afford to move the thing across the street?

    This isn’t a subdivision-only thing. When we built our rural house 5 years ago the same rule applied. All new houses have to let the post office know that they exist. When you fill out the paperwork, there is a portion dedicated to where you want the mailbox. This must be approved by the local postmaster. Then you can put the box up. Perhaps he simply felt the extra time to stick that X on the form wasn’t worth the time.

    Then again, often in subdivisions it is the developer’s responsibility to notify the postal service of the new homes/addresses. Maybe this guy would have better luck suing the developer for not providing the correct information to him.

    Sorry, not much sympathy here.

  36. nequam says:

    Wait a second … he wrote his Congressman (according to the full article) about this? What a colossal jackass.

  37. Bourque77 says:

    Folks you are forgetting this is the us postal service you are talking about. These people sent a letter back to me saying the reciever had move left no forwarding address, the reciever was a damn hospital. Guess what, 5 years later its still there. I say both parties are at fault here.

  38. zentec says:

    This guy is at fault for not getting it straight from the postmaster. If only because my experience with any postmaster has been bad and I don’t mean in a Cliff Cleavin sort of way.

    I live on a rural route, and the postmaster at the local post office has sent several warnings to me about clearing snow and making sure the approaches are clear. I can deal with that, when I’m home. But when we receive 6″ of snow between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., and the rural route carrier drops the mail off around 4:00, you don’t have to be a genius to know that it’s not getting cleared until I actually get home.

    Again, right on cue, I received another warning about pot holes in the approach. The pot holes are clearly in the road and not on the approach, but I suspect that my mail will be held for a couple days until I convince the road commission to come out and fill them.

    Give some people a uniform and some authority and they’ll goose-step all over you.

  39. not_seth_brundle says:

    Neither rain, nor sleet, nor gloom of night…

  40. Falconfire says:

    I worked in a post office for about 4 months and I know what goes on there, and think a lot of you are being a bit hard on them about this.

    Current rural/suburban regulations are in place to push for less postal workers in a area (and thus less in the entire town.) That is why they are pushing curbside mailboxes on one side of the street, so that one mailman in a truck can cover a LOT more ground.

    Case in point a truck route can cover the distance of 2-3 walking routes. I know this, as I have done all three types (rural, truck, and walking) and walking route where always the shortest amount of houses, but the longest damn hours. Rural routes tend to be a mix (mostly because you could end up driving miles between a mailbox) and the normal truck routes tended to cover vast swaths of neighborhoods, but you could make it in sooner and get all of your needed duties done on time which tended to be very hard on walkers due to packages and other stuff.

    I can see why they wanted it a certain way. Your legally required to look up postal regulations before doing anything with your mail box, and while on old developments the post office cant force you to change your mailbox, they ARE legally allowed to stop your mail if you make changes to your front or knock down a house and redevelop and do not follow current postal regulations (like how a city can legally force you to add sidewalks to a new development or if you make changes to a old one) Thats not a falsity thats a federal postal law, the same as how after 3 consecutive days of blocked post boxes they can legally withhold mail till you rectify the situation.

    The push these days is to reduce cost, and push their current workers to do more. The reasons for this is simple, gas is expensive now (enough to push a lot of offices to switch to alternafuels), and their cost per a postal worker is high, so they want to get the absolute most out of each. This coupled with a sharp decrease in funds from 3rd class postage (circulars and snail spam, the two biggest sources of income for the USPS) plus a need to compete against email has forced a major shift in policy in recent years. This policy relating to where the postal box is, is one thats been in place for at least 10 years now. Im sorry to say, but the guy who spent 1400 for a damn box and lamp has absolutely no legal right in this case, though I suspect they will in the end bend over thanks to pressure when in reality they should be shoving it in this guys face as a example of why you obey laws.

  41. Her Grace says:

    I don’t blame the homeowner. His subdivision is pretty clearly at fault here: they should have been communicating with the post office on where the mailboxes need to be and they required that stupid $1300 mailbox (read the damn article, those of you jumping on the incredible cost–yes, it’s ridiculous, but he didn’t pick it). They should move it, free of cost to the homeowner, and he should suck it up and walk across the road. Alternately, the post office can stop being such bitches and use his new route he drew for them.

  42. @joopiter: Isn’t it the job of mail carriers to deliver the mail? Regardless of what side of the street the mailbox is on?

    Yes to the first question and no to the second.

    The Post Office delivers mail from point to point. They handle logistics – postal customers are responsible for providing a suitable mail receptacle under the current guidelines.

    For all the grousing that goes on about the Post Office (and from personal experience, I can tell you that in NYC, a lot of it is justified), they provide a pretty remarkable and efficient means of delivering letters and packages. To abide by their rules before installing a semi-permanent structure isn’t too much to ask. You can destroy the efficiency of a mail route by requiring a mail carrier to effectively take a detour every day simply to reach your box – remember that mail carrier vehicles are set up for right-handed delivery of serially sorted material.

    You don’t build a house without securing a permit and contructing to local code, right? The Post Office is set up to deliver mail efficiently, but only if customers do their part by providing mail receptacles that conform to PO guidelines.

  43. letoofdune says:

    Postal service woes are nothing new, especially if one lives in an apartment complex. I’ve recently moved into a townhouse group in suburban South Texas, and after attending a college with a pretty good postal system (centralized box and package receiving), I assumed that it would be a simple deal to get any and all mail delivered to me in this setting.

    Boy, was I wrong.

    I recently ordered a set of Wii cables from MeritLine (thanks Consumerist!), and ended up playing a game of cat and mouse with them. As usual, when the USPS delivers a package to me, they leave me the little pink slip of doom, which means I have to head down to the post office and retrieve my goods. A slight pain in the rear, but nothing substantial.

    But when I got there, the cupboard was bare, and my package with not within the walls of the post office. Interestingly enough, the little pink slip said it would be there, and I called them on it. They said to come back again tomorrow. I did. 4 times in the next 2 weeks, to be exact.

    Eventually, after being told I would be contacted by postal supervisors 3 times (never heard from them), they eventually found it. It turns out it had been filed under another name, and no one took the time to actually check to see if it’d been misfiled.

    I have no love for the USPS. This article just sounds like another example of their pushing arbitrary rules onto people. I’m not saying the $1300 lamppost guy was MENSA material, but in this kind of development, someone should have been a little clearer.

  44. diggtatorship says:

    Having worked for the post office I have a pretty good understanding ans a strong opinion on this matter. It is unfortunate that Mr John Conway spent so much on his fancy mailbox. I really mean that. However, this is absolutely and without question his OWN fault. The local postmaster has absolute power as far as dictating where and how the mail is delivered. In many places all over the country mail delivery is being restricted to shared community-style aluminum boxes, so John could consider himself lucky that he gets a curbside mailbox at all. The local PO recently switched our street to curbside instead of porch-style delivery. I admit I was a little miffed about it at first, but its a small inconvenience.

    I don’t think that very many people understand that the PO is required by law to break even financially year-to-year and that they receive no funding from the government and haven’t for a few decades. All too often I hear people complain about the USPS because they assume that by paying taxes they are somehow entitled to cheap mail service. But the fact of that matter is that the costs of operating are increasing, so postage is increasing. They try to combat that by making routes more effcient and what do people do? complain. Then you hear the same people complaining about the rate hikes and junk mail.

    Did you know that part of the reason that the US has some of the lowest domestic mail rates and the best mail service in the world is because of the revenue that junk mail generates? Just some food for thought…

  45. Maulleigh says:

    Although I love the USPS, every time I’ve had to deal with them more than just shoving a netflix in a box or opening my mailbox to get it, I get frustrated. I’m glad email and fedex are eating their lunch. A bunch of petty tyrants who don’t know the first thing about customer service.

  46. Faerie says:

    I believe it! I’m in a home built in 1982. After my mail was stolen several times, I wanted to have my mail delivered directly into my garage via a new slot in the garage door. I was told by my mail carrier that because my mail delivery spot was already determined, any deviation from that would mean they would stop delivering my mail and it would either be held at the post office or marked return to sender. I had to get approval to move my mail box from the manager of my local post office who after a couple phone calls, denied my request. I decided not to pursue it further… They seemed to have the mindset that because they controlled my mail, they would win this battle no matter what.

  47. hazelwoodfarm says: are exactly right….what idiot installs a mail box without checking with the Post Office, to find out where it properly needs to be installed.
    Return to sender!

  48. BadDolphin says:

    Maybe some teenagers can step in and rule on the question of the wisdom of spending $1400 on a mailbox. I know what we would have done, back in the day…

  49. WV.Hillbilly says:

    Whatever happened to mailmen actually walking their route?
    Wouldn’t want to have to get your fat ass out of your truck, would you?

    I don’t care how much somebody spends on their mailbox either, that’s their business.

    Privatize the mail service.

  50. brattpowered says:

    Life is tough in suburban Milwaukee. Hard knocks, it is.

  51. Falconfire says:

    @WV.Hillbilly: The mail service IS somewhat of a private entity with officials appointed by the government, but controlled by a board of directors and not by the executive branch per say (though the board is appointed by them). Its status is actually for major legal reasons as they are a entity that must be part of a government in order to negotiate trade and mail regulations with other governments (hence legally you could never possibly privatize it without changing a slew of federal and world trade laws) Also the USPS are the only entity who can legally deliver first and third class mail.

    And people stopped the walking the route. In the city and burbs walking the route still goes on, but in new developments and around most of the country as people branched out, the USPS couldn’t possibly pay the number of people they would need to do a walking route. Like I said 1 truck can do 2-3 walking routes. Thats 2-3 people it would take to deliver mail, over one guy in a truck.

    Also mailmen walked more back in the days when you got 1-2 letters and maybe a magazine. The typical mailbag these days is 40-50 pounds per 2 blocks while you arm load (the letters and mags in the arm) is about 15-20. Normal “walkers” are typically more prone to sick days and early retirement due to job related injuries than truck route people.

  52. mathew says:

    Maybe the guy’s new to suburban Generica, and didn’t know that the Post Office can’t be bothered to actually deliver mail to every address out in cookie cutter house land.

    If I were in his position, I’d be inclined to ask the Post Office and/or developer to move the box to the right location. If they refused, I’d put the most ass-ugly cheap mailbox possible on the other side of the road, maybe paint it pink with yellow spots or something, and ask them if they’d like to reconsider.

  53. Red_Eye says:

    This is common where i live in a rural area. Its so the mail man doesnt have to drive up one side of the street and back down the other so he can put the mail in all the boxes. Its great for him. Unfortunately it means my wife and I have to cross the street. Big deal you say? Well considering the street is a rural two lane road with about 150 feet of visibility either way (we are in a dip) and considering there is a rock quarry down the street and the gravel trucks seem to think 70 is the speed limit instead of 35….

    You may see my point. A mail box should be up to the resident as to placement. To heck with the post office who keeps raising rates.

  54. arcticJKL says:

    I made sure that the house I purchased had a slot in the door for mail. I turned down houses with out one.

    All the new houses in my county have one mail box location for the whole block. It is a set of 20 PO Box type boxes in the middle of the block. One guy has to walk 20ft the rest up to a block to get their mail every day. Thats wrong.

    And if they get a package larger than a breadbox…

  55. joeblevins says:

    Generally the people hating on the guy about his house are the dirtbags that can’t afford a house and are eeking out a life on the public dole.

    Is it really so hard to expect the postal worker to go to the other side of the street? WTF? I have never lived in a neighborhood where we didn’t have a mailbox in front of our house. Are they walking or just driving RH drive vehicles and dont’ want to make a second pass?

    Where else in the suburbs does the post office only service one side?

  56. bambino says:

    Here’s my question: I assume there will be houses built on both sides of this street, correct? If that’s the case, does that mean that every homeowner on the non-mailbox side owns a small piece of land on the mailbox-side for their mailbox? You can’t just go & plant a mailbox on a piece of land that you don’t pay for, and I know I wouldn’t want anyone else’s property within my lot lines. Anyone?

  57. indigotom says:

    I had a similar problem with my mail service, where first they refused delivery after the city snow plow guy put a big mound of snow in front of the mailbox. If the guy just stepped out of his truck, he could have stepped up on the now solid mound to put the mail in, but instead, no mail.

    A week later after it melted, I finally received mail. There was a time that there no mail trucks that postal workers walked door to door. And I think they had some motto about delivering the mail no matter what.

    Last week, the city waste department left the garbage cans in front of the mail box, and so guess what? That’s right, no mail. I think this mailman has it out for me.

  58. rockergal says:

    I love it when I read about these things happening to developments.
    It’s just funny when people with too much money (1300 for a mailbox + lamp post??) decide to live in cookie cutter house that once was wild life habitat and then complain when they can’t follow the rules like everyone else.
    Zoning laws ring a bell??

  59. Sudonum says:

    @bambino: Its called an “easement”. It’s part of the “right of way” for the street and technically, although you probably paid for it when you bought your house, it actualy belongs to the city/county/state and the utility companies. It’s usually a 5-10 foot wide strip that runs along both sides of the street.

    And if you’re bitching about the postman not walking the route, don’t bitch when they raise postal rates.

  60. SimonGodOfHairdos says:

    @joopiter: Joopiter, you left out the time when a postal employee wrote “Lesbian Pigs” on my mail from National Organization for Women. Another example of the stellar level of customer service the post office provides. :)

  61. rlee says:

    One advantage of living in a 40-year-old house, I guess. My “mailbox” is a slot in the front door. Our mailman parks the car and walks a loop to make the deliveries.

    Now, I guess I’ll be dreading the day the PO decides that’s inefficient and requires everyone to plant an (approved) box at the curb.

  62. feralparakeet says:

    My postman has threatened to stop delivering my mail if I don’t check my very inconveniently placed mailbox more regularly. Nevermind that I never get any real mail, as all my bills come online and I don’t get any correspondence via snail mail. Let’s also not forget the fact that it’s illegal for him NOT to deliver mail, but he stops by every few weeks to make an ass out of himself anyway.

  63. Buckbeak says:

    I see the issue this way:

    From a constitutional prospective, the government is required to perform certain (albeit few) duties. One of them is to deliver the mail. They make every excuse not to do it, they change the rules, make new rules, etc to avoid delivering the mail to your HOUSE.

    On the other hand, there are lots of things the government shouldn’t be doing but is doing that aren’t in the constitution.

    Maybe we should put homeland security in charge of delivering the mail?

  64. Bay State Darren says:

    @Falconfire: Also the USPS are the only entity who can legally deliver first and third class mail. Maybe if that changed (i.e. competition) USPS would get off their asses and feel the need to please customers. I’m sure Fedex, DHL or UPS would love to provide a better system.

  65. joopiter says:

    @SimonGodOfHairdos: Forgot about that. Perhaps we should make a gallery of our destroyed mail courtesy of the good ol’ USPS.

    I just took a look at the USPS website, and, as many people here have stated, they do explicity say that you must get permission from the post office before placing your mailbox. I would think, though, that since it’s the developer that’s making demands on the homeowners to purchase the $1300 mailbox, it is the developer’s responsibility to confirm where said mailbox should go and that it conforms to the postal regulations. I will concede in this situation the post office may not be at fault.

    I still think they can get out of the damn truck, though. Considering I’ve had letters take over a week to go from Bridgeport to Hartford, efficiency and speed does not seem to be a major concern of the USPS, at least not in Connecticut.

  66. LuvJones says:

    I think ALL new subdivisions should require those communal mail thingies :-( I hate mine and misery loves company. This guy is a schmuck and I hate to say this but….I hope USPS knocks him on his hindparts with this one! Follow the rules man!

  67. smartist says:

    Hey, it could be worse – my parents’ mailbox is three miles from their house. That’s how it is here, though, and nobody has any problems (except for that highly inconvenient postal strike a few Christmases ago). We do things differently in Canada, I guess.

  68. afran303 says:

    Hopefully his address doesn’t include any “9”s.

  69. Blowfish says:

    The post office still doesn’t realize they must compete for our business. Deliver the guys damn mail. Is it worth all the negative publicity? With commercial delivery services, email and online bill paying, your local postmaster is on the verge of becoming irrelevant. In the old days, postmen would hand carry the mail to little old ladies. Now they bitch over little shit. I had a postman literally rip off my mailbox door then left a note that he would not deliver anymore mail until I fixed it. I’d had to be his boss on his bad days.

  70. Eric says:

    The guy is whining way to much, if he considers this something worth whining about he must have a heck of a stress-free life. He should move the mailbox to the other side of the street and quit complaining.

    However, the development probably only has one entrance so the mail carrier will be returning on the other side of the street. Of course, I know that if you allow one person to do it everyone else will want to do it as well.

  71. TalbotD says:

    …best to choose your battles carefully with an opponent as hefty as Uncle Sam/USPS… however, there’s nothing in the U.S. Constitution giving the USPS authority over somebody’s personal mailbox.

  72. stevemis says:

    “Neither rain nor snow nor sleet nor hail shall stop us.” Just don’t put your mailbox in front of your house OR ELSE!

    We’ve lived in our current house for almost 10 years. Getting our own mail has always been a challenge. I’d get mail for people who lived 30 miles away. I can only assume other people got my mail because I certainly wasn’t.

    After many telephone calls and complaints to the post office, I finally uprooted my mailbox and placed it in the trash.

    We now have a PO box. I check it every week or three or else I get note saying they’re holding my mail (which is almost all junk anyway) because the box is full.

    We use FedEX and UPS for most of our packages now. Almost all of our bill-presentment is online. We don’t miss the mailbox at all.


  73. IleneHaobo says:

    Dear “Consumerist” readers with regard to the mail box problem–

    I have heard just about all the comments on mailbox trouble but I give in! I have to add a few of my own. First of all it is a real shame when a publication had to coin a new version of a “4 letter” word to use in place of the usual “F word”; another sick shame is that many of those who sent comments about the $1300 mail box installation also used some pretty unprofessional language. I would think that someone who wants to make the claim that someone else has less knowledge or intelligence then he does would at least use the proper form of a word. There is no such word as “stupider”, though it is possible that the person in question was more stupid; besides if the man is smart enough to live in a decent looking house like that and has the money to pay for a fancy light and mailbox then I say let him do it. I bet it would be rather telling if we all had to make and submit a list of all the “too expensive” items we sometimes buy. Often when we look back at a specific purchase after a few weeks we find that the perceived value originally place on that purchase has dropped quite a lot.

    There is a good reason to have a rule on keeping the snow away to make delivery easier. This is not because the mailman is lazy. I live in a rural area where some of the rural delivery routes are up to 60 miles long. If the post office was not strict in enforcing this rule, the mail would never be delivered. The people who are calling the mail carrier lazy, because he can’t walk across the street, are really the lazy ones because it seems clear that they can’t even shovel a bit of snow from around the mailbox.

    I can’t believe there is so much rotten language used in writing these comments; the one that really gets me is the one where the mailman ( or whomever ) wrote a two word “translation” for the name of the women’s group normally called NOW or National Organization for Women. The one who wrote that complaint is only “fueling the fire” and adding a name to the list of very unprofessional people but this list of people are all criticizing the mailman for basically the same thing. Did that person ever consider the possibility that the writer of that two word “translation was telling the truth. The few comments that explain the mail problem are very obvious and those people along with most of the others know what those sensible explanations are.

    When UPS came along and provided excellent service for a good price it was clear that private enterprise working under competition, capitalism and the free market has provided the solution as it has in so many other scenarios.

    With regard to the cost of a stamp, consider this: I can go on the Internet and obtain a list of recorded inflation rates. If I take the average inflation rate, which seems to be about 4 1/2 %, a 3 cent stamp ( price in 1908) compounded to 2008, is equivalent to a stamp costing $2.45. If one calculates back from the actual price of 41 cents to 3 cents in 1908, the effective inflation rate is only 2.65%. I wish that was the inflation rate for real all the time. I think the 41 cent stamp is a pretty good deal.

    Signed, John W. Ross, P.E.