The USPS – My Love/Hate Relationship

I love the post office and everything about mail. When you’re a child, it feels like a magical place where I can present a letter or package to a friend and then it feels like it is sucked through tubes and magically transported to the receiver, whether they are across town or across the world. I always enjoyed receiving mail and waiting for packages to come was much like waiting for Santa to come, except it wasn’t limited to Christmas day. It was any day of the year.

So after moving abroad, you realize even more just how important that post office is. Yes, there is email and messengers. We can communicate faster these days. But to hold a piece of home or food in your hands from home is much more special and more exciting than that email. It’s hard to describe some days but I love it quite a bit. And I’m sure many other understand this feeling.

As I am not Korean sized, I must order my clothes and a bunch of other products from home to here. That’s fine, I have found ways to do this. But a lot of the problems end up being not on the getting from USA to Korea end, but from the US Seller, to the US destination part. 

I ordered something from a retailer and was getting it shipped to my ship forwarding address. (Some things you can’t ship through this service, thus the plea for snacks. I need to figure out what snacks are and are not allowed. Working on it.) However, many of these ship forwarding companies often have multiple US address. Being the blonde that I am, I mixed the two up into a literal half and half combination (Carson, NJ 90746…. It’s a CA city, with a CA zipcode, but different state, and the street name doesn’t exist in that city whatsoever.) I take full responsibility for this stupidity. However, the retailer didn’t check the address and just shipped it off automatically. Didn’t even email me to confirm that the address was correct. Oh geez. So it goes to Carson, CA. I sent a message on the USPS website asking them to send it to the Carson, CA address since it would be a shame to have it shipped back to the store when it is in the right city. USPS states they will respond with a reply within 24 hours. This was the 20th and after I contacted the store, to which they said it was out of their control. This was on a Thursday. I waited…. And waited… No reply. So I emailed again on Sunday or Monday. Repeating the same thing. No reply, so I started calling on a couple times last week. Yes, I called from Korea. I waited each day for 40 minutes on the phone, only to have no one to pick up. I write a complaint stating that it’s ridiculous that I wait 40 minutes with no answer each day and get no reply when I email. Meanwhile, my package has been floating back and forth between surrounding cities during all this. Now it is being sent back to the store. (I’ve emailed them with the correct address to try again. Hopefully, they send it and respond.) 

Then, on Friday, I get an email. It’s from the USPS. Except I wasn’t sure because it said “Ecustomercare National” as the sender so I wasn’t sure. 

Let me show you, word for word, what this email said. Be advised, I’m including the whole message. There was no signature, no formal letterheading, absolutely nothing. It looked like something my mother wrote (my mother is computer illiterate). 

Mail frequently enters the Postal system with an incomplete or incorrect address. At other times, mail is addressed to a physical location that is not an approved delivery point. Although processes exist to improve address quality, Postal employees work diligently to deliver that mail unless the mail piece specifies other delivery instructions. The objective is not to return or dispose of mail unless it is absolutely necessary. The “local knowledge” of our carriers and clerks often helps with a successful delivery.

Of course, the sure way to get our best possible service is for customers to use complete, accurate, and legible addresses. During our automated sort at, the absence of a complete address is sure to hinder delivery of your important mail. Also, mail is often processed in a facility that is distant from the town to which your mail may be addressed. When there is uncertainty about the correct address, we believe it is better to return the mail to its sender, rather than risk delivery to the wrong person.

We know how important your mail is to you, and taking a few minutes to prepare it carefully and correctly makes a lot of sense and will enable us to give you and the addressee much better service.

 

What the hell is this garbage? You have not addressed me, you have not addressed my personal problem, you have sent me a copied list of sentence thrown together in a computer-generated email. 

I was angered and appalled at this. I look at the postal system in Korea here and it is so much more efficient than the US one. I get prompt, friendly service. It’s quick. If I have a problem, it’s fixed. But this is absurd. This would never be allowed here, why is it allowed in one of the most powerful countries in the world? It is shameful! We are willing to take funding away from a sacred and important branch of government, but we aren’t willing to take away funding from useless politicians? This makes no sense. 

The postal system in the US deserves every bit of funding to improve the reputation of this old institution. Korea has allowed the post offices to have banking services (they are full-functioning banks, much like Savings banks), insurance, home shopping, and other ways of creating profit. Why can’t the US do something similar? 

It just makes me sad at how horrible such a beautiful institution has come. I do not blame single postal workers because they are hard working, like my Grandfather. But the system in place is horrible. USPS, please work on this. At least start with customer service. We would be willing to accept stamp price increases if we at least received the service that comes with it. But when we are treated with disrespect or ignored, how can we be anything but outraged? 

I love you, USPS, but I hate what you’ve become. 

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