Not ready for prime time

I never understood why the Post Office will gladly deliver mail to your home or office for free, but charge you to pick it up at its place of business.  Nonetheless, I have rented a box for several years.  Even though I receive mail at it sporadically, when I do receive mail, it’s usually important.  I therefore find myself making several trips a week to check on an empty box.

Several months ago, a flyer in my box announced the availability of new services for post office box holders including, of great interest to me, e-mail notification when mail is put in the box.  My enthusiasm turned to joy when, upon asking about the cost of the new service, I was told it was free.  I immediately signed up and, lo and behold . . . nothing.

I brought the problem to the attention of two clerks at the local post office, and nothing was done.  I wrote to the postal authorities in Washington, and received no reply.

Finally, when I again complained at my local post office, I was put in touch with a supervisor who cared and who worked hard to solve my problem.  Today, we had a breakthrough — I received my first e-mail notification, almost three hours after the mail was put in my box and almost an hour after I had picked it up.

While I pursued this matter, everyone I spoke with told me I was far from the only one experiencing problems with this service.  Although it is true that the enrollment form stated the service was provided without liability and was experimental, it should not have been introduced until it was working a lot more smoothly.  And that it is provided for free is no excuse, since box prices are not low and are going up, at least in part, I suspect, because of the enhanced services provided.  In short, this was a massive fail by the post office, a government entity I used to regard as dependable and consumer-friendly.

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