Mailman Primadonnas

(First, my apologies to anyone who is or whose spouse is a mail carrier and does not fit this rant. But these are my observations, as of late. And I use “Mailman” in the general, so as to not neuter my subject for the entire post. I am well aware there are plenty of valiant Mail Ladies.)

When did mailmen become such flippin primadonnas? When did delivering my mail become such a terrible chore? When did “Neither rain, nor sleet, nor dark of night” get replaced by “not if you’re parked within 30 feet of the mailbox or if I have to step foot out of my mail wagon”?

Twice within the last week I have had disturbing encounters with mailmen.

While stopping to visit my husbands Aunt, I had parked about 15′ from her curbside mailbox. Getting ready to leave, I noticed the big, square mail wagon just sitting, about six feet from the curb, glaring at me. Auntie got very flustered and asked me to quickly move my car- that if I was within 30 feet of the box, the mailman would deny her dilivery and move on to the next house. That explained his angry glare and the obstinate, childish way he was just sitting. There was plenty of room for him to pull in and deliver the mail- but Auntie said he had CLEARLY told her 30 feet on either side  was what he, personally, required. To honor Auntie, I moved my car and Pissy Mailman went ahead and delivered his letters.

When I got home, I went online and checked out the USPS postal code for mail delivery standard. Check it out for yourself. Nowhere does it state a required clearance. What is stated is simply “adequate clearance for the mail carrier to deliver mail without leaving his vehicle”. Fabulous. Um, 30 feet?? On BOTH sides of the box? Can you drive at all? Can you manage your box-like wagon any better than a child? Holy crap, this is Mail Man dictatorship and mannipulation- a Napoleon complex of the finest order. A playground bully- “I’ll just take my ball and go home”. Nevermind that taking mail is a Federal offense. If I never got my mail in the first place, Mr. Mail Jerk isn’t stealing. 

Exhaling now.

Then, when out garage sale-ing last Friday, the exact same thing happened again! I was parked near a lady’s front drive, and while I admit I was far closer to the box than I had been at Aunties house, there was still clearance. Busy looking for treasure, I didn’t notice the ominous humm of the Mail Wagon approaching. An older woman tapped me on the arm, with a look of panic in her eyes, breathlessly and frantically told me I needed to move my car NOW or the Mailman would not give her her mail.  What?

This old lady was near panic. Obviously she had been tortured by her Mail Jerk recently, and was fearful of her life- or at least not getting her Social Security check. Shaking my head, and shooting the Mail Gestapo a dirty look,  I promply left.

What the holy heck is going on? Did I miss something somewhere? Is this just another bead on the long string of the Curture of Entitlement in which we live? Do the words Public Servant have no meaning anymore?

Now, I know not all mail people are like this- and I know they certainly should not have to climb over uncle Cooter’s dilapidated cars and brave junk yard dogs to deliver the J. Crew catalog. But seriously- Can we find some middle ground here? I also know there are good, kind, hardworking people who are Mailmen. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing a few by name. Mac, Norm (really) and currently, Janet, my own gem of a mail-lady.

Rant over.

17 thoughts on “Mailman Primadonnas

  1. I’m lucky if I get my mail at all. Usually, I get other people’s mail.

    Once I got mail addressed to someone in the apartment complex next door to ours. Same apartment number, different complex. Fortunately, I knew the person from church and just gave them their mail.

    The next week, they got a package of mine.

  2. Wow! Your stories sound too familiar.

    My mail is delivered to these huge neighborhood boxes. Hated it at first ’cause always thought buying a house=my own mailbox. But a locked box has definite pluses.

    My wheelchair-bound neighbor has her own mailbox on her property. Everyone think it’s great. Except, it seems, the mail lady. She refuses to deliver if a car is parked within 15 feet. I guess my neighbor should be happy it’s not 30 feet.

    Winter is worse because my neighbor is required to keep the street in front of her box completely clear of snow. First of all, she is in a wheelchair. You’d think rules like this might be a little flexible considering it’s impossible for her to shovel snow. And second, even when her great neighbors (rarely me) rush over and clear all the snow, the plow is likely to come by later and push it all from the middle of the road to the side…of course, directly in front of the mailbox. We get a lot of snow here. Keeping her mailbox clear can be an all-day job.

  3. No kidding!! Many of the mail people suck here, too. Our personal mailman is great, but any of his substitutes and lots of the ones and the post office are horrible! Even where my parent’s live in Utah now there is a new mailman who won’t deliver mail to my parents anymore if it doesn’t have the PO Box number on it. Apparently the street address will not do because their little town doesn’t have real mailboxes on the street and everyone must go to the post office to get their mail. This new mailman can’t possibly remember so many people’s names, even though the old mailman did perfectly fine. Sheesh!!

    How freaky that they’ve terrorized these poor people into doing what they want or they don’t get their mail delivered. Come on! Be reasonable!

    Personally I think it’s because they’re unionized so they don’t think they have to do a scrap more than is absolutely required and they are federal employees so they think they get to boss people around. Just sayin’.

  4. I haven’t experienced bad mailmen, but I think it’s service people in general that are valued less and therefore perform less. You know? I would print out a copy of the postal rules, laminate it, tape it to the mailbox, and then mark my grass where the mailtruck can adequately squeeze in. Just TRY and tell me you need 60 flippin feet….

  5. I have the same problem with my mailman. Our neighbors always had people over and would park in front of my mailbox. {even though there was plenty of room on the neighbor’s driveway for visitors to park}. The mailman told me that he isn’t allowed to go into reverse. Are you kidding me?!!!! I have to do the same thing as your aunt and other lady and watch/listen for the mailman and make sure that there is nothing in the way. One time one of our trash bags had tipped over the curb and I watched from the window the mailman drive over it and laugh. Yeah–no kindness here!
    I have enjoyed your blog by the way…:)

  6. I can’t tell you how many times we get our neighbor’s mail and somebody else will get ours.

    And in the winter if every flake of snow isn’t cleared away from the mailbox he just won’t deliver…..period.

  7. Your annoyance is understandable. I must say a word on behalf of mail carriers, however, since I am one myself. Your carrier doesn’t want to incur the enmity of the people he serves, but he’s most likely under huge pressure from a postal management that doesn’t seem to be too understanding. They expect the carrier to get done with his route in a certain amount of time, and if he doesn’t, he’s got some explaining to do and may face disciple. If he has a vehicle accident, even barely touching your car as he attempts to maneuver in or out of a tight spot, he is in big trouble as well. It would not seem a burdensome thing for him to dismount from his vehicle to deliver mail, but when he’s trying to deliver a route of 500-700 boxes in just a few hours, a few of those kinds of stops can add up quick. Further, each time he dismounts from his vehicle, he’s required to turn off the engine and set the handbrake, further adding time to his route. If he doesn’t, and the vehicle should “roll away,” he will be fired, no questions asked! Carriers are told not to drive up to a mailbox if the clearance is not sufficient for him to drive forward after delivering the mail. In other words, if he has to back up, he must first turn off the vehicle, set handbrake, get out and visually inspect behind the vehicle before backing. This is to make sure no one — particularly children, who are hard to see — is standing in back of his vehicle. So please, keep those vehicles, garbage cans and tricycles away from mailboxes and make it a little easier on your mail guy or gal, who must face the wrath of his supervisor for any problems or delays on the route.

  8. John, I was waiting for a mailman to weigh in- thanks for taking the time to let us know your point of view. Very valid, too.

    Don’t you think, just maybe though, some of the mail carriers are taking out their frustrations on their customers? I mean really, do you need 60′ to pull in to the mail box? I’m sure not, but also know sometimes we missdirect our anger. If Mail Jerk that I know gets chewed out by his supervisor, it’s human nature that he then would take it out on the 87 year old woman waiting for her SS check because her great-niece is parked 15′ from the box instead of his pre-demanded 30′. It sucks.

    And in any world I have inhabited, 15′ is more than enough to swing out the mail wagon and go his/her merry way.

  9. My father is a USPS employee and I heard (for those that keep getting the wrong mail) that it’s not the letter carrier that sorts the mail. They do that at the local Post Office Branch. So don’t blame the letter carriers for giving you the wrong mail. It’s not their fault.

  10. We must still be in the “dark ages”. I have never heard of a mailman delivering mail from a vehicle until now. Ours still walk.

  11. I was in the process of searching about this “x feet” issue I am having w/my mailman, and came across this blog. Here’s my story:

    I really believe that my wife and I are being discriminated against based on our age or our location by this “mail person”. (Apparently before we lived at this location, it used to be a house of a drug user….then a real dickhead). We are in our mid 20’s, living in a quiet part of a town that will remain disclosed. For the most part, the mail person does a good job of delivering the mail. It’s usually at the house by 11am.

    The trouble began a few weeks ago when we had a decent snow fall, about five inches when it was said and done. Our neighbors to our right, on a regular basis, park out in the street. Then the snow plow comes through…and oh, he cannot hit the neighbor’s car, so he has to veer right. This piles a bunch of thick, crunchy snow in front of our driveway, which happen to be right in front of the mailbox!

    Anyways, we had made an effort to clear in front of the mailbox to aid and help in the mail person’s job. Apparently, it wasn’t enough; because one day he didn’t stop. The next day he had a certified letter to deliver to me. When he did it he asked, “Do you know why I did not deliver mail to you yesterday?” My response: “I was kind of curious, but yes, why.” His response: “You need to have six feet of clearance on both sides of the mailbox.” Where in any set of mail person rules and guidelines does it say six feet? Nowhere. It, however, does say this: (Taken from the Domestic Mail Manual D-041)

    1.4 Clear Approach

    Customers must keep the approach to their mailboxes clear of obstructions to allow safe access for delivery. If USPS employees are impeded in reaching a mail receptacle, the postmaster may withdraw delivery service.

    Now I understand that from a vehicle standpoint, if there is a car or something parked in front of it. But when it was visible to the naked eye that a vehicle could make it and pull out with no problem, then that’s different. On the day in question, I observed the mail person deliver mail to every other house on the block. And I can guaran-damn-tee their approaches to their mailboxes were any clearer than ours.

    Hell, I even observed on another case where our neighbor was parked directly in front of their mailbox, and this doo-wap wedged himself right in and delivered their mail. But yesterday, my wives’ friend was over to work out…and she was parked about the same distance from the box. Did we get delivery? Nope.

    I guess if you’re going to apply the rule, do it for EVERYONE.

  12. Give the his room to deliver the mail…If he doesnt have the room he might accidentally hit your car …thats more of a problem for me …the rules are 30 feet 15 feet on each side…they have internal postal warning forms

  13. I too have had this negative reaction from my mail person. My mailbox is in a spot to were the mail person has to get out regardless of how close they can park the wagon, this said person asked me to leave the 30 feet (so commonly talked about) on both sides of my box.I have very limited driveway space and have to park my truck (f-250) out front. if i move south i either block the drive and part of my neighbors parking or park in front of the neighbors all together. now if i move north i block a fire hydrant. So my question would be, should i have my truck blocking the fire hydrant or my neighbors house all night and day so for the 30 seconds tops the mail person is parked there he doesn’t have to walk that extra 10 feet. this doesn’t pertain to the many legitimate mail people but to the ones out there you know who u are if u want to sit on you ass get a desk job! quit making your problem someone else’s

  14. You would think the mail carrier would enjoy a break from that box on wheels when she has to take a couple steps to deliver the mail, but I guess not as much as I enjoy parking my car in the street.

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