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Mail Satisfaction
Shirley King | Avenida Primavera

 

Postmaster Edward Culver. Photo Shirley King.
Click to enlarge.



The Del Mar Post Office on 15th Street serves as our unofficial community center. Its stunning garden beds tended by The Garden Club’s volunteers and the welcoming entry-way benches for conversations between friends and neighbors - belie the USPS commitment to the weighty purpose of guaranteeing the security and privacy of our personal lives through correspondence and packages. Under the leadership of Postmaster Edward Culver whose USPS career spans 35 years, 33 employees move through the daily responsibility of a heavily regulated process that our government commands for our national postal services. The frequent long lines along with the limited parking time outside may frustrate us, but the Post Office provides a service at a cost that no rival can match (that’s why there is a line) – and of course with its Universal Service Obligation, USPS delivers the “last mile” where FedEx and UPS can’t or won’t go. So how can we maximize our own personal efficiency with this vital public service that ultimately delivers items of health and welfare to our doors – importantly - prescriptions, legal papers and voting ballots not to mention online shopping goods.

For starters we can tune out the inconsequential Congressional debates such as those regarding eliminating Saturday delivery - the public is ready for 5-day delivery. We should recognize that Congressional action in 2006 requiring the pre-funding of 75 years of USPS employee retirement benefits within a span of10 years has crippled its profitability. Moreover the unresolved recession, blended with the rising online communications and commerce and the resulting 25% reduction of first-class mail since 2008 has compromised cash flow.
While USPS brims with innovation for product choices and pricing, our mandate is to be an informed and responsible public customer. Our biggest responsibility is to be mindful of our postal carriers’ safety and efficiency. Hazards and risks in the delivery of our mail such as unrestrained dogs and ground obstacles like skateboards, toys and hoses are our responsibility. Last year San Diego was ranked second in the U.S. for dog bites of postal carriers – a dog threat means temporary service suspension and a dog bite means indefinitely suspended service. The postal delivery trucks need complete access to our curb boxes. We should maintain stable mailboxes, eliminate low-hanging tree branches and keep parked cars far from the boxes. The delivery truck carriers lose time and safety when they have to get out of their vehicles to open a box. Carriers to multiple-unit dwellings also lose significant time when we omit the unit number with the mailing address.

If we are tortured by standing in line, then shop for your USPS products at the same prices when fulfilling your other errands such as banking and shopping (Sprouts, Albertson’s, Vons, Ralph’s), Office Depot with its 9 am to 9 pm hours, or for an extra fee at the local mailing centers. You can order online your postal supplies (boxes, stamps, labels – many free) delivered for no charge by your carrier. The enhanced online Click-N-Ship service supports at-home shipping, which includes ordering supplies, printing labels, completing forms, requesting pick-up and tracking delivery and with the bonus of a 10% discount. The retail post office counter is always an option, but make it more time efficient by completing forms (customs) before getting in line. In October Postmaster Culver will hold a demonstration day of Click-N-Ship in the lobby to help streamline our upcoming holiday shipping chores.

Though our complaints at times about our Postal Service erupt when we receive the countless direct-mail solicitations from businesses, charities and political campaigns, our Postal Service sustains an important civic and business culture – ask those residents at the bottom of the Grand Canyon who receive their mail by mule express or those who have the dock-to-dock delivery by boat on the Magnolia River in Alabama. The mail must go through, and our adaptation to change will keep it so.

 

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