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Topic: So my fave postal clerk wants me to complain!

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Subject: So my fave postal clerk wants me to complain!
Date Posted: 10/16/2007 6:58 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2006
Posts: 877
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So today, for the umpty-umpth time, I went to my local post office and found the line out the door.  I waited 21 minutes to be served.  The same two clerks that are always busting their butts were busting their butts.  A third employee who is never in a hurry was not in a hurry.  And two windows were not staffed (as usual!).

I got my fave clerk today.  He is always working with a sense of urgency.  And he's a good guy too.  As he was weighing my books, he said, "Can you do me a favor?"  I asked what he needed and he said, quietly enough so no one else would hear, "Would you make a phone call for me if I give you a number?"  And I knew what he meant.

He handed me a slip of paper, on which he wrote 1-800-ASK-USPS.

I told him what really bothered me there was how many times I had to wait in line behind a commercial mailer (read:  Ebayer!) with 50 packages being individually weighed and having postage applied.  He said they are not allowed to turn anyone away and he remembers when they used to be allowed.  I told him I thought it was Postmaster discretion?  And he shrugged and said, "Yeah, maybe."

Thoughts?  Do I bother calling?  Does it do any good?  What observations are the most important for me to pass along?

Date Posted: 10/16/2007 10:34 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2006
Posts: 382
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couldnt hurt -beside they are paying for the call!

 

Date Posted: 10/17/2007 9:19 AM ET
Member Since: 5/29/2007
Posts: 13,347
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Off topic, just slightly, we have a blue line, or business line, at our PO, and when I see folks with a rolling bin full of packages it's all I can do to bite my tongue and not suggest they get approved to use the business line.  20 minutes is on the short side of average for how long I wait in line when I go.  I sympathize.  I haven't fully thought it thru, so I can't comment on how I feel about him asking you to do it, but it's a widely publicized phone number and if you are concerned about the length of the line, make the call.

Date Posted: 10/17/2007 2:31 PM ET
Member Since: 9/21/2005
Posts: 65
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The postmaster at the little town I used to work in told me one time they are pushed very hard to bring in revenue.  The largest employer in the area had been mailing out a monthly  newsletter to all current and retired employees.  The company decided to stop doing that, the postmaster was devastated because she was losing that revenue and it was going to look bad on her when her numbers dropped.

So, I'm guessing with the push for revenue, the workers are afraid to "refuse" to serve anyone.

Date Posted: 10/17/2007 7:10 PM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2007
Posts: 73
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The ebayers money is just the same as everyone else's. It can actually take a good clerk less time to bring in more money with that kind of transaction, than with 50 people mailing one package or buying one book of stamps.

As to the complaint phone call -- I don't even make it a secret when I tell people to call in and complain. When our wait gets really long and people are grousing in line, I will announce it to the lobby.

I don't know what a business line would be for unless it is for bulk mail, and that is an entirely different color of puppy than the ebay things.

All of the clerks in busy offices should be encouraging the larger mailers to use the online services. They can get discounts for all tracking services and for all international mail. In addition, if anyone wants to let their post offices know, we were told that we get credit for the revenue of anyone buying stamps or postage online, as long as they are using our zipcode as the mailing point. so the revenue is not lost for the office, just because the customers are using the online services.

Date Posted: 10/18/2007 5:22 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2007
Posts: 8,139
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I realize that E-bay customers are customers just like any other, but I had a time where all three postal attendants were serving different customers who had more than 10 packages to mail. All of us who had one transaction were stuck.

What the P.O. really needs is an express lane, just like the grocery store. Just want to buy a standard book of liberty stamps? Mail one package, pick up your package? Go to the express lane.

But everyone who has multiple packages or wants to spend 10 minutes going over the latest sheets of stamps to pick a new pretty stamp can head over to the other lines. I've got to get my one less-than-a-minute transaction done and get back to work.

As to the OP question, there is one postal worker who isn't pulling his/her weight. And doing it consistently. (You said you've spotted this many times.) I would call in a complaint, and do it every time I spot the behavior. There's nothing worse than being the busting-butt employee and seeing the lazy one not get reprimanded at all. And the lazy one won't get reprimanded if the calls don't come in.



Last Edited on: 10/18/07 5:26 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/18/2007 5:55 PM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2005
Posts: 44
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Okay, just my two cents, but I have to say it: It's a business. The more business they have, the better for them and frankly the better for the community since the push is for online postage and fewer post offices and postal employees.

I've been in both situations, I've been the one with a basket full of packages and the one waiting in a long line with the need for one item. I do the same thing there I do at the market or the bank or whatever, if I have to wait, I wait. If I feel the wait is because someone is not doing their job, then I file a complaint. Other then that, PBS has made it possible for us to avoid the waiting in line, if we're not taking advantage of it or can't,  then it's back to dealing with other human beings.

I certainly don't want to be harsh, I understand how it is when you're day is going to the dogs, but it's not the same as waiting for the pony express to deliver once every few months so I think we have it pretty good and it's probably a good idea to remember that everyone thinks his or her time is important. Just saying, with all due respect. Joanne

Date Posted: 10/18/2007 6:14 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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perhaps lobby for an APC machine.  if you only have one or two things to mail or need to buy stamps (and don't mind whatever it is stocked with) then this might be the way to go.  But I understand that smaller PO may not have the ability to get the machines.  although I'm in a somewhat larger city, my PO is fairly small but we have one and I love it!  use it all the time and do not stand in line.  it amazes me the number that do stand in line that could use the APC machine

Date Posted: 10/18/2007 7:57 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,800
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I've taken 12 - 15 and more books in at a time to mail.   Every clerk has been polite to me and so have the waiting customers.   I'm not about to complain about anyone else have a lot of packages!   I normally only mail 1 or 2 at a time now, but who knows when things will take off again for me??     I think business is business - just because you only have one transaction why should your business be more important than mine???

Date Posted: 10/18/2007 10:41 PM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2006
Posts: 472
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I would complain if the lines are long.  It's not going to hurt and it's one way they know customers are dissatisfied.  APC or an express line might be nice. 

I either buy stamps at the stamp machine at work or pay the fee to order them online because the lines can be so awful at my post office.

Date Posted: 10/18/2007 11:54 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 663
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I don't go to the main local post office unless I absolutely have to. There's always a line inside, and getting in and out of the parking lot is like playing dodge cars.

Instead, I checked online at the post office website and used the link to find ALL local post office locations (it sorts by zip code). Turns out I can mail everything at a nearby drug store, where there's hardly ever a wait. There's also a second drug store that doubles as a post office, as well as a 24-hour grocery store, which has a 24-hour post office counter.

Taking advantage of these alternatives has certainly made life easier for me.

 

 

Date Posted: 10/19/2007 12:03 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2007
Posts: 1,305
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I would call to complain the lines are long and there is not enough staff to handle it all. One of the PO I go has stamps only line and I've seen that help the line a little.

Date Posted: 10/19/2007 12:26 AM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2007
Posts: 6
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Hello,

I love this post, I am one of those window clerks working at a busy station, and yes it is a staffing problem and it is created by upper management, and it is nation wide. 

We keep hoping and praying that management will see the light and realize that cutting staff to the bone and good customer service do not go hand-in-hand.  But the outlook doesn't seem promising.

As for the lazy window clerk - yes keep calling in complaints, it does have an effect.

Express lane - we tried this at our station, we would open a window for stamps and mailing single items only to reduce the line.  It worked great, but some of the customers complained that it was it was unfair to let someone go to the head of the line just because that had a smaller purchase so we had to discontinue our express lane. 

APC machine - many stations, including ours had to remove the media mail option because so many people were abusing it. They would use priority or express mail packaging and apply media mail postage - Too Bad!

The idea of having your packages prepared ahead of time is the best time saver there is, and if you can pre-stamp them, you're way ahead of the game.  Many people have their own scales at home and you can buy stamps in any denomination you need, with that you can go to USPS.com and calculate your postage.

Good Luck

Tom A

 

 

 

 

Date Posted: 10/19/2007 12:28 AM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2007
Posts: 6
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Had trouble getting this to post!



Last Edited on: 10/19/07 12:32 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/19/2007 12:30 AM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2007
Posts: 6
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Had trouble getting this to post!



Last Edited on: 10/19/07 12:32 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/19/2007 12:37 AM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2007
Posts: 6
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Hello,

I love this post, I am one of those window clerks working at a busy station, and yes it is a staffing problem and it is created by upper management, and it is nation wide. 

We keep hoping and praying that management will see the light and realize that cutting staff to the bone and good customer service do not go hand-in-hand.  But the outlook doesn't seem promising.

As for the lazy window clerk - yes keep calling in complaints, it does have an effect.

Express lane - we tried this at our station, we would open a window for stamps and mailing single items only to reduce the line.  It worked great, but some of the customers complained that it was it was unfair to let someone go to the head of the line just because that had a smaller purchase so we had to discontinue our express lane. 

APC machine - many stations, including ours had to remove the media mail option because so many people were abusing it. They would use priority or express mail packaging and apply media mail postage - Too Bad!

The idea of having your packages prepared ahead of time is the best time saver there is, and if you can pre-stamp them, you're way ahead of the game.  Many people have their own scales at home and you can buy stamps in any denomination you need, with that you can go to USPS.com and calculate your postage.

Good Luck

Tom A

 

 

 

 

Date Posted: 10/19/2007 12:38 AM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2007
Posts: 6
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Hello,

I love this post, I am one of those window clerks working at a busy station, and yes it is a staffing problem and it is created by upper management, and it is nation wide. 

We keep hoping and praying that management will see the light and realize that cutting staff to the bone and good customer service do not go hand-in-hand.  But the outlook doesn't seem promising.

As for the lazy window clerk - yes keep calling in complaints, it does have an effect.

Express lane - we tried this at our station, we would open a window for stamps and mailing single items only to reduce the line.  It worked great, but some of the customers complained that it was it was unfair to let someone go to the head of the line just because that had a smaller purchase so we had to discontinue our express lane. 

APC machine - many stations, including ours had to remove the media mail option because so many people were abusing it. They would use priority or express mail packaging and apply media mail postage - Too Bad!

The idea of having your packages prepared ahead of time is the best time saver there is, and if you can pre-stamp them, you're way ahead of the game.  Many people have their own scales at home and you can buy stamps in any denomination you need, with that you can go to USPS.com and calculate your postage.

Good Luck

Tom A

 

 

 

Date Posted: 10/19/2007 11:54 AM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2007
Posts: 8,139
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Express lane - we tried this at our station, we would open a window for stamps and mailing single items only to reduce the line.  It worked great, but some of the customers complained that it was it was unfair to let someone go to the head of the line just because that had a smaller purchase so we had to discontinue our express lane.

IMHO, your post office should have ignored those complaints. Grocery stores learned a LONG time ago that people who have only one or two items will leave the store rather than wait for the people who have a zillion items in their carts. And those small purchases add up, BIG TIME.

It's the same for the Post Office. Every person who leaves the PO because of the long line and needs to ship that day will start using the shipping shops and UPS and FedEx. And once they get used to that (and get used to the quick service and short lines), they'll not come back.

Date Posted: 10/19/2007 12:55 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2006
Posts: 877
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Dialed the number.

"Thank you for calling the United States Postal Service"

"Para espanol, diga 'espanol'" (forgive me if this is spelled incorrectly, I don't speak Spanish!)

"I'm sorry, we're experiencing difficulty with your call.  Please try your call again later.  Goodbye."

Repeat three times, then give up.  I'm on vaca next week.  Maybe I'll try when I get back.  Sigh.

Date Posted: 10/19/2007 1:06 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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I will cry if they ever take our APC machine away!  I hope that our people are not abusing it...I know I don't but I know there are a lot of dishonest people out there

Date Posted: 10/19/2007 7:16 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2006
Posts: 877
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I have been told that I am *NOT* to put media mail in the APC -- which this PO *does* have.

And I still can't get through on that number.

Date Posted: 10/19/2007 9:13 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2006
Posts: 1,032
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I've put many a box of books through APC and never had a problem.  Yes, people abuse media mail all the time.  I used to buy a lot of magazines through EBay and so many times the seller shipped it as media mail.  When i sold some of my excess magazines, the buyers would complain that I didn't give them a media mail option.  They didn't want to hear that magazines are not media mail. 

Keep trying the 800# number...you'll get through and I've found the customer service reps there to be quite good, much better than my postal window clerks.  My window clerks always gave me incorrect information.

Date Posted: 10/20/2007 3:53 PM ET
Member Since: 8/22/2007
Posts: 2
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I am a rural carrier and also sell alot on ebay AND just joined this club and I hate to wait for the clerks to get to me with my packages to mail before I can get to delivering to my customers so I print all my postage online and just drop it off at the Post Office.  I wouldn't do it any other way now and I don't understand why anyone with a computer and is online doesn't open a paypal account or USPS account and do all of it online.  Once you have your postage printed out and taped to your package you can also request a carrier pickup so you don't even have to take it to the Post Office!  You can also buy stamps online and get free mailing materials delivered to your door.

Just like it was said earlier, the Post Office is a business (government run on top of that!) and in a small town such as where I live in Northern Michigan, we only have two stations with 2 clerks and one fill-in Postmaster.  In the morning one or two clerks will be desperately trying to get the mail sorted to the boxes WHILE trying to wait on customers.  At our Post Office the clerks arrive between 6:30 and 7:00 am and until 8:30 they are only sorting mail between the box customers and our rural routes (none sorted to individual in town boxes).  So even though you may see extra clerks in the morning they cannot all be waiting on customers or no one would get the mail in their boxes.  If at all possible I would suggest doing all your post office business between 10:30 and 11:30 or sometime early afternoon to avoid the busy lines and busy clerks.  Just some suggestions that may help. And it can't hurt to call in a complaint either.  They may take a closer look at how busy a Post Office is and either expand it or approve another clerk.  Anything is possible.

Heather

Date Posted: 10/21/2007 12:09 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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I have been told that I am *NOT* to put media mail in the APC -- which this PO *does* have.

How do you put mail IN the APC?  mine just dispenses postage and you have to put the package in the drop slot.  And unless someone knows the MM rates it is hard to abuse it since the option to do MM isn't on the APC machine...not to say that they don't know the rates but an average person probably doesn't know the rates...I know I didn't before joining this site!

Date Posted: 10/21/2007 12:37 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2006
Posts: 877
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OK...to use more precise language...I have been told that all media mail packages must be presented at the counter, and that even if I buy postage at the APC I am not to drop them in the adjoining drop bin.

I haven't tested them to see if they are serious, but I am sorely tempted because it is BIG-TIME annoying.  This PO is always crowded.  I have tried early morning, late afternoon, mid-morning, Tuesday, Wednesday, you name it, it is *ALWAYS* busy there.

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