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Topic: Small POs vs. Large POs.

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Subject: Small POs vs. Large POs.
Date Posted: 7/14/2009 4:09 PM ET
Member Since: 5/26/2009
Posts: 119
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This might be a really silly question, but does anyone ever go to different Post Offices to mail books to give the small town one's business? 

My mom - who I usually send my packages with because she's in the next bedroom (I'm 21 and home for the summer from college so it works out!) - is the Post Master Relief in the small Central Texas town I live in.  The population is about 1,500 so she gets a lot of business from not only the residents, but also people who come from the bigger cities on their way into town or don't want to wait in a long line at their Post Offices in their cities.

There's another Post Office three miles down the road from me that's very small, so often times my mom will tell me to go give them business, because it's only one lady and it's very slow there in terms of business.  There's also one down the highway about five minutes down that's very small and I sometimes go there if I miss sending a package with mom or we're heading in that direction.  In high school, I'd go to the one right across the street from school (about 10 minutes away from my house)  in the morning or in the afternoon when I had to mail something. 

I guess because my mom works for the USPS, I've always liked going to small Post Offices and supporting them, and because they are so small, it seems like they really value their "regulars."  Do any of you notice this?  I notice that when I have to go into the big towns - like San Marcos or even Austin - they are often so busy that not a lot of time is given to each customer, and I understand that because it's always "go-go-go" with them.  Still, it makes me apperciate coming home and getting to mail things with mom.  :)  Plus, my mom seems to know all the gossip - people will come in and tell her who died or who's getting buried today.  (It's not really morbid - just small town gossip!  She's right down the street from the Baptist Church and the Catholic one is right across from her so she's right in the thick of things.)

Also, I love that I can still use PBS away at school!  We have a small campus Post Office without a DC option, and really nice lady at the window told me that I can still use electronic DC through them when they send the mail off.  So when I'm at school and mail a book, I really utilize the Printable Postage feature here the mail lady is always happy someone knows about electronic postage!  :)

Sorry for all the rambling!



Date Posted: 7/14/2009 5:40 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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This might be a really silly question, but does anyone ever go to different Post Offices to mail books to give the small town one's business? 

No. Thanks for sharing your experiences --  the world of small town postal offices seems very different from my urban post office experiences. It's not a warm and friendly experience. There are almost always lines of impatient and frustrated customers and clerks who feel overworked. So I try my best to avoid actually having to interact with people in a post office, although I will mail afo/fpo requests.  

Date Posted: 7/14/2009 6:31 PM ET
Member Since: 10/23/2005
Posts: 7,719
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There is a small one near my house and a large one near my job. Neither are very warm or friendly either. I use Printable Postage alot and the APC when I dont if I can. There is a clerk in the one near my house that is always unfriendly and often makes up new USPS rules as she goes along. If I am feeling particularly feisty, I will go there when I have an armload to mail, just to get her goat. Lately she avoids me if she can. I would love a warm fuzzy PO experience, just isnt gonna happen at these two places.

Date Posted: 7/14/2009 8:31 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I actually do something similar. But I go to the smaller less convenient one because the ladies there are so nice.  It's really not that inconvenient to me it's just not near anything else.  There are 3 other POs near me and they are all near some place I frequent. But my favorite one is the one small one that's pretty much in a residential area.  They are always very helpful and they don't mind giving me the 1st class or media mail price and changing what the package says and they never give me a hard time about the PBS DC or attitude about so many media mail packages.

Date Posted: 7/15/2009 9:18 AM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2006
Posts: 368
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I do wish our town had as many POs as you describe - small or otherwise. My town has a mountain range separating it. On our side of the mountain is only 1 PO. If you don't get there as the doors open in the morning, there is ALWAYS at least a 15 to 30 minute wait for service. The next nearest PO is downtown where there is no parking and a 20 minute drive on the interstate. People complain, but to no avail. A key shop in a nearby center has a contract PO. You can't get all the services that one can get at a "real" PO, but the shop employees are pleasant and know many of us patrons. There are a few more contract POs scattered about on this side, but again, they can't offer all services. So, I DO envy you your close approximation to so many small POs. To this reluctant postal patron, those small POs sound GREAT!

Last Edited on: 7/15/09 9:20 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/15/2009 10:38 AM ET
Member Since: 5/5/2008
Posts: 515
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I'd have to travel half an hour to get to a big post office. Not worth the trouble! I'm fine with my small one. I hardly ever mail my books from the post office anyway, though; unless something goes wrong (like the other day, when I found my mailbox crawling with ants!), I mail them from home.

Last Edited on: 7/15/09 10:38 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/15/2009 5:20 PM ET
Member Since: 6/18/2009
Posts: 229
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WoW, hearing about the lack of PO's makes me reconsider the overkill in my town (4 PO's and one in the progress of being built).  If you want one, you can always come here and take one of Richmond's.  Lord know we have plenty to spare.

I hadn't thought to mail out through other towns, but sometimes I use other sites in the city, depending on what other errands and what side of town I'm on.  The PO on main street always seems to have a line out the door and no parking, so sometimes it's not worth waiting when I can just go up the block three streets and be in & out in a flash.

Date Posted: 7/16/2009 6:54 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,602
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I pretty much exclusively use my small suburban post office because it's only a few blocks from home. That is, when I do use the PO...these days I use the PBS postage almost exclusively so just print, wrap, and drop in the blue box in front of work unless it's for something special. The folks at my PO are very nice, and it's only around the holidays that I've ever had to wait more than a couple minutes to be waited on.


Date Posted: 7/16/2009 10:37 PM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2007
Posts: 1,410
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I've discovered that I can drive 3 miles down the road from my town's PO to a one person office.  When my PO is busy, I head up the road and I'm back before I would have been served at "my" PO.

Subject: small post offices
Date Posted: 7/17/2009 7:43 PM ET
Member Since: 11/30/2007
Posts: 130
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I live in a small town in Western Pennsylvania ( the largest rural state in the nation by population). I always go to my local Post Office where I am usually the only one there. Last Saturday, one PO clerk told me they are reducing their staff to a total of two clerks based on volume of mail and, more important, revenue taken in . I always get my stamps there even though I work in Pittsburgh. So it is important to support your small rural Post Office if you want them to survive.


By the way more trivia: Pennsylvania has more towns under 2,000 people than any other state in the nation. The rural populations is approximately 2.5 million. Our largest  industry is agriculture. And you thought it was steel, coal and machinery.  

Date Posted: 7/21/2009 9:54 AM ET
Member Since: 5/28/2009
Posts: 35
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Since I've joined this group I've actually been incredibly impressed by the post offices I go to. The one where I work (Peoria IL) is big, but incredibly efficient and the clerks are all polite, even when you come up to them with 8 or 9 packages to go out. The small post office where I live has the same high level of service, as does the post office in a town I send things out on Saturdays, when I'm visiting my parents.  So overall I'd have to say that I'm incredibly impressed with the USPS, and I have to admit I didn't think I would be.

Date Posted: 7/22/2009 12:18 PM ET
Member Since: 2/22/2009
Posts: 13
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Get ready for no longer having those POs. The USPS is beginning to consolidate the number of POs both in the big cities and the smaller towns. They are beginning in the small towns by moving the carriers out and over to another town that is close. Next they are reducing the clerks' hours and reducing the number of hours the PO is open. The final step will be the closing of the small town PO. If you hear stories of your local PO moving carriers or reducing hours, get your congressman or woman involved because it seems like input from the powers that be in Washington is the only thing that is slowing down the consolidations in some parts of the country. Sad to say that universal service that the USPS is suppose to provide to all citizens is coming to an end with the small, rural communities being the first to take the impact.
Date Posted: 7/22/2009 2:22 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 663
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I try to avoid our main post office if I can. There are space and equipment for four clerks at the counter, but there are very rarely more than one or two working. The others have 'closed' signs. One woman is very helpful and friendly and speedy. I'm always hoping to get her. One man is speedy, but I always have to listen to his lecture about how long it's going to take my packages to arrive, since I'm not using priority mail. You'd think he was working on commission. <sigh>

And I forgot to add the most important part - they almost always have a line of 10 - 20 people waiting. Don't come here if you're in a hurry.

Luckily we have three postal substations, two at drugstores and one at a grocery store. I generally go to one of the drugstores, and very rarely have to wait in line. In and out, in five minutes or less.




Last Edited on: 7/22/09 2:23 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/1/2009 9:48 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
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I use my local PO - small town - very friendly and helpful.  I can go 15 mins away to the neighboring town and still small compared to a city - but it is a bit larger and they are rude and curt even when no one is in line.  I have gone to the PO where I used to live - just outside of Boston MA and they are helpful and friendly - Boston everyone is just nasty and mean.   So I think it comes from the local supervisors of that PO. 

Geri (geejay) -
Date Posted: 8/5/2009 7:41 AM ET
Member Since: 9/2/2008
Posts: 9,094
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I use my new sub station.  Thankfully I've never experienced rude postal clerks even in the two large PO's that aren't that close but I know where they are.  I was sending things to Canada and England at one point and in both PO's the clerks were very helpful.  They told me which forms I needed and actually let me step out of line to fill them out and when I finished called me up to the counter to take care of the envelope for me.  Nice.  Then I was told to take some of the forms home, just fill them out and bring them with the package.  Very nice. 

Date Posted: 8/5/2009 8:30 AM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2006
Posts: 859
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The post office we get our mail through is a good 20 miles away.  It covers a large physical area and a good sized population.  There is always a wait there.  The clerks on the whole are nice - I would rank them as professional.

There is another post office the same distance away in another town.  The few times I've been, the clerks have been okay.  One time they had an employee stationed in the lobby directing people to the automated clerk machine, she was even helping you step by step to use the machine.  I didn't have the heart to tell her I don't like using machines designed to replace people's jobs.  I guess if I expressed that sentiment now she'd be thankful.

I've gotten friendly with the clerks at the closest Post Office.  It is a smaller PO and rarely are the wait times long.  When I was selling on eBay a few years back, they did ask if I could come in between 2 and 4 because that was when there would be 2 clerks on duty (except Monday when they have two clerks all day).  The lobby is physically too small for the automated teller....so the local grocery store has a mailing station where you can mail packages all day long (after 3pm they go out the next day).  There is no waiting there!


Date Posted: 8/6/2009 12:05 PM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2007
Posts: 233
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My small-town P.O. doesn't get credit for anything I put stamps on or use printable postage for because it goes off your return zip code.  They only get credit if I actally let them weigh it and pay them.  They also don't have a printing meter, so they handwrite the postage on the package, and it gets labeled elsewhere.  Not real comfortable with that.  I try to use the big post office (20 mins away) vs the small one (7 minutes away) because if I mail something at the big one at 6 pm, it is in Houston (1.5 hours away) by midnight and scanned.  if I use the small one, it can take up to 2-3 days to get to Houston and get scanned.


eta:  My address, while technically is in the small town, uses the big town zip code.  That's why our zips dont match because technically they don't service us.  Although they deliver our mail.  it's weird.


Last Edited on: 8/6/09 12:06 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/9/2009 2:25 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,742
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I've stopped using our post office entirely - ever since it merged with the one a town over, it's too small for the amount of business and not open enough hours so the lines aren't worth it. I mail everything from my mailbox or else the drop box in the mall where I work now. The mall box doesn't get picked up daily, but since media mail is slow anyway, I don't really care if it adds a couple more days.

Date Posted: 11/23/2009 10:07 AM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2008
Posts: 129
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I live between two small town POs.  One (that picks up/delivers to my house) and another the same distance the opposite direction.  I have found the post office that does not handle my house mail more favorable to visit with and mail packages from.  The one I use at my house got irritated because I would print postage for books in the evening and mail the next morning (but it would have yesterday's date on it) and they called to say they cannot take any more of those.   So I would have to be careful to change the mailing date.  However, the other PO will accept if it is the next day understanding I had paid the postage already and printed it the night before....

Date Posted: 11/30/2009 9:54 AM ET
Member Since: 9/10/2009
Posts: 438
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I have a massive PO that is on my way home from work -- it takes up an entire block.  It's the only PO I've ever known that is open until 7pm every day, which make it super-convenient.  It is so big that there is a separate building just for picking up packages.  Even though it is such a huge PO the staff are all really friendly.  There's one guy who is hands-down the best customer service person I've ever dealt with.  Wouldn't go anywhere else.

Date Posted: 11/30/2009 2:09 PM ET
Member Since: 8/21/2005
Posts: 989
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I think it's sweet of you to want to give the smaller offices your business. They are dying off quickly around here. In my area alone about 6 small town Post Offices have consolidated with larger towns.