I’m as sick of blogging about snow as you probably are of reading about it. But I have another item to share.
A reader, frustrated that his mail was being held by the local post office asked me to follow up.
As we all know, the old post office creed* hasn’t stood up to this winter. But I didn’t realize that the delivery was impeded beyond the days of the storms.
According to the reader’s complaint, many elderly residents have had to drive to the post office to pick up their mail recently. The post office has safety standards for cleared areas around mailboxes. Given the size of our snowbanks, it’s too much for many to keep up with.
A contact with the US Postal Service provided the diagram and explanation below:
During and after a storm and throughout a severe winter like we are experiencing, Postal Service employees will make every reasonable, safe attempt to deliver mail to each and every address on their routes. For successful mail delivery, we ask for the cooperation of our customers to keep their streets and mailboxes clear so that our employees return home safe at the end of each work day.
Letter carriers are cautioned about delivering mail to locations where safety issues – such as icy roads, snow-packed paths, mud or moving waters, leaf piles, road debris – create perilous conditions. Unsafe conditions in the approach to a mailbox can result in property damages or injuries to our carriers and vehicles as well as to property or people in the neighborhoods we serve.
We take the safety of our employees and the communities we serve seriously. Where that safety may be compromised, we do support holding mail until a remedy is made. If a letter carrier feels threatened by a hazardous or unsafe condition, the employee reports it to his or her immediate manager or Postmaster, who investigates the situation. The customer involved is notified of the problem and is given the opportunity to fix it. This can be in writing using such tools as the attached diagram or verbally, when a customer calls or visits their post office to retrieve mail on hold.
So, if your mail has been held hostaged, that’s why. For those of you fit enough to deal with your mailboxes, you might want to see if elderly neighbors on your street need a hand.
*Old Post Office creed: Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds