Post Office Follies

A little more than two years ago I mailed two letters via the US Postal service. One of them was mailed on March 8, 2008 and the other on March 15, 2008. Each of the letters was a invoice and corresponding check. Or, in simple terms, I was paying two of my bills.

Those letters never made it to their destinations–even though I used the correct postage, the correct return address and the company-provided window envelopes with the company address showing through the window. As a result of the letters not making it to their destinations, I had to pay late fees on one of the bills (when I got a double bill the following month), pay my financial institution to stop payments on both checks, and wonder if I was about to have a portion of my identity stolen or if I would be dealing with fraudulently cashed checks.

Thankfully, no one stole the mail and cashed the checks or lifted my signature and went on a three-state shopping spree. But, how do I know all of this?

Simple. Both of those letters were returned to me today with a lovely yellow sticker on each of them which says “Return to Sender” “Not Deliverable as Addressed” “Unable to Forward.” The last two statements are demonstrably wrong, but one must suppose that I should be grateful I at last found out what happened.

Here’s the thing, though. While I am happy to know the disposition of my long-lost mail, I am not glad to have received it with absolutely no explanation for where it has (or has not) been for these last 26 months? Did it ever make it out of the mail sorting facility in Sioux Falls? One would think that it probably did not–though the postage was rollmarked at that facility.

Ahh. One should not be unhappy with getting poor customer service from a quasi-government entity, right? Right. After all, government entities/agencies are not in business to make the customers happy. They are in business because they have a monopoly on some particular product or service and I must use them–regardless of what kind of customer service I might desire.

That’s something that more of us might be benefited by considering.


It seems as though I’ve received some mail which was stolen (given this story). The article says that the thief has paid some $2600 in restitution, but that seems awfully small considering that his theft resulted in almost $50 in fees and penalties for me with regard to two pieces of mail. And, it would have been nice if the returned mail had indicated the real reason I was receiving it–and not the misleading information noted above.