Friday, July 27, 2012

In defense of the letter carrier

We all remember how a while back, postal workers seemed to be going crazy.  We all have used the phrase "going postal" at some point, right.  Well, I'm putting it out there (and not because I feel threatened): I love my mailman.

Mercury (not his real name) is fantastic.  He has been our letter carrier for at least 8 years.  He's great to talk to-a really friendly guy. He goes about his business, always cordial and willing to talk, but he works hard and gets his work done.

I know there is always a lot of talk about how the Postal Service is losing money.  Just google postal service deficit for articles galore.

Mercury dropped off a post card from our local postmaster a few weeks ago.  The card said that we may notice a different carrier bringing our mail, or that it will come at different times of the day.

I asked Mercury about it and he told me that they are cutting personnel all over the area.  The carriers who are left have to get a lot more mail out.  Some carriers aren't getting their routes done till 6 at night-which isn't going to be good when it's winter and pitch black at that time of day.

I remember back 8 years ago, when my eldest was 3.  We had a mail slot in our front door; no box outside.  Our front door was open because the weather was nice, so Mercury opened the storm door to toss the mail inside and there was my three year old, staring at him.

"Hey there," Mercury said.  "Is there somebody in there with you?"  "Yes," I said, "I'm right here."  "Oh, good," said Mercury, "I just wanted to check." I can't imagine what he's seen carrying mail on his route for the last 20 years.

Letter carriers who work the same route all the time notice if mail starts piling up.  Letter carriers who work the same route all the time would notice if there was something wrong at a senior citizen's house, or if someone was getting smacked around by a spouse or parent.  A letter carrier who works the same route all the time would know if there might be someone in the neighborhood who needs some company or a meal.  I don't want a different mailman.  Mercury knows my neighborhood.  He knows who is in the neighborhood and who is supposed to be here.

The Letter Carrier is on the first line of defense against crime, terrorism, pain, and hunger.  The letter carrier who walks the same route every day is necessary. He is essential.  She is important.  The bean counters in Postmasters' offices all over the country need to remember this and stop mucking around with the routes.  They need to make sure this essential service- a service that goes beyond delivering junk mail-doesn't go away. I'm grateful for letter carriers. You should be, too.


  1. That must be especially rough not to see a face you know delivering your mail anymore. I don't think we've had a regular one at my apartments for a while now--and I *loved* our regular mail lady (who was a longtimer and I wonder if there was early retirement involved). And most of them haaaaate my apartments because there are so many buildings and mailboxes--that must be an extra burden, as you said.

    We also have an, um, interesting counter service lady at our little town's post office (and I do wonder if/when they're going to merge us in with the next town over) and I think I'd kind of miss groveling for my postage from her.

  2. Amen! We've got a rotating crew of letter carriers around here, but at our old house, it was usually the same guy. He took FOREVER to bring the mail because he'd visit with the people on his route. I had an enclosed front porch and the kids would often play there. He'd chat with me and the kids a bit every time he brought the mail. But he was such an essential part of the neighborhood, it was almost like he lived there too.