Letters to the Editor

Goodbye, MI P.O. Box

In September of 2009, I retired my post office box that I held on Mercer Island for five years. Initially, I found the convenience and reliability (or so I thought) of my packages being delivered without the extra cost of delivery confirmation or insurance. It seemed logical to me, if someone were mailing a package from one post office to another, that these extra fees seemed needless. In my mind, these savings offset the cost of the box.

My incorrect opinion was substantiated recently by a supervisor at our post office who was investigating into yet another one of my packages that I didn’t receive. This last package was mailed with delivery confirmation that I tracked via the USPS Web site. Once the confirmation appeared, I went to pick up the $60 item. When I opened my P.O. Box, it was empty. There wasn’t the standard card indicating that my parcel wouldn’t fit in the box, so I inquired at the counter. The overly busy counter person checked the P.O. Box area and returned with nothing other than “there is nothing for you to pick up.” Feeling that this couldn’t be correct, I presented my delivery confirmation receipt that I had downloaded from their site. The clerk once again said there was no package, so I requested to speak with a supervisor.

The supervisor informed me that even though the package was mailed from one post office to another, I should have requested insurance. I am still perplexed why insurance would be needed, since this item went internally to another post office.

Reaching a dead end, I called the USPS consumer affairs division here in Seattle. A very understanding and friendly call taker supported the supervisor’s recommendation of insuring packages regardless of perceived security within their own system. She did indicate that the loss would be reported to Mercer Island’s post office so they could look internally into their employees’ handling of packages.

This entire affair seemed even more baffling after reading the Mercer Island Reporter’s article the same month discussing the restructuring of shifts and routes within our own post office.

Terry Smith

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