Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The sad truth about the US Postal Service...

Remember the joke about what the US Postal Service has in common with Kinney's shoes? Yeah, millions of loafers.

There's an article recently about how it's an exceptional situation that postal workers in Connecticut are stashing mail so they can meet their quotas or whatever.

Don't be silly. Postal workers have been stashing mail forEVAR. When I worked on a letter sorting machine for 4 years, one particular co-worker would pull girlie postcards out of the mail flow and stash them where he could admire them for days or weeks. We called him Tailhook for several very good reasons, but he was typical, and postal management was in no way outraged that he was intentionally delaying the mail.

What's ironic is this article stresses a few overworked individuals stashing mail with the intention of catching up later when mail volume dropped, that this is an isolated incident. To say this is isolated is a pile of poo. At one postal facility in Dallas sometime in the past 3 years, several trailers of years-old mail was found staged, undocumented in a yard of empty trailers. This malfeasance can only be blamed on the licentious nature of at least one supervisor and of at least one corrupt person in the vehicle control office of the facility. That particular facility is the embodiment of the Peter principle, and proof positive that no government-based system is fit to run anything.

I blame a system which has, through the self-reinforcing idiocy of a management model based not on competence but on the asshattery of affirmative action, coupled with the utter corruption of a postal union which again reinforces the lowest common denominator. Let me speak plainly - there are many tens of thousands of decent, hard-working people in the postal service, and a handful of those are honest people in management. The rest of USPS management is not fit to wipe dog poop off my shoe, and I'd throw every single representative I've ever met from the American Postal Workers' Union in with them. The fact is that hundreds of thousands of decent people working as hard as they can will never be enough to overcome the entropy engendered by the dead weight of the APWU and nepotistic (don't believe their lies about fairness in promotion) USPS mangement.

I left for a lot of reasons. I really loved sorting mail. It was sifting through the BS I found intolerable. Here's to a free market and competition. It would be a wonderful world if the USPS were worthy of the highest opinion, if everyone there were committed to excellence and considered the mails a sacred trust, but I believe my own eyes and what I've seen firsthand. For every waylaid bag of mail you hear about in the media, I'd bet there are another 99 which will never again see the light of day.

If you have a decent mail carrier - think about them this Christmas. They are under brutal pressure with constant additions to their route to make up for the attrition or incompetence of co-workers, and they are often the objects of derision from managers not competent to oversee bathroom maintenance, and they get sore little support from their unions-- who can they turn to? Consider giving them a gift card for $5 at Starbucks or something. I think they can accept gifts of value up to $15 or something. Like I said, if you've got a good one, then thank your lucky stars and tell them you appreciate them. They are a dying breed, and for each one of them, they are doing the work of several of those famous loafers.

Heaven preserve us all.

In case you wondered-- I worked nine years as a distribution/LSM/parcel sorting machine clerk with the USPS. 9 years. I know what I'm talking about.

12 comments:

Jeffro said...

Former clerk at a small SCF - it's a wonder we get our mail at all. Good post.

Thud said...

Our post office here is in the process of a long drawn out union inspired suicide...missing mail is something one lives with and accordingly I avoid the royal mail whenever possible.

phlegmfatale said...

Jeffro - I appreciate that. I've often imagined that a small office would be much better than the two massive facilities in which I worked (more than 1000 employees each)

Thud - Unions again? What a parasitic bunch of saps. They figured out a way to leech off the workers in just the same way as so-called management. Obscene.

Jon said...

My favorite story was by a friend, and a coworker that spent almost a year dragging a hammered worker out of a bar most every evening and making sure their mail was delivered. Dedication to say the least. One of the many reasons they quit and left their civil service career behind.

Steve R said...

We swear that the post office that handles our street mail is a training PO, and a piss-poor one at that. Years ago, when we lived in an apartment near there we had a PO box there. They mis-delivered so much mail to the boxes that they had a box on the end of the counter for people to drop other people's mail into. Real secure about it they were. (Not!)

Now we have a box at a better run station, and only receive junk at our streetside box.

Jeffro said...

Phlegmmy - the war stories we can tell, eh? I look back at my ten years and it's like falling through the rabbit hole and ending up in Bearded Spock's evil twin universe.

Anonymous said...

One of the nicest things about living up here in Yankee land is our postman. We chat daily, he loves Texas (good man!), and, since he delivers mail to my office, he always lets me know when I have interesting stuff in my home mailbox since he delivers there earlier in the day. You betcha he's getting goodies - both store bought AND home-made as a personal Christmas bonus. Those prezzies, along with my heartfelt every day thanks, are the least I can do!

DirtCrashr said...

Thanks for the idea of a Starbucks card. I have a pretty great mail-carrier who even speaks English!

Holly said...

I have never worked for USPS, but I grew up as the daughter of a postal employee. He started as a carrier and worked his way up to Postmaster without benefit of a college education.
I think having management that has BBAs and MBAs instead of practical experience contributes to the malfunctioning of the current USPS.

DirtCrashr said...

I have to say your statement, "What a parasitic bunch of saps. They figured out a way to leech off the workers in just the same way as so-called management. Obscene." is about the most perfect, one-line description of Unions I've come across, ever.

Rocket Girl said...

Some of my favorite Phlegmie stories are of your mail sorting days. :)

Anonymous said...

postal management are a bunch of currupted goons that lie,harass,intimidate,manipulate employees.they fire employees for no reason other than they can and the unions are in on it ,they know whats goin on.espacially us carriers.