Friday, February 15, 2008


United States Postal Service? I don't think so!

Okay, so when I was growing up, Westhamp­ton Beach post office was likely still sporting its original WPA coat of paint.

(And, yeah! When someone picked up the 'phone and a voice said "Number Please" and the caller said "1810," the operator might respond, "If you're trying to reach Sara, she and Miss Meeker and Aunt Sophia Parsons are up Griffing Avenue visiting Mrs. Dicken­sen." It was a smaller, friendlier Village then.)

Mail delivery... all on foot... was twice-a-day, a post card cost a penny to mail, letters were three cents, two if you just tucked in the flap in lieu of licking and sealing it.

While it wasn't much on my mind back then, I don't recall a lot of people griping about the mails, which leads me to the sense that folks weren't all that displeased with the service.

Boy-O-Boy!, how times have changed.

OtBB has already taken notice of one recent frustration with the postal "service," but that was within the 11942 zip code, and it didn't occur to me that anything like that would hap­pen right here in "coastal village" 11978.

But it did just last week... only worse!

Our neighbor across the street, Elsie Collins, generously observed our recent nuptials with a lovely floral arrangement, which she personally delivered. When we got a breather, we penned a number of "Thank you" notes and entrusted them to U.S.P.S. at 41¢ a copy. The envelopes traveled 1½ blocks West... I know, because we took them down ourselves and personally in­serted them into the blue mail receptical marked "Local 11978." Then, presumably, they were franked and sent out on the East Main Street/Seafield Lane route where the delivery person either discovered, or had prior knowl­edge that, Elsie didn't have a mail slot or post box at her physical location, 2 Seafield Lane.

The little envelope-that-tried-but-couldn't was marked up, then made it's way 1½ blocks West again, had a computer-generated label affixed, and wended its way Eastward 1½ blocks, to, in the timeless words of Elvis Aaron Presley, "return to sender!"

The little envelope-that-tried-but-couldn't

I went nuts! Jeanne simply went across the street and delivered it herself.

I later asked a friendly postal service employee why, since it was all "in-house" (same post office!) why for our 41¢ someone just couldn't have put it in Elsie's postal box, and was told:

"We're not allowed to. If we ever got caught doing anything like that, we could get written up."

That's insane!

(It also offers some additional insight into the syndrome which gave rise to the term "going postal!")

Well, if they're gonna be that way, they should refund our 41¢ stamp, and they should seri­ously consider removing the "Service" part of their name unless they actually start reliably performing the service of delivering our mail!


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