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So Much for "Neither Rain Nor Sleet nor Snow..." Post Office Creed

Perfectly accessible Mailbox
Perfectly accessible Mailbox
The Framingham postal service is abysmal and an embarrassment to postal workers everywhere.   I haven't received mail at my Overlook Drive West home since it snowed on Tuesday, supposedly because the road wasn't perfectly clear of snow in front of street mailbox.   This morning (Saturday), I took my snow-blower and cleared the entire street in front of house and mailbox.  The Mail truck just drives by since there may be some slush leftover on the road.  It's outrageous and goes against everything you been led to believe about the Post Office creed.    Is anyone else having this problem.    Here's a photo of how clear it is in front of my mailbox.,
Mail Carrier February 22, 2014 at 06:45 PM
Hello Stephen, Let ma apologize in advance. My middle name is "Long Winded", and I'm known for turning a 100 word reply into 500, but I can only hope you read it all. I am a letter carrier. I have been doing this job for the past 15 years. Although I understand your frustration about not getting your mail, I can only hope you want your letter carrier to stay safe, and employed. With that being said, there are literally hundreds of rules and regulations I have to follow as a letter carrier. 1 of those rules, and mainly the most important one, is to be safe. There's no doubt this has been a rough winter for everyone. Today as most people were enjoying the 50 degree day, we were out slip sliding on ice, and stepping in slush up to our ankles. I'm not complaining by any means. I love my job. But your statement about the USPS being "abysmal" and and "embarrassment" is, in my opinion, well off the mark. Local policy is that the letter carrier take your mail out 3 days in a row, before we leave it at the post office "until the path is clear". At the end of this reply, I will try and post a link to a picture I had scanned especially for you. You have what's known as a "curbside delivery". Postal policy is that we are not to get out of the mail truck to deliver this type of designated delivery. If your letter carrier were to step out of his vehicle to make a delivery to your box, and were to slip and get hurt, that carrier would no doubt be suspended, or removed from the Postal Service for being unsafe, and violating a clear instruction. You carrier must be able to drive up to your mailbox, reach out, and place the mail into your box. Clearly this is not possible from the picture you have posted. You cant shovel 2 feet on either side of the mailbox, and expect your carrier to do that. As your picture indicates, there is still considerable snow/slush, and ice on the ground all around your mailbox. By now you may be thinking I'm making excuses. Let me fill you in on a little secret. Today, February 22nd, 1 of my friends stepped into a puddle while delivering the mail. At the bottom of the puddle was ice. He fell, and landed on his back, which helped cushion the blow to his head. As I sat with him in the emergency room, he was diagnosed with a concussion, and was about to undergo a CT Scan, to make sure his skull wasn't cracked. I was there when his fiance' ran into the room frantic. The man she loved had a grapefruit sized lump on the back of his head. God only knows what was going through her mind at the 45 minute drive to the hospital took her 25 minutes. This gentleman will no doubt be grilled up and down by the Postal "big shots", and 1 can only hope he suffers no long term harm by his willingness to deliver the mail. With that being said, I hope you have a new understanding of the risks we take every day to deliver the mail. I am proud to be a letter carrier. Most of us are. And to finally wind this down, I can tell you that there have been no less than 6 of my co workers who have been involved in motor vehicle accidents over the past month. Each and every time, we were the ones being hit. There is no official "Postal service motto". The "creed" which you are referring to was written on the New York Postal Facility building, and was done by the architects. Thanks for reading. Here is a picture of how you are, according to the Post Office, supposed to clear a path to your mailbox. https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/89394388/box.jpg
Stephen Roll February 22, 2014 at 08:26 PM
Well, now I feel like a complete idiot. Seriously, thank you for the complete explanation. Tomorrow I'm going to cut through all that icy/slushy mess. And then I can look forward to a pile of bills in my lonely mailbox
Mail Carrier February 22, 2014 at 08:48 PM
Stephen, Thank you for your understanding. I will personally make sure I tell your carrier you will be ready to rock and roll on Monday. And for what it's worth, It's way more time consuming and more of a hassle for us NOT to deliver your mail, than it is to deliver it :) Have a great weekend!
JoJo February 23, 2014 at 08:09 AM
Wow! How nice to see you two worked it out! So professional! Great Job! Well Done!
Laura Kean Anes February 23, 2014 at 10:57 AM
Gotta say I'm pretty impressed by the two of you, I never would have guessed this post would have turned out this way!
Linda Roth February 23, 2014 at 08:25 PM
One more thing, as a letter carrier also dealing with the snow, my route only has 22 curbside deliveries, the rest is walking. I have had the most trouble with the curbside deliveries because my vehicle, the LLV, is rear wheel drive and made of aluminum so it gets stuck in very small amounts of snow or ice. I have had to be towed or pushed out 4 times this year with only a few curbside stops. I would not attempt to deliver the box as it is pictured.
Mark W Martin February 23, 2014 at 08:52 PM
As a letter carrier also I will agree and disagree with mail carrier, if you check again you will find that we are required by contract to dismount for blocked mail boxes unless it is clearly unsafe to dismount so just getting out of vehicle is not unsafe, but if there was a patch of ice and I can not see in photo then he would not have to dismount, this information was in the union paper I saved it because my swing man kept bringing mail back just because a car blocked it
Dave Beebe February 23, 2014 at 10:45 PM
Stephen I have just read your comments and the comments of other here. I am a letter carrier of 32 years and I have a route that is predominated by mounted box delivery. From looking at this picture, it is like allot of my deliveries that I have to make cause the plows do such a shitty job, and makes it very hard for the customers to clean out their boxes. Now that said from the picture I myself would make a path to the box with the LLV and I would be able to reach out and deliver your box with no problem. Yes it is said that we are not supposed to get out of our trucks if it is unsafe, but I am old school and unless I believe it is unsafe or impossible to reach the box safely then I will pass it up.
Sandra Anderson February 24, 2014 at 12:46 AM
Normally, I try to look at what's best for the customer. If they are older and it is apparent that they can't get around, I deliver to the box on their house even if they have a curbside mailbox. I usually deliver to blocked mailboxes, unless the box is blocked consistently. I go above and beyond what is required of me, to ensure a positive experience for my customers. Having said that, if it is obvious that a delivery is unsafe, I have to then make a decision on whether to take a chance or not. Up until November of 2013, I chose to deliver the mail. Period. In November, it had been raining for several days. My route is in the city, but is primarily residential. The streets were piled up with wet leaves. I left one curbside delivery and was pulling up to the next mailbox approx 20 feet away. My mail truck slid on some wet leaves and the bumper of my truck pushed a landscaping rock that was sitting even with the curb. It moved it approximately 1 ft. (This rock had just been put there a few days earlier. And it was not secured. It was just sitting on top of mud). I called and reported the incident to my supervisor because if I wouldn't have , I would have gotten fired for not reporting an accident. I was issued disciplinary action even though it was proven that I couldn't have been going more than ten mph when I slid. The postal service has instructed their postmasters and supervisors to issue discipline for every accident. It doesn't matter if it is your fault or not. So now I have to really think twice about what is safe or not safe. But you will find that most carriers do as much as they can to go the extra mile for their customers. A lot of people do not realize how much we do for them. We often pay the "postage dues" for our customers and never say a word to that customer about it, even if the customer fails to reimburse us. I put stamps on letters that someone has overlooked putting a stamp on. If we know where a piece of mail "should" go but it has the wrong address on it, we deliver it to where it should go. We watch out for our customers, especially if we know that they are elderly and they have no one around them to take care of them. I hate it, but unfortunately we are having to offer less customer service now because its just not safe to go the extra mile.
Stephen Roll February 24, 2014 at 06:17 AM
Good to hear most would delivery to this mailbox. The picture may not show it clearly, but anyone can drive up next to this mailbox and stick mail in it without getting out. That's why I was upset. There is no safety issue. NONE.
Susan Petroni (Editor) February 24, 2014 at 06:27 AM
Stephen: Thanks for posting on Patch. And I want to thank all the letter carriers who commented too. The goal of Patch is to be more than just a news site but a place where the community can gather, ask questions and interact. We want Framingham to consider Patch your go-to-place for everything. Everyone should feel comfortable to ask questions and post concerns. Thanks again!
Susin Carlson February 24, 2014 at 07:22 AM
When I shovel out my mailbox I bring it down to the pavement. The ice you have there could potentially get the truck stuck! Sound improbable but if I have that much at the end of my driveway the magical mystery van spins her tires so it can happen. Also, I always make sure to shovel a few feet on either side of the box, not just in front of it for easy entry and exit. It helps to stand in the street and visualize the truck pulling in. Also checking if you can reach inside the mailbox from where you shoveled (plus a few) gives a much better perspective. I do this and I have never notgotten my mail. :)
Dave Lenane February 24, 2014 at 02:57 PM
It's common sense.....shovel out your mailbox....just like you are responsible for the sidewalk in front of your house, if you grew up in Boston
Stephen Roll February 24, 2014 at 03:24 PM
And it was shoveled out permitting drive by delivery.
Dave Lenane February 24, 2014 at 03:36 PM
If you think that's shoveled out when there is ice 2 inches thick and extending at least 4 feet out from the mailbox then it's no wonder you didn't get your mail. Maybe you learned something...and that's a positive! I'm sure from now on your mailbox will be cleared and you'll get your mail!
Walter Samoluk February 24, 2014 at 07:04 PM
Hey Roll, You obviously have a snow blower, so take 2 more minutes and clear the box so a truck can actually pull up to your box and deliver your mastercard bill. Oh yeah, by the way I'm the Father of the carrier that got hurt Saturday. Keep up the good work, Brothers and Sisters in Framingham. Retired carrier on CC
Dave Lenane February 24, 2014 at 07:34 PM
Thank You Walter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
D Penta February 24, 2014 at 08:24 PM
It seems like a lot to shovel to deliver one mail box, but then again the government always expects more than what we get in return!
Mail Carrier February 24, 2014 at 10:02 PM
You get to send a letter 3,500 miles clear across the country for less than half a buck. In return, I would like to not break my leg at your mailbox. Good deal if'n ya ask me. :)
John Griffing February 25, 2014 at 06:24 AM
Wish we could post pictures here on how to clear a path to a [mounted] mailbox, but hopefully people will click on this link: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/89394388/box.jpg

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