Come rain, shine, sleet or snow, you could trust the U.S. Postal Service, but no more

The biggest change in the operation of a storied postal service is the appointment of a guy named Louis DeJoy to run the whole shebang

October 13, 2021 3:37 pm

U.S. Postal Service, Tallahassee, FL. Credit: Peter T. Reinwald.

TALLAHASSEE – For more than 30 years we have forwarded some of our mail between Florida and the North Carolina mountains during the summers.

We travel between the two places and try to keep up with bills, birthday cards, packages and letters from friends.

It used to be simple. We filled out a form at the post office and waited for the mail to arrive where we were at the time. Back then you could trust the U.S. Postal Service to deliver your mail – come rain, shine, sleet or snow.

All of that has ended.

This year much of our mail has simply disappeared into thin air. Bills, checks, a pretty good insurance refund from State Farm after we sold a car that was insured, packages, just about anything you can name.

Three different times we went back on the postal system’s online pages to remind them that our mail was supposed to be forwarded.  We saved copies of each attempt we made to forward the mail so we have written proof.

It didn’t help.

The U.S. Capitol. Credit: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

After the third try and an exchange of emails between me and officials in Washington and at the Lake Jackson Post Office in Tallahassee, the problem has continued. One local post office official suggested I complain to our members of Congress, saying they are our only hope.

I didn’t want to suggest that I have yet to see any problem solved by Congress lately.

No one could explain where our mail was.  It was not at our Tallahassee house, not forwarded to us in North Carolina.  It was just gone. A couple of packages mailed from other Florida cities, letters, bills and cards – all gone.

Postal officials in Tallahassee explained that their automatic equipment forwards stuff before it gets to the local post office so they aren’t responsible for the loss. Ha!

A call to Sonitrol, the security company that protects our house when we are away, gave us a clue.  Sonitrol sent a routine bill but instead of forwarding to us in July, they put a nice yellow sticker on the envelope and returned it to Sonitrol,  advising them we were “temporarily away.’’ Very helpful guys.  Now we’ve arranged to pay by credit card – over the phone after they email us the bill. No more need for postage.

This has been a worsening problem as the years go by, but never as bad as it is now.

We see Facebook and Nextdoor posts from Tallahassee friends who have their mail dumped in trash bags and left in ditches, and many of us have found mail belonging to our neighbors in our boxes or someone else’s packages on our front door steps.  Around our house we’ve gotten accustomed to taking the misdelivered mail to the neighbor who should have received it in the first place.

I wonder how much of the mail delivered to the wrong house actually gets redelivered to the right place?  Doesn’t sound very safe or secure to me.

U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. Credit: Wikipedia.

The biggest change in the operation of a storied postal service that has existed throughout our lifetimes, is the appointment of a guy named Louis DeJoy to run the whole shebang.

He’s running everything right straight into the ground in his effort to help former President Donald Trump put a stop to voting by mail and slow down the delivery of all mail.  Oh, and did I mention he’s a Trump campaign supporter and under FBI investigation for some of his past political fund raising?

Biden has appointed three new members to the regulatory commission that has the power to get rid of DeJoy but so far he’s still there.

Blue mailbox. Credit: Wikimedia Commons; author, Ellin Beltz.

Instead DeJoy has announced plans to slow down mail deliveries and he’d love to get rid of those big blue boxes that many of us like because we can drive right up to them and send our letters off.

Back during last year’s election, some post offices picked up all the blue boxes, making it a bit harder to mail in a ballot.  I guess they thought it would help Trump win if we couldn’t mail in a ballot for Biden.

Now DeJoy is raising the price of everything and says he’s slowing everything down. It could now take five days to mail a first class letter to the western United States.

And this improves what?

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Lucy Morgan
Lucy Morgan

Pulitzer Prize-winner Lucy Morgan was chief of the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times capital bureau in Tallahassee for 20 years, retiring in 2006 and serving as senior correspondent until 2013. She was inducted into the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame and the Florida Newspaper Hall of Fame. The Florida Senate named its press gallery after Morgan, in honor of her two decades covering the Legislature.