Lose Your Manners, Lose Your Job

mailBecause the US post office is trying to stay alive amidst threats of major cuts from Congress, and with postage being so expensive even at bulk rates: I took advantage of USPS’ new EDDM program, in an effort to see if my company could be an even better corporate citizen.

EDDM allows you to help postal workers keep their jobs by doing their work. In other words, you print, sort and package your direct mail so it’s ready to deliver to each carrier’s route. All the post office “workers” need to do is put it in the right cubbyhole for each carrier. Other than being “verified” by a “supervisor” who takes your money for postage, it bypasses the “post office staff” pretty much. All you need is the mail-delivering post people on each route to put the mail in mailboxes.

The planning and execution on your end is harder than it sounds, involving a ridiculous mount of photocopies, rubber bands, and paper cuts on your intern’s hands. Sorry Mel.

Why?

We tried EDDM out locally for one client in Los Angeles, because I wanted to experience the process before we recommended to clients that they do this themselves, or to themselves.  We started out optimistically. The USPS TV commercials show a pleasant, fit, uniformed, cartoon postman and a happy soundtrack. Just print and package your mail, and a guy who looks a lot like the Maytag repairman practically dances as he delivers it.

As a person and a citizen, I’ve been worrying about Congress’ threat to layoff 150,000 postal workers. I had a notion that postal workers are earnest people trying to do a tedious job well in order to support their families and have the dignity of a good, civil service job.

Ha! Boy, was I wrong!

I invite you to visit the 90064 US post office on Sepulveda and Exposition in West Los Angeles. It’s probably operated similarly to one in your local area, so start there.

Rude! Mean! Lazy! Really, really fat! No one has washed their hair or uniform shirt in weeks, maybe months. We watched them THROW letters and parcels around the back like it was Frisbee golf. They spoke in some mutant kind of slang at each other. They stood around and talked about getting on disability. They were grumbling, mumbling, filthy people who could not read or add (at least so they said as they glazed over the forms – (that we downloaded from the USPS website).

Manners and impressions

Maybe I’m naïve but I was dumbstruck. Reality bites that TV commercial of the happy, helpful postman.

The post woman “helping” at the counter started at us as if we had landed in a space ship. “We don’t do that here,” she drawled as we showed up smiling with our neat little packets of mail and typed forms. “No one here can help you,” she scowled at us when we made our case for taking our mail. Four postal workers in an hour tried to avoid us. Closed the door on us. Made us stand in line three times.

Repeat this for three days in a row and you get the idea about what I think should happen at the post office.

On our last “visit” we just left the mail, neatly stacked with our check on top of it. The “supervisor” told us no one could do anything with it but if we insisted, she would stick in the back.

The next day, I called and was put on hold for 35 minutes. Then I called back. The person who answered snorted at me:

“You waited for 35 minutes? You should be nicer to us. That’s what you need to do.”

No, I am not going to romance the postal workers. Not going to bring them brownies. We started with smiles. We ended with :-O faces.

Yes, I have reported this. Yes, it’s not much different than the really, awful terrible no service we’re all getting everywhere.

Yes, if you lose your manners, you should lose your job.

Because here’s the thing. I vote with my money and I vote with my ballot. And, so should you. Let’s stop giving our business to any establishment or institution that doesn’t deliver on the fundamentals. Like manners.

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