The Mail, Mail Trucks, and 1971

I have two boys, ages 8 and 9. We have lots of trucks in our home. Small trucks, big trucks, trucks that are battery operated, MatchBox trucks, random plastic trucks that I have no idea where they came from. This house does not need another toy truck.

But, I recently purchased each of my three dogs a postal carrier costume for halloween (stay tuned for that post which should be a hoot!) and I came across these absolutely adorable, awesome, had-to-have postal trucks on the USPS.com website.

You can imagine the reaction of my children.

9 y/o: Mom! What are these?

Me: They are mine! Don’t touch!

8 y/o: But they’re trucks!

Me: Yes, and I love them. They are for my office. Not for you.

8 and 9 y/o: (stunned) Not for us?

Me: Not for you. Step away.

My 9 y/o then proceeded to spend the morning crafting small ‘packages’ with copy paper, so we could fill the trucks because…and this is AWESOME…the door actually opens on three of them!

And then there is the tiny, tiny mailbox. Swoon!

The small jeeps might be my favorite, though. They are replica’s of 1971 style jeeps, the year that I may or may not have been born. I can specifically remember these jeeps and our mailman Daryl driving one. He was my parent’s postman for years…right up until my mother died 3 years ago. And he’s probably still on that route because his parents live across the street.

9 y/o: Mom! I’ve never seen these jeeps before. Are they old? They must be old. Are they in a museum now?

Me: Go to your room!

The USPS has been getting some bad press lately – although really, they seem to get bad press all the time. My business highly depends on the postal service and we ship about 75% of our orders via their first class and priority mail service. We rarely – really, rarely – have issues with delivery or lost packages. I use a labeling software program which no doubt helps – it automatically checks the address and corrects if necessary – but overall the postal service is quite impressive from my end.

It’s the little things in life that get us through each day. I adore my new trucks. I get a kick out of looking at them at my desk. They make me happy.

Service with a smile?

Let me start off by saying that when you work in small business, delivery people are one of your biggest assets and should not be taken for granted. Our business would fall apart if they stopped showing up.  I will make it clear right here and now that I truly, truly appreciate the work they do and I would not want their job.  That being said I have to share with you a few of the many quirks and idiosyncrasies that some of our delivery personnel (past and present) have had.  You just can’t make this stuff up folks…

We have daily FedEx, UPS, and Postal service pickups and drop offs here at our warehouse.  The regular drivers know the routine; come to the warehouse door, ring the bell if it’s not open and we will be right there. The substitute drivers insist on coming inside the office.   They only make this mistake once.  You see, the boss’ dog doesn’t take kindly to new faces, especially those in uniforms, and will bark the most ferocious bark you have ever heard to keep anyone he doesn’t know away from the office.  Yeah, like I said the subs only come inside one time.

Speaking of subs – the Postal Service subs are a favorite of mine.  We set up our regular daily pickups 3 months in advance and when you do this you have to tell them how many packages you will have.  While I like to pride myself on my planning skills, there is no way  on February 10th I will know exactly how many boxes we will have for the Post Office on Thursday, April 12th – so we give them an estimate.  Let’s say 15.  Well if on April 12th, a substitute driver shows up and we have 6 packages he points out that according to his paperwork we should have 15.  When we have 36 packages he points out that we should have 15.  I have tried to explain to many drivers the word ‘estimate’.  I have given up.

We have worked very, very hard to build a rapport with our current Postal Carrier, I’ll call him Jim.  Jim was a tough nut to crack.  Because his normal pickup time for us, 10:30AM, is really just too early to get all our packages out, we asked him about swinging by at the end of his route to pick up our mail.  He declared “No way, I don’t like to make left turns!”  Based on his reaction, you would have thought I had asked for his firstborn! I know that UPS has a no left turn policy in place to save gas and energy but have never heard a postal worker say this.  I wouldn’t want to change his route or anything, I just thought since he was willing to bring our empty bins by at that time why not make the pickup then too. Nope, no way, not happening, so 10:30AM it is.

Despite this, I have grown fond of Jim’s sometimes grumpy demeanor.  He does try on most days to give me a smile or wish me a good weekend, but there are days I just see us slipping backwards.  Why, just the other day he got out of his truck and at the sight of the 10 large boxes and 3 mail bins, could be heard griping “And my day just gets better and better!” I thought maybe this was a compliment since we are so happy with his service that we like to ship almost all of our products US Mail, but no, this was just him blowing off steam.  I can understand it can be frustrating and may seem like an endless amount of packages but, um, that is your job, right?

Dear Postal Carriers,

I love you for delivering my mail and not throwing it in the bushes or feeding it to a dog and maybe it is inconvenient but I would like all my packages picked up too so that all the postal carriers can keep their jobs.

Sincerely, Suzi

Lest you think I only have quirky postal carriers, let me briefly touch on the FedEx drivers.  Our current driver is very very sweet but his attention to detail is severely lacking.  Please note that he comes here every day.  He asked me for my last name when I signed for packages for 3 straight months.  I thought he would at least start saying “It starts with an “M”, right?” but no, he never learned it or really even tried.  So one day I decided to give him the name “Jones” when he asked.  He didn’t even blink, or ask if I had gotten married over the weekend.   The next day I said “Jones” again, no reaction just typed it in.  Day 3 I signed and he said “Jones, right?” Ding, Ding, Ding…we have a winner!  I am now Mrs. Jones around the office!

Please try and remember that we all need each other to thrive in this world, no man is an island, what goes around comes around and all that other good mumbo jumbo. But also remember that when I am expecting a package and I can see it on your truck, don’t tell me you don’t have it or I will climb in there!  (Which I have done.)