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The Slice: More from the missed mailbox connections file

FRIDAY, AUG. 1, 2014

Let’s jump right to …

Today’s Slice question: What would you do in this situation?

You might recall that I mentioned a few months ago that those living on my block are becoming better acquainted with their neighbors because of a steady stream of misdelivered mail.

It’s no real burden to walk the envelopes or magazines to the proper address two houses down. And I was not kidding when I said this had prompted a number of friendly face-to-face exchanges.

At my home, we had taken to asking if the “second delivery” had come yet, referring to the neighbor-to-neighbor mailbox corrections.

But the delivery mistakes have persisted. It is not an ideal situation.

For one thing, there is no way of knowing if everyone on the block is being courteous and responsible about handling misdelivered mail. And if this sort of mistake is happening over and over, who knows what other errors might be taking place? Perhaps some mail isn’t being delivered at all.

My wife brought this up with a clerk at a post office near us. She had no desire to get our delivery person in trouble. So she asked if there was any quality control step we could take that would not involve ratting out our underachieving carrier or carriers?

She was told that writing “Not at this address” on misdelivered mail and returning it to the post office was the only way to signal that a chronic problem existed.

OK, I can see that. For us, though, it’s not a perfect solution.

For one thing, it would suggest to the eventual/rightful recipients of the mail that someone on our block can no longer be bothered to walk an Avista bill across the street.

And what if the misdelivered item is time sensitive and a day or two could make a big difference?

For the record, I think the USPS does a good job. I have been favorably impressed with a high percentage of the postal workers I have dealt with over the years.

Maybe that’s the problem. I started taking competence for granted.

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email pault@spokesman.com. A friend was occupying a men’s room stall in a College of Engineering building at WSU when he saw that someone had written above the toilet paper dispenser, “Pull here for Liberal Arts degree.”

 
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