Post Office Update: Sticky Post Office Boxes, Mail Thefts, Tipping Carriers  and Covid Impacts

U.S. Post Office in Pacific Palisades on La Cruz.

 INVESTIGATION:

In a Circling the News piece (“Post Office Deliveries Alert and a Nudge to Thank Your Postal Worker”), we noted that several people had problems with packages that were supposedly delivered to a doorstep, but the recipient never received it. The person contacted the post office general manager, who assured her the problem was under investigation.

Then on Nextdoor, another person wrote that two money orders were mailed from inside the Palisades Post Office building but never reached their destination (over $1,300). An investigation is reportedly in the works.

JANET TURNER REPORTS:

Janet Turner, field representative for U.S. Representative Ted Lieu, reported at the Pacific Palisades Community Council Zoom meeting on January 14 that the U.S. Postal Service received more funding with the latest stimulus bill. “USPS has been hit extremely hard by Covid there may be more delays,” Turner said.

(Editor’s note: a reader sent the following photo that was taken at the Post Office on January 18, Martin Luther King holiday.

Why is the postal box for packages out of order? And why would people stack boxes underneath it, when it is clearly marked?

The reader wrote “There are hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars’ worth of packages just left on the floor in an unlocked lobby.” CTN sent an email to Representative Ted Lieu’s office asking for an explanation.)

A reader took this photo on Martin Luther King holiday on January 18.

MAILBOX THEFTS:

Readers were warned not to use outdoor mailboxes without checking to see if “sticky” stuff had been applied inside the mail slot. A practice known as “fishing” allows a thief to reach in and pull out letters caught in the goo, before they dropped to the bottom of the box.

One reader wrote on January 11: “After a 7:30 p.m. (not uncommon) mail delivery on Rimmer Avenue, we apparently had a streetful of mailbox thefts. When I was headed out early on Saturday morning, I noticed a lot of mailboxes hanging open. Later chats with neighbors revealed many of us had our mailboxes emptied either late Friday night or in the wee hours of Saturday morning. A couple of days before, a neighbor’s car was stolen out of her open garage. What is going on?”

A second reader wrote: “I went to the main post office this morning, January 11, about 8 a.m. to post a letter, but I found the handle to the drop slot INSIDE the building locked. I could hear employees in the background, so I rattled the handle a number of times, but it remained locked.

“As you mentioned in your above posting, people should avoid the mailboxes on the streets and go INSIDE the building. I have done so for years, since the spate of “sticky” mailboxes started appearing, notably one on my corner, Akron and Bienveneda. So, if at 8 a.m. on a Monday morning the best place to mail a letter is locked, what is Plan B?”

CTN stopped by the Post Office and asked about the locked mail slot and was told the blue slot closest to the windows is never locked. People should not confuse the blue slot with the silver one, which is locked.

TIPPING ONE’S POSTAL CARRIER:

The CTN story also quoted a reader who suggested remembering your carriers in some fashion (maybe slipping a $20 in an envelope and handing it to the carrier), because they have been on the front lines throughout the pandemic.

A reader wrote in response, “Just FYI, postal carriers are not supposed to accept cash,” and sent the following link: (https://about.usps.com/postal-bulletin/2012/pb22349/html/cover_025.htm)

This states: “All postal employees, including carriers, must comply with the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch. Under these federal regulations, carriers are permitted to accept a gift worth $20 or less from a customer per occasion, such as Christmas. However, cash and cash equivalents, such as checks or gift cards that can be exchanged for cash, must never be accepted in any amount. Furthermore, no employee may accept more than $50 worth of gifts from any one customer in any one calendar year period.”

CTN asked at the Post Office if carriers could receive a tip and told it was permissible. One reader wrote that she generally gives  a Target card; CTN gave a coffee card.

 

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2 Responses to Post Office Update: Sticky Post Office Boxes, Mail Thefts, Tipping Carriers  and Covid Impacts

  1. Marilyn Walsh says:

    Sue, I am the one who mentioned that the silver and larger mail slot INSIDE THE POST OFFICE was closed on a Monday morning at 8am. It is usually open whenever my husband and I use it; for it to be reported that it is closed is inaccurate. It is at a 90 degree angle from the door. Above it is a very small slot. I should have tried it and I regret that I did not. But, the silver handled slot is open when I post mail in the am and frequently we do so late in the afternoon after attending a church service that ends by 5pm. So, I am confused by the “official statement” that it is always closed. I am not adept with my technology, so I cannot take a pix of the slot about which I am writing.
    And, as to the “gifting” of postal workers: I knew this from a long time ago. Cash or gift cards are against the law. My carrier is a sweet man, but every year he leaves a signed Christmas card in my mailbox; my understanding is that it is illegal for mailboxes to be used for any but mail sent through USPS; that is why all the unwanted circulars and door hangers are left on the porches or door knobs since it is illegal to put them into the mailbox. He seemed much unenthusiastic when I gifted him with a large and (I say with little modesty) delicious homebaked pumpkin bread gaily wrapped. Sorry, dude. I am not willing to break the law knowing your salary and very generous benefits are a result of my taxes.

  2. Sue says:

    Marilyn,

    I actually received a photo from another reader that I ran–that showed that the silver handle that opens the box for packages was closed. Supposedly, the mail slot next to it was open.

    You can give cash to a carrier–according to the link that someone sent me–and according to what the people in the Post Office told me, when I stopped by.

    I will say your pumpkin bread does sound delicious–and I would certainly be thrilled with it!!!

    Sue

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