by Jean Henry Mead
No wonder a growing number of people prefer email messages to letters, and paying their bills online or by phone. Who knows whether our stamped payments will ever reach their destinations.
Although mail volume has decreased by 9 billion pieces over the past fiscal year, some postal employees can’t seem to deliver what’s left. In Detroit recently, mail carriers who swore to endure the snow, rain and gloom of night to deliver the mail have stashed it such places as storage buildings or in their own basements.
According to the Associated Press, mail carriers across the country have been arrested for hoarding the mail. Postal services have become the object of jokes and I’m sure that more than a few people who don’t or can’t pay their bills have used the excuse that their payments had been hijacked.
In North Dakota, a 62-year-old mail carrier was granted probation for destroying four tons of mail, some of it up to ten years old, which had been stored in his home. Some 3,000 pieces were first-class mail. He was granted probation although it’s a federal offense for the average person to open someone else’s mail.
Some carriers have stolen birthday cards containing money, others magazines they’d like to read. A former carrier in a small town near Detroit pled guilty to deserting the mail, a misdemeanor. The part-time carrier stored thousands of pieces of mail in a storage unit, including 988 first class letters, but failed to pay her storage bill. Some of the mail dated back to 2005. The strangest aspect of the case was that no one on her route complained about not receiving their mail.
The Postal Service reported 333 cases of mail theft, delay or destruction by their employees or contractors in the fiscal year ending September 30. Some of the thefts involved a single piece of mail but a California postal manager was sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing thousands of DVDs.
A 59-year-old postman was arrested in North Carolina, and his stash required four trucks to haul away six year's worth of third-class mail stored in his garage. The man denied that his theft stemmed from an anti-junk mail protest. He admitted that he just couldn’t get the job done.
I wish my mail carrier would hoard my junk mail. The local trash collector would probably appreciate it too.