I want to recognize and praise a government institution that is often the brunt of jokes, ridicule and complaint. This institution is often held up as a shining example of inefficiency and inaccuracy and is condemned for operating at a financial loss. I do not agree. I believe this organization handles an astronomical volume of work, and while it does make the occasional mistake, for most of us, it operates with exceptional accuracy, speed and convenience.

What organization am I referring to? The United States Postal Service. Before you dismiss my thoughts on the matter and in your righteous indignation write angry letters to the editor (or me) please allow me to share some experiences with you. And keep in mind I have suffered the very occasional mail glitch over the years, but those issues were quite rare.

The USPS is required to keep performance and volume records. Consider: In the most recent full calendar year, 2020, more than half of which was during the COVID crisis, the USPS handled some 129,200,000,000 pieces of mail. That’s 129 billion for the zero-impaired. Another way of putting it is that the USPS averages over 353,000,000 items every single day of the year! These items were delivered to more than 161,000,000 sites. In this process, the USPS processed over 35,000,000 address changes. Local retail postal offices saw over 768,000,000 visits from customers. That we do suffer the few occasional mistakes, given these numbers, is amazing.

Earlier this month I created 2022 calendars with my photos for various friends in the sports car community. All were shots I took at the now-defunct Marlboro Motor Speedway in Upper Marlboro from the 1960s. I wanted my friends, many of whom are over 80 years old, to receive the calendars before Christmas Eve. Nearly all 20 of the calendars made it in good shape to the recipients in less than 24 hours via Priority Mail!

I mailed these items from the College Estates Post Office here in Frederick. That the shipment was handled quickly is only part of the story. The project took three visits because not all of the calendars were ordered in a timely fashion (my fault). At each visit I was usually the 8th or 10th person in a line that moved quickly and calmly.

Indeed, I venture to say that most people in line were helping one another and/or seemed to be in good holiday cheer. Waiting my turn, I noticed the three clerks handling each customer’s transactions with efficiency. But as I neared the counter and could hear the transactions, what I did not expect was the patience, attention, thoroughness, and warm courtesy shown to each and every customer. Think about it: customers were in a continuous chain or belt, each customer a bullet in that belt of machine gun ammo, so to speak. Rapid fire. All times of the day. But not one person I saw was treated with boredom or fatigue. Instead, each customer was greeted warmly, and each situation was fully explained, suggestions offered, and as the transaction concluded, the customers were offered thanks and wishes for the holiday season.

Similarly, here in Clover Hill I experience the same kind of efficient, caring and friendly delivery of our mail from our USPS letter carrier. The USPS helped make my holiday season less stressful and more pleasant. I do not know if the USPS offers training in delivering customer service, but based on my experience, these USPS employees could teach many retail businesses a thing or two.

Steve Lloyd is a retired adjunct college instructor, is married and resides in Clover Hill I. He’s a fan of astronomy, classical music, creating videos for family and friends, and trying hard not to grow old. He may be reached at splloyd941@comcast.net

(6) comments

DickD

Last year I mailed my daughter's family gift cards, they took 33 days to get there. I continually get mail addressed to others, some with different streets in the address. Mail is better this year, still twice as long as it used to take and they want more money for lousy service.

TomWheatley

Living in a retirement community with communal mailboxes, I have seen our carrier go and hand deliver mail to the houses where folks on walkers reside.

Greg F

Overall they've been a lot better than last year, though the carrier left pretty much all the mail on top of the cluster box instead of in each individual slot in the box on one day in mid December, and both I and my neighbors kept getting each other's mail for a spell there. Seems back to normal again.

TrekMan

Great write up Steve. I encountered the exact same service at the College Estates post office as well. Great stuff!! Thank you USPS employees for everything you do.

runjdon

Agree wholeheartedly with this piece. Have always had great experiences with the post offices in this county. Thanks for writing this!

gary4books

When we lived in Laredo, we were happy to see how professional the US Postal workers were and how much pride they had in their work. But really, when we came back to Maryland we noticed the same pride and good work. Truly a great service from our Government.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. No vulgar, racist, sexist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, not personal attacks or ad hominem criticisms.
TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
Be civil. Don't threaten. Don't lie. Don't bait. Don't degrade others.
No trolling. Stay on topic.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
No deceptive names. Apparently misleading usernames are not allowed.
Say it once. No repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link for abusive posts.

Thank you for reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.