To the editor:
A number of months ago, the Warren Times Gazette had a story about the ongoing property dispute over the parking lot directly across the street from the Warren Post Office. The lot remains closed off with brightly painted barrels connected by steel cables and some ragged yellow caution tape marking the area in dispute.
Now, the main USPS letter drop box is within the closed area, and is therefore inaccessible to anyone wishing to mail a letter using the drive-up box. It is still possible to park a short distance away, walk to the box, and deposit a letter before the 5 p.m. last collection time shown on a sticker on the box.
There is at least one other drive-up box near the Post Office, which is on the north side of Joyce Street opposite the Warren PD patrol car parking area. However, the last collection time on THIS box is 3 p.m., with a note that the onlyother box with collections laterthan 3 p.m. is somewhere in Providence.
Recently I had a letter (bill payment, actually) that I wanted someonein Bristol to get the following day. I had missed the USPS deliverytruck that serves our local neighborhood, so I hopped in the car anddrove to the Joyce Street box. It was about 3:40 p.m. when I dropped myenvelope into the slot, and it was only after I let it go that Inoticed the posted last collection time of 3 p.m. So, although I hadtaken the letter downtown to be mailed, I had missed the last pickupof the day from that box. Remember, the 5 p.m. box is cordoned off bythe wire barricade. So, that day, the check that I hoped would reachBristol the next day was delayed two extra days. (This happened on a Friday afternoon, so delivery would have been the following Monday).
Being somewhat annoyed by what I had done, I parked the car and walked into the Warren Post Office, where I asked to speak with the Postmaster. I explained what had happened, and suggested to the PM that perhaps the last pickup time for the 3 p.m. box could be changed to be 5 p.m. If not permanently, then at least until the parking lot dispute is resolved, and access to the box across from the Post Office restored.
My suggestion was not well received by the Post Master, who explained to me that someone would have to leave the Post Office two hours later than at present to retrieve the deposited mail after the new 5 p.m. pickup time. This was obviously too difficult a task, and simply could not be done!
Before I left, I said to the Postmaster that I just wanted to get this straight. A member of the public (me) had just made a seemingly reasonable suggestion that would improve the service of the USPS to the local Warren customers who still use the Post Office, but that the suggestion could not be implemented because it made more work for the Postal Service employees. He pondered that point for a short time, and then agreed that my summary was correct.
Since then, I have converted virtually all my bill paying for utility, cable, insurance, credit cards, and everything else to electronic funds transfer to my checking account. Works like a charm; the bills are paid in the exact amount due, on the due date, with never a missed or late payment, and with the money staying in my accounts until the last possible day. I also save perhaps $75 in postage during the course of a year, as do the companies now sending their bills to me electronically.
Not a big deal at all, but perhaps a small insight into some of the issues (USPS irrelevance and financial trouble, and the ongoing property dispute which keeps the first lot closed) which are symptoms of our country today.
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