Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Have you hugged your rural mail carrier today?

Hugs are not necessary, but a little kindness can go a long way. In my other life, I'm a rural mail carrier. Seems like a great job, right? And for the most part it is. But, especially during the holidays and winter weather can make it stressful, not to mention dangerous. Instead of a hug, here are a few things you can do to make sure you get your mail and keep your carrier happy!

I love dogs, but can you guarantee 100% that your dog won't bite me? On average ten mail carriers per day are bitten. As an HCR Carrier, I don't get benefits, such as sick days, medical insurance or paid time off. I still had to meet the same standards as a federal employee, but without the perks.

I don't get paid by your tax dollars. Honestly. The post office is entirely self funded by stamp sales. 

As a rural carrier, I use my own vehicle and although I am reimbursed at the end of the month for gas, all repairs, oil, wipers, tires are all on my dime. My vehicle is my lively hood and without it, I don't work. When I leave a notice to please repair the approach to your box, it is so I can safely deliver the mail and keep working without destroying my vehicle. .

If you are expecting a package, have someone available to receive it or have it left at the post office to be picked up later. Packages in rural areas are a crime of opportunity.

If you are leaving for a few days, please notify your carrier or the post office. If your mail is piling up, I have no way of knowing if you are gone or need assistance. I worry about my customers and if I know you have gone on vacation, I'm not contacting the local police to check on you because you mail has piled up for a week.

In winter, please shovel out your boxes. If your box isn't shoveled properly I am not required to deliver, but I still try to if I can reach without exiting my vehicle. It makes my job harder to not deliver your mail, because then I need to bring it back to the post office and resort it.  If your box is located on a steep incline, a little sand would be a blessing. Please remember I must fully stop at each box and if it's ice, not only is it dangerous, it can cause my vehicle to slide and damage not only your mailbox but my vehicle as well. (I'd be financially responsible for both)

In the summer, please check your boxes for bees nests. A simple fix for bugs that love to hide in mailboxes is placing a bar of Irish Spring soap or cinnamon sticks in your mailbox. You can also seal up any holes/gaps in your box and if you rub a bar of soap on the top of the box it will prevent stinging insects from building a nest there. Neither you or I want to deal with biting or stinging bugs flying out of the box at us. 

Please do not allow your children to come up to my vehicle. I am concentrating on driving, watching for other vehicles, separating and sorting mail. It takes a split second for an accident to happen, so please have your children safely wave from a distance and wait to approach the mailbox after I have left.

If I seem in a hurry, it is because I am. I am required to deliver the mail in a designated time frame and I only get paid a set number of hours. When you see me working late, especially around the holidays, I'm not getting paid overtime, I am working for free, to make sure you get your cards and packages on time. I love my customers and want you to enjoy your holidays stress free.

I love my job and the little town I work for. I like getting to know each one of you. If you need your mail held or need a stamp, let me know, I am after all at your mailbox six days a week. These tips will help to make my job easier, but most importantly is your communicating with me.
I am, after all, here to serve.