Friday, July 13, 2007

Chicago's mail delivery woes

A few months ago, Chicago's new postmaster pledged to fix our broken system and return us to reliable, prompt mail delivery. Well, that hasn't quite happened. Here's a 4/17/07 NPR audio story and a 3/11/07 Sun-Times article on the subject.

I've heard reports from some neighborhoods of very late delivery - as late as 11 p.m. I've heard about and experienced very slow delivery - sometimes 3-4 days or more for mail within the city of Chicago. I've had a lot of experience with non-delivery of forwarded first class mail and heard about that problem from all areas of the city, not just the long-time problem zip codes (60640 and 60626). It's not unusual for me to get mail for someone who lives on the next block.

I have made many phone calls and sent many faxes to the carrier supervisor at the post office, with no results. Other folks I know have had the same experience.

To satisfy my curiousity and test the system, I've sent 6 pieces of mail over the last several months in various envelopes (plain white #10, bright red #10, business letterhead #10, and greeting card). All of these were going to the same Chicago address, used varying return addresses and should have been forwarded. One of the six was actually forwarded and arrived in about 2 weeks (bright red #10 envelope). One was returned to sender (plain white #10 envelope, Evanston return address). Four are MIA - all with different Chicago return addresses, either in plain white #10 envelopes or greeting card envelopes.

*sigh* Yet another reason to be a squeaky wheels, folks. It's gotta be better than this.

Word is that some aldermen and members of Congress are pushing for a solution


The North Coast said...

11 A.M. is LATE? Our office mail is generally delivered afer noon, and sometimes has arrived as late at 5 PM.

Once mailed a rent check from 150 N. Michagan to 444 N. Michagan, and it took 10 DAYS. I got a call from my landlady, and the check arrived a day after I wrote her a 2nd check and stopped payment on the 1st.

I get many pieces of first-class mail that were postmarked 6 or 7 days before landing in my mailbox.

I'm so happy to be able to pay my bills online. That way, I know the payment arrive, and can see it post to my bank acct.

If there is any govn't service in the world that lends itself to privatization and competition, its the USPS, but, unfortunately, our constitution mandates that the federal authorities will be in charge of mail. We've found enough ways to circumvent it (online pay, email, FedEx letters) that I hate to chance messing with the constitution (already very threatened) which is otherwise the finest protection for citizens the world has ever seen, to correct this. It seems not worth taking the chance, especially in this time in which our constitution is under direct assault already.

Fargo said...

Not 11 a.m. Try 11 P.M.

I've taken to paying most of my bills online because mail delivery time has gotten so unpredictable.

The folks at USPS have screwed themselves. All the marketing in the world won't help if the product stinks.

The North Coast said...

I have to believe you even though 11 PM sounds unbelievable. After all, there have been at least a couple of occasions on which the mail didn't get to this bldg. till 6 PM.

It tells you how old I am that I can remember when all major businesses got at least two deliveries a day, one at 8 AM and the other by 10 AM. A third if they were really huge and had a massive amount of mail.

Now, if you are a business and have a really critical mailing, you do it by Fed Ex or United Parcel overnight letter service. You would be a bone-head to rely upon the USPS for anything critical, and you wouldn't send anything fragile through the mail, either.