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Bev's Burner
Some's Hot, Some's Not 

By B.K. Carter

"Bev Carter is the owner/publisher of the Fort Bend Star, winner of numerous state and national awards. She has been a voice of Fort Bend's largest circulated newspaper for 29 years."


 

No wonder e-mail has caught on.... I know that it seems harsh to pick on the post office at Christmas time because they work extra hours to get all our packages mailed.

However, I’ve had this bottled up too long and I waited in line at the Grants Lake post office for one hour last week.

But while we are on the post office, I will start off by saying a good thing about them. They are to be congratulated for instituting the package self-mail machines which are great for packages that aren’t too large (mine were).

In this day when people are accustomed to using computers and even checking themselves out at grocery stores, it’s no wonder that the self-mail machines have lines almost as long as the regular lines. However, they move faster. Which begs the question that if we, a rank amateur mailer, can weigh, figure postage, and affix it to our packages, why does it take the people behind the counter so long?

You may remember that I wrote a piece about the post office a while back. I was angry because our magazines, both Fort Bend Focus and The Fort Bend Business Journal were being delayed by the post office an inordinate amount of time.

After my column, I got a bunch of e-mails from the reading public recounting their horror stories with the Post Office. Also after that column, I went to my mailbox and was surprised to have a Fort Bend Business Journal in it. “Wow,” I thought, “That column must have lit a fire. We just mailed these out a couple of days ago.”

Then I noticed the picture on the front page and asked myself, “We’re doing a cover story on him AGAIN?” That’s when I noticed that the date on the magazine was for the PREVIOUS month.

Now that is ridiculous. Long ago a buddy of mine who worked at the post office told me that each US Post Office was required to have a form out in plain sight in which the public could complain and send in to the Postmaster General.

So during my hour wait last week, I scanned the post office and did not notice a complaint form.

Later, I called the first post office that has a number listed in the telephone book. (Also listed are Sienna in Missouri City, Thompsons, and Simeton. It was the Fulshear Post office.

They answered the phone... The lady there told me they did away with the complaint forms when everything became computerized and I could go on-line to complain, or failing that I could go to 1-800-ASK-USPS.

Well, I tried the on-line remedy because I wasn’t quite ready to tackle all the numbers I would have to punch if I called the 800 number. On the U.S. Postal Service website, I could find nowhere to complain. They had about 200 forms listed for everything else.

So I tried the 800 number and girded myself to push about 10 different buttons and never really talk to a live person. But the one thing I could find after a series of tries was the telephone number of my local post office for 77478.

Sure they are, going to answer the telephone. You’re lucky if they ever answer, and during Christmas, I figured I could just forget it.

After calling back on the 800 number and getting the phone number for 77479, I called that number and much to my surprise, someone did answer. She told me the same thing--I could either go on-line or call. She had no idea what form number the complaint was or what number I had to push if I used the 800 number. I left word for the manager to call me, since the 77479 post office does not have a postmaster yet and 77478 does have a postmaster, but he is never in or doesn’t answer the phone.

I’ve yet to hear back but I will keep trying. After all, I’m the lady who finally got her social security card after 30 years and three husbands. I’ve got patience. Not with husbands, with bureaucracy.

 

Contact bkcstar@earthlink.net, if you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column. Write a SIGNED letter to the editor with valid day time phone number--name can be withheld by request.

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   Last Update:  December 27, 2006