Apparently, Mail Issues Do Matter to the Postal Service

I’m not sure what happened, but after speaking to District Management in Charlotte, it looks like there is going to be some recourse on the aforementioned issues.  The misdelivery issues are apparently something that are easier to fix, but the Greenville center causing delays and lost mail is getting their attention.

It helps to be able to give concrete examples of mail problems.  I thought the lady was going to choke when I told her about the certified mail being misdelivered and the carrier just shrugging his shoulders when he came to pick it up.

Accountability.  All jobs ought to have it.

George Lucas and the White Slavers

So, it came out last week that George Lucas likened his movies to his children and Disney to white slavers in an interview.  You can search the interview out on Google and see how ludicrous his statement was.  However, I would like to present the two following take-aways.

First, if those movies really are George’s children, then a more accurate metaphor would be that Disney and J.J. Abrams are Child Protective Services.  Clearly, those movies (and by extension, my childhood) are in much better hands, now.

Second, after reading this article, it is evident that Disney also has some attorneys who have reminded Mr. Lucas that one should be careful how one refers to the people who bought your franchise for four billion dollars.  Let’s look at all those zeros: $4,000,000,000.  Yes indeed, that is some serious back-pedaling.

The Great Asheville Mail Conundrum

We’ve been having trouble with the mail in Asheville for quite some time.  If you live here, you completely understand what I’m talking about.  We used to have great service, but once they closed the mail distribution center on Brevard Road, great mail service became a thing of the past.  What you may not know are some particulars that really need to be dragged out into the light.

Because I help manage over 300 properties in Asheville (with many of them being contained within 5 medium to large sized mobile home parks) I have a rather involved relationship with the local postal service.  Additionally, because I take time to talk to our mail carriers and postal managers, I have some information that I probably shouldn’t have about how the mail system currently works in our area.  With that being said, I say we start dragging the skeletons out of the closet.

The Inconvenient Truth of Steele

My involved relationship with the United States Postal Service began when we got a new carrier, a couple of years ago.  This particular carrier had moved into the area from out of state and was hellbent on making things difficult on our route by selective application of postal regulations.  At first, this carrier was impossible to deal with but after numerous complaints to his supervisors, he seemed to have developed a better attitude toward service and the mail delivery was greatly improved…for a while.

Oddly, I started to have tenants begin to ask me questions about whether or not we had been getting all of our mail at the office.  Although we seemed to be getting all of our mail, several of the tenants seemed to be having their mail lost or stolen.  The most disturbing element was that most of the missing mail contained money (a postal no-no from the outset) and/or gift cards.  I gave the tenants the number for the postmaster and the complaints ensued.

This was in the old days, when complaints actually got a hearing.  As a result, the postal inspector was called in to investigate.  The result?  Our carrier was escorted to his car by the postal inspector and the vehicle was searched.  Upon a thorough search of the vehicle the carrier was fired and no charges were filed to avoid public embarrassment to the Postal Service.  It turns out that our postal carrier had been stealing mail which contained money and gift cards.

You might think that something of this nature would prompt some sort of statement to customers or some sort of restitution.  You might think that, but you would be wrong.  In fact, if not for a particularly loquacious carrier, I would have never known about the confirmation of the thefts and their consequences for our carrier.  He simply would have just “gone off route.”

The Substitute for Good Service is…The Worst Service…ever

Everyone in Asheville knows the first part about this tale of woe.  The Postal Service decided to close the Brevard Road mail plant/distribution center as a means to impart efficiency and reduce costs by moving the operation to Greenville, South Carolina.  As it turns out, efficiency means the end of next-day delivery in Asheville and often lag times of up to five days.  It also means an increased incidence of missing or lost mail.

What most people don’t know is that the decision to close the Brevard Road Center was predicated on false reporting by a lady supervisor who fudged her numbers.  Her estimation turned out to be woefully below actual volume and hence minimized the importance of keeping the location open.  She has since been “relocated” by the Postal Service.  Unfortunately, now that the mail volume has been moved to Greenville, it is highly unlikely that it will return.

You might think that the loss of next-day delivery for first class mail, the increased incidence of lost mail, and the general delay in mail were the worst results.  Again, you would be wrong.  As it turns out, Greenville is in a different state and postal management zone.  Anyone want to guess what that means?  It means that complaints about service in our area go to Charlotte (if you’re lucky) and stop there.  Greenville’s zone has no accountability to our zone and vice versa.  There is no chain of resolution.  There is no method of accountability.  There is no real cooperation.  Simply put, if you have trouble with your mail, you are out of luck.

Over $12,000 Worth of Checks in the Wrong Box?  That’s Nothing…Watch Us Misplace Certified Mail

“Oh, but Stuart,” you say, “where is your hard evidence of bad service and accountability?”  You might think that all of my proof is anecdotal.  Nope.  Here are the facts from November and today:

In November, we had over twelve thousand dollars worth of rent checks delivered to the wrong address by by a substitute carrier.  Fortunately, that wrong address was also one of our tenants and they called us to come get our mail.  I sure am glad that these checks were delivered to an address with friendly individuals who could be trusted with our checks…only they weren’t…they were delivered to a family with mental health issues and criminal convictions for stealing.  It is a miracle that we got our checks.

What about today, you ask?  Oh, today was relatively minor.  Today was just a certified letter being delivered to the wrong address.  Oh, and by delivered, I mean left in our companies postal box.  Fortunately, it was one of our tenants, so we called the postal supervisor and he sent someone to retrieve the mail.  You might find yourself wondering what sort of mail was in that envelope.  Well, it was a letter from Health and Human Services for a family that has taken in an abused child.  No bid deal, I’m sure there wasn’t any important information in that.

So, here is my call to action:  Please help me shed some light on this problem.  Share this post.  Comment on it and add your issues.  Let’s stir this around enough to make it stink.  Maybe if the smell gets bad enough, we will get some service.  If not, maybe we can all start using private carriers.

Time to burn this thing down…

Last year, I had a goal of writing and publishing something every day.  Unfortunately, with the death of my father and a few other changes, that goal got trashed like it went through a wood chipper.  So here goes another attempt at that, with a couple of newly-minted goals thrown in for good measure.

Here are the three goals:

  1. Write and publish something every day.
  2. Make sure that what I write really brings something important to the current cultural conversation, disseminates a valuable tip or idea, and/or challenges most people’s thinking.
  3. Publish content that positively self-edits my Facebook friends list.

To quote my son’s favorite band: “Well, here goes nothing!  Maybe, maybe not.”

Good vs. Evil and the Need for Shared Values

I made sure that my last post was harder on Christians because I believe that a true change in the conversation needs to start at home.  For me, that was the easiest way to start inside and work my way out.  Today, I thought that I might start getting to what I feel is the root of the problem.  As a result, I’m sure that this one is going to step on some toes.

I wrote a piece on objective truth a while back.  I was going to review that for a bit, but this is the internet and it is far easier for you to just click here and go read it, if you haven’t already.  That post starts us on the road to what I feel is one of the most significant reasons that we all seem to be at each others throats with a lot of issues:  We no longer have a high degree of shared values.

I truly believe that the push for multi-culturalism and our rejection of objective morality has left us without any sort of societal moorings.  I don’t want to tie that statement to current issues for examples, because I feel that it might lose some of its weight.  Hopefully, by backing us up a few years, I can look at how we arrived at our current situation.

Let’s start with marriage.  I’m not one to beat-around-the-bush, so I’ll just get right to stepping on people’s toes.  Just about every culture had a high regard for marriage in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  Regardless of religion, it was an institution which was not to be entered into lightly.  Violations of one’s marriage vows were certainly seen as taboo and often as severe, punishable offenses.  It wasn’t just the Judeo-Christian folks who made such a big deal about marriage; it was almost everyone.  Then something changed.

I’m not sure if it was the sexual revolution or our changing legal system which led the charge, but somehow we decided to allow the devaluation of the institution of marriage.  Adultery went from something that could get you a big, fat, scarlet letter on your chest to something that had any number of excuses.  Things not working out or maybe marriage isn’t quite what you thought it would be?  Just give up.  There is always next time.

Broken marriages have become so commonplace that I’ve even heard jokes made within communities of faith.  I used to know a guy from church who joked about how many times he had been married.  I’ve got news for that guy.  Multiple divorces doesn’t make you funny…it makes you a failure…at a lot of things.

The point, however, is not marriage.  It is about whether or not we share values.  The simple fact is that we absolutely must have shared values on at least some critical, core issues or there is no way that we will ever live in harmony or peace.  As much as it makes some of us uncomfortable, we have to recognize that there is Good and there is Evil.  We have to not only understand that these two things exist, but that they are in direct conflict with each other.  Then, we have to pick a side and understand that that choice will naturally lead to conflict with those on the other side.

Our media has tried to remove objective morality and shared values from our society.  The only values they promote are tolerance and non-judgement, which have been perverted in the way that have been presented to the public.  Also, they are poor substitutes for mutual respect and love.

We have been inundated with atrocious, morally destitute entertainment and news for so long that we have lost our sense of Good and Evil, Right and Wrong.  I can’t tell you how many times that I have been shocked when an otherwise sane and rational person has demonstrated a working knowledge of the cast of The Jersey Shore or the antics of Miley Cyrus or the family dynamics of the Kardashians.  Let’s think about that for a minute.  Here are what I consider to be completely reasonable people who have conversant understanding about a group of young people whose moral quandaries and substance abuse antics became the fodder for tabloids.  The Kardashians (whose main claim-to-fame is a daughter who had a sex tape released on the internet) have commanded our attention for years, now.

We have lost our minds.

I feel like I need a shower after just thinking about those folks long enough to write about them and the point is not even that the aforementioned people are evil.  They are just sad, broken people that have been made into celebrities.

The problem is that we have allowed it to happen.  The problem is that we have allowed this drivel to distract us from the real issues.  The problem is that we have allowed our moral sense to be degraded because instead of our diversity strengthening the moral conversation, it is being used to dilute it.

We have got to find a way back to where, regardless of our faith or lack thereof, we can unite as a people and agree as to whether something is right or wrong.  We have to fix our moral barometers, so that we can once again accurately grasp the difference between good and evil.  We have got to remember that in any given situation, there may be a million perspectives…but there is only one truth.