Editor's Note: We recently received several letters about mail service on Long Island and the topic generated much interest. Read the exchanges below and tell us - what's your opinion of our mail system?
The article "Residents riled after delays in mail service" [News, Feb. 8] missed a few important points. Residents notice that mail service along business strips is pretty good. Banks, accountants, etc., make sure that the local chamber of commerce and others pressure the postmaster to deliver mail on time.
Residents not near the business districts who pay first-class postage, not bulk rates, have no lobby and get second-class service. Mail comes after 4 p.m. regularly. Residents have voted, so to speak, using email, direct deposit, UPS and FedEx. The Postal Service wonders why it can't make a profit. -- Alan Newman, Island Park
The gentleman who complained about the lateness of his mail delivery and also criticized the Postal Service -- specifically the Island Park office -- has inconsiderately expressed his opinions indirectly of his personal mail carrier, who happens to be my husband ["Businesses get better mail service," Letters, Feb. 18].
My husband has been a mail carrier for 30 years. Unfortunately, this gentleman's home is the last house on the route. Due to this terrible winter, he complained, he has been getting his mail at 4:30 p.m.
He may not know that all mail that comes in for the day must be delivered the same day. If another carrier is absent, the others must deliver extra mail. This, and the additional time it takes to deliver the mail because of hazardous conditions, can make for late delivery for many customers.
My husband is respectful of the people on his route and strives to give each good service. He cares about his customers and watches out for them, and has known most of them for a very long time.
Perhaps this gentleman should consider getting a post office box, and he could pick up his mail much earlier, as early as 9 a.m. -- Diana Caracciolo, Island Park
I live on Old Country Road just off Route 110, and I want to go on record as saying my mail delivery was stellar this winter. Even on the snowiest days, my mail came dependably.
I know my carrier went above and beyond to climb on piles of plowed snow and ice to put the mail in my box. The U.S. Postal Service consistently does a great job where I live. -- George Gelish, Melville
I have the best mail carrier. He stops to chat quickly, is very attentive in his job and has a great attitude.
I’ve lived here all my life, and we’ve had several mail carriers. Our current carrier has a personality and cares about his customers. -- Donald Brochhausen, East Northport
The U.S. Postal Service tends to be an easy target for criticism. Postal carriers are there every day, working in every kind of weather, while watching out for the patrons they come to know so well.
Think for a moment how difficult it is to walk up your own sidewalk or driveway when it’s icy, how much longer it takes to carefully navigate so as not to slip and fall, as opposed to how much easier it is on a lovely day. Every muscle in your body is tense with the stress of concentration.
Many of the driveways a postal carrier must navigate aren’t cleared by homeowners. Say for agrument’s sake a typical delivery takes one minute. In snow and ice, each one takes triple the time. This creates an exhaustingly tense, much longer workday, often running into the hazard of trying to read addresses in the dark of a winter evening. Then add to that the lack of workforce due to understaffing, vacations and sickness.
The public is also not aware that any accident involving bodily injury sustained by mail carriers is investigated by the U.S. Postal Service to determine if the carrier was “irresponsible” in his decision to risk injury in order to complete the delivery. Now he or she is at risk of disciplinary action by postal management, meaning a letter of warning, suspension or dismissal. This is all very stressful.
I think most of us can agree that our mail carriers do a great job and should be appreciated for the service they provide. It’s worth not getting mail for a day or two so no one gets hurt. -- Kathy Durish Oliver, Mastic Beach
Editor’s note: The writer retired as a mail carrier in 2005 after 28 years with the U.S. Postal Service and 23 years on the same route.
I have found the letters about mail delivery in the snow very interesting.
Let me say that I have had only two days of delivery since the first snow storm. The plow pushed the snow up against the area where my box is located, and the pile was four feet high.
I did finally receive delivery on March 12. -- Regina Raab, Lake Ronkonkoma
I agree, the U.S. Postal Carrier job has its bad days. But over a recent stretch of 25 days, our post office missed eight days on our block. That means we get our mail 68 percent of the time.
All jobs have their challenging days, and most people push through and move on to the next day. After all, that’s the job they chose.
In East Islip, the postmaster told me he has received many complaints on the same route about dropped mail, mail found in the bushes, wrong mail delivered to the house, and mail not being delivered. These issues happen in fair weather as well.
The problem is, The U.S. Postal Service is delivering more than just junk mail. In some cases, people rely on mail for prescriptions, business checks and other important information. On a typical day we don’t know if we are getting our mail or not. At 5:15 p.m., I call the post office to ask if the carrier is still out. It’s only then I know whether we will be getting our mail. -- Mike Kleinman, East Islip
How was your mail delivery this winter? Would you rather just set up a post office box and pick it up yourself? What's your opinion of Long Island's post offices? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @NewsdayOpinion.