Are We There Yet?
First of all, I need to apologize to all of you rural mail carriers out there for not staying up to date with my posts on this site. Like many of you, I have felt the burden of the never-ending onslaught of Amazon come down on me like a ton of bricks. Will it ever end? If it maintains this level now during the typical slower months of spring and summer, can you imagine what the holidays are going to bring again?
Let’s face it, the post office was not created (or prepared) to carry this type of volume – especially on the rural side. Many of us who provide our own vehicles on the route are finding that they just are not big enough anymore to handle the amount and size of packages we’ve been receiving. This was something I had predicted to my postmaster when the whole Amazon deal with the PO was first announced and was told not to worry about it. Guess what? I’m worried. .. and so are my fellow rural carriers.
When I first started working for the PO as an RCA nearly 20 years ago, I bought a used Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera to handle the route. How do you think that would work in today’s environment? I would need to make 3-4 trips a day! My 7-passenger SUV requires 2 trips a day nearly 25-35% of the time now. All it takes are a couple of huge boxes (toilet paper, paper towels, furniture, etc.) and it’s an automatic double trip. BTW, when did the Post Office get into the furniture delivery business?
I always wondered how it was determined for a package to be distributed to the PO or UPS. Is it a random draw out of a hat??? How many of you have had to haul a gigantic package to a customer’s door only to be met by the UPS driver dropping off a large envelope? Really? Am I missing something here?
Not only does this extra workload cause stress on our bodies but it also impacts our vehicles. My poor SUV has needed all 4 wheel bearings replaced this year already! That’s never happened to me before but I’ve heard other rural carriers report similar issues with their vehicle suspensions. It makes sense. Haul big loads on a regular basis and expect big repair bills on a regular basis.
Sorry for the rant but I’m sure many of you have felt the same way and are concerned about what the future holds in store with the major uptick in package deliveries. Let’s face it. People are lazy these days. I know it and you know it. Why bother going to the store to buy non-essential items in bulk when you can click a mouse and have your trusty civil servant drop them off at your door on a daily basis.
And now you get to factor in the drastic increase in gas prices besides. More on that in an upcoming post though. Take a deep breath and remember we are essential workers even though the people we serve the most probably don’t want to admit it.