Victory or Very Sad Day For USPS

Mitchell Court's new mailbox

Mitchell Court’s new mailbox

Guess What?!  We finally have a new mail box on Mitchell Court!  It took the USPS 82 days to resolve this issue in the year 2013 while Phileas Fogg in 1872 was able to go around the world in only 80 days!   Good thing the USPS has worked very hard on improving their customer service and customer satisfaction.  However this is not a day of celebration but a very sad day since it took a quasi-government agency 3 months, that’s 82 days not counting Sundays to fix a simple problem and simultaneously also destroyed all the efforts they put into trying to change their poor image.  The USPS spends millions on television ads to improve their image and millions more on training and yet the bottom line is this group of under achievers with NO leadership presence failed to communicate to it’s customers, failed to return phone calls and failed to take a golden opportunity handed to them to demonstrate they are not the idiots portrayed on sitcoms and movies but instead they not only fumbled it away but then picked it up and ran it right into the opposing teams goal!

Why you ask?  Why is their attitude, “Voice of the Customer be damned!” Great question, let’s take a look at this shall we?

1-Their arrogance:  It’s an arrogance that’s spawned from the lack of competition and lack of consequences.  They know they don’t have any competition other than Federal Express and UPS for overnight and express services but when it comes to the daily delivery of first class and bulk mail we’re stuck with them.  When there is no incentive to compete to be #1 or even #5 you don’t care.   No competition breads contempt for customers.  Remember the phone company back in the day?  We didn’t get choices until they were broken up and competition came in.  The three major television networks were happy with the status quo until FOX came along and gave them some serious competition for ratings.

2-Their Leadership:  Their leadership (or should I say lack of it),  sets the tone on how things will be done by how they enforce the standards and mission statement set up by the corporation.  Lax leadership causes lax supervisors  and staff who don’t care because they know they won’t be called on the carpet for the poor service.  When they see their manager not return phone calls or show concern to customers the staff follows suit.  The manager at USPS 94589 should be very proud since his staff has fully demonstrated their lack of abilities when it comes to providing customer service, especially when it came to returning phone calls for updates that they promised to give but NEVER followed through.  That alone is disgraceful.  My staff knew their goal and the consequences if they didn’t return customer calls within 2 hours.

3- Stupidity:  How stupid is it to have their supervisors give out business cards with a phone number when there is no voice mail?  How can you foster a conversation between you and your customers when they can’t contact you or can’t rely on Betty getting the message to the person you want.  That’s just stupid, but obviously it’s the USPS way.  How stupid is it to not get information out to the public as to what’s going on and when it’ll be handled and just let them fester with anger.  That’s just stupid and as dear Forest said, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

Keys to the new kingdom

Keys to the new kingdom

So now we finally have our mail box and getting the keys at the USPS 94589 went a lot smoother than I ever imagined, I thought I was dreaming.  What’ll come out of this? Probably nothing.  The same inept manager will keep non-managing his inept supervisors who will continue to not return phone calls.  The USPS will continue to be the butt of jokes.  They will however, wonder why they continue to lose money and fail to make a profit.  I hope congress never turns the controls over to them for the one definite thing they have proven to me is they are incapable of turning it around themselves, but they do need to stop paying out good money to consultants and lobbyist who are not working for the good of the Postal Service but for their own profits and selfish needs.

It also won’t change because too many other companies and individuals count on the USPS for their own survival.  In Fiscal Year 2011 USPS paid Federal Express $1.5 Billion dollars and Kalitta Air, LLC $549 million dollars to ship on their planes. They also paid UPS a mere $101.9 Million dollars that same year.  On their list of top 150 suppliers to the USPS Federal Express was the highest paid and Postal Fleet Services, Inc came in at #150 with a take of $8.8 Million dollars.  So as you can see there are a lot of mouths to feed.

This will not be the last post you see on the USPS from me.  They have made me a new antagonist and I will continue watching and reporting on the bad as well as the good, when I find it about the USPS, but I’ll put money on more bad.  Want to share you USPS story with me.  Email is the best way.

Why The USPS Can’t Change It’s Ways

UPDATE-We received mail the one day.  The next day the USPS took the box out of service again.  Unfortunately Supervisor of Customer Service Patricia Burton is off today, (see never called back) and Customer Service Supervisor Javier is in today and has yet returned a call either, left a message with someone there who answered.  By the way, NONE of them have voicemail.  What does that tell you.

cluster mailbox on Mitchell Ct. 94589

cluster mailbox on Mitchell Ct. 94589

At the time of the publishing of this article, it would have been day 80 (not counting Sundays) that the Mitchell Court 12 have not had a mail delivery.  Our cluster mailbox that served this community faithfully since 1984 was vandalized on June 6 and it has remained unrepaired since.  (You can get caught up on the previous doings by reading USPS Killer Customer Service is Killing the Message.) However we finally got mail yesterday, September 9th after the Post office received much pressure from our Congressman and angry public.  It turns out there are several vandalized unrepaired mailboxes throughout Vallejo.  What is disappointing is the USPS lied.  After making us wait for 79 days for a new mailbox, that’s what they kept saying was taking so long, they just did a simple repair on the old mailbox to get everyone off their back.  It was like being told you’ll get a new smartphone to replace your broken one and just given back the same phone with duck tape holding it together.  So why did the USPS take so long to get it together?  Why did it take 3 months for this fix?  I guess we’ll never know since there has been no communication from the USPS at all so we’re left to make up our own scenarios.  The few tidbits they have given us were lies just to make us go away and stop interrupting their siestas.  How can there be trust when a organization lies to the face of the public?

The main problem as with most dysfunctional corporations is their lack of leadership and with the current incompetent management at the helm there is no way the USPS 94589 will ever be able to resolve their profit making issues let alone find ways to improve their service levels because they’re happy with giving below par service.  Except in the area of express mail, they have no competition to cause them to give good service, so their attitude remains, too bad.  It begins with their current leader Mr. Sam Jones who does not return phone calls or initiated any conversation with the public as to a expected completion date to have the mailbox repaired.  In fact Mr. Jones didn’t return phone calls from Congressman Thompson’s office either.  He has no concept that just a simple sorry and we’ll fix it by this date could have avoided the animosity from the people of this town.  He could have come himself or sent a customer service representative to the neighborhood to demonstrate in any way that they cared about what was going on and what they were going to do.  In fact Mr. Jones has been so successful in teaching his ways, that all his supervisors don’t return phone calls either but will tell you to your face they will follow up like Supervisor of Customer Service Patricia Burton.

The USPS spent $126 million for culture change and leadership to Campbell Ewald in FY 2011 and another $125 million to Accenture for management consulting and technology.  Either the Post Office was ripped off or their leadership just plain refuses to change.  They still talk down to customers, have very poor communications skills and when it’s time to think out side the box are as lost as a sightless person in a dark movie theatre.  They insist they can’t make improvements unless Congress gives them permission to do so, but based on their lack of abilities so far to improve with what they can control, I say Congress is very astute this time  not to turn it over to them.  How can you trust an organization to turn itself around when they don’t demonstrate the competence in what they’re doing now?  The best solution is just abolish the organization and turn it over to private enterprise with real leaders and real managers who care and understand service.

My free advice to the USPS to save money on leadership development and other customer service related training.  I have three blogs for you that are FREE and strongly recommend that you actually read them.  1-   2- . and 3-     Have you had similar service issues with the USPS?  Please share here or privately in an email.  Thanks.

Idiocracy Rules at U.S.P.S. 94589

It is now day 63 (not counting sundays and holiday) that the Mitchell Court dozen have not had mail delivery.  In a previous post, USPS Killer Customer Service- Is Killing the message I told about how our community cluster mail box was vandalized and how I went through the system offered by the USPS for consumers with problems and how not unlike the USPS is ineffective and a waste of money as the problem has still not be fixed.

This should be alarming to all of you as one of the suggestions put forth by the USPS to save money is to eliminate door to door delivery and set up cluster boxes for everyone.  Good idea to put in place, but what good is an idea that has no contingency plan that leaves customers without service for over 2 months? This is a glaring example of the lack of leadership/management at the USPS.  A great opportunity to put their best foot forward and show the community they care by resolving an issue and they take the need to know basis for their attitude.  Imagine all these cluster boxes left damaged across the country and the caos that would come with no mail delivery.  So I use my car more often than I want, paying for more gas then I would use so I can make the 7 mile round trip and wait on line to pick up my mail.  The only thing that would make this more surrealistic would to see a checker board set up by the pot bellied stove.

I also wrote my congressman, the honorable Mike Thompson back in June.  It took only one and a half months to hear back from his office from a spunky aide who asked, “Is it fixed yet?”  I guess all the business they’re handling in Washington has made this a very low priority for Mike.  He too could have been a hero to us his constituents but then why would I expect any more from him than the USPS.

But then it dawned on me maybe this idiocracy is only at 94589 and has not spread across the country and there is hope to contain and correct it here.  So please, write me in the comments section below with your USPS customer service horror stories.

USPS Killer Customer Service – Is Killing The Message


When I say, inept, mismanaged, archaic, thinking like dinosaurs, behind the times, unimaginative, stuck to the old way, couldn’t think outside the box even if they were litery standing outside the box what quasi government agency comes to mind?  For me it’s the United States Postal Service.  Now I know It is easy to poke fun at this agency especially with such great characters you love to hate like Cliff Clavin and Newman, but it’s hard to laugh when they lost 15.9 BILLION dollars last fiscal year.  It’s also hard to laugh when they make strides to improve mail delivery but have NO clue on customer service.  If they were a real company in todays world, would they even still be in business?  No they wouldn’t, because their culture of secrecy, poor customer relations and ability to communicate to the public won’t allow them to make improvements since so many of their inept, lazy managers are threatened by making service improvements and might actually have to think for a change.

When I read about the voice of the customer and how companies monitor that voice to make sure they keep customers happy, the USPS uses deafness and silence as their voice of the customer.  I guess it’s much easier to monitor and you can always look good on your benchmarks when you don’t hear the public.  There is no incentive to listen since they couldn’t care less and have no fear of losing their jobs.  In light of the money they keep losing, someone hit upon the idea that without communication or returning a simple phone call they’ll save money like the supervisor at the Vallejo main post office who took the time to write down my name, address and phone number, promised to call and I never heard from him again.  Dollars saved, what a great idea, why hasn’t GM or Apple thought of that?


I live on a Cul-de-sac and our community mailbox that services 12 families was vandalized and rendered unusable.  You can see that both back service doors are dangling.  This happened on June 6th. and that is when this odyssey began, of trying to get information from the USPS but you would think our community mailbox was involved with national security they’re so tight lipped.  First I went to the main post office on Santa Clara street and asked the clerk when it’ll be repaired.  She couldn’t answer and referred me to a supervisor whom I waited 15 minutes for.  As I said earlier he took all my info and never called back.  So I tried calling the main post office and they don’t answer that line and there must be no voice mail since it never picked up, again saving money.

So I contacted the Postal Service Customer Advocate at 1-800-275-8777 who are in Washington, D.C. on June 12.  They agreed it was poor service and gave me  case #CA113468629 and someone would get back to me tomorrow.  Yea right, but you know I wasn’t surprised because when you call the 1-800 line, the receptionist bot that answers has a lousy menu to start with and when you say or type your zipcode, it came up, with a male voice who said, “94589, Viejo, Ca.”  The problem is I live in 94589,Vallejo, Ca.  So on June 14 I called my Advocate to see if they were still advocating for me.  I gave her the case number and guess what?  They had nothing!  So she gave me the number at the Main, main Post Office in Oakland, for the Customer Relations at 510-874-8737.  I called and promptly got their voicemail.  As the machine had requested I gave name, address, phone number and the issue along with the case number, and this was early in the day.  As of today, June 17 I hadn’t heard back and called again and got a LIVE PERSON.  I discussed with her the issue and that I would like to have some answers.  Oh Yes, I can see why, She said, I’ll call you back, but this time Regina did call me back!!  She told me she spoke to supervisor Taylor at the Vallejo Post Office who explained that they only had ONE technician and that it won’t be repaired until next week, but couldn’t give a specific completion date.


What a lousy cheap excuse.  Only one technician.  The manager here should be embarrassed with an answer like that.  You mean there is NO provision to contact other districts to see if they could borrow another tech for a short period?  I guess it’s very hard to think when you’re stuck in all that secrecy.  Can you imagine a fire district saying, we have only one engine on duty and not call a neighboring city for assistance?  Even the cable company offers better service.  So my neighbors and I will be without a mail box for a total of 21 days, figuring they’ll fix it by June 29 as projected and continue making the 7 mile round trip to the main post office.  The drive time is nothing, it’s the wait time on line just to get your mail that they are so graciously holding for us at no charge.  What a great group.  And that’s why this maze to go through to get some answers.  They hope over time you’ll get tired and stop.

This is where the USPS drops the ball in their culture of lack of customer service.  What good is getting packages and mail delivered on time when you have no place to deliver it?  There wasn’t even an attempt to notify affected customers as to what was going on, what the plan was, and when it would be completed.  They couldn’t send a representative to visit us, do handouts, communicate in anyway that they cared and would be held accountable?  This is a big reflection on not only the workers but the poor managers they have running the asylum since the workers only do what management lets them do.  It’s time to re-organize the Post office into independent operated districts and a thorough cleaning of the old management.  Bringing in entrepreneurs to operate the new postal districts will make it 100% better than now.


I will keep you all posted, (haha) as this odyssey continues.  

The Paper Chase

I am a baby boomer and like other generations, I have developed strong relationships with specific technologies that I was raised with, and have over the years cultivated my daily routines around.  Like my father, I enjoy having my morning cup of coffee while holding a crisp, fresh newspaper in my hand.  Even though I have embraced newer technologies to help keep current, like twitter and other online entities, there is still something comforting to me holding a newspaper in my hands, listening to the noises it makes when folded while reading the front page and the sports green section.  My Dad began every morning with the N.Y.Daily news and ended each day with the N.Y. Post even though Huntley and Brinkley brought the world to him in black and white.  If he wanted there was also the Daily Mirror, Herald Tribune and the Times available.  However, since the commercial use of radio, newspaper readership has steadily declined as each generation gobbles up the latest in new technology from television to smart phones to Ipads to get their news.   Getting the news out there is so much faster today along with high quality color photos, you can tell the world a breaking story in seconds.

So currently I’m sitting here wondering, without a newspaper in my hand,  how it is possible in this day and age, that it is so difficult to deliver a newspaper?  How is it possible that some companies, including the U.S. Post Office are looking into same day delivery of goods to your door step, but the daily newspaper can’t be delivered daily, consistently?  I live in a small town/city with a population of 117,000 that is 35 miles northeast of San Francisco, California and unfortunately this is not about only one newspaper but two and the similar issues they share.  Lack of quality customer service.

I’ve been a subscriber of the Chronicle for over 20 years and the service from the beginning was excellent.  It was consistant, it was dry and it was in my driveway.  Then something changed about five years ago.  The quality of service began to deteriorate as we began playing a new game called, where’s the paper?  It wasn’t making it onto the driveway like it used too, which by the way is a much wider and longer area than the lawn I have next to it.  The newspaper must have wanted a change of venue and now enjoyed laying on the dew soaked lawn without plastic protection, not to mention the mornings it would get soaked when the sprinkler was scheduled to run.  To make the game even more interesting, sometimes it was under a shrub, on the sidewalk, or half in the gutter and half on the curb.  Some days it wouldn’t show up at all and to keep me on my toes, sometimes they delivered another newspaper all together.  I would call customer service and ask for the paper to please go back to the driveway.  “Oh yea, we see that request on the screen” and they would apologize, give me some credit and that they’d alert the manager.  I don’t believe they alerted anyone or the manager just couldn’t care less because the problem continued, and there were never follow up calls, not even an apology from the manager himself.  No calls later on to get feedback if service has improved.  Most of the time I did get a redelivery but there were times I did not.

Then like a miracle, about a year and a half ago things were perfect again.  This person delivering was excellent and understood that people want to read their paper and not play games finding it or wringing it out.  It was in the middle of my drive way every morning in pristine condition.  Life was good.  Then, unfortunately after a year of great service, this guy must have found a better job, (he actually demonstrated great customer service) and left because the deliveries went back to the way they were.  On the lawn, soaking wet, the wrong paper or not at all.  The straw that finally broke the camels back was when I called, a week in advance and placed a vacation hold.  The paper was still delivered for a few more days past the hold date but luckily my neighbor noticed the pile and picked them up.  If you’re wondering, no the paper didn’t resume on the date it was suppose too.  So out of total frustration, I cancelled the paper.  What surprised me the most was the overwhelming silence that followed.   I heard nothing.  No sorry for the problem, no can we keep you as a customer with a free week.  Nothing. Nada. Zilch.  Not even from the distributor, sorry to lose you and what can we do to make your experience better?  They demonstrated apathy at it’s very best!

So, then I made the mistake of subscribing to the local paper, Vallejo Times Herald.  I figured local paper, they would want to get the paper to me so I could keep up on the local goings on.  But what I found is that as a small town paper they are just as good at being incompetent as the big city paper, the SF Chronicle was in getting the paper delivered.  The Times Herald can’t seem to remember to deliver the paper.  I got it for a few days and then Sunday’s paper didn’t come.  After two calls to their hot line it still never arrived.  Then it began coming again that Tuesday, (they only publish printed edition Tue-Sun) and lasted a week and then didn’t show Wednesday or Thursday.   Even the customer service clerk wasn’t sure whether I was on or off to get the paper.

So what’s The issue?  Is it “you get what you pay for” as far as quality of delivery staff?  Do they really care when they’re told a paper didn’t get delivered.  Where’s the communication between delivery and customer service?  Or is it they don’t want to keep delivering the paper?  For the Chronicle to get to my house,  27% of the subscription price of $86.00 for 8 weeks is due to transportation costs.  it adds up for the customer and I’m sure costs them much more as well.  Printed paper is a dying business and they would rather you read it all on line at a reduced price than keep delivering the paper.  I believe that’s what’s behind their poor service issues, they are deliberate and carefully calculated to scare customers from delivery of their printed editions to the more cost efficient for them, on line feeds?  They are killing the reading of the printed paper faster than our latest technologies can.  I can’t think of another explanation for such poor quality service, but with service like this, they’ll be extinct before you can say Dodo Bird.

Do you have similar issues?  I would like to hear back.