Home > Chicago, Rant, Shellie Lewis' Art, Uncategorized > I Now Officially Hate The United States Post Office

I Now Officially Hate The United States Post Office

This is a rubber stamp I own and use liberally on mailed packages.

I knew my first Etsy sale was probably going to be at a loss.  I had my prices very low to attract my first buyer, and this was a sacrifice I was willing to make in order to make my first sale and get rated.  I know I said “Etsy Schmetsy” before and my criticisms are still valid.  I decided to give them a chance based on the recent success of the fundraising for the Sweet Bea Fund and a few other people that have built up sales.  What I did not know is that the Post Office has gone mad with its pricing schemes.  This is in addition to living next to the worst post office I have ever dealt with in my entire life.  I now officially hate the United States Post Office.

This change is sad for me.  The U.S. mail was very important to me as a child and in my youth.  I wrote and received a lot of letters, hoped for the arrival of magazines and eventually got old enough to buy a few things from mail order catalogs.  I used it exclusively and loyally for eBay sales in the 1990s through about 2007.

Now sending small items through the mail is like a trip into hell.  The majority of the staff at the Chicago Ravenswood post office branch in zip code 60625 are the rudest, nastiest tempered jerks to ever engage in a verbal exchange with another human being.  I once watched one of the postal workers literally go postal, she screamed at an elderly man who did not speak English and was trying to understand how to mail a jacket to someone.  He didn’t have a box and was trying to understand how much it would cost to send the item.  He was screamed at and stood there clutching his jacket; he was clearly struggling to understand the meaning of her words but understood she was furious.

Today, an elder white haired gentleman got to the front of the line and then stepped aside, insisting to only be waited on by one of the well-mannered postal clerks.  This insistence was a type of protest; I think he has the right idea.  When I mailed my package to Heather in the Peace Corps, I was chewed out, talked down to and yelled at by the clerk for at least twenty humiliating minutes and in front of a whole line of people.  I had thoughtfully filled out the international customs form in advance.  The carbon copies weren’t working, so I hand wrote out each page for legibility.  Unfortunately, the copy of the form I had was out of date and the items listed weren’t detailed enough for Satan, my postal customer service representative that day, and this led to an interrogation in addition to being chewed out, talked down to like a child and yelled at.

The Ravenswood branch staff are slower than snails and you can easily stand in line for half an hour hoping to mail anything.  HBBF once told me farewell as he headed out the door, “I’m going to the Post Office to die in line!”  I should have said, “Wait!  At least tell me if you have a life insurance policy!”  You can feel yourself age as you hope the line moves.  It’s especially fun if there are only one or two postal workers and at least two dozen people needing service.  If anyone needs help with a passport, everyone knows they are doomed.  I consider this my opportunity to become New Best Friends For One Hour with the person standing next to me in line.

I once left the post office and saw a man walking toward me with a small package and a look of dread on his face.  “There’s only three people in line right now,” I told him.  “Run!”  He did.

You used to be able to get delivery confirmation on letters and small padded envelopes, but now those can only be sent for the higher priced Priority Mail rate instead of First Class.  I was told I have to pay a minimum of $5.35 to use a $0.75 cent service.  Mailing a small padded 5″ x 7″ envelope with delivery confirmation used to be a $2.00 to $3.00 total expense.

Since I am sending one of a kind, non-replaceable art works, I decided to track everything and to additionally insure anything that is sold for over fifty dollars.  It is going to cost me a minimum of $6.10 to mail anything, assuming the Post Office does not raise their rates if this is how things are going forward.  I increased the prices in my online store which I planned to to anyway and will have to research the costs for using United Parcel Service to ship larger works.

It cost me $6.25 to mail an artwork the size of a baseball card with delivery confirmation and no insurance.  Thanks, Post Office!

UPDATE:  I just checked the Post Office website, and it says delivery confirmation can be put on First Class mail for envelopes and small packages.  The clerk at the post office said my package was less than 3/4 of an inch thick and would have to be sent Priority Mail.  I asked very clearly if it could be sent First Class, the cost is much less.  I am going to challenge their fees next time.  The people that work there either don’t know what they are doing or make up arbitrary rules.  I think I was ripped off.  I also think that this post office is such a nexus of evil and hatred that it will someday be sucked into an inter-dimensional paranormal vortex like the house at the end of the movie Poltergeist.  At least I can hope, right?

  1. April 11, 2012 at 12:27 am

    Sometimes, they make up arbitrary rules, and sometimes they decide they are–or are not–going to enforce the real rules.

    FYI, that post office is the reason I have games on my cell phone. So I can zone out for the 30-40 minute wait that it takes to send one package.


  2. Sharon Gullikson
    February 28, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    I’m wondering if you remember which company made the snail mail stamp you showed? I love it! Thanks sharon dot gullikson at gmail dot com

    • March 1, 2015 at 10:07 am

      My snail mail stamp was from a shop at the Bristol Renaissance Faire in Kenosha, Wisconsin in the early 1990s. They were making their own rubber stamps with pine blocks and rubber using a variety of sources like Dover art books, public domain images and probably some original drawings. I would say those crafters closed down around 1995 or so, such is the way of the Ren Faire economy. It also enraged one of the more catty employees at my local post office, still holding strong as the worst one in all of Chicago.

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