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Mailman

Mailman
Name:MailmanDave
Location:Long Island, NY
Gender:M
Age:43
I am a City Letter Carrier for the US Postal Service in NY. I've been a city letter carrier for over 15 years and it is the best job I've ever had. I mostly work 5 days per week (sometimes includes a Saturday) and often have the opportunity for overtime, which is usually voluntary. The route I deliver has about 350 homes and I walk to each of their doors to deliver the mail. Please keep in mind that I don't have authority to speak for the USPS, so all opinions are solely mine, not my employer.
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Q
With so much correspondence shifting online, is there a noticeable difference in the amount of mail you deliver today from say, 5-10 years ago?
A

Great Question. Please keep in mind that anything I answer here is based on my observations only and I have no authority to speak for the USPS. Personal correspondence besides greeting cards seems to be close to extinct. I don't really know of anyone who writes letters to each other anymore. There has definitely been a drop in the amt. of mail I deliver daily, including catalogs, magazines, bills. I don't see this trend reversing, especially since the younger generation (for me, that is people under 40 y/o) really having much use for the USPS to transact business or communicate with their contemporaries. The one area where I have seen growth has to do with parcels that people have ordered online through eBay or Amazon.com which the USPS delivers.

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Q
When you hear about USPS laying off thousands of workers or cutting back deliveries to save money, does it make you angry? Or do you see it as a reasonable cost-cutting strategy for a service that's simply no longer profitable?
A

I appreciate that question as it makes me really think how best to answer. First of all, there seems to be a lot of contradictory information on how much the USPS is really losing and how much closing facilities or switching to 5-day delivery would save. I am a bit conflicted because I don't have too much use for the USPS in my own life anymore except to ship eBay packages on occasion. I do all of my finances online. It does make sense how technology is eating much of our 1st class mail business. I don't believe there will be large-scale layoffs. Older workers may get retirement incentives and the USPS has done very little "career position" hiring in the last few years. Those affected would likely be people with no job "guarantee". Our office isn't staffed well enough to cover deliveries ...More

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Q
At what point do you STOP delivering mail to someone who's not collecting it? A week? A month? Whenever their mailbox is full?
A

Another question which I don't know the official answer to. I have rarely come across this situation, but I'm sure in certain neighborhoods it is more common. I will usually stop after the box is completely full. If that happens I may put any mail after that on "Hold" and keep it at the PO for apprx. 10 more days. If, after 10 days has passed AND the mail in the mailbox has still not been retrieved by someone at the house, I discard most non first-class mail and would have periodicals (magazines/newspapers) and any first class mail returned to the sender marked "Moved, Left No Address". I often know when people are moving because I'll see "For Sale" signs at their house or see a moving truck loading or unloading a house. When that happens, I usually see a "Forward Mail" order for the person ...More

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Q
If a piece of mail intended for someone else is accidentally delivered to my house, what am I legally supposed to do with it?
A

I can't answer what you are legally supposed to do it, just can make some suggestions. If the address on the envelope doesn't match your address, you can leave it visible in your mailbox for the letter carrier to see the next day with a post-it note, or note paper clipped on that says "Please deliver to the correct address" or "Delivered to the wrong address". You can also write on the envelope or circle the address and write "delivered to wrong address". Another option is to deposit the piece of mail back in a blue collection box and hope that it isn't misdelivered to your house again. I don't believe you are legally obligated to do anything with that mail, but if someone else received mail intended for you, wouldn't it be courteous to return it to the USPS so it can be delivered to the correct ...More

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Q
What education or credentials are required to become a postman? Are there any tests you need to pass? How long did you have to train before you were ready for your own route?
A

To become a letter carrier with USPS, I don't know the exact requirements, but you have to be at least 18 yrs. old, possess a drivers license, a minimum of a GED, and demonstrate an ability to read and understand English (though I have seen coworkers who I question how they got through that last requirement). At the USPS website (www.usps.com/employment) I think you'd be able to find out the requirements to be employed. I took a written exam before I was employed and based on my grade, I was put on a list of eligible applicants. You also must pass a basic physical exam and drug test. Training is fairly minimal. For apprx. 3 days you might have some classroom and driver training (sometimes called the Carrier Academy). That is sometimes at another facility than the one you will be working at. ...More

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Q
My mailman doesn't wear a uniform. I thought it was because he was new, but its been over a year now. Why is that? Don't all mailmen have to wear uniforms?
A

I can think of 2 possible reasons why he doesn't wear a uniform. 1) If it is a rural route, which is usually in a lesser populated area, the carriers don't wear uniforms. These carriers might also use their own vehicle to deliver the mail and the mailboxes are at the street as opposed to being at a front door of a house or a cluster box often found in apt. or condo complexes. 2) The carrier chooses not to wear a uniform and his supervisor doesn't enforce the rules about wearing a uniform on the job. We all should wear a uniform at work, but I've seen carriers wear partial uniforms or their own clothes. As a city letter carrier we are given a uniform allowance each year to purchase authorized uniforms, footwear, and outerwear. If it has been over a year, the employee should be in uniform if ...More

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Mailman [...continued]