Mailman (City Letter Carrier)

Mailman (City Letter Carrier)

MailmanDave

17 Years Experience

Long Island, NY

Male, 43

I am a City Letter Carrier for the US Postal Service in NY. I've been a city letter carrier for over 17 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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Last Answer on March 21, 2020

Best Rated

How come in America you have the Postal Service who you deliver the mail, but in the UK we have Royal Mail who deliver the post?

Asked by edsumnermagic almost 8 years ago

I believe that it is just different names for the same type of organizations in 2 different countries. In the US, we call it the US Postal Service. Before that it was called the Post Office Department and was part of the Executive Branch of the Federal Government. The Postmaster General was a cabinet level position, similar to out Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense. In apprx. 1971, the US Postal Service was formed to be a separate quasi-governmental organization. It is no longer funded by tax dollars and is mandated to earn enough revenue on its own to cover its expenses. That has been a difficult proposition as of late so we have had to rely on loans from the US Government (I think) to meet expenses.

If someone makes a mistake with a zip code (botches one digit, say) but the intended destination is obvious, will the post office still return to sender?

Asked by my-t-sharp almost 8 years ago

I don't know the answer for sure, but here is what I think would happen: the letter would probably first go to the city where the ZIP code written on the letter corresponds to. Upon noticing that there is no valid address corresponding with that ZIP code, a clerk at the PO may then notice that the "city" is different than the ZIP written on the letter. After that the clerk MIGHT look up the correct ZIP for the intended city, write it on the envelope and send it to the correct post office for proper delivery.

About 2-3 years ago I received a delivery from the USPS...on Xmas DAY. I always just assumed that Xmas is a federal holiday, meaning no mail service. Was that just a freak occurrence, or is the USPS now delivering on Xmas to compete with UPS, FedEx, etc?

Asked by swanson, ron swanson almost 8 years ago

We will deliver Express Mail (which is our premium overnight service) EVERY day of the year. When I first started with the USPS, I was a "PTF", which means Part-time Flexible. Most carriers start out in this status. As a PTF, I would occasionally work on a Sunday to deliver Express Mail, which was done at no extra charge to the sender. Several years ago, we stopped the automatic attempts to deliver Express Mail and only deliver Express Mail on Sundays and Holidays if the sender pays a premium for it. These deliveries are usually done FROM a larger office since I don't think the Extra charge is often paid for to warrant having an employee come to our smaller office on a Sunday just in case there is an Express Mail item to deliver. To answer your specific question, it is possible that the office near where you live also decided to deliver Priority Mail or other packages on Christmas Day. You are correct to say that there is no regular service on Christmas or 9 other Federal Holidays observed by the USPS.

What happens if you suspect that a package contains drugs (like if it smells strongly of marijuana or something?) Can you open or confiscate it?

Asked by HaBak almost 8 years ago

I have never come across that situation, but if I had any suspicion about the contents of a package, I would alert my supervisor who them might make the call to the Postal Inspectors or local law enforcement. I have no authority to make the decision to open or confiscate a package.

Do mailmen get paid more for working in bad neighborhoods?

Asked by Sunil almost 8 years ago

No. We get paid the same wage nationwide. Good or bad neighborhood. High or low cost-of-living areas. All the same.

Do you think the stamps.com-style "print-postage-from-home" machines will ever become more mainstream? Like, even to the point that the USPS gives them (or heavily subsidizes them) to customers? If customers could print postage at home and leave outgoing mail for their postman, wouldn't that cut down the amount of post office traffic?

Asked by Shane C almost 8 years ago

I don't think that this will become more mainstream for a regular household. Most families don't really mail that many items per month to make it worthwhile to subsidize a machine or postage. I don't see a need for most people under a certain age (my guess now is 35 years old) for the the USPS. I mean they may use it for mailing packages (postage can already be printed at home for that without any special device) and not too much else I can think of. We do offer options for customers to purchase stamps at grocery stores, warehouse clubs, via telephone, mail, or the Internet so nobody has to go to the PO now to buy stamps if they don't want to.

Am I supposed to tip my mailman during the holidays?

Asked by Aaron B. almost 8 years ago

This is a subject that many letter carriers don't like to talk about too much in public. I think the main reason is that I don't think we are supposed to accept any monetary gifts. This being an anonymous forum allows me to be more candid. Around the holidays, many of the residents I deliver to do give me a cash gratuity, or gift card, or some chocolates, etc. By no means is this all of them. Also, because I am a fairly paid (in my opinion) civil servant, I don't expect a tip nor will it affect what kind of service you get from me. That would be totally illegal in my opinion, and it bothers me to hear others talk about their patrons and whether they tip or not. I don't like to talk about this subject with some of my co-workers. That said, I do gladly accept any and all gratuities from my customers and truly appreciate it. The average tip is $20 from my experience. From what I've heard this is also a more regional thing. In other geographic areas, it may be much less common to receive a cash gratuity or anything at all. I've heard of people receiving some alcohol or home-baked cookies. Again, I am only speaking from personal experience. Good question, though.