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 September 06, 2018

Best Rated

Why do some items get lost in the mail? Is there anything I can do to minimize the chance of this happening?

Asked by slowgrind over 6 years ago

I am not sure of the reason why your cards may not get to its intended destination. I would make sure you have the following items taken care of. 1) check to make sure the address is correct and legible (definitely include apt. Or suite #'s if appropriate) 2) put a return address in the upper left hand corner of the envelope. 3) make sure there is sufficient postage on the envelope. Most basic greeting cards require just 1 stamp, but if the item has an irregular shape or contains very rigid contents, there may be additional postage required. We certainly make mistakes and misdeliver or destroy (sorting machines) mail on occasion, but it is more the exception than the rule. So we can't guarantee your card will get to its intended destination by dropping it in a blue mailbox, I can say it is VERY likely it will. Well more than 99% of the time in my opinion.

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 over 6 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. over 6 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.

Have you ever been propositioned by a lonely housewife?

Asked by J.T. over 6 years ago

I wish, but It has never happened to me. I have no good stories about romance on the route. As much as it might make a good story, I don't think any small measure of fun is worth getting in trouble (with a husband or boyfriend) or putting a decent job at risk. I keep things professional between my customers and me. No issues that way.

If a piece of mail has no return address, are you still supposed to deliver it?

Asked by Rebekah over 6 years ago

Sure, there is commonly mail that has no return address. In that case, we deliver it unless it is suspicious. As far as I know there are no rules about having a return address on mail (except certain packages). It is, however a good idea to include one in case the address for the intended person is incorrect and the item needs to be returned to the sender.

Were you any more nervous doing your job during the anthrax incidents?

Asked by marol over 6 years ago

Yes. When I heard of a couple of postal workers in DC, plus several others dying from anthrax inhalation, I was pretty sure the odds were low of it arriving at my workplace but was still concerned about it. One day in late Oct. 2001, I was delivering a package to a customer and noticed a white powdery substance on the floor of the van, plus more coming out of the package. Since the package was not otherwise suspicious, I delivered it. I also rang the customers' bell to verify they knew where it was coming from and there was was nothing to worry about. They weren't home so I just left the item at their front door. Later in the day, I looked up the recipients number in the phone book and called them to verify that the package had nothing for me to worry about. They set my mind at ease. The time after 09/11/01 was nerve wracking for many, but I'm glad to see that the anthrax incidents were very limited and have had no significant threats that I can recall since then.

Is USPS hurting any more or less than other countries' snail-mail delivery services? I imagine that it's on the decline everywhere, but wondering if other countries' systems are suffering financial losses as dramatic as in the US.

Asked by Artie456 over 6 years ago

I don't know the answer to that question. I agree with you that it's likely that mail volume is on the decline everywhere as technology spreads and instant electronic communications becomes the norm. I know some countries don't deliver mail 6 days a week and have privatized their postal system. Supposedly our current rate of .45 for a 1-oz. 1st-class piece of mail is one of the lower prices among modernized countries. We are by far the largest postal service in the world in terms of volume of mail delivered so our losses and gains are probably larger due to the scale of the operation.