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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1227 Questions

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Last Answer on February 18, 2022

Best Rated

Am I supposed to tip my mailman during the holidays?

Asked by Aaron B. over 10 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.

Isnt it hard only having 1 day off a week? Do you have vacation time besides paid holidays?

Asked by cjz over 9 years ago

We actually get 2 days off per week. If you are a "regular" carrier, which means not a substitute or PTF (part time flexible) carrier, our National Agreement with the USPS says that we can work 8 hrs per day 5 days per week. Mail is delivered 6 days per week. On our day off, a "floater" carrier will deliver our route. Some offices have rotating days off which means I'll be off Mon one week, then Tues the next week, then Wed. the next week, etc. Other POs have fixed days off meaning a certain route or carrier would be off every Thursday. We always have off on Sunday. I don't mind the schedule and have been doing it for about 14 years. Besides 10 paid holidays per year, we have between 13-26 days of paid vacation per year depending on length of service. In addition we receive 13 days of paid sick leave per year which can be carried over if not used in a certain year. I feel that the amt. of time we have off is very fair. I have had a few episodes in my career where I have been sick for a couple of mos. at a time. During this period, I was never concerned about getting paid or possibly losing my job. There are protections due to being a government job and working under a Collective Bargaining Agreement between the USPS and the National Association of Letter Carriers. You may also be allowed to take a certain amt. of Leave without Pay if you need time off, but don't necessarily have to get paid. I am conservative with my savings so I have used this option at times to save from having to use sick leave.

Where do mailmen go to the bathroom during a shift?

Asked by brikhaus over 9 years ago

It depends on what type of route a carrier has. If there are any businesses on the route, the carrier may use their restrooms. Where I deliver the mail, there is a gas station and library nearby. If there isn't a business nearby, maybe a male carrier could just go in the woods, but that would be quite embarrassing if he was ever caught. They could also ask a resident to use a bathroom, but I have never had to do that. Good question!

Is all mail screened for illegal substances?

Asked by g-ride over 10 years ago

No, that would be cost prohibitive for sure. I don't know what gets screened and what doesn't. If mail is going into sensitive places like the US Capitol or The White House, there is a strong likelihood that it is being screened.

Why have I never seen a mailman take a break?

Asked by Eugene65 over 9 years ago

We are always on a break! Just kidding. I can't say why you don't see mailmen take a break. We are allowed a 10-minute break plus a 30-minute lunch break while we are delivering the mail. I usually take my breaks sitting in the postal vehicle. Other carriers go to restaurants or take-out for lunch. I bring my lunch to save money. I hope this answers your question. 

I'm sure you heard about that lunatic in Canada who mailed pieces of a dead body to some Canadian govt officials. They said that these packages stunk to high heaven and some were literally leaking blood - how did this get past their postal service???

Asked by naaaaasty over 10 years ago

I am not familiar with that story which you mention though it does sound disgusting. If we ever saw a package that was leaking fluids and/or had a noticeable strange smell, our procedure is to report it to a supervisor who could then decide whether to take any further action with re: to calling postal authorities or local police. I would hope if that same situation happened in the US that the package would be intercepted long before it reached its destination but you can never be sure as a lot of what happens depends on the personnel handling the package and how much they care or are paying attention.

I had a package shipped from a suburb of Boise, Idaho last Tuesday via standard parcel. This morning I got a message that it was in Denver! Did it really take 7 days to travel 850 miles?

Asked by Jim over 9 years ago

Standard Post is our economical way to ship parcels. The method of transport is usually by truck (ground) vs Priority Mail, which is often by FedEx air transport. For this reason, standard post usually takes longer. I don't know how long your package should have taken from Denver to Boise but 1 week sounds somewhat reasonable. Priority Mail is almost always 1-3 days but you pay accordingly for the faster service.