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.

SubscribeGet emails when new questions are answered. Ask Me Anything!Show Bio +

Share:

Ask me anything!

Submit Your Question

1124 Questions

Share:

Last Answer on September 06, 2018

Best Rated

Did you ever have to drive one of those right-side-steering-wheel mail vans? How difficult was that to get used to, and do you need to pass a special drivers test for that?

Asked by yelz bellz over 6 years ago

The vehicle which you are asking about is called an LLV (Long-Life Vehicle). There is a newer version out but I'm not sure what it is called. It also has a Right-hand drive setup. The main reason for this arrangement is so we can effect a curbside mailbox delivery and be on the side of the vehicle closest to the mailbox. Also, if we need to exit the vehicle to go up to a door to deliver a package, we can safely exit the vehicle and not worry about exiting the side where traffic might be coming from. (which is the left side of the vehicle). I drive an LLV daily for my route. We did need to pass a driver proficiency course in the LLV which is given by a co-worker who has trained to be a driving instructor with the USPS. There is no extra licensing required besides this training course. It wasn't that difficult to get used to and now it is second nature. The LLVs handle very well in DRY weather. When it is snowy or icy they are much more difficult to handle, especially if there is any incline. The route I deliver is very flat so fortunately I don't have to deal with the terrain issue in inclement weather.

With the price of gas so high, why doesn't the postal service convert to non-gasoline vehicles?

Asked by BlackberryGuy over 6 years ago

Good question. I think that it would be too expensive upfront as you mentioned, and the USPS doesn't seem to be in that good of a financial position right now. It is true that the LLVs we use get very poor gas mileage as we are starting and stopping the engine many times per day and some of us drive very short distances. I get the impression that the USPS is currently in more of a survival mode than in being too innovative as of late. We probably could use some type of congressional relief of our current requirement to prefund future retiree health benefits This requirement is resulting in significant paper losses for the USPS which probably also hampers the drive to be more eco-friendly and economical.

Why have I never seen a mailman take a break?

Asked by Eugene65 over 5 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. 

Is all mail screened for illegal substances?

Asked by g-ride over 6 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.

Where do mailmen go to the bathroom during a shift?

Asked by brikhaus over 5 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!

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

Asked by cjz over 5 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.

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 6 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.