Mailman (City Letter Carrier)

Mailman (City Letter Carrier)


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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1233 Questions


Last Answer on February 18, 2022

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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?

Asked by d-san almost 12 years ago

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 ( 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. At your assigned facility, you usually go out with an OJT (on the job trainer) to deliver a route and learn how to do the job properly and safely. The probationary period is 90 days. Once you learn the job it is possible based on staffing levels that you may wind up delivering a whole route pretty soon after you are hired. Route assignments are based on seniority bidding so it is more common to be a floater (fill in for days off/sick/vacation) before getting your own route assignment. Again this is based on whether an office has the proper staffing levels or not. In my office, I had a bid route assignment after about 2.5 years of service. Now I do the same route every day I come to work.

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

Asked by Aaron B. almost 12 years ago

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 leaving and then I usually see mail for the new resident (in most cases a different last name). People do move without putting in a "Forward Mail" order. In that case, I'll hold the mail at the PO for 10 days, and if I haven't received a "Forward Mail" order, the periodicals and first-class mail would be returned to the sender marked "Moved, Left No Address". The area I deliver to is not very transient so the scenario you asked about doesn't come up often as I mentioned earlier.

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

Asked by BrendasMomma almost 12 years ago

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 addressee? I try very hard to make sure I deliver the mail properly the first time, though there is no doubt that all of our employees make mistakes.

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?

Asked by orcafat almost 12 years ago

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 during the peak vacation (mostly summer) season. I've also learned to "believe it when you see it" regarding any changes. There is often talk of what the USPS wants to do. It is another thing as to what they actually do.

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?

Asked by B-rad almost 12 years ago

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 not 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 which the USPS delivers.

What percentage of what you deliver is junk mail?

Asked by sam123 almost 12 years ago

Let's see. There are 2 answers I can think of. 1) From the USPS point of view, that would be 0%. All mail is a revenue source for the USPS, so I wouldn't consider it "junk". There is somebody (the mailer) who wants a msg. communicated to the recipient (advertising/gov't/ political notice) and is willing to pay us for it. By collecting postage is how the USPS funds its operations so all types of mail contributes to our survival. From the view of a customer, if you are referring to mostly advertising mail, or non-first-class mail, I'd would guess it is about 80% of the mail is advertising mail, called "standard mail" in USPS classification parlance.

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?

Asked by Robert almost 12 years ago

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 they are a city letter carrier.

I've lived in 10-11 different residences over the past few decades, and in each and every one of them, the mail arrived between 3:00-4:30pm. So my question is, if your shifts start in the morning, who are the lucky ducks getting their mail at 10:00-11:00am? Or is it the case that the bulk of your morning is spent sorting and the afternoon is spent delivering?

Asked by It's Me Margaret! almost 12 years ago

I am not sure who or why someone gets their mail earlier than others but I can speculate with a bit of my own experience. As a letter carrier, I have never had any real input in the order that my route is set up for delivery. Routes have a set delivery order (computerized) and that is how we sort our mail in the AM. Actually, I'd say that maybe 80% of our mail is sorted automatically (in delivery order) before it even arrives at our post office. This is called DPS (Delivery Point Sequencing) and FSS (Flats Sequencing System). I spend maybe 90 min. at the most each AM preparing mail for delivery. I have noticed that some senior citizen residences and businesses often are at the beginning of routes. The route I deliver is 100% Residential so the route order is basically an efficient line of travel. Last year our office had a route restructuring where some parts of different routes were added or deleted. In my example, the additional streets that I now deliver first used to be the last to be delivered on the old route. Most people got used to the new delivery schedule and heard very few comments after the first few weeks of it. I have seen on one occasion where some residents who were near the end of the delivery route did a lot of complaining and had their street put towards the beginning of the route. I think it is rare for that type of complaining to work. If getting mail earlier in the day is important to you, the only suggestion I have is to rent a PO Box at a local PO. That mail is usually finished being sorted by 9AM.

This doesn't sound like it pertains to you, but assuming you deal w post office workers a lot, do you think the whole concept of disgruntled postal workers is a real problem? And if so, what makes them more disgruntled than anyone else with a boring or unsatisfying job?

Asked by Jamie74 almost 12 years ago

I can't really say why this job would have more disgruntled workers than other boring and unsatisfying jobs. I can say a fair amt. of coworkers don't have great morale or work ethic, which is probably common in other government jobs. A lot of the publicity about the disgruntled postal work was due to several high-profile events of violence by postal workers. I think there are situations where the work environment could get so unpleasant that a maybe less-than-stable employee may snap. Again, that could happen on any job. Maybe the USPS rcvd a lot of publicity also because we are a huge employer and there are more chances for something bad to happen.

What time does your work day start and end? And do you think mail should be delivered on Sundays?

Asked by slowgrind almost 12 years ago

My shift begins at 0745 AM and ends at 0415 PM. That is 8 hours pay, plus 30 min. Non-paid lunch. We also get 2 10-minute breaks (paid). I don't think it is necessary to have mail delivery on Sunday. There is even debate in Congress and by the US Postal Service to cancel Saturday deliveries as a cost-savings measure. I am happy with the current schedule of delivering mail 6 days/week. Some co-workers would like to have delivery just Mon-Fri. So they could have normal "weekends" off. While I understand why some would like that, I feel that consolidating 6 days of delivery mail into 5 days of delivery would make for very heavy Mondays based on the current mail volume.

Letter Carrier, Mail Carrier, Postman, or Mailman - which is the preferred title?

Asked by blakeNY almost 12 years ago

The official title of my position is "Letter Carrier - City". I don't care if I'm called any of the other titles mentioned above as they all accurately describe what I do.

Do you ever get attacked by aggressive dogs?

Asked by arsma5 almost 12 years ago

No. There is a lot of training about avoiding situations where may get attacked by dogs. Basically if we see a loose dog, especially one we aren't familiar with, don't attempt to deliver the mail to that house or area. Furthermore we carry dog spray called "off!", which we can spray in a dogs face if an attack is imminent. Fortunately I've never had to use it. Several of my co-workers have been bit by dogs during their deliveries, but I don't think too seriously.

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 12 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.

With snail mail on the decline, are executives at USPS frequently discussing ways to evolve with the times or get into new lines of business in order to stay profitable?

Asked by emily_boeler almost 12 years ago

I would like to think that the executives are looking at ways to keep up with the pace of technology and adapt to changes to keep us relevant/profitable. I just don't know if there is a clear solution. Proposed changes as to what lines of business we can get involved in might need approval of Congress. For example, I think the legislation that recently passed the Senate would allow us to deliver alcohol. The senior management seems more focused now on cutting costs instead of being too innovative due to the restrictions on getting into new lines of business. An example of this would be a propsal to cut delivery of mail from 6 days/week to 5 days/week.

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 12 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.

I remember as a kid being told that if you want to mail a letter but avoid paying for postage, just reverse the mailing and return addresses, so that it would just be "returned" to the intended recipient. Would that actually work?

Asked by will b. almost 12 years ago

I have never thought of that or seen this happen. In your example, if I happened to see that letter in the outgoing mail that I picked up from a house, I MIGHT notice that there is no postage on it and that the address where the PO thinks the letter should go would be at the same house I picked the letter up from. When I pick up outgoing mail, I do look to see if there is postage on the envelope. If you dropped the letter in a blue collection box, the plan might work. The post office might "return for the postage" the letter. In that case the letter would go to the person you wanted it to. It is also possible that nobody picks up on the missing postage and then the letter winds up back in your hands which wasn't your intention. Either way, it is intentionally trying to steal a service which has to be paid for so I recommend NOT to do this.

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 12 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.

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

Asked by Rebekah almost 12 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.

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 11 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.

Do mailmen get paid more for working in bad neighborhoods?

Asked by Sunil almost 12 years ago

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

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 12 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.

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

Asked by marol almost 12 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.

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 almost 12 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.

Will the USPS deliver mail no matter what the weather conditions are?

Asked by Shel almost 12 years ago

Contrary to our unofficial motto about delivering in all weather conditions, we won't deliver if the weather is too severe. If there is too much snow on the ground, or a hurricane, or other severe weather conditions, a decision may be made to cancel delivery. This decision is usually made a local or district level. In my experience as a letter carrier, delivery has only been canceled a couple of times due to a snowstorm, so it isn't a very common event.

Have you ever been propositioned by a lonely housewife?

Asked by J.T. almost 12 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 I receive a piece of mail with no return address, should I not open it?

Asked by bev almost 12 years ago

Not necessarily. If it says "presort std" or "Non-profit" in the upper right hand corner (that is known as the indicia) then it is likely a solicitation or advertisement. If it has a stamp or a meter that indicates first class, I also wouldn't be too concerned as long as the item isn't thick or otherwise looks suspicious. Generally if it is a letter-size envelope that isn't too thick , I wouldn't be too worried. I can't guarantee that there aren't dangerous items sent through the mail, but it is rare. I don't mean to say throw all caution to the wind, but I don't like to be an alarmist....unless you have reason to believe someone means you harm.

Do you think the "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 12 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.

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 almost 12 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.

Am I supposed to tip my mailman during the holidays?

Asked by Aaron B. almost 12 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 almost 11 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.

Why have I never seen a mailman take a break?

Asked by Eugene65 about 11 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. 

Where do mailmen go to the bathroom during a shift?

Asked by brikhaus about 11 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 almost 12 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.

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 almost 11 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. 

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 11 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.

As an employee, are you able to transfer to other areas in the US if you wanted to? Or are you obligated to stay in the same city you hired out in?

Asked by April over 10 years ago

After working A certain amt. of time in one office you can definitely apply for a transfer through eReassign, an internal website for USPS transfers. You might have to be a career employee to do that, meaning not a temporary hire. When transferring to another location, you might lose seniority when it comes to picking vacation days or bidding on job assignments, but you won't have your pay cut if you transfer as the same occupation. (Letter carrier to letter carrier, for example) Fromy I office we have had many employees transfer out over the years. It sometimes takes awhile, but it can happen. If you want to transfer its a good idea to have a good work record re:attendance and safety, as the office you are going tO will want to know about it.   Thanks for your question. 

Is my mailman required to come to my house every day even if he doesn't have mail to deliver? I've had to hand deliver my rent checks the last two months because he hasn't showed up the days I've left them out to be delivered.

Asked by L Jensen over 10 years ago

if he has no mail To deliver then they aren't required to come to your house unless they can clearly see you have outgoing mail.

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

Asked by BlackberryGuy over 11 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.

Have you ever witnessed a carrier intentionally tamper with mail so it is un-deliverable (like tape over the address... I think a carrier did this to my package), steal the contents, etc.? If you haven't witnessed it, do you think it's likely?

Asked by Disappointed about 11 years ago

I haven't witnessed anyone deliberately tampering with a package, though every now and then a box arrives empty, so it could have broken open in transit or tampered with. If a carrier were to do this on any regular basis, customers would become suspicious and probably call the PO. If the PO rcvd too many calls about 1 route, I imagine they'd get suspicious and look into it. Overall, I think tampering and theft is rare but I am sure it happens in such a large organization. Thank you for the question. 

If it snows and I have a curbside mailbox, what's my obligation to make it accessible to the mailman? I've had some mailmen who delivered when the box was surrounded by 4 ft of snow, while others have skipped us when there were a couple inches.

Asked by G.C. over 11 years ago

I don't know the regulations exactly when it comes to curbside delivery. I can assure you it is printed somewhere, possibly on the USPS website. I think that the carrier has to be able to approach your mailbox, deliver and then drive away without leaving the vehicle. That said, some carriers I know would rather deliver the mail and not have to bring it back to the PO and then attempt delivery the following day. I understand the frustration with the inconsistency, but If I had to pick one way or another, it is acceptable for a carrier to skip a delivery if he can't get to a mailbox for the reason of too much snow or a car blocking the mailbox. The school of thought might be that if we deliver when there is 4 ft. of snow on the ground, what incentive does the resident have to clear a path to so the carrier can drive his vehicle directly up to the curbside mailbox?

actually, the money was just put into my home mailbox and disappeared after the mail was i assume the mail carrier has it?

Asked by $400-less_none-the-smarter almost 11 years ago

Sorry for the slow reply. The letter carrier possibly just took the envelope without looking to see if it was addressed or had postage and put it in the outgoing mail.  If that happened it is doubtful that it would appear again. Did u ever try contacting the PO? I am not sure they would be of any help. I understand this may be a tough one to solve. 

It's no secret that post offices have reputations for being insanely slow and inefficient. Does the USPS "care" about this and try and actively improve it, or is it just accepted because the public has little choice but to use their services?

Asked by Shana almost 11 years ago

That is true in many offices, probably more in urban environments. I don't know if it still happens, but a supervisor sometimes does a lobby sweep to see if anyone on line can be helped without having to see a clerk. (Like picking up mail that was on hold). They employ "mystery shoppers" who come in unannounced and make notes of the efficiency and accuracy of the clerks. I think that the USPS does care about providing good customer service, but it's hard to really effect change among workers who don't care that much. I guess I am fortunate to work in a decent office where most workers do a fair job. I don't think I have thoroughly answered your q, as I don't have inside knowledge of how upper management feels about their service. 

If mailman loses a package with insurance and signature required, does he get in a lot of trouble?

Asked by ButterBean almost 11 years ago

I am not sure about this. I have never seen it happen where a carrier lost his job or was disciplined. I suspect they may get in trouble if it can be proven that they were negligent In being careless with the item. Domestic Registered mail is probably the worst thing to lose. Custody of the item must be signed for with each transfer. It is a good question though As there can be VERY valuable items in the mail worth many 1000s of $$. 

Is it considered bad practice for mailmen to enter liquor stores in uniform?

Asked by Tom over 10 years ago

Not if they are delivering mail to the liquor store! But seriously, I don't think it looks good if they do, but I don't know of any rules that forbid it. We definitely shouldn't be drinking any alcohol on the job, but a reporter in the Phila. Area did an exposé that showed a few carriers spending a long time at a bar drinking when they should have been delivering mail.

I am 57, in good shape, and would be interested in being a mail carrier. I love walking. I took a sample postal exam and scored all questions correctly. Would the USPS hire a 57 year old?

Asked by Rob almost 11 years ago

Thanks for your question. I believe the USPS would hire a 57 y/o as long as you can physically do the job. There can be a lot of walking depending on the type of route you have. Some neighborhoods have mailboxes at the curb and you deliver directly from a postal vehicle.

I have my first shadow day this week and then start training next week as a carrier assistant. If you dont get a uniform allowance for the first 90 days, what am I supposed to wear while on the job?

Asked by Meghann almost 11 years ago

when you call the office you are going to, please ask them what to wear. If you won't be contacting them by voice before you report to that office, here is what I'd recommend. Pants (jeans) or shorts. A t-shirt, or single colored collared shirt with a couple of buttons. comfortable walking shoes. We generally wear black uniform-allowance approved shoes with an anti-slip endorsement.  SR/USA is what the label says. A baseball cap if it is sunny where you deliver. Bring a jacket or sweatshirt as well in case it is cold. Sunglasses. A pen. The office should provide you with a mail satchel and dog spray. Good luck and I hope it goes well for you! Bring your USPS ID card if you have already been issues one. 

How do you pass the drivers test for the CCA?

Asked by JTDN over 10 years ago

Having never taken the CCA driving test I can only offer tips.

1. Pay close attention to the driving instructor/examiner

2. obey all traffic signals and speed limits

3. 2 hands on the steering wheel while driving

4. Curb your wheels when parking

5 anytime you leave the driver's seat, the ignition must be off and take the key with you.

6 use your mirrors especially when changing lanes or pulling away from a curb

7 Try to avoid going into reverse unless it is necessary.

I had an old roommate drop off last months rent and (like a genius) they just put $400 cash in loose twenties in the mailbox. Didn't realize until after the USPS closed. Is it illegal to have anything in a mailbox except mail? What should I do now??

Asked by $400-poorer | none-the-smarter almost 11 years ago

Your roommate put the money in a sealed envelope into a blue collection box or a box inside the Post Office? if it happened today, you could possibly go to the Post Office that services that mailbox ASAP (early tomorrow AM) to see if they could retrieve it for you. Time is of the essence because mail from city collection boxare or POs are often sent directly to a mail sorting plant which would have no idea where the envelope came from. I don't think it is illegal to have anything else in a mailbox excerpt that it may never get to where it's going if its not a piece of mail. I hope this helps somewhat. 

If I moved out of my apartment & havent notified the post office for change of address and am expecting mail to go there. Can I just show the mailman my ID and get the mail from him instead of him putting it in the box and landlord writing no longer

Asked by AA over 10 years ago

I am not sure about this one.The mailman might have to put the mail in the box and not be allowed to hand it to anyone even if they had id. It is in your best interest to put in a change of address to your new residence or a PO Box.

This is probably a first .. But do you think a full-time college student can keep up with at least a part time job as a mail carrier? The salary is attractive to me, but I feel like leaving college for it would be an awful idea. Thank up for any help

Asked by David over 10 years ago

Possibly. I would think its a good idea to stay in college even if it means giving up this opportunity. There will probably be opportunities in the future for city carrier assistant positions. 

I used 1st class Int letter frm Michigan to Malaysia. Sent on 08/21 Current status: Processed Through Sort Facility, ISC Chicago IL 08/30. Does this mean that it has left USA? How long does it take usually? Thanks :)

Asked by Adelene over 10 years ago

The ISC is the International Service Center. There are several around the US that handle the incoming and outgoing international mail. For logistical reasons, they are often found at or near major airports. On the USPS website, I looked up 1st class mail int'l letter to Malaysia and it didn't give any time estimate of how long it would usually take. You can do a google search for "Michigan to Malaysia Mail Delivery Time" and see what results you get. My very non-scientific answer would be at least 10 days.

I live in the city limits of a small town. Many years agoI put a curbside mailbox at the foot of my yard because I wanted to. I am 60 yrs old now with health problems and requested my mail to be delivered back to my box on the porch.Now they wont.

Asked by Pam about 11 years ago

I am sorry to say that I don't know enough about this. If you had a medical note that you couldn't go to the curb, maybe that would help. The reason why it may not help is the PO might wonder how you get other things done. For example, a home health aide could get the mail for you. Curbside delivery is more efficient for the USPS Which may be why they are reluctant to honor your request. 

Depart USPS Sort Facility

Asked by micheal frazier over 10 years ago

Are you asking what this means? If you see this on the tracking info of a parcel, it usually means it has left a centralized sorting facility (often a Processing and Distribution Center). The next step is usually the destination PO, but it could go to another sort facility if the parcel is traveling a long distance. I hope this helps you!

Do you wear gloves when you deliver mail because of anthrax / ricin scares? Are postal workers really scared of that stuff, or do they just see it as a super-rare risk like a plane crash or something?

Asked by Izie almost 11 years ago

I don't wear gloves when handling the mail though some co-workers do. I did for a little while when my hands got very dry and cracked due to paper and working outside. During the Anthrax scare in 2001, some coworkers did wear masks/gloves for a short while. It definitely was a scary time but thankfully it didnt last long. Sadly, 2 postal workers did die of inhalation anthrax.  I would say most of my coworkers aren't scared of this because it is rare. 

How can I tip a PO Box mail man?

Asked by Joe Mass almost 11 years ago

Good question. If the deliver to a PO Box, they are almost always a Clerk who works inside the whole day. I don't know exactly how to tip them. If you know their name, maybe you can mail a letter to them c/o of the Post Office. Hopefully it would get to him/her. 

Did you relocate to where you were hired or did you wait until there was an opening in your area? Did you start as a carrier?

Asked by cjz almost 11 years ago

I am in the same office that I was hired in. I live about 35 minutes from work. I was hired as a carrier, but some clerks have become carriers and vice versa though they are represented by different unions and have a different pay scale. Carriers make a higher Wage. The exam I took was specifically for a certain area that would be hiring on Long Island, but not one specific office. 

I accidentally put a regular letter into an express mail container. will my mail get through? or will, it, ugh, be returned to me?

Asked by cckk almost 11 years ago

It is very likely that the mail will be delivered and not returned to you. This happens often, so don't be worried. 

I am in first grade and have a project about mail carriers. What is the best part of your job? What is the most challenging part of the job?

Asked by Stella over 10 years ago

That sounds like a good subject and I'll be gland to help. The best part of my job is the indpendenence I have most of the day while delivering my route. I can listen to a radio or iPod or just get lost in my thoughts. The route I deliver I am so familiar with so I can do it without much deep thought required. The most challenging part is when we get overwhelmed by mail volume and you feel like you can never get a handle on it. The reality is that this doesn't happen too often. The holidays create substantially more parcel business but that's about it. People don't mail as many holiday cards as in the past. It would also be a challenge if the USPS decides to cut delivery from 6 days/week to 5 days/week. This would make the 5 days that we deliver mail so much heavier. I hope this doesn't happen unless the overall mail volume continues to drop. I hope this helps!

I am a female thinking about becoming a city letter carrier. Will I be safe? Also, I can only work Monday-Friday. Can I do this?

Asked by Kelsie almost 11 years ago

We have quite a few female carriers In our office. As far as it being safe, I would say it is, but I don't have a female's perspective on it. The woman must be assertive in rebuffing any unwanted advances and be aware of their surroundings. I know it is a vague answer. As far as only working Mon-Fri that would likely be a problem since we presently deliver mail mon-Sat and new hires rarely get their choice of schedule. 

As a city carrier assistant are you driving the truck ? and how flexible is the post office with scheduling , im still trying to go to school full time. and am worried that i might have to let this opportunity go by

Asked by Noah over 10 years ago

You possibly would be driving a postal vehicle as a CCA. The PO is probably not too flexible in scheduling unless they have so many extra people to cover the assignments.   I don't know anybody in my office who was able to go to college full time and work.

Can a mailman use his Ipod or mp3 player while delivering mail on his route?

Asked by Brian over 10 years ago

When walking on my route, I use an iPod to listen to podcasts, but only cover 1 ear with it for safety reasons. I don't know the official rule on using one while delivering mail, but I've never had a problem. While driving, I think this would be frowned upon even if only 1 ear was covered. As you can see from most of my answers, I have a very limited view as to what goes on in other POs, so I don't like to speak in terms is absolute rules.

My mailman suddenly out of the blue stopped delivering my mail because I took the name card out of the box for ONE DAY. I had made the name card myself in the first place. All my paychecks were returned and I can't pay my bills. Can he do this?

Asked by Lori almost 11 years ago

I am not familiar with the name cards, but I am thinking that once he saw it removed, maybe he thought you moved. I still don't think he should have stopped delivering the mail if there were no Hold Mail or Change of Address request submitted. Did you call the PO to have this rectified?

I have been offered a job as a CCA, I am worried about the working hours, because I have two small kids and they are starting school, will I be able to drop and pick them around up 7 am to 6 pm.
What will be max working hrs. Is it shift system

Asked by Laksi over 10 years ago

I don't know what the hours sechedule would be like for a CCA. from 7a-6P would seem like a lot more than would be be offered at the beginning. Each office schedules CCAs as needed so I can't speak to how you would be used. I wish you well for sure. 

Did you always want to be a mailman? What inspired you? How much did you need to study?

Asked by MU almost 11 years ago

When I was younger I wanted to be one, but then I went to college and tried pursuing other interests. When my other jobs didn't work out, my father recommended taking the Postal Exam. I didn't need to study too much. The exam was some memory items, following oral instructions, and some address verification. I am not sure what the test is like nowadays. I don't know what inspired me. My brother is a clerk at another Post Office on Long Island. 

how do you know the difference between first st and 1st st, both could be the same street or two totally different streets

Asked by Tom Landry almost 11 years ago

that's a great question. I don't come across that problem in my community. The main problem here would be "ln" vs. "st" or "ave" and we don't have too many repeat street names (I.e. Cedar St, Cedar Ln). I am sure what you've described does occur in some places. In that case, maybe the PO would somehow request one of the parties to get their house # or street name changed, though that is unlikely. I would think that "first" an "1st" are synonymous but maybe you know of a situation where they meant 2 physically different streets. The key is to make sure whomever you give out or type in your address anywhere that it is exactly correct with the correct ZIP code. 

I just moved in to a 2-family in Brooklyn with an upstairs & downstairs apt. There's a flight of stairs up to my porch. There is currently a communal mailbox. I mounted my own box near my door. How can I tell the carrier I'd like my mail to my box?

Asked by Tom almost 11 years ago

I am not sure how to do this. One option would be to put your name on your mailbox and also tape a note to the communal box that says "please deliver mail for (your name) to the other mailbox" Also, using telling people your address please include the word "up" or "upstairs" after your street address. I don't know that Any of these options will work. You could also call or visit your local PO and speak with a delivery supervisor to see if this procedure is allowed. Thank you for your question.

How does insurance work if the package gets lost along the way? My tracking has said out for delivery for two weeks now. Do I get payment for the amount of insurance I paid for no questions asked?

Asked by ButterBean almost 11 years ago

There is a claims process to be followed when item is missing. I am not sure of the details of this process. There may be some questions asked, but if our tracking system shows as "out for delivery" and no scan afterwards that is a good indication that something went wrong and you'd probably be entitled to a refund. 

If I add a envelope in my PO box with a popped up sticky note for the postman, would he get it next time mail went in the slot? For leaving him a tip.

Asked by Joe Mass almost 11 years ago

Great idea. That should work out fine. That's actually how I give a tip to my letter carrier. I live in an apt. Building so we have a bank of mailboxes in the hallway. 

Do you ever feel lonely when on your route, or do you enjoy the alone time?

Asked by rootinpootin over 10 years ago

Great question. There are times when I wish people were around, but more often than not,I am okay with the solitude. I listen to podcasts about different subjects so I feel I am being paid to exercise and learn. The route I deliver is comprised of many residents who work during the day so I really don't see many. Then there are some senior citizens who seem To always be around. Fortunately, they aren't too long winded as they don't really give you extra time to chat for long. 


Asked by BLAKE over 10 years ago

I am sorry that I have no experience in filing grievances. I don't know what remedy you would look for as a remedy. I agree that it seems wholly unfair that a carrier who is qualified to drive and LLV wouldn't be giveN priority over one who doesn't qualify. It also seems unsafe To allow that.  I would recommend speaking with a shop steward if there is one, or the Regional Administrative Assistant if there is no NALC shop steward. 

Is it illegal to walk through my yard especially when there is a sidewalk from the sidewalk on street to our mailbox?

Asked by JulieAnne over 10 years ago

Generally for efficiency purposes I've always been told to take the most direct paths betweeN mailboxes even if that means going through a yard instead of out to a sidewalk and then back up a walkway to the next resident's mailbox. If an hour explicitly (in writing) requests we don't cross the lawN or yard, we would/should honor that request since it is their property. for the most part I get very few, if Any, requests not to cross a yard. 

my letters come back with a stamp saying postage due. what does that mean? and they wont send my letters this has happened about 3 times now same letters going to the same place.

Asked by Kelsey Barclay almost 11 years ago

Usually that means that insufficient postage was applied and the item is being returned To you for more postage. Was your letter shaped like a square or otherwise abnormally shaped? Those letters need .20 add'l postage. Was there an amt. written next to the "postage due" stamp? Usually one "forever" stamp is sufficient to cover the postage for a letter unless it weighs more than 1 oz.

Is there a way to find out how long an address has been in service or receiving mail?

Asked by Tiffany over 10 years ago

I am not sure about that. I would think as long as the building/house has Been in existence, it has rcvd mail service. Records obtained through your municipality can sometimes indicate when a structure was erected. 

If I mailed something on Saturday evening, but forgot to place a check in the letter, could I ask the mailman on Monday for my letter back?

Asked by VV over 10 years ago

Unlikely. Mail that is collected from either a residential mailbox or blue collection box is often dispatched to a central sorting facility the same day.  Even if the mail were not sent out to the central sorting facility, the volume of mail collected would probably preclude anybody from going through it to look for your 1 letter. 

if I mailed 2 letters around 1pm in the blue drop off box and then it started to rain hard an hour later, do the letters or mail in the blue box get wet!? It happened that day and even today!! Or r the letters untouchable from rain in that dropbox

Asked by Natalie over 10 years ago

The blue collection boxes that you are referring to are shaped in a way that is unlikely for any water to get inside from a rain storm. I don't recall ever collecting wet mail from those boxes. The only thought I have about this is if its pouring and the letter carrier goes to empty the box, there may be a short period of time where the mail gets wet. I would say its nothing to worry about. 

A few times my neighbor has come to me to tell me that a package for her was coming to my house. I've seen her going through the mailbox at the house in the corner that's 4-sale. I'm becoming suspicious of criminal activity. Should I be concerned?

Asked by Luis over 10 years ago

it sure sounds suspicious to me. why doesn't she just get the pkgs delivered directly to her house. I don't know if you should actually report this person, but you can say that you will no longer accept a pkg for her addressed to you. Also, she shouldn't be going through another house's mailbox. 

why wont mailman put small bubble mailer in mailbox takes it back to post office and wont redeliver

Asked by k.j1111 almost 11 years ago

I am not sure why he would do this. Generally if an item will fit in a mailbox and doesn't need a signature,it should be delivered like any other piece of mail. Do they leave a notice for you to pick it up At the PO? If so, maybe when you pick it up,ask a supervisor why this might happen. Our job is to deliver mail, not to NOT deliver mail.

So I was waiting for a letter and the person that send me the letter didn't glue the back part of the envelope , just kind of put it through the inside the paper when u close the envelope. And is it possible that the letter fell cus it had an open .

Asked by shay over 10 years ago

It is possible that the letter fell out in transit. If the letter is found loose in the mail and it can be determined an address it belongs to, then it would probably be sent along. The envelope also should wind up either at the sender or recipient, possibly with a stamp saying "received unsealed" or "received without contents"

The mailman at my mother's house won't deliver my mail to her house, even though I use her address as my permanent address. (I have not sent a change of address from her house.) What can I do to have him deliver it there? I am not local.

Asked by Just Me over 10 years ago

It is surprising to me that a carrier would purposely not deliver mail for a certain name if there is no forwarding order for that name FROM that address. I guess the mail is being returned to the sender? My recommendation is for you to see if you can contact the PO that services your mother's house and make it clear that mail for you should be delivered to as addressed (to your mother's house). Another option would be for your mother to speak to the letter carrier directly and say that her son (you) should have his mail delivered as addressed. I hope this helps. 

do mailman usually check the box im waiting for taxes and it has been a while. i recently put my name one the mailbox for this reason but i watched mailman and he was in routine and didn't even looked like he payed atention

Asked by Alex almost 11 years ago

I don't know what other carriers do, but I pretty much know every name that goes to each house on the route I deliver. The route I deliver isn'tvery transient so it is easy to do that. if I am not sure about the name going to a certain address, I put a question mark next to the addressees name and deliver it. By doing this I hope that if it is incorrect, they will leave me the letter the next day. many carriers may just deliver based on the address and not pay attention if there is a forwarding order on file or Not. The boxes I deliver mail to don't have a name label next to them. Unfortunately, there are some carriers who aren't very diligent at their job and they make mistakes more often than most. In the situation you are asking about if the mailman wasn't paying attention to the names, then a correctly addressed tax check should get to you. 

I order a lot of mail because I'm not able to get out and get things. Well my mail man will sit outside my house honking his horn. Mind u I have 4 babies 3 in diapers and if I don't go out and get it he will not leave it. He takes it to the office

Asked by Pauline almost 11 years ago

I can't see why the carrier doesn't come to your door if the items to be delivered can't fit in your mailbox. If the house is a certain distance from the road, they aren't required to come to your house. I don't know what that distance is. I'm sorry for your dilemma, but am nOT Sure what to do.

How do You keep the mail dry during rain ??

Asked by almost 11 years ago

Not easily. I have a walking route so when it rains, the mail will often get wet. Usually, I would carry a bundle of flats  on my arm so I Hope that the items on top are only exposed to the rain for a short time. I can also hold the mail close to my body so my rain helmet may deflect the rain away from the mail. If it is a real downpour you sometimes just wait it out. I don't come across that situation in NY too often. It is also not too common to get a complaint about wet mail. Maybe customers understand if it has been a wet day outside. We also can store some mail in our satchel which has a flap to keep out the rain. 

i put a letter for my neighbor in my mailbox with a stamp,he turns around a puts it directly in her the neighbor thinks i fooled with her mailbox and is saying that i commited a can i prove i didnt touch her mailbox?

Asked by mel over 10 years ago

You definitely didn't commit a crime based on the question you wrote. If I see a letter to go from one house to a future house on my delivery route, I usually won't deliver it. I put it through the mail processing system to be delivered the next day. I don't know what your mailman did was wrong since I don't know the rule about this. You can show this post to your neighbor to maybe convince her that it was the letter carrier and not you who deliverec the letter to them. 

when postal carriers have their weekly advertising paper thats delivered with regular mail, can they decide not to deliver that advertiser paper to business's and only households?

Asked by Jan over 10 years ago

We can't pick and choose who gets the weekly advertising paper. The mailer usually would specify "residential customer" or "postal patron", the latter meaning every address gets the mailer. I know for sure there are carriers in my office who make claims that such and such business or person doesn't want the weekly advertiser. They don't deliver weekly advertisers to each address. The truth is we don't have a choice. The mailer pays us to deliver the mail.

If the lock on my mailbox is broken, will the post office hold my mail?

Asked by Taylor over 10 years ago

I am not sure about this. If you called them and said you feel that your mail isn't secure where it's left with the broken lock, maybe they would hold it at the PO until the lock is fixed. In your situation, I am not sure who has responsibility to fix the lock. The PO or  you the customer. Thanks for your question.

I accidentally put a FedEx envelope in the us mailbox that was next to the FedEx box. (I know, real dumb!):-(
How do I retrieve it?

Asked by Patricia over 10 years ago

I know this answer may be a little late, but I think the PO might just put it in the FEdEx box for you but I can't say for sure. We wouldn't just discard it. Did you try contacting the PO that services that mailbox?

So I just got hired as an RCA 45 minutes away from my house. Would it be bad if I found another CCA job closer to my home in like the first month and asked to leave. Also if RCAs drive their own car do they get paid for the gas they use?

Asked by Donald over 10 years ago

I am not sure if it would be bad or good. From an outsider POV,it would make sense to work at a closer office if there is no compelling reason to travel to the further office. I don't know if RCA get extra gas money for using their own car. It may already be included in the daily pay for the route. City carriers do get paid for mileage and for parcels they deliver if they use their own vehicle. You can try to contact the NRLCA to answer that q. 

This is re: the new purchased home in Fontana, Ca. There is a mail box by the front door of the home. He is claiming I need to buy a pedestal mail box and have it torwards the street. I tried looking up Code for this & I can't find nothing.

Asked by Carlene over 10 years ago

To follow on to your previous Q, I don't know anything about forcing someone to move a box to the street from the house. I know it is more efficient for the USPS to have curbside delivery. Could you call the PO to see what they say? I have a feeling you'll get some bureaucratic runaround as to why you need to purchase a box for street delivery. If you live on a rural delivery route, you would definitely need a curbside box, but I suspect you live on a city route due to the fact that a mailbox was near your front door when you purchased the house. 

I'm an RCA for the Post Office myself for the last 6 months. Can you explain the differences between the City and Rural Carriers that you have noticed in the last 13 years that you have worked? I have noticed many similarities and differences.

Asked by RuralWayne almost 11 years ago

we have a couple of rural carriers in our office. I think the main difference is that the rural carriers are not manaGED as closely as city carriers. They usually work a lot less hours than a city carrier and can go home when the job is done. They are paid a set amt. each day whether it takes 4 hrs or 8 hrs to complete the route. Rural carriers use their own vehicles sometimes and dont wear uniforms.  Rural carriers and City Carriers are represented by different labor unions and have separate collective bargaining agreements with the USPS. There are pros and cons to each craft, but I think having a rural route Usually means getting to go home much earlier than city carriers.  Each year there is a mail count for the rural carriers when the route is adjusted up or down based on volume. This results in either a raise or lowering of their salary. 

My mailman is trying to change my mailing address without my permission in the middle of receiving important legal and federal documentation. He refuses to see me and the post office consists of two people. Can I legally stop him?

Asked by Wilson over 10 years ago

How do you know he is trying to change your address? Are you receiving notification of such info. I would say it is illegal for a mailman to change anybody's address without proper authorization from the person who the mail is addressed to. If you can't get any resolve from your local small PO, I'd recommend calling the district office or maybe even the postal inspectors if you feel it is criminal what is being done. Call 1-800-ASK-USPS. Good luck as I don't have any real insight into this issue.

I order something from Ebay, but I never rec'd it. The shipper provided a tracking number & when I checked it, the packaged was marked delivered. The problem is that it was never delivered to ME! Now the shipper wont refund my money. What can I do?

Asked by Hazel over 10 years ago

It is possible that the package was delivered to the wrong address if it shows as delivered. I don't know what can be done. The tracking just proves that the item was delivered (somewhere). Most reputable shippers would take your wORD for it that you didnt't rcv the item And refund your money. 

I just purchased a house in Fontana, Ca. We are in the process of fixing the home before we move in. The post man told us we have to buy a new mail box and put it near the street within 10 days of moving in. I can't find anything online about it

Asked by Carlene over 10 years ago

Congratulations on your house purchase. What has the letter carrier been doing until now and did your house have a mailbox to begin with?  I have no information on the time frame that a mailbox has to be put up. I do, however know that the letter carrier doesn't need to deliver the mail if there is no proper mail receptacle available. I don't know the limit, but at our office, we'll usually hold the mail for 10 days if we know a new resident is coming but not moved in yet. After that, it is possible that the mail can be returNed to sender as "No Mail Receptacle".

I had someone send mail to me on August 1st. They live in the same state. It should've been here already. Anyway, my question is, if they forgot 1 number of my zip code(1234 instead of 12345) what would you say happened to the letter?

Asked by Johnny over 10 years ago

You should have rcvd the letter by now. If they left off a digit in the ZIP code but the remainder of the address is correct, I think the letter would find its way to you. At worst it should be returned to sender. I can't think of anything else that would happen with the letter 

My mailbox was ranned over this morning and is on the ground. I will try getting it back up till tomorrow afternoon. My question is, what is the mailman mostlikely going to do with my mail? Put it inside, even tho its on the ground? Or take it back?

Asked by Kary1989 over 10 years ago

I am not sure what the mailman would do. If it were me, I'd deliver it to you even though it means getting out of the postal delivery vehicle. After several days, I may leave a note requesting that you fix the box or get a new one. I also may stop delivery until a new mailbox is put up but I wouldn't return the mail to the sender unless you waited a very long time to fix the mailbox (which isn't what you are indicating at all)

i just want to reiterate that is what I would do and that doesn't mean the same for other letter carriers. 

I sent a letter to a friend in a county jail, found out later they had been transfered a day and a half after i sent it, to another county jail nearby. Im an hour away, Its been a week, it hasnt been returned to me is it safe to assume they got it?

Asked by Krystill Minnesota over 10 years ago

It's possible that the mail would have been forwarded to the nearby jail. I am not familiar with if jails do that. If you don't get it returned to you I would hope that the jail staff at the old jail sends your letter to the nearby jail where your friend is. I am not an expert on this but I'm sure it's common for inmates to be transfered and people writing to them may not get the news right away.

Thanks Dave for all your helpful information! I read your blog frequently and learn a lot. Are you happy in your profession? If you roll back time would u? What do you like most/least? If your child was thinking about becoming a CCA what do u say?

Asked by Dustin over 10 years ago

Dustin, I appreciate your kind words and am surprised by the number of q's being asked about being a letter carrier. as to whether or not I am happy with my profession isn't an easy answer.i generally like it and get along with most of my co-workers (though you may only see the, 2+ hours per day in the office) and am fortunate to work in a fairly affluent and safe community. There are times where I doubt that I can do this an entire career and other timsay where I know this is one of the higher paid jobs (and stable) without having a skilled trade. I have been out sick for much of this year and hope to return to work soon. Not once during that time was I concerned about my job being in jeopardy. If I could roll back time, I am not sure what job I would do. Nothing pops into my head right now that I'd rather be doing for a similar wage. I enjoy the independence of delivering mail and not having much office drama. I also like some of my co-workers and occasionally socialize off work. I don't know that I have a least favorite part. The management can sometimes be irrational in their demands but I try to not let it bother me and do the best I can. I would recommend being a CCA as long as they knew the pros and cons of the job. Once you are a CCA, you may eventually become a regular letter carrier which provides higher pay, paid holidays, health insurance options, and sick/annual leave. As a CCA, I believe you get only a little (if any) of the above benefits. Thanks for your thorough question. Feel free to keep asking. 

Do you get done delivering mail early on Saturday? or is it like any other typical day for mail?

Asked by vanagain over 10 years ago

I don't get done any earlier on Saturday's. the mail volume is sometimes lighter but it doesn't often make a huge difference. For carriers who deliver to offices that are open only M-F, they might finish earlier but are then given additional tasks to make up for that "down time".  Good Question!

Hey Dave, I recently took the drug screen about 2 1/2 weeks ago for a job with the usps and have still not yet got a response or further instructions as to what's next. Do you think this is normal? Is it because the years almost up? What's it opinion

Asked by Matt E about 10 years ago

Hello. I wish you well in your pursuit of a career with the USPS. I don't have any specific insight on how long it should take to get a reply after taking a drug screen, but 2.5 weeks doesn't seem like an overly long period of time to have elapsed so far without hearing a reply. I don't think the fact that the year is almost us has anything to do with the fact that you haven't heard a reply yet. At least I don't think that would have any great impact on the reply time. 

if you don't have 2 year documented driving experience. is there any problem for job cca 1 usps job.

Asked by ani over 10 years ago

I don't know the answer to this question., but here are some thoughts. It is very important to have a safe driving record since safety is often talked about at work. Being injured on the job is very costly to the USPS, and if one is injured during their early employment with the USPS, they could be terminated. If the requirement is to have a 2-year documented driving experience, I don't know any way around that rule. It is there for a!

I just shipped a package (USPS Priority w/tracking #) & realized (2 late 2 intercept @ my post office) that I wrote 1 digit in the house # incorrectly on address label.
How can I notify the receiving post office? Don't want wrong person to get it

Asked by Elizabeth over 10 years ago

I would call 1800AskUSPS to see if you can get the phone # to the destination PO or at least get the message to them about the errant address. It is possible that the letter carrier who sees the package at the receiving PO knows where it's supposed to go and will deliver it accordingly. That depends on the carrier's familiarity with the names on their route and/or if they even receive the errantly addressed package at all. That would occur if one street is broken up into 2 or more carriers which is common based on the route layout and size of the street.  I hope it works out for you

I was just hired as a RCA today. How do the raises work? Do I even get raises or benefits as an RCA?

Asked by Donald over 10 years ago

From what I understand RCA get certain types of leave (maybe sick or annual), an hourly wage and i dont think any other benefits. The hourly wage might be converted to the rate for the amt. of hours a rural route is evaluated for. An example would be that you get $120 for the day no matter how long (or short) it takes to complete the route. A good source on this might be the NRLCA, the bargaining unit that negotiates contracts with the USPS. you can look them up on the web. Good Luck!!

how can I find out is someone is using my name to have this delivered to there house using my name

Asked by jenn over 10 years ago

I am not sure. As long as you are getting all the mail you think you should receive and aren't having any unauthorized charges to your credit card or deductions from your checking account, there is probably nothing wrong. Is it possible that the other house has someone with the same name as yours. As long as the name being used isn't connected to you financially or legally I don't think you need to worry about ID theft in this case.

Why does it take so long to receive letters from camp probations, is it because the mail man has to drive up the hills and get outgoimg mail,?

Asked by shayla over 10 years ago

I have answered your question below.  I don't know that the terrain would have anything to do with why mail takes longed to be processed. The probation camp should be rcvng matable least 5 days per week, and probably 6. 

I got a letter from MA with a self addressed return envelop inside, which I'm sending from NY. But it's pre-stamped with postage that says "mailed from zip code 01107" which is the MA code. Should I put a new stamp on it to send it from NY?

Asked by Lisa over 10 years ago

I would suggest that you can put that letter with pre-paid return postage in the outgoing mail. Technically I suppose you should put on a new stamp to send it from NY, but it's probably not necessary. mail processors generally don't look at each piece of mail to See if a metered letter was mailed from the correct zip.

If I have tracking on a package and the recipient refuses delivery, does USPS still provide tracking information until it gets returned to the sender?

Asked by dhflannagan over 9 years ago

I believe that the tracking should be for the entire time that the package is in transport whether it is going to the recipient or back to the sender. I have rarely come across this situation, but if I saw a package being returned to the sender who lived on my route I would make sure to scan it on delivery back at the sender's house. But like everything that I comment on here, I use the word "should" because I come across many inconsistencies in when items are scanned. The management is fairly vocal in my office in making sure we scan all items with a tracking barcode (which is a good thing), but I lack confidence in the USPS as a whole in doing things correctly and consistently.  Thanks for the question. 

I accidentally shredded an envelope that had been returned to my PO box because I had the wrong address on it. I needed the proof from the returned envelope to prove that I had mailed out the bill on time. Is it possible to retriev that information.

Asked by Beatriz Perez over 10 years ago

Not that I'm aware of. The PO doesn't keep track of items that it returns for wrong addresses. You could tell the company that you owe money to what you did when you got the envelope back, but I don't know that it will be enough to have them waive any  penalty or late fees.

I sent a letter with two stamps that I bought, but they were sore off wet with oil I think, it looked like oil, it wasnt wet , it looks wet. But they are stamped perfectly, can the post office still mail my letter ?

Asked by Shannon over 10 years ago

I think if you put the letter in the outgoing mail with the stamps looking perfectly in place and that they don't come off, there shouldn't be a problem. I don't know that I've ever seen what you are writing about.

what do you do when mail is being delivered to someone who never lived at that address- a relative, and former tenant did- in violation of now expired lease, former tenant allowed persons to occupy apt, and now mail comes in the relative's name-

Asked by arverneny14 over 10 years ago

I have to be honest in that I don't really understand your question entirely. If you mean whether its okay or not okay for someone to receive mail at an address where they don't reside, I would generally say that is okay as long as those who actually occupy the unit/house agree to accept mail for that person. That is common for automobile insurance. One may physically live in high risk neighborhood for auto theft or vandalism, but tell the insurance company that they reside somewhere else. That other place, in this example, will have agreed to receive mail on behalf of the policy owner. It is prety unethical on the part of the automobile owner, but I can't comment on the legalities of it.

are mailman allowed to hand mail stay to a person or is he suppose to put it in the mail box

Asked by jbo over 9 years ago

I believe it is fine to hand the mail to a person if they are reasonably sure that is the person who lives at the address where the mail is going to or authorized to receive the mail. We are advised not to hand mail to young children or if there is a dog present who could possibly lunge at the mailman's hand as it is being given to a patron. That is mostly for safety reasons. 

An Express envelope came to my door which was supposed to go to my PO Box. The man who came to my door was not dressed in USPS attire. He asked me if there was anything hazardous in it and had me open the package in front of him. What's up with that?

Asked by David P over 10 years ago

It does not sound legitimate for someone to ask you to open a package or Express envelope in front of them. The employee should have at least identified themselves as a supervisor or postal inspector. It is possible maybe thought there was something hazardous in there, but I don't know the procedure for what is to be done. There are legal rights that come with protecting the contents off Express Mail or First Class Mail.

I heard recently that there was no longer overnight shipping and it could take up to 2 days. Is that true? or is there still overnight option?

Asked by anagain over 10 years ago

Depending on the destination and originating office, it is possible that overnight shipping may not be available. I don't think this has changed much except that the name of Express Mail is now called Priority Mail express.  The overnight shipping option  is still very much an available product. 

I have my mailman ask if he can use our bathroom everyday he delivers Mon-Fri. I do have a business but it is a private bathroom for employees only. You have to walk through the office to get it. Your thoughts?

Asked by Tom H. almost 11 years ago

I would think its a nice courtesy that you extend to the letter carrier as we sometimes have limited options as to where we go to the bathroom. There is certainly no rule that says you have to let them use it, but its a nice courtesy. I am not sure how you would approach him to ask them not to use it. That may be a bit awkward. Does his/her use inconvenience your employees? Is the letter carrier respectful of the bathroom and doesn't mess it up? I've never had anyone decline me the use of a restroom, but if they did, I would hopefully just find another business/office to go to. 

Mr. Mailman, what if you made a mistake and used a government issued bulk mail permit for personal use? I didn't use town funds to pay for the mailing, there was no monitory cost to the town but I am about to be questioned by a prosecutor

Asked by bulk bum over 10 years ago

I don't believe it is legal to use a bulk mail permit for personal use, especially if it is a taxpayer-funded government account. I am not a lawyer so I can't give you any legal advice in this forum. If it were me in the situation, I'd own up to the mistake, show that you paid for the mailing with your own funds. Again , an atty may tell you something different So if this might result in a legal action against you,consulting an atty may be a good idea. 

How do I sign up for Postal Exam? I made an profile on I called the post office and they told me to do it online. Do I take the exam before applying for any jobs??

Asked by cjz over 10 years ago

I Don't know when and how frequently the postal exam is given. you did the thing to create an online profile at I just have no idea what happens after that. Most employees hires today are considered Postal Support Employees or City Carrier Assistants. Good luck. We are definitely hiring City Carrier Assistants in the NY area. 

Recently started a business on eBay. One of the orders was marked as DELIVERED on the same day it was shipped, but the final destination is my own city. It's been seven days. What does this status mean? Will the shipment still reach its destination?

Asked by Freddy G over 10 years ago

I don't know why there would be a "delivered" scan on a package that was shipped the same day as the status you are referencing. That status usually means that the package was delivered. If the destination city is the same as the sending city, 7 Days seems like way too Long. Inside a city is usually the next day or 2. I don't know if your package will arrive at its destination but hope it will. You may call 1 800 ASK USPS with the tracking # to see if there is any more info/suggestions. 

How heavy a package can you pick up from my house? I heard no more than 14 oz. once; another time I heard no more than a pound (16 oz)?

Asked by Peg. over 10 years ago

If the Package only has stamps, I believe 13 oz. is the maximum weight for pickup. If you use an electronic shipping label (eBay, Amazon) then the maximum is 70lbs. Also, people sometimes return merchandise with a pre-paid return shipping label. That, too, has no limit. the reason for this rule has to do with aviation security aNd being able to track down a sender should a package contain illegal or dangerous contents, including explosives. 

Thank you for such a prompt response! Yes, it was media mail, but I still feel violated. I am new with all the Ebay mailing. I won't go there anymore, he made me feel terrible, embarrassed I understand why there is never anyone in that post office.

Asked by FeelViolated over 10 years ago

From what I've seen, most employees will just accept you at your word if you say it's a book/CD/music which you are mailing. The exception would be if it felt like something obviously different like a t-shirt or handbag. I am sorry that you are having a bad experience there, but I guess that is also why Media Mail is usually much cheaper than Priority Mail or Standard Parcel rates. 

I want to become pen pals with convicts, some of which are murderers. I really do not want to use my real name in these letters. If I open up a PO Box legitimately, will mail addressed to another name with the correct box number make it to my PO box?

Asked by Frank over 10 years ago

I think when you open a PO box, you need to show ID and give your real name as authorizEd to rcv mail there I don't know that the PO Box clerk will accept mail for a different name addressed to the proper PO Box. One other option is to use a commercial mail receiving agency like the UPS store. I don't know if they are as strict with their requirements for receiving mail. 

What time do you get to howard street to deliver mail

Asked by tiffany over 10 years ago

I don't know what city you are in so I can't tell you what time mail will be delivered to Howard St. Even if I did know the city you are referring to, I may not know the time that the mail gets delivered.

hi. I myself am a part time mailmman. I was wondering if i ever wanted to go to school would i have to take night classes or could i ask my supervisor/postmaster to allow me 1 or 2 days out of the week to go to school?

Asked by F8 about 10 years ago

I don't know the answer as to whether or not your supervisor will allow you the one or two days off to attend school instead of attending night school. Many POs are a little bit short-staffed so my guess is that they might be reluctant to allow you the time off each week but it wouldn't hurt to ask. I'm sorry I don't have any insight on your specific situation to give you any better advice. 

How many deliverys to the same house can you do a day

Asked by Cameron Flynn over 9 years ago

Generally we will go to each address 1X per day Monday-Saturday. Exceptions to this might be is if we have an Express Mail delivery for a house and the regular letter carrier won't reach that address on time. During a busy holiday season when there are many parcel deliveries it is common to have a couple of deliveries made: once by the regular letter carrier and once by the parcel delivery carrier. In a city environment where the letter carriers do not have delivery vehicles, a parcel post carrier will deliver the parcels and the regular letter carrier will deliver the traditional mail and small parcels.

I recently moved into my new home and my letter carrier has refused my mail delivery until I convert to a curbside mailbox, this also includes large packages. Is he allowed to make such request where I have to comply in order to receive my mail?

Asked by New experience! about 10 years ago

I don't know the USPS rules on a letter carrier requesting a mailbox be converted to curbside. I assume that you currently have a mailbox near a door to your house or affixed somewhere on your house which requires the letter carrier to leave their vehicle to affect delivery. I would think that large packages would need to be brought to the door regardless of where your mailbox is placed. Where are the mailboxes installed on the other addresses in your neighborhood? I'm sorry I don't really have any insight on your situation though I would think the request would have to come from a higher source than your own letter carrier and be made to a large area and not just you. One option would be to call your local post office and speak to a delivery supervisor about this request or even the postmaster or the district office which services your community.

Can a rural letter carrier take mail out of a box after they already placed mail in the box? Today after mail was delivered, she came back and took my mail out of my mailbox and drove off.

Asked by L. Works over 9 years ago

I don't know the answer to this question. I also am not sure if they are allowed to take mail out of the box if it has been properly delivered, nor am I sure why. Is it possible that this rural carrier misdelivered a mailpiece and then went back to retrieve it? Do you know if it was actually your mail? Again, if the mail was properly delivered then there should be no reason that I can think of for the carrier to remove the mail. If it happens repeatedly or you think it is something vindictive, I'd recommend calling the PO and mentioning it to a delivery supervisor. If you just saw it once and are just curious about it, I'd just let it go. 

i think my mail carrier i is taking my mail

Asked by joseph bennett about 10 years ago

I am not sure how you can prove the mail carrier is taking your mail unless some specific items aren't appearing. If they are disappearing you may call the PO and mention it to a delivery supervisor or postmaster though I'm not sure what can be done. It is quite a serious offense to actually be taking somebody's mail so I hope this isn't actually happening.

I live alone in an apartment complex that has about 40 other apartments. Sometimes I forget to pick up my mail, and my mailbox gets really full. What do you guys do when this happens? Does it happen often? How do I know if this happened?

Asked by C. Davis over 10 years ago

I have rarely come across this situation but I would say that after awhile, the letter carrier could hold the mail at the PO and say "box full" and put in the mailbox has bringing the overflow mail to the PO. we would usually hold the mail for 10 days before  returning it to sender. 

I have been called for an interview for a City Carrier Assistant I position. Do you have many CCA's at your post office? Do you have any idea about how many hours they average a week?

Asked by April almost 11 years ago

Congratulations and I hope you are hired as a CCA. In my office we have zero, but we will be in desperate need of a couple once the summer vacation season starts. As far as hours, I can't say for sure how many you'd work, but when I was a Part time flex (PTF) which was the precursor to TEs or CCAs I consistently worked 40+ hours per week. We really didn't have much choice whether to work or not since we would fill in as needed to cover vacation, sick leave, or a route that was too large for one carrier to handle. I know CCAs start at approx $15/hr. I am glad the USPS realizes that they need to hire more people to staff the offices properly. 

SO - I get a lot of mail addressed to previous tenants of my apartment (who I don't know at all). How can I stop this? If I put a note on my box "current residents only" then listing the current residents, can the mailman cooperate?

Asked by TiredOfTheGames almost 11 years ago

I would think the mailman would cooperate if you left a note clearly statiNG who the current residents are. Please keep in mind that we would still deliver mail that says "or current resident" even if it still had a previous tenants name. If you get a regular piece of mail with the name of a previous tenant you can right on it "moved" or "doesnt live here" and leave it where the letter carrier can see it. I hope this helps. 

Mail carrier continues making same mistake of leaving wrong mail in my mailbox. He has been delivering our mail from the first day we bought our house (5 years ago). Is he or USPS testing my honesty?

Asked by Ana about 10 years ago

Ana, I can't answer why the letter carrier is consistently leaving the wrong mail in your box on a regular basis. Is your house number clearly visible and is the mail that is put in your box clearly not for your address? I'd recommend a couple of remedies, though I don't know if it will work. 1) Affix a note which won't come off to the inside of your mailbox, or on the outside which is visible and states that only mail for (your names) should be delivered to your mailbox. 2) If you see your letter carrier, you may address this issue with them. 3) You may call the PO which that carrier works from and speak with their delivery supervisor explaining that you continuously get wrong mail in your mailbox. I do hope that works for you as accuracy is part of of our job requirement and I try to take pride and delivering mail correctly on the first attempt.

is it against protocall to get out out of truck and deliver mail if somebody parked and blocked the mail box

Asked by isaiah over 10 years ago

It isn't against protocol for a carrier to get out of their truck to deliver the mail If the mailbox is blocked by another vehicle.  It is a decision that the carrier can make. I think if it was an occasional event, the carrier may get out to deliver the mail, but if a box was blocked daily, he may leave a note saying that delivery won't be made until the situation is rectified. I think most carriers would rather deliver the mail than have to bring it back to the PO for delivery the next day. 

I was just hired as a CCA and training starts in a few weeks. Are there any tips you can give me, i hear there are high turnover rates and im a bit nervous that i will not be able to complete the tasks.

Asked by Peanut over 10 years ago

I have heard the same thing you have regarding high turnover rate among CCAs. My recommendation is don't pay any attention to anyone who is very down on the job or says "what a mistake you've made coming here". When being trained pay attention to your on the job trainer and ask questions if you have any. When delivering mail, try to be conscientious about delivering it to the proper address as opposed to doing it quickly. Be polite and respectful to your co-workers and postal customers. Have a good attitude and if anyone in management says you aren't working quickly enough say "I'm doing the best I can". Also, when driving a postal vehicle, be very careful, always turn off the engine when leaving your seat, and lock the truck if it will be out of your sight. 

Do you have a legal obligation to return mail if it has your address, but your neighbors name? Even if said neighbors are aware they are using incorrect address, but continue to do so anyway. This includes bills, special order packages.

Asked by fed up over 9 years ago

I can't cite any legal regulations here due to my lack of knowledge on this subject. I would recommend that you return any mail that comes to your address with their name or give it to them directly. It sounds to me that you don't want to do either of those suggestions. Technically, I can't see where you are wrong in keeping or discarding the mail/packages you are referring to but I believe it is morally wrong to keep these items and not return them or give them to your neighbor.  If you don't have a good relationship with this neighbor, you could just put the mail back in your mailbox or a blue USPS collection box and write on the mail "person doesn't live at this address." Again, in my opinion, the choice is yours what you do with this mail. Thanks for writing. 

My boyfriend just got hired for ptf rural carrier. We planned a vacation before he appied for 1 week and it's in 4 months. Will they be nice and let him take it? we don't care if it's not paid vacation time, we just can't cancel our reservations.

Asked by ut-ohs over 10 years ago

I Can't answer that re: whether they will let him take off or not. If airline tickets or other travel was booked pre-hire, he could always use that as evidence that it was planned earlier. It is up to each mgr or supervisor whether or not to approve time off. I hope they are flexible and give the time off whether paid or not.

New tenants moved into a house my wife and I rent, and we all share 1 mailbox. The new tenants told our mailman that they were the only people living there, and our mail was returned to sender for 1 month until we corrected it. Is this legal?

Asked by Trevor over 10 years ago

Your new tenants should not have said that as long as you are rcvng mail at that house. i assume you are the homeowner. They should put it aside for you, but not have told the mailman that you don't get mail there. I  am glad that the situation has been rectified. As to whether or not it was legal or not, I am not a legal expert. It seems very inconsiderate what was done by the tenants. 

I got a mail from USCIS on 3rd in my mailbox (I didn't know about it) A new mailman took my letters from my mailbox on 11th, he said my mail box was full so he took it and returned it to USCIS on 11th. He took my name off the box too can he do tht

Asked by ANUJ almost 11 years ago

I have no idea if he was allowed to Do that. If a mailbox is full and the mail is unclaimed, I am not sure I'd automatically send it back or take a name out of the box (not that we have names in the box where I deliver mail---single family homes). I'm sorry that i don't have much more insight into your problem. know that dealing with USCIS for a replacement letter may not be that easy Either being a government bureaucracy. 

Hi Dave,
It states on USPS website that Express Mail items are available for hold at a local office. In other words, just hold at the office and don't try to deliver the item. I haven't found that to be true, PO delivers every item. Is this possible?

Asked by Jeff over 10 years ago

The sender can request that the Express Mail item be held for pickup at the destination PO. I don't know how often it is used. You are correct that most Express Mail items are delivered as addressed. Keep in mind that I'm a letter carrier so I probably wouldn't see the hold for pickup items. Good question!

I want to tip my mailman in cash at Christmas. I realize this is against USPS regs. What will happen if I do so?

Asked by Kate over 9 years ago

Kate, I first want to say thanks for using this Q and A board on jobstr. It is fun interacting and trying to help others with postal-related questions. I am no expert and the views are my own. I'd probably get some type of communication from management (and not in a good way) if they found out I was doing this. So far, so good. Anyhow, to answer your question after my long-winded introduction, yes, most of us will certainly accept tips during the holidays even though it is against USPS regulations. Please don't fell any pressure to do so as I fell that is completely unethical and plenty of people that I deliver mail to don't tip me at all which is fine. We are all paid a fair salary with benefits and a have a retirement plan. If you do tip your mailman at Christmas in cash, the only thing that I hope happens is that you get a thank you acknowledgement. I think that is very thoughtful of you. Merry Christmas to you.

I picked up a 6 inch by 9.25 inch bubble mailer at the store. Do mail carriers pick these up (if I put stamps on it) or do I have to bring it to a USPS store? Is it dependent on the weight or label? Thanks!

Asked by over 10 years ago

If the item weighs 13oz. or less, your letter carrier should pick this up if you have put the proper postage on it and used stamps only. You can determine the proper postage by using the postage calculator at If you use electronic postage such as click 'n ship or postage via eBay, PayPal, or amazon (for example) the 13 oz. rule doesn't apply and your letter carrier should take it regardless of weight. If the item weighs more than 13 oz. and contains only stamps it would have to be brought to a PO and presented directly to  a postal worker to be mailed. 

OMG! After asking you about my on-line application, I got an email inviting me to take the a behavioral assessment test. After I took it, I got an appointment to take the 473E. Have you got tips on how to approach the MEMORY portion?

Asked by FF over 10 years ago

Congratulations on getting to the next steps in the application process. Is the memory portion where they give you 5 addresses or names in each of 5 boxes and you have to answer which address or range of addresses goes in a particular box? That is how it was when I took the exam many years ago. i honestly can't remember how I was able to do that. There is some trick or good method to remembering the next box assignments but I don't know what it is. Maybe if you do a web search for tips on how to do the memory section of the 473E. I didn't seem to have any results with actual tips, but there are study guides that are sold to help you. I actually see that the memory section is different from the exam I took years ago. im sorry that I can't be more specific in assisting you.

im in the process of being a mail carrier and when I applied I was assigned a post office location far from my home and ii don't have a car.if im hired am I able to get transferred closer to where I live?

Asked by sam over 10 years ago

If you are hired as a letter carrier, it's likely you will be a City Carrier Associate (CCA). You'd be assigned to a specific post office which is where you'd be expected to work. You may ask to be hired at an office closer to home, but usually transfers take place after you have passed a probationary period (90 days I think) and worked in a location for at least 1 year. 

I just got interviewed for CCA position. Just wondering, how many years does it take to make career and what to expect the hourly rate if starting in California is $15.68. Also I'm kind of nervous about getting lost. Do carrier use GPS for route?

Asked by Nat over 8 years ago

I'll answer your second question first Nat. The carriers I work with (as well as I myself) use GPS on their smartphones to find streets and neighborhoods they may not be familiar with. I've been working in the same area for many years but sometimes get sent to streets I haven't been to in awhile. I break out the maps App on the iPhone to get me there. Management used to give out route maps to assist carriers but I don't know if they still do since GPS is easily available to most. Please be careful using it when driving. I try to picture the directions ahead of time so I'm not fumbling with the phone while driving. With regards to how long it takes to make career employee from CCA, it really depends on the attrition/retirement rate in your office/area. CCAs are usually made into career employees when a somebody retires or leaves the office or area where you work which would create a vacant position. It could range from a few months to several years to be converted from a CCA to career employee. In my opinion it is generally worth the wait. Your wages don't go up significantly when you become a career employee but you are entitled to health and retirement benefits and paid annual leave. If you access the NALC website and search for pay chart you can see what the wage progression is. You have to make sure you look at the section for CCA or Career letter carriers hired after 2013 I think as the pay scale is different than those hired before then. Good luck and work safely. The NALC is the labor union that represents city letter carriers employed by the USPS. I recommend joining that organization.

How long does an RTS for a package take?

Asked by CH over 10 years ago

I am not sure. It sometimes depends how quickly the office that you give it to dispatches it to be returned. I would think it should be promptly, but I can't say for sure. Sorry I can't be more specific. 

Do you check the intended addressee before delivery? If I sent a letter to someone's previous address using first class mail, will the letter be sent back to me? Also, how does a carrier keep track of an address's forwarding requests?

Asked by Old Address over 10 years ago

I do but not all carriers do, especially if they aren't familiar with the valid names at a particular address or is a substitute letter carrier. The route I deliver doesn't have many forwarding requests that I can't remember them all. But we also have "flags" at our sorting case to help us with knowing the forwarding requests. They stay active in the Computerized Forwarding System for 18 months. After that time, mail will be returned to sender with the endorsement "Unable to Forward"  or UTF.

In reference to the above question, I HONESTLY did make that mistake. I know it sounds fishy and the local PO won't believe me.. Hahaha. But I usually do ship priority and reuse my boxes. I just happen to be shipping first class international!

Asked by Kristie over 10 years ago

If a few days go by and you don't get the package back for additional postage I wouldn't worry about it. If it is sent back for more postage, nobody is going to be mad at you. You just might have to make up the difference between 1st cl International and Priority Mail International. 

If you get a job as a CCA, what is the likelihood that they will hire you permanently if they like you?

Asked by MK over 10 years ago

I don't know if it is a matter if they like you or not. As long as you are a good worker and safe worker and don't make too many mistakes that is usually enough reason to keep you. Attendance is also important. Once a permanent position opens then I think it is a matter of your hiring date as to when you will become permanent.  I haven't had any experience working with CCAs so I don't know if everything I said is correct. Good luck!

If my package arrived in the post office at 10:16 am, will my package come today?

Asked by Kir over 10 years ago

Not necessarily.  Carriers are often already out of the PO by that time. You should definitely rcv the package the next day at the latest. 

My mom is 82 and gets curbside delivery. she asked her letter carrier if he could bring her mail to the door. Thepostmaster said no way. Is there a way around this officious little twit?

Asked by Reggie over 10 years ago

I am not sure what can be done to change the situation re: curbside delivery for your Mom. The only thing I could think of is maybe a dr's note saying she is having trouble walking to the mailbox. I am not sure that it would have any effect on the PMs decision. The USPS is trying to encourage curbside delivery or cluster box units as a more efficient means of delivery.

After 13 years of doing the job does your body hurt? Do you have any job related injury due to the constant strain of your job such as casing mail or carrying your mail. If so does your work cover this if its not a specific event?

Asked by Dustin over 10 years ago

Dustin, Fortunately my body doesn't hurt due to the strain on the body and the repetitive motions on the job. There are quite a few co-workers who have hip, back, and foot pain. A couple of carriers have had joint replacement and returned to full duty, maybe a bit slower, but back at work. I don't think there is coverage for long-term illnesses if it is not specific. If the injury got to be so bad that you couldn't perform the job for more than 1-year you could apply for a disability retirement. Work, doesn't cover any short term disability. That is one reason you get 13 days of sick leaver per year. 

if the mail man takes ma mail cause i was out of town what should i do

Asked by thalia almost 11 years ago

Depending on how long you were out of town, the mail was probably being held at the PO you to pick up. If you were out for a certain amt of time and never contacted the PO, it's possible they returned the mail to sender. If a mailbox is full, the overflow is usually held at the PO until the cust. Mailbox is emptied. I am just giving you scenarios on what I think should happen. As much as there are sets of rules to be followed in this situation, nobody seems to know exactly what is correct and different carriers will handle it differently. 

Somebody who lives with me recently got hired by the post office. I've noticed bundles of mail. Not your catalog type stuff but more like cc bills, electric bills, bank statements etc. I'm torn because i want them to move out, if fired i'm stuck.

Asked by confilicted almost 10 years ago

I am not sure why you have a conflict with regards to the type of mail that a roommate/co-occupant receives and whether or not they work at the PO has to do with them living with you. It appears to me that this person has decided to use your address to receive mail from their creditors, financial institutions, utilities, etc. If they move out or you force them out, this person could have their mail forwarded to a new address. If they don't live with you anymore but there is still mail for them coming to your address, you can can return it to the letter carrier saying that they don't live with you anymore. Please re-write and re-submit your question a bit more clearly so I can understand the conflict you are having with the type of mail being received and this person living with you. Thank you.

I put a package in my out going box and when the mailman picked it up he said it was leaking. It had candy in it. What will happen to the package? Will it be delivered or expected or just thrown away

Asked by kortney over 10 years ago

I don't know for sure what would happen with your package. It could be returned to you for better packaging, delivered in the condition it was found, or re-wrapped by the USPS and delivered. I suppose they could throw it away if they can't figure out who it is intended for or who it came from. 

hey there i will be starting the cca postion soon. any advice?
- how long can it take to become "career" in queens?
- the allowance dose not cover much .
-must i wear strictly uniform or may i buy simular items

Asked by morgan over 9 years ago

Congratulations on being hired as a CCA. First I will answer your questions and then I may give you some advice.

1) I don't know how long it will take to become a career employee in Queens. I've heard that the mobility and promotions are quicker in urban environments due to turnover and the number of positions, but I have no way of verifying that. The suburban office where I work has 6 CCAs and I think they have all been here for less than 1 year.

2) The uniform allowance isn't too much, but it should cover your basics. After a couple of years, I have had more than enough to wear and use the uniform allowance mostly on footwear (expensive..$100/pair) and warm weather clothing.

3) Technically, you should always be wearing all USPS regulation clothing/uniform once you have passed probation and are given a uniform allowance. Whether or not you actually have to do this will likely depend on your supervisor or postmaster. They seem fairly lax in my office in enforcing the uniform regulations which I think is wrong. I wear regulation clothing head to toe including footwear. The proper footwear is very important because it has to be approved to be slip-resistant. This job may require a lot of walking and you don't want a slip, trip or fall to injure yourself. Having the proper footwear and paying attention to where you are walking is very important.

My advice to you would be as professional as possible in performing your assigned job. Don't get involved in any office politics. Join the NALC. Bring any questions to your shop steward that you may have re: rights as a CCA. Work safely. As a CCA, you may be assigned to different stations on different days, have very few days off, and have an ever-changing work schedule. It's possible you will have a huge amt of hours per week or not many.  If a manager/supervisor gives you vague or unreasonable instructions, it's important to speak up to get clarification and/or tell them you won't be able to finish an assignment in the allotted time. Do not let yourself be bullied by management. They may try to intimidate you, but as long as you show up for work on time, work safely and professionally, things should work out fine. If you like the work and think that making a "career" employee would be good, don't give up on your CCA position no matter how stressful it could be at times. Being a career employee allows you to work a much more consistent schedule and receive paid sick leave, subsidized health insurance, and many other benefits.


Good luck!

I am currently a CCA. Is it uncommon to be completely overwhelmed on Monday and Tuesdays? Suggestions? Also foot pain suggestions?

Asked by Ron over 10 years ago

Regarding Monday and Tuesday, it is normal to feel overwhelmed, especially Monday where I work. My suggestion is to just work carefully and don't goof off or take extra breaks. You can't be disciplined for doing your job correctly even if it takes too long. As for foot pain, I wear cushioned socks which can be purchased with the uniform allowance and comfortable shoes. No magic formula. 

Is it possible to tell the location of the mailbox where a letter was mailed from?

Asked by pookiebear over 10 years ago

Your q came in twice so I deleted the second one. I don't know that you can tell which mailbox a letter was sent from. When a carrier picks up letters from the blue collection boxes or from a residence, they commingle those letters with all of the others thatb have been picked up and generally get sent to a mail processing for sorting.

i have been waiting on a check that was mailed out over ten buisness days ago it was not sent certified and i have not got it what can i do ?

Asked by melissa over 10 years ago

I don't have any good advice as to what to do re: the check. On occasion mail isn't delivered as quickly as it should be. Sometimes it could be diverted by accident to a different PO and then take time to get to the correct PO. ultimately, after waiting a few more days, you may contact the sender and see if they can issue a replacement check. 

Why does mail take so long to from camps. Is it because u guyse.have to drive up in the hilla and get outgoing mail and deliver mail?

Asked by shayla over 10 years ago

I am not sure why probation camp mail takes longer to receive or to be delivered. My main thought would be that incoming mail may be checked for prohibited items sent to the probation camp. I don't have any personal involvement with delivery to such institutions. 

How do you handle dogs

Asked by JTDN over 10 years ago

We all carry Dog repellent spray with us. This can be used if we feel threatened or about to be attacked by a dog. Most dog owners where I deliver mail are responsible so it's not usually a problem. We are allowed to skip or suspend delivery of mail to an address if a dog is a persistent problem. Fortunately my issues with dogs delivering mail have been few and far between. Good question!

Hi. I ordered some nootropics from a certain website, a bunch, and two days later wanna order from a different source. Will frequent EMS packages cause any suspicion? It's just supplements, but still.


Asked by Beck about 10 years ago

I don't believe that ordering the supplements from different sources will arouse any suspicion. I know I wouldn't think twice if anybody rcvd express mail in a few consecutive days or even a few days apart nor would I think Postal Inspectors would have any suspicion either. 

Is it faster to have your mail picked up by your mailman, or dropping it off in one of the blue postal service boxes?

Asked by k8B over 10 years ago

I believe there is no difference as long as you don't use the blue collection box after the collection time stated on the box label. In my office, any mail picked up by a letter carrier at a residence is dispatched for processing before the end of the day. An exception may be if you go to the PO in the AM to mail letters. It is possible that those letters are dispatched from a truck that leaves hours before the end of the day. 


Is it required that a postman attempt to deliver a package to you/your house? Ours used to do that, but he no longer does - just leaves a slip in our mailbox, and I have to pick it up at the P.O. the next day.

Asked by lrmt over 10 years ago

I would think if the package could be left in a safe place (discretion of the carrier) then it should be. If they were not able to leave it, they should at least have knocked on your door to see if someone was home to accept the package. In our office, all packages are definitely taken out for delivery each day. As to whether they are all actually delivered (or attempted) I can't say. If you happen to see the carrier, maybe you could ask why he has stopped delivering the packageS and only leaving notices. 

How can I write a letter to manager for collect my uniform

Asked by Nizu over 9 years ago

Nizu, I'm not sure exactly what you mean by your question, but I will take a guess. I believe you are a letter carrier who doesnt yet have a uniform or uniform allowance. I'm pretty sure that not long after you pass the 90-day probationary period the USPS should be sending you information on how to purchase uniforms plus a spending card which can be used at authorized vendors to make purchases of authorized uniform components. This is for city letter carriers and CCAs. I don't know anything about rural carriers and a uniform allowance. Have you asked your supervisor if they know anything about the process?

hi, I have gotten hired as a CCA and start my orientation on the 29th. My question is if we don't get uniforms for 90 to 120 days or so, what do we need to wear as far as clothes and shoe wear go? and also how long is orientation? Thanks

Asked by heather over 10 years ago

Congratulations on being hired as a CCA for the USPS. I would recommend wearing a comfortable shirt and comfortable walking shoes. Shorts should be allowed as well if you are working in a warmer climate. If orientation is at a centralized office the first day and you won't be delivering mail, please ask the USPS employee that question. You may also call the station you are assigned to and they might have a suggestion as well. They may give you a baseball cap to wear or maybe you can bring your own. Be sure to be bring water and a lunch as well. As far as I know orientation is part classroom, part driver-training, and part on-the-job (where you follow or assist a letter carrier on their route). I hope this helps and Good Luck to you!

I received a handwritten note on my mail in these exact words and misspelling, "Not playin maze game with cars by box. 3 days no delivery 10-23, 10-24, 10-25". How should I address this impolite note from the mail carrier?

Asked by Ashlee over 10 years ago

I agree that the note is not very professional. At our office, a SUpv has official forms that would be filled out if delivery was going to be suspended due to a blocked box. I believe you understand the point of the note. Since I don't know what your street looks like, I don't know the parking situation, but normally clearance has to be provided so the letter carrier can approach the mailbox, deliver the mail, and then depart without having to leave the vehicle. I don't know the best way to approach this issue, but a call to the PO wouldn't hurt and have a discussion with the supervisor regarding the note and the regulations for suspending delivery due to a blocked mailbox.

Why would a mail carrier avoid delivering male to the whole street on a non holiday?

Asked by Heather over 10 years ago

I have no idea why a carrier would avoid an entire street. Did you see them do it and inquire why? Unless there was a serious safety hazard that precluded the carrier safely getting to the street I don't know why there was no delivery. There are times wheN we are severely short staffed but I think we still make an effort to get to each house each delivery day. 

Is it true that if I live on the second floor of an apartment building that my postal worker is not required to bring me my packages?--btw my building only has ten out door units and I am the ONLY one who gets packages on a regular basis

Asked by missydlove over 10 years ago

I don't know the requirements for delivering mail above the 1st Floor. In my opinion, the packages should be left by your apt. Door if the letter carrier deems it a safe area. I have worked only in a building with 2 stories and would always leave a package no matter which floor it was. 

I have been invited to an interview in a week but I was wondering if I get the job....How do I know house numbers if there are no house numbers on the house or mailbox? For instance, on the street where I live the address goes from 2200 to 2232.

Asked by Curtice over 10 years ago

There is often, but not always a pattern to how house #'s run. It isn't too smart for a resident not To have a # on their mailbox or house Or curb unless they don't care about getting deliveries or having an ambulance/police find them easily. when we deliver mail it is usually put in order of delivery so you can usually just "follow the mail". If you see a house with no # on it but the one before and after it have a #, you can often assume the house # is between those two. Believe me, you will be trained and I have rarely heard of this being a problem where I work, though It doesn't mean it's not a problem elsewhere. My advice is To be as careful as you can to deliver the mail accurately. Good luck to you!

We live on a remote side street. It is common practice for a mailman to sit in his truck everyday with it running from 3:30 to 4:15. I would guess he's done with his route and wants to do nothing until it is time for overtime. Who should I call?

Asked by Malik over 10 years ago

I can't tell you for sure that he is doing something wrong but from what you say it seems like it. In our office we have 30 min for lunch plus a 10-minute break while we are on our routes. Also, we are allowed whatever is necessary to use a restroom. maybe the size of his route is small that he doesn't need a full day to deliver it all. If that is the case, many supervisors might pick up on that and try to give that carrier more work. If you were to call someone, i would first recommend calling a delivery supervisor or postmaster depending how large your PO is. To be honest, they may just thank you for calling and do nothing, or they may approach the carrier and tell them to not park that long in one place at 3:30 PM. I rarely hear complaints about this but if someone is being so wasteful of the USPS $, I don't see any issue with bringing it to the PO attention. 

Can you recommend particular shoes and snow boots for letter carriers?

Asked by jc almost 10 years ago

I don't have any specific recommendations with regards to brands to purchase fro regular shoes. The shoes that are purchased with the uniform allowance have to bear the SR/USA tag which I believe stands for Slip Resistant/United States of America. I just make sure that I have footwear that will keep my feet dry and warm in inclement weather. If it snows, I wear my regular workshoes but have high rubber slip resistant waterproof boots. The brand of those are Tingley Weather-Tuff Stretch high-top 10"boots, or the Weather-Tuff Stretch Rubber Overshoes (which is good for rain, but not more than a couple of inches of snow to walk through). Thank you for your question as good footwear is vital to making it through a workday comfortably.

I am applying for City Carrier Assistant Tech 1 position,, is this a full time position do you know,, in the applicaton it says hours vary

Asked by Sally over 10 years ago

The hours will likely vary based on the staffing needs of the office to which you are assigned. It is not a FT position and I don't know what benefits, if any, you receive. You will get a uniform allowance after a certain amt. of time working. When I was a PTF (similar in flexibility to a CCA), I usually worked at least 40 hrs/wk. The important thing to understand is that there is no guarantee to this many hours. I wish you well in your pursuit of this job.

I manage a large mixed use building that has been remodeled from one address into 40 different adresses/ tenants. We have a main mailbox lobby for letters, but not for parcels. Is USPS required to deliver parcels to the doors of these businesses?

Asked by Mbrant over 10 years ago

I don't know the answer to this question. I would think if there are no parcel lockers in your lobby, then the USPS should attempt delivery to the business and leave the parcel if it can be sAfely left. Sorry I don't have more info on this.

Another question. As CCA, I got a residntl RT with half the mailboxes at the front door and half on pedestals in the landscaping. My avg is 2min 30sec per home for first or second time on RT. Is this too slow? Should it be 2min or 1min45sec?

Asked by GS94087 over 10 years ago

The rate does seem a bit slow for a residential walking route. I don't know what the rate should be, except I could probably deliver at a rate of 1 house per minute or less. But you being a newer carrier you understandably would go slower than that. 

Customers are used to getting mail at the same time everyday. Today there was more mail to sort/deliver, so you are later than usual in making deliveries. A customer is angry because he has been waiting for a cheque, how do you address the situation?

Asked by zoom over 9 years ago

I don't come across that situation very often. It is true that on many routes the mail is delivered at approximately the same time daily. There is no actual "on time" for mail to be delivered during the day. We just have an end of day deadline to meet for finishing out route and a prescribed order to deliver the mail.  Like you said, some days the mail volume is higher (or our staffing levels are lower) which may result in a later delivery time. I would address the situation by explaining the above to the customer. I never get angry back and always remain calm. Nowadays so many financial transactions can be done electronically that I don't believe I deliver too many checks and trend will only likely continue. I appreciate the question. 

I was wondering if I put my mail on hold for 10 days am I allowed to pick my mail up before the 10 days

Asked by dee almost 10 years ago

When you put your mail on hold there is an option to either "pick up your mail" or "have the mail delivered to you" on a certain date. If you choose the latter, you may go to the Post Office with proper ID and see if they will give you the mail that has been held and notify your letter carrier to resume delivery the following day. I know that would likely be allowed at the PO which I work at. I can't speak for any other Post Offices. Your best option is to choose "Pick up mail" and then the mail can be held for up to 30 days at the Post Office and you don't have to worry whether you pick up the held mail in 5 days, 15 days, or anytime less than 30 days.

I live in an apartment with small mailbox and I am expecting a package this week but I will be away on vacation so I asked the USPS to hold my mail, will they hold first class packages and the rest of my mail until I get back?

Asked by CH over 10 years ago

usually if there is a Hold Mail request for a specific address, all mail is held which would include packages. I cant guarantee this but that is what would happen on my route should someone have their mail held. 

What are the nationwide regulations for resIdential mailboxes?

Asked by chertz over 10 years ago

I don't know what the regulations are for attaching a mailbox to your house. Does your letter carrier walk to your door to deliver the mail? If that is the case, the mailbox must be accessible in a safe area for the carrier to reach the mailbox. If you live in an area where the delivery is made to a curbside mailbox there are regulations for how tall the mailbox must be from the ground plus there must be clearance on either side of the box so that the postal vehicle can get in and out of the area without having to put the vehicle in reverse too much. 

Is a mailman the only person who delivers from the post office. And if my package was recieved by a local post office yesterday at 2:00 should it come the next day on Saturday?

Asked by McKenna Peltier almost 10 years ago

Generally, a mailman (letter carrier-terms are synonomous) is the only person who will deliver from a post office, but I don't know that to be an absolute rule. My brother is a clerk at a post office which is comprised only of rural letter carriers. If Express Mail arrives later in the day when the rural letter carriers have completed their routes, either he or another clerk, or maybe a supervisor will deliver the Express Mail item.  Also, in general, a package that arrives at a local post office on a particular day at 2:00 PM should be delivered with the following delivery days mail. Again, it's not an absolute guarantee but within the normal course of operations, I would think it should be delivered.

Why mailman often lie about being at home leaving pickup notice infact they never leave such notice?
Why do they enter sytem as package delivered when it fact it has not?causing Legal issues. What does supervisor KEYED package mean?

Asked by delivery status about 10 years ago

I have no idea why mailmen and Supv would lie about delivery status but I believe you when you say they do. Any time I have a package to deliver, I accurately record the status of the package, whether it be attempted or delivered, etc. I dont know what supervisor KEYED package means. It is unfortunate that this happens and causes you legal issues. A worker should be disciplined if they knowingly falsify the status of a package they are entrusted with. 

I had an issue that I believe may have been a scam. I ordered something and the person says that the USPS used an international express form instead of USA and that the package is sitting in US customs waiting to be sent to "sender" not "addressee" ?

Asked by Tammy McClintock almost 10 years ago

I don't understand the question. I don't know about the different forms which are required for shipments which come from other countries. Do you know if the item was coming from an international source? I don't know why the item in US Customs would be labeled as to be sent to sender. That wouldn't be good as you are the addressee and not the sender. If the sender is just giving you a bunch of excuses and not offering any refund, it could be a scam. I'm sorry that I have no knowledge about the ins and outs of US Customs and shipping of items.

I work in a building that has designated mailboxes for each company. Is it legal for the mailman to drop mail for my company on the floor in front of the mailbox if it all doesn't fit? He comes to our company with certified mail only.

Asked by shelley over 10 years ago

I don't know the legalities of the carrier just leaving the "overflow" of mail on the floor. I would personally bring it to your suite/office. If the carrier feels it is safe to leave it on the floor near the mailboxes, I suppose that is okay.  I realize that you don't control the size of your mailbox. You could call post office to see if this can be rectified, though I don't really know the rules on this. 

You said you work 8 hour days from roughly 7 to 4 with breaks thrown in between. Do you have to work 8 hours or can you get off as soon as you finish your route?

Asked by John over 10 years ago

As a regular city carrier, your work day is 8 hours plus 30 min. Or 1 hr. lunch. You can't go home if you finish your route early. Rural carriers can get off as soon as they finish their route. For some that may be as little as 5 hrs/day.  they are paid on a different pay schedule which is based more on mail volume than time on the clock. 

Are carriers allowed to listen to an mp3 player while walking a route?

Asked by Johnny over 9 years ago

That is a great question which I will answer in 2 ways. For the last few years I wore an MP3 player (iphone) with a wired earpiece while I delivered mail on foot and listened to podcasts. I always left one ear exposed and not listening to the podcasts. Nobody ever said a word to me about it. Recently, however, I returned to work after an extended absence (on an off for almost one year) and a co-worker who saw me "wired" to listen to the PED said that while I was out we had a service/safety talk that we weren't allowed to be using the PED's while we are at work either in or out of the Post Office. I thanked him for his advice, but thought I would do a little more investigating. I asked about 2 or 3 other co-workers and they said they didn't know anything about a rule like that. I didn't ask my supervisor or shop steward. I don't believe it is anything you would get disciplined for, but the mgmt. may say you aren't allowed to use them. If they ever did that I may ask to see that policy in writing even though I could see mgmt. as saying it falls under the "you will be distracted" reasoning. Again, I have never seen it as an issue at the PO where I work, but please keep in mind that I don't listen to it loudly and only have the ear buds in one ear. When a customer comes to speak with me, I put the personal electronic device (PED) on pause and sometimes even take out the earpiece. I would be very disappointed if they made a rule about not listening to an MP3 player while delivering mail as that is very helpful in getting me through the workday, not to mention I learn a lot from the podcasts. Thanks for writing in with your question.

My mail man keeps writing tally marks and numbers on the cover of my magazines. I am particular about my stuff and dont want to see two hash marks on every magazine I put on my coffee table. Are they allowed to do this? Am I allowed to complain?

Asked by The deuce over 10 years ago

I am not sure why he does it. On a walking route, some carriers will write a number on the top piece of mail to indicate which street or the delivery order that bundle of mail corresponds to. (I.e. bundle 1, bundle 2, bundle 3). We probably shouldn't be writing on the mail itself, but I have never heard a complaint until this q from you. You certainly are allowed to complain and I would hope that your mail carrier respects your wishes. 

Hi:) my mother in law has her mail delvered to my house due to she was in a car wreck and was in a rehab nursing center. Now she is out amd wants to live here. We say no. Dose she have a rightto enter my house? Thank you for your time :)

Asked by april over 10 years ago

I can't answer that question because it isnt a subject that I have any expertise on allowing someone in your house. I would think that you don't have to let anybody in you don't want to, even if its your MIL. She does have a right to her mail, so there is some way you should find to get it to her and then a forward should be submitted by her to her new (or previous) address. 

Is it illegal for a mail carrier to photograph or video: mail, employees, managers and operations? Is withholding information about their DWI while employed as a driver still bad even if it happened 5 years ago. Is it bad conduct to video customers

Asked by Kris over 9 years ago

Kris, I don't know the answer to your question regarding the legality of photographing or videotaping mail, employees, managers or operations. I have never seen anybody do it while "on the clock", but I don't think it would be looked upon well by others. Also, I also don't recommend videotaping customers. It could be reported to management and it may not be allowed. With regards to a DWI while employed as a driver, I don't recommend withholding information that would be available on a driving record from a state dept. of Motor Vehicles. I don't know if a DWI stays on permanently. On the other hand, if the USPS couldn't find out about a past DWI and disclosing it would result in disqualification from being hired, it would be better not to disclose it.

Is there anyway I can stop a delieverie and have it sent back to the sender without it being delievered to me

Asked by Dawn almost 10 years ago

I don't know of any way to stop a delivery once it has been sent out by the sender. You could always refuse the item and leave it back out for the letter carrier with a note saying "refused..return to sender" and that should work.

Do I need to go to the post office to mail a letter to Guatemala, or can I just put a couple extra stamps on the letter?

Asked by Bri about 10 years ago

I think if you put a total of 3 Forever Stamps on an envelope that would be sufficient to cover a letter to Guatemala. The minimum rate for a letter there is apprx. $1.10 so 3 stamps would be good to be on the safe side. A trip to the PO wouldn't be necessary unless the item weighed more than 13 oz. I think.

I have rebates that needed to be postmarked 1/18/14. Will the post office ever back date postage?

Asked by kks about 10 years ago

Not to my knowledge, they will not back date postage for items that were supposed to be postmarked previous days. I don't think it would be legal to be done but I can't say that a worker would never back date postage. I've never been in this situation but I would likely refuse any request for me to to do that since that may put my job at risk for falsifying a postmark date and that is usually not worth the risk.

My son works at convienence store standing and walking 12 hours a day can you please tell me what kind of shoes you wear. thankyou donna

Asked by donna about 10 years ago

I wear uniform issue letter carrier shoes. The brand I usually wear is New Balance and have a special non-slip surface. The USPS provides us with a yearly allowance to put towards uniforms and footwear.

If my friend sent me a letter from Arkansas, with correct address and zip code, why has it not come in the mail after 2 weeks? Could I call my local post office if they have received anything?

Asked by bryana over 10 years ago

See below.

After working as a City Letter Carrier for 5 years, where do you think I can apply for job or what type of job I can apply to if I can't walk anymore because of medical conditions?

Asked by Thai about 10 years ago

As far as what far as what job would be a good alternate to a city letter carrier based on your medical condition, I think that working inside as possibly a retail sales and service associate would be good. The problem is that I don't believe they are hiring many workers for these positions when compared to letter carrier hiring. There are also custodial positions available in some offices, but that job requires much physical labor as well. I am sorry that I don't have any great advice for you as city letter carrier is the job most in demand. You could see if there are rural carrier associate positions available in your office or adjacent offices. Those positions don't require any walking except delivering parcels to doors sometimes, but much less than a traditional park and loop walking city route. 

I've heard that ccas that don't make it through their probation are fired,and they have no future,because no company (private sector) will hire them. I'm only speaking for those law abiding citizens,who tried to do the right thing,but weren't fast

Asked by 90 day probation pressure over 9 years ago

I can't imagine that not making it through probation as a CCA means that their future in the private sector is ruined. How would a future employer even know that you were a probationary CCA for the USPS unless told by the applicant? I understand how it can be somewhat of a conflicting situation to want to do the job properly (i.e. deliver the mail accurately and safely) and be under a time pressure from management to get a route (or part of a route) done in a certain amount of time. For some, it isn't easy to do both without resorting to some type of illegal tactic. This job isn't for everybody as it does take a fair amount of organization, literacy, and knowledge of an area to do correctly. I hope you do make through probation and thank you for your question.

What is the official term for a single house on your carrier route? Is it "destination"? Or do you call it something else?

Asked by Sahara over 10 years ago

I don't know the official term for a house. I would call it a "delivery address". So on my route there are 350 single family houses which is 350 possible deliveries or delivery addresses. I hope this helps you. 

Hello, Can you tell me what happens when a first class mail parcel goes missing and it was never scanned by the mail carrier does the mail carrier have to pay out of their own pocket?

Asked by anon over 9 years ago

I don't think there is any penalty for the letter carrier to pay anything out of pocket. I've never heard of this happening with respect to a First Class Mail Parcel going missing. It is usually hard to prove that a mail carrier actually had possession of the parcel and then didn't deliver it. I know the scans are meant for tracking an item but it may not prove internally who had possession of the parcel. This is different from a registered or certified item which we sign for when we take possession of them. The item could go missing anywhere along in the mail stream. I suppose if one particular mail carrier had several complaints that parcels on their route were missing it would raise some eyebrows and there would need to be an investigation as to the rate of missing parcels. I've never heard of it happening where I work, but I'm sure there are some letter carriers who aren't very honest. I still don't know how one could get away with taking multiple parcels without being caught. Then again, I don't have that kind of mindset so I'm a bit naive when it comes to this subject.

If the letter hasn't been mailed within the 1-3 day span, should I just send another letter or wait more days to see if it has arrived?

Asked by BWras over 10 years ago

I would wait several more days because letters do get missorted, or misdirected. Hopefully the letter will reach its destination in a few more days. 

I rent a condo and my landlady likes to use the pool so we share the pool key by leaving it in the mailbox. Is this an illegal use of the mailbox? Twice the pool key has disappeared , would the mail carrier have taken it?

Asked by Meg over 10 years ago

I don't know that the mailman would have taken it. Is your mailbox locked? I don't recommend using your mailbox for anything but mail. It may not be legal but it is unlikely that there is a penalty for leaving the key in the mailbox, except the key disappearing for whatever reason. 

While driving the vehicle to make a delivery, another motorist points towards the back of your vehicle as if something is wrong. What do you do?

Asked by zoom over 9 years ago

It hasnt happened to me before that somebody points to the back of my vehicle as if something was wrong. I can, however, picture that scenario. I believe I would safely pull over to the side of the road when I can and investigate what they may have been pointing at. Maybe it was a gas cap I forgot to replace, an open cargo lift door, or maybe I am dragging something. I do have people sometimes drive up near me, but if it is a busy road or they are unsafely positioned I will either ignore them or point them to pull over to the side of the road and assist them. Safety is my number one priority, because if I am injured or in a motor vehicle accident, I am not working and it could lead to internal discipline.

I live in NYC in a house that has been converted to 3 apts. We have 3 mailboxes for the different apts but our mailman has started putting all of the mail in mine. We have never had a problem untill recently. How should we address this?

Asked by Katie Blackcoffee over 10 years ago

I think the mailman should be delivering to all 3 mailboxes if there are 3 legitimate apartments. Please make sure that each box is clearly labeled with the name or apt # of who lives there. if you happen to see the mailman, you could ask why this happens. Now if you were 3 people all living in the same apt and had 3 separate boxes, that wouldn't be allowed. I hope your situation can be resolved. 

The country club that I work for has a mailman who visits the bathroom evreyday. He dirties the mirror, and stall. He has never asked to use it or purchased anything from us. He was even on another route and would come to use our bathroom. What to do

Asked by Golf Pro over 10 years ago

That is a tricky situation. On the one hand, we like to think that most buildings would allow us to use their facilities. On the other hand, we should be respectful of the courtesy being offered and nOT dirty up the place. The only suggestion I could think of is to approach the mailman and ask him to be a bit cleaner when he uses the bathroom. Another option would be to put up a sign saying "please help us keep this bathroom clean by nOT smudging the mirror and don't litter" In a country club, I don't think a sign like that would go over too well,

If a package is sent 1 day express paid for and dose not arrive on time, what are my options for refund and what about the insurance?

Asked by Ron over 10 years ago

I don't think the insurance covers express 1-day if it is delivered late and not damaged. You would be eligible for a refund of the 1-day Express Mailing cost if the item is not delivered on-time as guaranteed on at the time of purchase.

I have a garage door mail drop but the postal carrier always leaves mail hanging out of it. There are mail thieves in the area. I tried calling the PO to complain but they won't answer. What kind of note can I leave for the carrier that will help?

Asked by Cam over 10 years ago

You bring up a valid concern in my opinion. I'm sorry that you have had no luck calling your local PO. my suggestion would be to put a small note near the mail slot saying "please push all mail completely through garage door slot. Thank you." I hope that helps. You can also mention it to your letter carrier if you ever see them in person. 

What kind of shoes do you wear? Specifically, what works best in snow and ice conditions? Do women carriers wear the same type(s) of shoes?

Asked by Elaine over 10 years ago

This is a great question. Dry, comfortable footwear is of vital importance when working in snow, wet, cold, or icy conditions. Your uniorm allowance allows you to purchase several pair of shoes or overshoes per year to protect your feet. I wear rubberovershoes which fit over my standard shoes when it will be wet or snowy out. Furthermore, if it will be icy, we are issued small spiked overshoes to help us keep our grip on the snow or ice. Women and Men generally wear the same type of shoes except the sizing my be a little different.

Thanks for the reply. Wanted to let everyone know I just received the envelope back the middle of February. everything intact. floated around somewhere for 3 months! see original post at

Asked by reiat about 10 years ago

I am very happy that you received the envelope a couple of weeks ago with everything intact. I'm sorry that it took so long to get to back to you since it was undeliverable as originally addressed due to the intended recipient moving. Thanks for the update on the status of the envelope.

Can you place package in the blue collection boxes? I looked it up online and see conflicting answers. The USPS site says only stamped mail up to 13 oz while many discussion boards say this does not apply to prepaid postage so if fits its okay.

Asked by Amanda about 10 years ago

n the blue collection box, you can put a package with pre-paid postage if it is metered from a computer program like click 'n ship or Business Reply Mail. The 13 oz limit applies if the package only contains stamps. If it is greater than 13oz and only contains stamps it must be presented to a postal employee. This is due to aviation security regulations

At my apt. complex we have one box with 5 individual locked boxes for each apt. There is no place to put outgoing mail and when I put it in my box the carrier never takes it-even if I put a sticky note. Driving to the PO isn't an option for me.

Asked by Lili about 10 years ago

I am not sure why the letter carrier doesn't take your outgoing mail if you have a sticky note clearly stating that it should be taken. I would suggest maybe call the post office and see if they have any advice on what to do. You should have the option of leaving outgoing mail with stamps to be picked up by a letter carrier.

Can a mailman place a stamp on a letter and mark a big "x" across the stamp and deliver the letter himself or have a Co - worker deliver the letter without it going through the USPS mail system?

Asked by Just asking over 8 years ago

I am sure this is done sometimes and possibly even without a stamp (which I think is very wrong to do). I sometimes see a card or letter being mailed from one customer on the route to another. I guess I could just cancel the stamp with a pen and deliver the letter directly, but I put the mail into the regular outgoing mail dispatch and have it run through the system. Delivery time is usually 2 days later. I have never heard either way if there is a proper procedure to be followed. If a co-worker gave me a letter to be delivered, I'd likely deliver it without it going through the mail processing system. It rarely comes up though.

I delivred my documents to the post office late yesterday would like to return it back before the truck come to tack it at what time the truck come to the post office to take the things

Asked by thuria almost 10 years ago

I know this reply is probably too late to help you retrieve the documents from the post office. I don't know what time the trucks leave the following day with outgoing mail but I would think that it is fairly early in the AM, if not around 6-6:30PM the day before. I am also not sure if they would allow you to look for (or if they'd look for) items you dropped off for mailing. I know at out post office that any items accepted at the retail counter, or in a collection box BEFORE the latest time posted on that box must be dispatched the same day.

What dose it mean when a postman comes to your door to ask if this person lives at this address but wont let you know who is asking ?

Asked by teresa beecham over 9 years ago

Teresa, I am not sure what that means. I do have two theories on what it might be. First, sometimes I have a piece of mail addressed to a house and I'm not familiar with that name receiving mail there and I want to make sure that I'm delivering the mail properly. In that case I will either knock on the door and ask if that name should receive mail there or (actually more often) I will just put a "?" next to the name that I'm inquiring about and deliver the letter. In that case whoever receives the letter can leave it out for me the next day if the name in question is not correct. The second theory, which may be the one in your case, is that a law firm, collection agency, or IRS, etc., or someone else wants to know if a certain name resides at your address. They will mail the PO a special form requesting that information and then we will fill out the form confirming that the name in question receives mail at that address or not. I've never actually went to someone's door to ask because I know if the name in question is valid or not. I don't know that we aren't allowed to divulge who is asking because I've never been in that situation. Anyhow, I would guess that it's optional whether or not you want to divulge that information to the postman or not. We can't force you to do that. Please be advised that these are just speculations on my part as to what it means when the mailman came to your door to ask if a person lives at your address. Thanks for writing.

was the post office ever open on Sundays

Asked by Price about 10 years ago

I don't know the answer, but I would suspect that as a whole the answer is no. The retail window in some major cities at certain stations still do open on Sunday. The one that comes to mind is the Farley PO in midtown Manhattan which is open from 11A-7P on Sundays. Their retail window used to be open 24/7 until a few years ago.

I droped my mail on the blue box , on saturday. When will it get delivered? I know that they don't work sundays.

Asked by shanen over 10 years ago

1-3 days from when it was picked up from the blue mailbox would be the normal length of time For delivery.

My friend shipped a package from Alberta Canada to my house in Iowa, the regular post just got delivered, does USPS deliver packages separately from regular mail?

Asked by Brian about 9 years ago

I can't say for sure but we often are the same person that delivers packages and regular post. During this time of year, it is common for some offices to have another person deliver packages separately from the post because the package volume can be so overwhelming. Some offices have full-time parcel post routes so the package would possibly be delivered by a different letter carrier. Thanks for writing and Happy Holidays!

Is. the USPS jobs pay though out the nation, or does it differ where cost of living could be more or less

Asked by stephanie over 9 years ago

Our salary is uniform across the nation even though the cost of living could vary widely. The only exceptions may be in AK or HI where the cost of living is a lot higher than most of the 48 contiguous states. What you are referring to is known as locality pay and most federal agencies have that. Our union, the National Association of Letter Carriers, negotiates our pay scale with the USPS every few years. They don't ask for locality pay as far as I know. As a national union, there is wide disagreement as to whether some areas should be paid more than others for doing the same job. Living in NY Metro area is expensive and it would be nice to have some locality pay. But for those living in less expensive regions, they probably wouldn't want to see some of their fellow union brethren making more than them for the same job. They might feel if someone in an expensive area is making more, that leaves less $$ for them in negotiating a contract and the NALC represents all of the carriers nationwide. I have definitely seen more carriers transfer out of my post office to lesser expensive areas (NC, PA, FL) than transferring in. Great question!

Ok so i asked the last question ok so the post office where the package is is only at the most 20 minutes from me so why on earth is it going to take 3 days to be delivered. Today is 06/26/14 but it says it wont be delivered till 07/01/14

Asked by heather over 9 years ago

Heather, I don't have any further information than what I answered in your previous question.  It shouldn't take 3 delivery days to travel such a short distance. I am glad that you are tracking the item online. That is a service we are trying to have work well to be competitive in the parcel delivery business with FedEx, UPS, etc.

I am moving into a house that has been vacant for several years. Someone sent me something there before I moved in and it got returned to them. How will the mailman know to start to deliver my mail?

Asked by Rachel over 9 years ago

Rachel, I am not sure how the mailman will know when to start delivering your mail since just by having a letter or parcel mailed to that address with your name apparently wasn't enough. If it were on my route and a house was vacant I would pay attention if I saw a new name for that address and I'd attempt to deliver it by leaving it in the mailbox (or at the door if it was a parcel to big for the mailbox.) Another way I'd know to start to deliver is if I saw visible clues that a house was being prepped for occupation or I saw somebody moving in to that address. I think I sure way to advise the PO that they should start delivering mail to your new house would be to call the PO that will be servicing your new house or USPS Customer Service
Call 1-800-ASK-USPS® (1-800-275-8777) and tell them that you are moving in. Hopefully, one of these suggetions will work out fine.  Congratulations on your new residence.

I recently became a new CCA in Denver. I've always thought it would be great to live in NY, but I'm wondering how you make ends meet given the salary for Carriers is the same nationwide. Do you have a two income household, etc?

Asked by Salty over 10 years ago

It would probably be hard to live in NY on a CCA salary starting at $15/hr. I know some regular carriers work second jobs or work as much OT as available. My situation is a bit different as I am single, have low overhead (I own a co-op apt), and am very conservative with my spending. The NY metro area can be very expensive with regards to rental apts/houses and property taxes. 

My friend is a CCA. He asked for a day off a month in advance and was told it was not available. He is in a wedding and absolutely cant work that day. Are there other options to get a day off? Can he get fired for just not showing up?

Asked by MMM over 10 years ago

I don't know whether he can get fired for just not showing up on the day of the wedding. as a CCA I know you may not have as many job protection rights as a career employee. Does your friend have a wedding invitation to show the supervisor? is it possible that he goes to work for a couple of hours in the AM. I am guessing that's not likely. I don't have any other info, but would hope that mgmt comes to their senses and allows the day off. 

If my mailman hasn't been showing up to deliver mail who do i contact in order to receive my mail?

Asked by over 10 years ago

I would call 800 ask USPS, or see if you can get the number to your local PO to advise them of your concern About not receiving your mail. Hopefully, they will have a lucid explanation and can rectify this matter. 

I dropped a bank deposit envelope full of cash and a deposit slip in the mailbox by accident, actually 11 year old daughter did… do I go about getting it back? Thanks for the help!

Asked by chris about 10 years ago

I would contact the PO that is in charge of servicing that blue collection box and hope they haven't emptied it out yet. If you could prove to them that it belongs to you and was dropped there in error, it's possible they could get it back to you but I'm not sure. Good luck to you! I hope you can get that envelope back.

Do I have to empty my mailbox every day? It is a mailbox that is a cluster box for a group of 12 houses.

Asked by Cindi about 10 years ago

I am not familiar with any rules that say you must empty your mailbox daily. I would let mail pile up in a mailbox until it may become full so no future mail can fit in a mailbox. It is not a common occurrrence where I deliver mail, but I am sure it does happen some places. If a mailbox came completely full, I may return any additional mail with the endorsement "box full". 

Can a mailman accept an expensive gift from someone on his route?

Asked by Linda about 10 years ago

No, a lettter carrier isn't supposed to accept any gift of substantial value from someone on his route. It doesn't mean that it isn't done, just that it's not supposed to be done. I don't know of anybody losing a job due to this but they aren't supposed to appear to be accepting gifts from customers.

Mr. Dave, is getting the "you have a package" slip in the mail something the post worker is supposed to do? Lately my missed packages have been getting brought back to the PO without leaving a note.

Asked by Julius almost 10 years ago

Yes it is Julius if a mailman attempts to deliver a package that requires a signature or there is nobody to receive it and the mailman doesn't feel it is safe to just leave by the recipients door. That judgment depends on the area of delivery and saftey with regards to theft. The management may also tell the delivery personnel to not just leave a package if nobody is there to receive it. I would say that a note should definitely be left if an attempt was made to deliver the package. Otherwise, how would the addressee know that there is package for them to request redelivery of or to pick up at their post office? Thank you for your question.

How can one get driver training for the LLV TO CONFIDENTLY PASS THE DRIVER CERTIFICATON requirement. are there retired rural carriers in New york state who may be hired to provided lessons and preparation?

Asked by Chris about 10 years ago

You are asking a good question which I don't know how to answer. When we were hired, co-workers who were certified as Driver-trainers would teach us how to drive the LLV and also sign us off as being trained. I don't know anything about "off the clock" or "off the job" rural carriers who offer training lessons or preparation on LLV training. I can only speak from personal experience that it wasn't terribly difficult to learn how to drive the LLV even though the steering wheel is on the opposite side that we are used to in the United States. Overall, the LLV drives similar to other automatic drive vehicles in the US. The important things to keep in mind is blind spots and handling in inclement weather. Those are times or conditions to be extra cautious and always wear your seat belt. Good Luck to you!!

Hi Dave,
Just completed the phase 2 process for a CCA position in NY. I want to know are we given choices of which station to work at or is it randomly assigned to us? Can we choose if we want to deliver mail on foot or by postal vehicle?

Asked by CCA over 10 years ago

I don't know how assignments are made for CCA. In NY City, most deliveries are made on foot, but not exclusively. It is common to see carriers using a cart with several mail satchels attached and then using relay boxes to pick up future deliveries on route. I would suggest that most routes delivered by postal vehicle are by more senior employees, but it's not always a hard and fast rule. Good luck in your employment!

Without any benefits, it kinda sounds scary, do they not have regular full time with benefits carrier positions anymore?

Asked by Sally749 over 10 years ago

Most carriers hired are CCAs as of now. I don't know if there are any benefits but if you look at there may be information in the careers/employment section. The good news is that if you are a CCA and a FT vacancy opens up, CCAs are promoted and will receive all the benefits of health insurance and paid leave. 

Is it illegal for me to write "not at this address" on my own mail. I don't want certain people knowing where I live

Asked by Patricia over 10 years ago

I can't say whether or not it is illegal to write "not at this address" even if you are actually living at that address. The only problem may come is if a letter carrier sees that you are regularly writing that on then mail, they may see that as you not wanting any mail with your name. That scenario isn't likely but just wanted to make you aware of that possibility. I would just ignore any piece of mail i dont want. There is no proof you ever got that mail unless you signed for it. 

how does the mailman deliver live fish to me

Asked by sam over 10 years ago

I am not sure, but if it is properly packaged and labeled, I think it would be fine to leave in a mailbox if it fits and no signature was required. I am imagining that it comes in a styrofoam box and inside there are some bags with the fish in them, but I really don't know.

Hi! I need your recommendation for a good pair of walking shoes. I just started working @ my local MACY'S Dept. Store and the concrete floors are killing my feet! I need black, slip-on or lace up, shoes that will be comfortable.

Asked by Colin over 9 years ago

New Balance 706 Men's Postal Walking Shoe MK706B is the only shoe I've been wearing for the last few years as a postal letter carrier. My feet don't ache at all, but I must stress that everyone is different. Also, my most recent pair wore out very quickly, but I am wondering if that is because it was in storage for years before I actually used it. I'm not sure and they are about $100/pair. I'm sorry that I can't give you any other recommendations than that. The ones I mentioned are black, leather, lace-up and have a slip resistant grip with the SR/USA safety certification. There must be many choices available at a work clothes store like Work 'N Gear or Work 'N Play, or Cabela's. The trouble with ordering from a catalog is if you choose the wrong size or the shoes just don't feel right you have to return them via mail which could be a pain or have a fee involved for return postage. Again, I really like the shoes I mentioned above, but I have a new found concern about their longevity. Colin, thanks for writing.

Occasionally the mailman brings mail along with package (too large for mailbox) to the front door. Each time, I wonder if I should be tipping him. I haven't but it seems like I should offer it.

Asked by LUV2SEW over 9 years ago

I would recommend not tipping the letter carrier when they bring the mail along with the package. It is a very nice service of him to do. We are technically not supposed to accept any gratuities but I haven't heard of this being enforced to any great extent. Whether or not you get good service from your letter carrier shouldn't depend on a tip. We are professionals that are paid a decent salary (i.e. we aren't paid a low salary such as a bartender/waiter/bellboy who rely on tips). I know some of my fellow USPS employees will disagree with my comments here, but this is how I truly feel re: tips.

My husband and I have different last names. Within the last 2 months, his was removed from our box without our permission. His mail did not get delivered between that time. What can I do? His new Driver license was part of that mail...

Asked by Brittany over 9 years ago

Brittany, I am not sure why the mail addressed to your husband would have been removed from the mailbox and then not have any future mail for him delivered. Unless I know a certain name no longer lives at an address and/or has a change of address on file, I would deliver the mail. I don't know what can be done to retrieve any non-delivered mail, but I do have a suggestion for now. If it is still a problem, I'd tape a note inside your mailbox that says "Accepting mail for (Insert both of your names here)." Another suggestion would be to call or visit your local PO and speak to a delivery supervisor to clarify the valid names at your address. Thanks for writing.

So my significant other is in the military and she sent two letters on the same day, one to her mother who lives one street over was received, mine however i have yet to get and its been 4 days since her mother got hers? Is this common?

Asked by shawn almost 10 years ago

Shawn, I'd say that this isn't common. Even if "one street over" meant a different town it still shouldn't differ by more of a day in my opinion. It's likely that the letter was missorted somewhere along the way or missdelivered, both which aren't rare. Hopefully the letter will arrive soon. Thank you to your S/O for her service to the country.

hello what does it mean when a package is in transit?

Asked by Patrick over 9 years ago

That means a package that has been sent is traveling from it's origin (where it was mailed) to the destination post office. The package could be on a tractor-trailer or an airplane or in a sorting facility. When a package arrives at the destination post office, it will usually be scanned "arrived" so if one were to look up the package status, they would know it has been rcvd at the destination and PO and will be delivered that day or the next delivery day.

My address has always been my mom address. Her boyfriend moved in and he keep giving important mail back to the mail carrier. For months I have not receive important mail can I take legal action.

Asked by William Legion almost 10 years ago

I am sorry that I can't advise you on any legal action to be taken with regards to your situation. I find it quite unconscionable that your mother's boyfriend would return your important mail to the letter carrier if he knows that you receive your mail at your mother's address. One option would be to contact the post office that delivers your mail and mention to the delivery supervisor to mention to the letter carrier that mail addressed to you should be delivered to your mother's address and not be accepted by the letter carrier as "refused" mail. Also, I am sure you've already mentioned to your mother about what is happening and asked her to tell her boyfriend to stop doing that. I don't know the circumstances as to why her would return the mail, but it is disgusting to do that if it is just to be malicious. Thank you for writing.

I just recently moved to Joliet,IL and I'm used to mailboxes@the end of the driveway w/the red lever.My mailbox is by my front door.My question is can I leave a letter correctly addressed w/postage in my mailbox for my mailman to be mailed out?

Asked by Samantha about 10 years ago

I would say that it is fine to leave a correctly addressed and posted letter in your mailbox for the carrier to take with them to mail. I would recommend that the letter be very visible so that the letter carrier can see the letter they are supposed to take with them.

I gave the mail man a letter , is he gonna send it to the address . Or what will he do to it.? Its 1hour away address

Asked by shanen over 10 years ago

the letter carrier is going to bring the letter back to his post office and eventually (1-2 days) it will get to the addresS where it was intended to go. That's what we do.

If I end my mail hold on a Tuesday (for example) is my mail delivered on that Tuesday or the following day, Wednesday?

Asked by Ken over 9 years ago

Ken, the date you put down as the "end date" on the yellow authorization to Hold Mail card is the date that mail will be resumed. All accumulated mail will also be delivered on that date. Please make sure you have chosen the option for the "end hold" date as opposed to the option where you will pick up any mail that is on hold. If you choose the "pick up" option, no mail should be delivered until you pick up any accumulated mail at the Post Office. The system generally works well unless we forget to pay attention to the "ending date" on the hold which happens occasionally. Thank you for your inquiry.

I have two questions. Do RCA's get an increase pay after being there a certain length of time? As far as the uniforms what all do they supply? (ex shoes, winter coats, # of uniforms)

Asked by Keegan over 9 years ago

Keegan, I don't know how the pay schedule works for RCA (Rural Carrier Associate) positins. I can direct you to check the website for the NRLCA (National Rural Letter Carriers' Association) at where they have some sections that may help you. It seems like you may have to log in to access some of their site. As far as uniforms go, I don't believe you get any allowance for uniforms. There is a minimal dress code to follow for working for the USPS, but I am pretty sure it is comprised of civilian clothes. I haven't seen a rural carrier or RCA where a postal uniform like a City Carrier would. The RCA which delivers mail from the PO that I work at gets to go home when she has completed her route as opposed to City Carriers who are "on the clock". I believe they are paid a set amount for the day no matter how long or short it takes them to deliver the route.

How long does it usually take to mail a letter, dropped off in a blue collection box, across the states?

Asked by BWras over 10 years ago

If the letter is dropped in the blue collection box before the pickup time, then it is 1-3 days for a letter to be delivered across the states. Maybe AK and HI would be longer, but that is for the 48 contiguous states. 

Does the regular Letter Carrier deliver Priority Express Letters and if so, do you have to be home to sign for them or will he/she leave in your mailbox ? Also,if i don't normally get mail until after noon, does10:30am time apply for Priority Express

Asked by Wolfie from Harlem over 9 years ago

Wolfie, I think that Priority Express Envelopes (not regular Priority Mail) has a guaranteed delivery time which is given to the sender when they mail the item. It is often next day by Noon but that certainly varies on destination and time of mailing. Most Priority Express labels nowadays are automatically signature waivered (nobody needs to be around to sign for it) unless the sender requests a signature. It used to be the opposite of that. The regular letter carrier will deliver the Priority Express letter if they can make the delivery by the guaranteed time and if they are given the item to deliver before they leave on their regular routes. I hope that answers your question.

At the end of your delivery day, you notice that you have some remaining flyers. What would you do with them

Asked by zoom over 9 years ago

If the flyers are unaddressed which would usually be the case when there are leftovers, I bring them back to the post office where they are usually discarded in a recycle bin. It's not too often that I have leftover flyers because they are usually distributed to the letter carriers in the correct quantity needed to cover the entire route (give or take a few). Another reason why we usually don't have leftovers is because we are supposed to count out the number of flyers needed for each section (loop or relay) resulting in a low amt of overage. I do see many flyers put in the recycle bin at the end of the day leading me to believe that some flyers aren't delivered or there is an error in the counts for some routes. A lot of flyers are probably of little interest to the recipients, but that isn't my concern. I am loyal to the mailers who are paying the USPS to provide delivery services for their advertising. 

We just moved into a new home and we continue to get mail for the former resident. If I write on their mail a forwarding address will a letter carrier deliver it to their new home address?

Asked by Care over 10 years ago

Usually mail won't be forwarded unless there is a forwarding order on file by the former residents. You can try putting the new address on the mail and putting it out for the letter carrier but I don't know that it will get to the new address. Another option is to mark the mail "no longer at this address" and put it out for the letter carrier to take. Thank you for your email question..

I have just started as a CCA for Glen Head long island but I live in Brooklyn, the drive is too long for me. Can I transfer right away if I see an opening on usps website.

Asked by NA over 9 years ago

I wish you well in your career as a CCA, but I certainly understand that a drive from Brooklyn to Glen Head is pretty far. I don't know anything about the transfer process even when you just started your probationary period. I don't think it was possible when I was a PTF (part-time flexible) to put in for a transfer until a certain amount of time had passed since I was hired. I don't know if the process has changed. Thanks for writing.

Does the mail carrier get a day off when it is a state of emergency?

Asked by normnorm about 10 years ago

Not to my knowledge unless the USPS closes their local office or district. In all of my years working on Long Island, maybe 1 or 2 occasions have we been unable to deliver the mail, but I don't remember if we were expected to report to work or not. It's possible though that I may not have the correct information and that a local state of emegergency would excuse a letter carrier from reporting to work.

Can I ask the Post Office to hold a piece of registered mail I am expecting tomorrow (Monday) so I can pick it up there instead of waiting for my usual delivery at 5pm

Asked by Dianne over 10 years ago

I would generally say no, but it wouldn't hurt to try. In our office, I don't believe they usually allow this.

My Mailman didn't take outgoing mail I left in my mailbox with a post it stating it was outgoing... I just wouldn't fit through the impossibly small slot for outgoing. Why would he not take it for me??? I can't easily get to the postoffice.

Asked by Candace C. over 10 years ago

I am not sure why the mailman didn't take the outgoing mail that was left in the mailbox with a note saying it was outgoing. Generally, they should have taken it as it is understandable if it won't fit through the thin slot for outgoing mail. Did the mailman leave you any incoming mail? Maybe you could try it again tomorrow or make it more prominent that you have an outgoing letter, though I'm not sure how prominent you already had it posted.

Is it true that obvious outgoing mail does not have to be collected unless there is mail to be delivered at that address that day?

Asked by Sandy about 10 years ago

That is a very good question. I don't know the official answer to that question, but I know if I saw that outgoing mail was obviously there to be collected, I would collect it. Most addresses I service have at least 1 piece of mail per day to be delivered, but if it didn't I may take a glance from a distance to see if there was an obvious outgoing mail or a flag up on their mailbox indicating an outgoing item.

I am in the hiring process for city carrier assistant for brooklyn, queens, and Staten Island and I did the drug test and criminal background check with them right after my interview. Do you know how long I will wait to be hired by them?

Asked by roym over 10 years ago

Good luck to you. I mean it, not sarcastic. I believe the starting pay is $15/hr. I don't know how long it will Take to be hired by them but I know I wish it was sooner than later. While I don't work in Triboro district which is where you have applied, we need good workers to be hired sooner than later especially with the summer vacation season starting. Once hired, the training process is just a few days and should include driver training. 

How many times per day does the USPS deliver mail?

Asked by Ismael V. almost 10 years ago

The USPS delivers mail 1 time per day to each address. The only exceptions are if an Express Mail item has to be delivered by a separate letter carrier because it arrived at the PO after the regular letter carrier has already left to deliver their route or if the regular letter carrier wouldn't be able to make the delivery guarantee time on the Express Mail. In that case another letter carrier would deliver the Express Mail but not regular mail to the address. So the main answer is 1x per day Mon-Sat.

I sent out a card to my boyfriend whos in jail, the address I wrote on it I spelled a word wrong and crossed it out, so my question is can I send out an envelope that has a word crossed out on it?

Asked by Lauren over 10 years ago

I don't see why you couldn't mail a letter with a word crossed out as long as the other parts of the address were correct and clear. I am not sure if a jail would have any different rules on this. I know that jails are sometimes very specific in how to send mail, but don't know the ruling on this.

If a person lives at an address to have certain important mail delivered there, then in the same town, use another person's address to have other mail sent there?

Asked by Tim about 10 years ago

I am not completely sure what is being asked by this question, but here is the general rule that we should follow when delivering mail. Unless there is an official change of address order on file to forward a person's mail from one address to another then the mail should only be delivered to the address which is printed on the envelope as to where the letter should go.

I believe what he was trying to say is his roommate is hording some of his mail he cant deliver e.g pocketing his last few relays to avoid getting yelled at for being late etc. !!Mailman Dave you helped me early in my postal career and i thank you!!

Asked by Danny Mac almost 10 years ago

Danny Mac, thanks for clarifying the question. I hope your postal career works out and always glad to help. As I've mentioned in a previous question, I've have received so much help from so many sources to keep me going when times were tough. Anyhow, regarding the roommate question, that is obviously a very serious accusation/situation. I'm pretty sure that if one is caught delaying or "taking home" first-class mail as mentioned, you could get fired and possibly arrested (though I don't want to be dramatic and say that the latter would happen for sure). Also, why is the writer "stuck" if the roommate is fired? As you can imagine, I hate hearing a story like this. Even though US Mail isn't as important to many people as it used to be it is still sacred in my opinion and should be treated as such, especially 1st Class mail.

Can a mail carrier be fired for
spending one day in jail on a
false charge of domestic violence?

Asked by Robert over 10 years ago

I don't know the answer to this question, but I would speculate that you wouldnt be fired for this, especially if you weren't convicted. 

I recently moved to the adjoining zipcode in NYC. Before moving, there was never a problem getting my mail. Now, I dont get most of my mail or packages. The PO lost my mail that was held for a 2wk vacation. How do I get my mail--all of it?

Asked by Jan over 10 years ago

I am not sure why you are getting poor service. If you are referring to mail being fwded from your old ZIP to your new address, it sometimes takes a little time and only certain classes of mail are forwarded (mainly first and periodicals class). If the mail is addressed to your new address, I don't know why you wouldn't get it. If this persists, you may want to contact your local PO, though I am never sure that results in any improvement. 

We just purchased a lake home. The mailbox is a quarter mile away in a different zip code than the house. Which zip code is correct? (USPS lookup gives me where the mailbox is but I have successfully used the other one)

Asked by Dan almost 10 years ago

Dan, I don't know the answer to your question. You likely live on a RR (Rural Route) or HCR (Highway Contract Route) given the fact that the mailbox is so far from your lake home. This has no bearing on what ZIP code you use as far as I know. I could see either ZIP code working based on what you told me, but I'm sure only one ZIP is actually correct. My suggestion is to stop in at a local post office during their business hours and ask a clerk or supervisor what ZIP you shoud be using or possibly call them if you can find their phone # or possibly 1-800-ASK-USPS. Thanks for writing and congratulations on your new home purchase.

I think I put an unopened letter that was already delivered to me in a post office mailbox by mistake. What's going to happen to it? Will it come back to me, go to the sender or what? Thank you.

Asked by Miles over 10 years ago

I think it's likely to just come back to you a day or 2 later since it was unopened and didn't say "unknown" or "return to sender". I hope you get back your unopened piece of mail.

We have a corner commercial building. The address is on one street but we want to put our mailbox on the other street for easier access. Can we do that? Will the post office still deliver?

Asked by Brian over 10 years ago

I believe if you change the location of your mailbox, it would be wise to contact the local post office that handles your delivery. I don't know the rules as to if this is allowed or not. I would think that if it doesn't create any inconvenience for the carrier, it might be possible. To be honest the rules of delivery are applied so inconsistently that I can't tell you for sure what will happen. 

When sending a piece of mail to an address in the same town, is it ever acceptable to write "city" instead of the town name? Have you ever heard of this? My fiance swears this is ok. I have never heard of doing this.

Asked by Nat over 10 years ago

I think you both might have a point here.  The only time I have ever heard this before was on an episode of "The Brady Bunch". They were trying to figure out where a letter came from and it just said "city" on it so they knew it was mailed from that same city. If one were to Do that today without putting on the proper ZIP code, I doubt the letter would get to where its going because mail is generally processed at a regional sorting facility than at any local PO. If you write "city" and the correct ZIP, it is more than likely to be delivered. 

Are mailmen allowed to return ads from previous occupants to sender or is mine just lazy?

Asked by St KING over 9 years ago

I am not exactly sure what you mean by this but I'll give it a crack. I am also copying and pasting this answer as you seem to have asked the same question twice. With regards to advertising mail, or any mail, the letter carrier should only be delivering mail to your residence that has your name OR has another name plus "or current resident" on the address label. If it just has the previous occupants name and doesn't say "or current resident", you certainly have the option to leave it in the mailbox with a note on it saying "addressee doesn't live here. please return to sender". Depending on the class of mail there is a chance we don't actually return the ad to the sender, but we do discard it at the Post Office. It is called NOVM (No Obvious Value Mail). Mail that would fall in that category is in the class of Presorted Standard Mail. Most mail that is Presorted Standard and doesn't say "or current resident" and has a previous occupants name could be discarded into the NOVM at the PO. I don't know that I would call your letter carrier lazy, but maybe they aren't paying attention to the name on the mail. You absolutey have the right to put the ad back in the mail if you wish.

Where can i get a third arm for delivering flats?

Asked by Johnny chambers over 10 years ago

I am not sure what you mean by this. I carry some of the flats on my arm for a walking route and then some in my satchel since my office deals with FSS meaning there are 2 separate bundles of flats. The key is to try to be as organized as possible when loading up your flats and letters for delivery.

I have a lot of questions about how a mailman's route works. Do you have the same route all the time? If not, what would be the reason a mailman's route would change? Do you ever finish your route early? Or finish late, meaning you have to work late?

Asked by Jessica over 9 years ago

You've come to the right place to ask questions about how a mailman's route works. I never mind answering questions but sometimes wish there was a search function on this page since the questions may have already been asked.

1) I have the same route all the time, but that is the fact that I have enough seniority at my post office to deliver the same route daily. When you start your postal career you are usually a CCA (City Carrier Assistant) or a Carrier Technician (also called a floater or T-6 or comp. carrier) that fills in for a carrier on a route when they are off, hurt, sick, or on vacation, etc. Since we deliver mail mail 6 days a week, but only are required to work 5 days per week, the Carrier Technician delivers the route on our weekly non-scheduled day.


2) If we are a regular carrier that has an assignment that is to deliver the same route daily (which is the case for me), the only reason my route would change would be if another route became vacant (usually due to a carrier retiring or transfering) and I requested to be moved to that assignment. The person who gets the vacant assignment is the most senior carrier that wishes to be reassigned. On rare occasions the local office goes through a route reorganization (I think there has been 1 in the 15 years I've been at the PO) when all of the assignments are put up for bid because so much of the routes have been territorially reorganized. Again, the assignments are awarded by seniority.


3,4) Yes, a regular workday is 8 hours and my route is set up to take about that long to deliver if there is an average volume of mail, parcels, decent weather, etc. On a lighter volume day, I would finish earlier and a heavier day would take longer than 8 hours to complete the route. This time also includes sorting some mail in the morning as well as some organizational duties when delivery of the route is completed. I'd say that the earliest to finish is maybe 15 minutes less than 8 hours and on a heavier day I may take 30-45 minutes extra to complete the route. There are days that can even take longer than that, but I'm just giving you the averages. In the office I work at in Long Island, NY, there is ample opportunity for overtime pay for those that want to work more than 8 hours/day or work on their non-scheduled day. Everything quoted here is for a city letter carrier. There are rural letter carriers (a different union and different rules even though their job is to deliver mail like me) who can go home as soon as they finish their routes. We are "on the clock" so if we finish in 7:15 we would still have to stay for 8 hours. That is a rare occurrence and we could do some prep work for the next day or help out another carrier if we have "down time". It is more common to have too much work than too little in my experience.

Thanks for all of your great questions and feel free to ask any more that you can think of.

if I put something in the mail today will it get there today

Asked by ashley almost 10 years ago

Mail put in a mailbox on a particular day generally won't be delivered the same day. Usually it takes 1-3 days for a letter to be delivered domestically. Even if the origin and destination for the mail item are geographically very close to each other mail is usually processed overnight at a regional mail sorting facility.

I have applied for City Carrier Assistant and have an interview next week. I am wondering how often you lift 75 pounds? I have started to worry about being able to do that!

Asked by MarthaJ over 10 years ago

It is pretty rare that we would have to lift 75 lbs. Most of the heaviest packages are probably in the 30-40 lb. Range and even that isn't an everyday occurrence. Good luck to you. 

I wanted to know how effective the package intercept is? After reading some reviews I have found that it is not something that is at the top of USPS' to do list. Please give me your input.

Asked by Angie over 10 years ago

i don't know anything about package intercept, but I would suspect that any international mailing would be hard to do it for. It is true that it isnt on the top of the list of services offered due to the shear volume of packages processed. I don't know if eBay would be of any help getting you paid for the item either. Some African countries have a very poor track record when it comes to fraudulent transactions.

how many delivery attempts USPS do before return the package to the shipper?

Asked by johnny about 10 years ago

We attempt to deliver the actual parcel or certified or accountable mail (registered, insured) one time and leave a PS Form 3849 if nobody is available to sign for it. Within the next 15 days, we then leave 2 more PS Form 3849s (notice of item attempted to be delivered) before return the item to the shipper. If an addressee signs the PS Form 3849 to authorize delivery and leaves it in the mailbox we will generally deliver the item the next day even if nobody is around to physically accept.

I dropped a letter in a blue USPS collection box before noticing the box was no longer labeled to display pick up times or other information. This box location is not showing up on the USPS locator either. Does this mean my letter won't get mailed?

Asked by milliemo over 9 years ago

I am not sure about this. If I had to guess, I'd hope that the collection box is still in use  if it would allow you to deposit mail into it. I would suggest contacting the local post office nearest that collection box and see if they could provide you any further information. 

I have a package that was suppose to be here yesterday. It said, Notice Left (No Authorized Recipient Available) February 6 2014 4:12 pm FORT RILEY KS 66442

But, I was home the whole time... Will the mail man come to my door if theres snow?

Asked by Darelle about 10 years ago

Darelle, I don't know why the status would say No Authorized Recipient Available. It seems that nobody even tried knocking/ringing your door if you were home all day but you don't remember anybody. If there is too much snow, they may not attempt delivery. You may sign the note/leave in mailbox or visit to ask for a re-delivery attempt or pick up the item yourself at the post office mentioned on the PS3849-Delivery Attempt Notice Left. It seems that you probably didn't even get a notice yesterday, only an online notice which may not have been true. 

I got a ltr written on a gray US Postal Service Routing Slip in my pob asking if my partner receives mail at my po box. What does this mean. They have getting mail there for 10 yrs. But the box is only in my name.

Asked by jack over 9 years ago

I am not sure why the note was placed in your box and the routing slip was maybe just being used for scrap paper to write the note. I am speculating that whoever wrote the note just wanted to verify that your partner's name was valid to receive mail there. Maybe the PO box clerk was filling in for the regular PO box clerk and didn't know your partner gets mail in your POB since your name is the only name renting it. I would just return the slip saying that your partner receives mail and the name and address is correct to come to your PO Box. That clear up any confusion on the part of the USPS employee that wrote the note. 

Hi, first off I would like to thank you for all this info you give out. Great stuff! I just took the test for a CCA. My questions are, in your opinion, what are the biggest mistakes new CCAs make? I'm going to add a part 2 to this.

Asked by Sparky66 over 9 years ago

Sparky, Thanks for writing and I appreciate the comments. Please keep in mind that anything I say here doesn't come from any expertise. It is just from my experience in one office with one set of co-workers and management and a lot of it is opinion. The above is called a "disclaimer" which I'm a big fan of. Good luck to you in getting hired as a CCA. They are the future of the USPS and hopefully will lead you to a career position with better pay and benefits. The few things I can think of when it comes to being a CCA are: be on-time for work, don't miss work unless it's an emergency or you are very sick, work safely with regards to driving a motor vehicle and walking a delivery route. Be respectful of your co-workers and management and try to deliver the mail accurately though you may not be given the clearest set of instructions how to do your job. We've had a few CCAs quit for their own reasons, but I don't think our office has let more than a few go involuntarily. I believe once your probationary period is over (90 days), it is difficult to be terminated. Management can sometimes control how many hours you get to work if they aren't happy with your job performance. Again, in as long as I've worked at the PO, there has never been an overall shortage of work available to the carriers who wanted to work.

The USPS advertises starting as a carrier at $21 per hr. But, everything that I've seen suggests that you have to start as a CCA (roughly $15). Is it possible to start out higher. And if so, how?

Asked by Jeremy about 10 years ago

he starting salary for a Transitional Employee was $21/hr, but due to a recent arbitration decision in 2013, new hires are considered CCAs (city carrier assistants) who will usually start at $15/hr, a little bit more if they were previously a TE. Carriers who were TEs and then got changed to CCAs did take a significant pay cut as part of this arbitration decision.

So I put mail in the blue collection box. But I'm not so sure if the area I live in still checks them what should I do?? How do I know if the person got my letter or not

Asked by cece about 9 years ago

As far as I know, all blue collection boxes are checked and emptied if the public can access them. If they were no longer going to be in service they would physically be removed or at least have a very clear notice on them that they are no longer being checked for outgoing mail. To know whether or not the person got the letter you mailed, I would recommend calling them or emailing them. Our delivery rate is very high so I'd say there is an excellent chance they will (or have) received the letter you put in the blue USPS collection box.

If my tracking number shows up when I use your website, does it mean you are delivering the package when it arrives to the US?

Asked by MrPlaneDick over 10 years ago

I think when the tracking number shows up on the USPS website, i think that means the item has arrived in the US. I don't know how long it takes to actually get delivered. It's also possible items are delayed in US Customs, but i dont know how common that is. 

I live in a 3 family house that uses 1 mailbox for all 3 floors. Lately my mail has been going missing. So I am putting up a separate locked mailbox with my name on it. How do I go about making sure that my mailman puts MY mail in my mailbox?

Asked by Kaur about 10 years ago

I don't know for sure how you can make this happen, but I have a suggestion. If you happen to actually see the mailman, you can mention to him/her the problem that you seem to be having and that you would like to have mail for your family put in the locked mailbox. I don't know if you will be successfull in having this done but it is worth a try. If this doesn't work, you might want to look into renting a PO Box which is very secure but you'd need to go pick up your mail from a PO instead of having it delivered to your house. I wish you well in having this problem resolved.

I am expecting something in the mail shipped priority. Its was dropped off Aug18th for delivery . Its coming from New York and I live in So.California. I still haven' received it Aug 24th. Could it be delayed or lost? or maybe not actually sent?

Asked by vanagain over 10 years ago

I can't say for sure what happened to your priority mail item that you were expecting. Did the sender give you a tracking number? Most items shipped via Priority Mail would have a tracking number? As long as the mailer put the correct address on the Priority Mail and actually shipped the item, it is not likely to be lost, but not impossible. 

I've read that the avg carrier makes 72k. Is that true? And if so, how often due raises get passed out?

Asked by Jeremy about 10 years ago

I don't think the average carrier makes 72K, but I am glad to discuss what I make and put it in perspective. I haven't worked most of 2013 due to being out with an illness. Much of this illness is covered by paid sick leave so my salary for 2013 isn't too far out of line what most carriers probably make who weren't ill. My pay stub through pay period 26 of 2013 (which should be the last pp of the year) says $65200. To be quite honest that is a good salary for not having worked for more than 1/2 of the year. The highest salary I've ever made was probably in the $70-75K Range and that would include working overtime. Raises are passed out based on a contract which is agreed upon between the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) and the US Postal Service. They are often passed out 1X per year if you are at top pay. If you are working your way up to the top salary then you would get raises a bit more frequently. In conclusion, there is potentital to make superb salaries if you are willing to work all of the overtime that is asked of you which may mean coming in to work on a day you are usually off or maybe even working on a Sunday. I can't guarantee this, but if you did a little research under "NALC National Agreement 2014" there may be a published pay chart as to what carriers get paid. Thank you for your question.

My co-workers and I have different opinions, I think the majority of routes in suburban areas are curbside(where the mailman drives to each mailbox and drops the mail) would you say this is true?

Asked by Mark about 10 years ago

In my opinion, the majority of suburban mailboxes are curbside so the letter carrier can deliver the mail without having to get out of his/her truck. Where I work Is fairly mixed between curbside delivery and door delivery but I would suggest that all new construction would have either curbside (mounted) delivery or a centralized cluster box unit method of delivery. This answer is mainly my opinion and not based on scientific research.

I enjoy officework and paperwork, and in particular "tracking things down" (detective work). The dead letter department for instance, might be really interesting. How does one find a PO office job, especially such as the above?

Asked by KaneKat about 10 years ago

I don't know how one would get the job in the dead letter office tracking things down. That would likely be a clerk position which may become internally available after working for awhile at another position.

The letter that fell from the envelope has no address, just my name. What can I do just in case the mail man or postal office found it.

Asked by shan over 10 years ago

I have no idea except to notify the PO or your mailman that you are looking for a letter without an envelope. With the volume of mail delivered each day, it is unlikely that the letter would be returned unless whoever finds it is familiar with your name and where you live. 

If I accidentally use a priority box for first class shipping, will it be sent bam to me?!?

Asked by Kristie over 10 years ago

The item may be sent back to you for more postage for the Priority Rate. Did the item you mailed weigh 13 oz. or less.(domestic) That is the only way you can qualify for first class shipping. But, if the item is in a Priority Box it needs the Priority Rate. You might get lucky and the package will be delivered with no extra fee added.

Is the post office manager allowed to cut open a package (a book) I was sending out (wrapped in cardboard), simply to make sure I was not using one of USPSs priority mail envelopes to ship something (non-priority)?

Asked by buffy over 10 years ago

If the item was mailed via media mail, then it is valid for a postal employee to open a package to make sure that the item being mailed qualifies for the media mail rate. As far as just checking to see if a Priority Mail packaging was used to mail an item via non-Priority, I don't know the rule on that but I'm not too familiar with that being done. I thought that most, if not all, priority mail packaging now is printed on both the inside and outside making it very difficult to use for Non-priority mailing.

I know it's illegal to send mail out yourselves but what if they live only a block away? I don't want to waste any stamps but I want it to be a surprise for her. Any suggestions on what I could do?

Also what can be put into the newspaper box?

Asked by Vi over 10 years ago

Do not put any unstamped mail in someone else's mailbox. it is not legal to do so. In reality,though, a letter carrier might just realize it is something left in the box by a friend or someone nearby and leave it alone. I think the worst that would happen is that the item may disappear if the carrier thinks it is outgoing mail. If you put her full address on there and a carrier takes it, the letter may be re-delivered in the future as "postage due". Finally, I have no information on what is allowed in the Newspaper delivery boxes. Is it something that can be taped to her front door? Honestly, I would just spend the money and legally mail the item. If it is someone you want to surprise (in a good way) they should at least be worth the Cost of the postage. 

Which part of Long Island do you work? Just curious because I live on LI. Also, do letter carriers spend their whole workday delivering mail, or do you also work inside the post office?
Thank you!

Asked by Name about 10 years ago

Thanks for your question. I work at the Syosset, NY 11791 PO. City Carriers usually spend 1.5 to 3 Hrs each day in the office sorting the incoming mail into delivery order and then spending apprx. 5-6 Hrs each day "in the street" delivering the mail. A lot of mail these days comes pre-sorted into delivery sequence which has reduced the amount of hours that carriers spend in the post office compared to many years ago. The volume of mail over the years also hasn't remained as high so there is less mail to sort in the post office and deliver. For myself and most of my co-workers there is certainly still 8 hrs/day or more of work.

How do you make sure you get up in the morning? Do you have a lot of alarm clocks going off at different times? Do you have someone give you a wakeup call?

Asked by JTDN over 10 years ago

My brother works at a PO and I believe he uses the many alarm clocks method (including one across the room). There are apps that will give you a wake up call. I just set one alarm and Try to get 8 hrs. Sleep so getting up and to work on time isn't too hard for me. Promptness and attendance is an important part of staying employed. 

Is it legal for management to require the letter carrier to return your mail to the PO because s/he did not finish the route in time to return to the PO by 7pm?

Asked by squareruth about 10 years ago

I don't know the answer to this question. I do know that there are times we are required to finish delivery and return to the PO by a certain time and to call if we aren't going to make it back by a certain time. That is usually due to inclmement weather or high volume of mail delivery. I am not sure if 7PM is the actualy curfew for this.

if i see a letter addressed to me balancing in the outgoing mail slot can I legally remove this letter from the outgoing mail slot as delivered to me?

Asked by anna over 10 years ago

I don't know the actual rule on this, but if you can clearly see that the letter is for you, I don't see why you couldn't take it. Again, this is just my two cents as I can't quote you an regulations on this. 

A package was supposed to be delivered to my box Wed. according to tracking. I am pretty sure the postman put it in the wrong box, but regardless It was not in mine. Is there someone I could speak to that could get my package back?

Asked by Sarah In Birmingham about 10 years ago

Sarah, I would suggest that you speak with either the letter carrier who delivers to your address regularly or call your local PO and speak with a delivery supervisor. I am not sure how either way will result in the package getting to its correct address (you), but I wish you well. As letter carriers we all do make mistakes, but I would hope they aren't too frequent and that the errant recipient of the package would leave it out for a letter carrier to pick up to be brought to the correct address. Thanks for writing.

So If I send a letter and its in blue pen, but it has the stamp.and everything writen right. But the pen color kind of.fades a little, will they still mail It?

Asked by shaane over 10 years ago

As Long as the address can be made out okay and there is proper postage, it should be fine. If you haven't already mailed the letter, I recommend finding a better pen and darkening the address. 

im about to start orientation next week would I be able to get a set route right away or at least routating or a set schedule?

Asked by ryan almost 10 years ago

Congratulations on your being employed with the USPS. It depends on the staffing of a particular office as to whether you will get a set route right away or varying hours. If the office is shorthanded, it's possible you can be assigned a route to daily and that will become your route until further notice. More often than not, new hires fill in where needed to cover carriers who are on vacation or sick leave or to deliver "pieces" on routes which one carrier may not be able to complete in their workday. At a certain time, usually after probation is over, you can bid to "hold down" a route or assignment of rotating routes when a carrier is out on vacation or extended sick leave. If you "hold down" an assignment this entitles you to do that route daily and you can only be "bumped off" that route under certain circumstances which are covered in the labor/mgmt or local agreement.

I ordered something online and they accidentally put my delivery street address but the billing city and zip code as my shipping address. So I have the right street address but wrong city and zip code. What can I do??

Asked by Andrew over 9 years ago

Andrew, it is likely that the item will be returned to the shipper saying "invalid address" or "no such street or number".  I'd recommend emailing or calling the company you ordered the item from (customer service department) and advising them of your error. Maybe they could put a note on your order that if the item is returned to the shipper that it should be reshipped to your correct city and ZIP code which you will have advised them of. Thanks for writing.

Is it illegal for a mail man to leave a package hanging out of your mail box by about 6 - 12 inches?

Asked by Ed over 10 years ago

I have no idea about that rule. A package should be left in a place where the carrier deems it to be safe. I don't think it has fully go inside a mailbox to be delivered. If you have an issue with it, you may be able to ask the carrier about it next time you see them. it may result in you just getting notices to come pick up a package at the PO

We have several post offices in the area. I want to apply to carry in a particular part of town. How can I find out what area a particular post office covers?

Asked by Jeremy about 10 years ago

I am not sure how you would apply for a specific PO to work at. More often than not I believe hiring is done by region that covers several different POs. For example, when I was hired in 1998, I had taken an exam which covered all offices which had ZIP codes which began with 117 and I was hired in one of them. You could go in to the Post Office and ask how to get hired in a certain area though I am not sure how much assistance one specific office can be since hiring is done through a more central HR office and not one local office.

I have gone through all my training as a mail carrier and just finished my driving test. .Everything went well and he said I did well but im not comfortable with the 2 ton. Will i be asked to drive this or was it just to familiarize me with it?

Asked by Daniel M almost 10 years ago

Congratulations Daniel on finishing your training as a mail carrier including the driving evaluation. With regard to driving the 2-ton vehicle, I don't know if you will ever be made to drive it. I would hope that you wouldn't be. I know that I am in the same position as you with regards to driving it. I have only driven it a few times in my career and and am never asked to drive it. If you didn't feel comfortable driving it, I would speak up and mention that you don't think it is safe for you to drive it and see if you could get out of doing it. I wish you well.

What can I do about a mailman who consistently keeps putting my mail and small packages in other people's mailbox? I have tracking numbers from packages saying they've been delivered and never got anything same with important documents and bills.

Asked by steph about 9 years ago

Unfortunately this has been a problem for many years. It is usually the result of not having the same letter carrier deliver to your address each day. There is a lot of turnover in some offices which could result in a varying quality of letter carriers. It could also be the result of a letter carrier not doing their job very well. I had lunch today with a man who said he was having the same issue. The only suggestion I would have is calling your local PO and speaking with a delivery supervisor or mentioning it to the letter carrier who services your house (if it is actually the same person each day). I'm not sure it will do any good as some workers/supervisors don't care and some are very conscientious. I think it depends on who you are dealing with. Please make sure all of your mail is addressed correctly and that your mailbox is labeled clearly with your house/unit#. No matter who you are dealing with, you really should be getting the correct mail/packages. In my office, I hear no emphasis on delivering the mail correctly. Maybe it's just assumed we do and mgmt. will wait to hear a complaint to bring it up.

What do the six colors for case blocks mean?
Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, White.


Asked by musicnmustangs almost 10 years ago

I think you mean in our carrier cases when we sort the mail in the post office, we use different color plastic tabs or colored bars to put in the case to indicate the status of certain addresses. Some carriers are better at using these than others and I don't think it's mandatory, but I think it is a great tool to help the carrier remember any changes on the route and to communicate that information for any substitute letter carrier.

The following is my understanding of the colors:

Red=I don't know

Green=Hold Mail

Yellow=Certain name at that address has/had a forwarding order on file (In our colored tabs, you can actually put a small tab of paper in there with the name of the family/individual/business that has a forwarding order on file)

Orange=Vacant Address-Do not deliver anymail here


If someone is blocking the mailbox and you skip that house, does the mail from that day get delivered the next day?

Asked by DV almost 10 years ago

Yes, the mail should be delivered the next day. I don't personally remember ever skipping a house due another vehicle blocking access to the mailbox, but I'm sure it is a common occurrence for carriers who have routes where they deliver directly to a curbside mailbox (also known as a mounted route or rural mailbox). If it were to happen several days in a row, I don't know the time frame where the mail would eventually be returned to the sender as undeliverable due to blocked mailbox access. The same goes for if we are unable to get to a mailbox or street due to severe weather. In that case we also would attempt to deliver ALL the mail on the following delivery day.

Why did I get a letter with the return address having an X over it?

Asked by rae over 9 years ago

Rae, I don't know why you would receive a letter with an X on the return address. It doesn't really make sense to me. One theory would be that it was mailed and then our automated letter sorting system accidentally read the return address as the destination address. Maybe if a letter carrier saw that they would put an X through the return address so that the only address that could be read by a machinery or person would be your address. This is just a guess on my part. Thanks for writing. 

If I write the wrong city name but include the correct zip code on a letter, will it arrive at the correct address?

Asked by ams101 over 10 years ago

It should arrive at the correct Addresss. In our processing facilities mail is sorted by ZIP code. I consider a proper ZIP one of the most important part of somebody's mailing address. 

How do you organize the mail so you know you give all the mail to the right house?

Asked by cmac over 9 years ago

For the first 1-2 of hours each morning, letter carriers are busy sorting mail in delivery order so that when we go on our routes, the mail is organized. Each route has a pre-determined order of delivery and we have carrier cases (think of a desk with vertical dividers fof each address or building). After we are done sorting the mail we take it out of the carrier cases and put in trays or rubber band it so it stays organized. Before we actually put the mail in a customer's mailbox, we should be going through the mail we sorted to verify that it is the right mail going to the right house. The vast majority of the mail that we deliver is already sorted by a machine at a regional mail processing plant. The mail arrives at our local post office in delivery order (I'd say a fairly high level of accuracy) and as we go deliver the mail we merge that mail together with the mail we have sorted manually at the post office. The amount of mail we manually sort is so much lower than it used to be either because of automation or a decline in mail volume. When I started working for the USPS only letter size mailing was able to be put in order. Now we have machines that can sort flats (magazines, catalogs) in delivery order which is impressive as well.

I have a friend who carries mail in snowy Colorado and wanted to give a gift of things to make the job easier: hand warmers? special lotion? dog biscuits? snack storage? clothing? What do you have before during after to help your day go well? Ideas??

Asked by kimba over 10 years ago

Hand Warmers are a great gift. I just bought my girlfriend an entire box from BJs Wholesale Club in NY. They are single use handwarmers which last maybe 8 hours. Lotions are also good to keep hands moisturized. If at all in doubt about the pending weather I try to bring along as many layers as possible just in case I need extra protection. One of the least comfortable situations to be caught outside in is very cold or very wet weather.

Someone I know moved. I wanted their new address without them knowing. I addressed an envelope with their old address and put 'return service requested' above it. The person told me today that they're received the envelope. Why did this happen?

Asked by Amt about 10 years ago

I have no idea why that happened. I assume you mailed the envelope to their old address because you wanted their new address. You probably also assumed that the USPS would return the envelope to you with the new address of the person who just moved instead of forarding the letter because you endorsed the letter "return service requested". I'm sorry I have no further information and I don't know that your local PO would know a lot about this either. As a letter carrier we are taught close to nothing about what that endorsment means, except that it can be processed through the CFS (Comuterized Forwarding System) which handles forwardable/returnable mail. Normally, Standard Class mail without an endorsment can be discarded if the addressee has moved. If the class of mail has the enodrsment, then the CFS processes the said item, though I don't really know what happens to it exactly.

Ok well what time are they open till on saturdays? Are they open 7 days on the phone to put reverse on a letter with tracking on it?

Asked by Boo over 9 years ago

Most post offices are open until Noon or 1PM for retail service on Saturdays if they have Saturday hours at all. I don't know if you can put a reverse on a letter that has tracking via the telephone customer service or via It may have to be done in person at a Post Office. If you call 800-ASK-USPS they may know a bit more about this subject. Their Saturday hours are 8AM-6PM ET.

I'm researching and studying to be a mail carrier. But, I've heard nothing but horror stories about management. Are power trips really that common? I don't have a problem with authority. But, I don't want to be anyone' know.

Asked by Jeremy about 10 years ago

I can't speak for all of management, only from my limited experience in a couple of offices and from a few changes in mgmt. I can only say is that the power trips seem spread out among mgmt. Some are very cooperative with their subordinates and others are very dictatorial. It helps to have strong union representation in case you feel you are treated unfairly. I know my answer is quite vague, but that is because there is no clear cut answer. Fortunately most of the work day as a letter carrier is spent out delivering mail so you aren't being constantly watched by a supervisor or postmaster.

If I want to mail used clothing to someone in the U.S. as a donation do I have to pay full postage?

Asked by Arlene over 9 years ago

Arlene, as far as I know full postage must be paid when mailing used clothing domestically. You can mail the item via USPS Parcel Post which is less expensive than Priority Mail. You can often donate used clothing to local organizations like Goodwill or The Salvation Army. I would recommend doing a web search in your area to see if it's possible to donate the clothing without having to use the USPS and pay postage.

I have moved to a new community, but I do not know my mailbox number. Where can I know my mailbox number? Thanks.

Asked by Albert over 9 years ago

I would recommend one of two options: 1) If you see a letter carrier delivering mail in your community, you could ask him or her if they know. It is likely that mail in your community is a centralized delivery meaning that there is one larger mailbox divided into many separate mailboxes which are accessed by the resident's key. If you don't see an individual mailbox or have a mail slot in your front door, this is likely the method of delivery where you live. 2) Contact the management or leasing company and ask them how you receive your mail in this new community. It is often, but not always, the case that your box number is the same as your apt or unit or house number.  

Can I ask a mail man to discard certain mail for a certain amount of days when he delivers it?

Asked by alex young over 9 years ago

Alex, you can certainly ask the letter carrier to do whatever you want with your mail. If he/she is following proper protocol, they won't follow your request. We are instructed to deliver all mail to its address because someone has paid us to do so. We will not go through the mail for a certain recipient and then discard some of it. The recipient should be going through the mail themselves and discarding/recycling what they don't want. I do realize there is such a high percentage of mail delivered on a daily basis that a customer doesn't want, but as the letter carrier we shouldn't be getting involved in their mail.

Do I have to empty my mailbox everyday? Sometimes I am not in town overnight. Every time I do not get my mail for a day, the mailman takes the mail back to the main post office and leaves me a note saying "You must remove mail every day"....

Asked by Cindi about 10 years ago

I am not familiar with any rules that say you must empty your mailbox daily. I would let mail pile up in a mailbox until it may become full so no future mail can fit in a mailbox. It is not a common occurrrence where I deliver mail, but I am sure it does happen some places. If a mailbox came completely full, I may return any additional mail to the sender with a note saying "mailbox full."

Does the USPS do random drug testing?

Asked by Molly about 10 years ago

Yes, before one is hired they are often given a drug test. I have not been tested since but imagine it is is possible that  I could be given one at anytime. 

Do the mailman usually run on saturdays and what time do they usaully start and stop running?

Asked by Mark over 9 years ago

I'm not sure what you mean by running. Saturday is a regular delivery day for the USPS. As far as I know, nobody delivers any faster or slower on a Saturday. For those carriers that have routes with businesses that are closed Saturday, they may get done with their routes sooner. In this case they are sometimes given other duties to make up for the "undertime". In my office, those carriers usually do a collection run or deliver Express Mail or help out on another route that is overburdened that day. Deliveries where I work are usually made between 9:30 and 4:30.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my question about driver certification training.Perhaps the difficult economy allows for a more Darwinian approach. Warned not to hit a cone.You must pass several scenarios.
Enumerated in USPS manual.

Asked by Chris about 10 years ago

Chris, the pleasure is mine to help out where I am able to. I am not sure what your comments mean regarding the Darwinian approach, except possibly that I was just stating the obvious to drive carefully. I am not familiar with what the USPS Manual says, but does that state several simulated scenarios to be passed? Good luck to you if you are trying to get hired as a letter carrier with the USPS.

We ordered a package on ebay and it has the zip code correct but the address number is wrong.What will happen and what to do?

Asked by navexelac almost 10 years ago

If possible, contact the merchant and see if it's possible to correct the address before the package is shipped out. If it is too late and the package has already entered the mailstream, I would see if you could contact your delivery Post Office and advise them that a package will be coming to an incorrect address and it should be delivered to your correct address. That may resolve any misdeliveries or stop the package from being returned to the sender unnecessarily. I hope this helps you. Thanks for writing!

I have removed the mailbox from my house because travel often. I have a PO box. Every time i return I find junk mail stuffed into the screen door. I have complained to the local Post Office but nothing gets done. What are my options?

Asked by Hugh Mann over 10 years ago

I agree with you that as long as you don't have a mailbox up, then NOTHING should be delivered at all. We would discard any Standard Mail (usually circulars or donation solicitations). Any first class mail should be marked "No Mail Receptacle" and returned to sender. One option would be to put your mail on hold while you are away. You can do that online or by going into any PO and filling out an "authorization to hold mail" form. 

how many day does a package to deliver

Asked by osman mateen over 9 years ago

It depends on a couple of important factors: method (or type of service) sent as well as distance to destination. Priority Mail is one of the best services we offer for parcels. It usually takes about 2 days for most destinations around the country.  A more economical method is called Standard Mail or Parcel Post (not sure of the current name) which could take between 1-5 days depending on distance. Weather and Holidays could sometimes delay the transportation of parcels as well. When parcels are shipped the mailer gets a tracking number so they can see how their shipment is progressing through our transportation network similar to if you shipped via UPS or FedEx. Thanks for your question. 

What are my legal (legal not ethical) obligations when the mailman delivers mail to my address that the person no longer (and has not for years) lives here? The person is a real sore spot and was evicted so the less I have to do...the better.

Asked by Cynthia over 9 years ago

Cynthia, that is a good question and I don't know the legal requirements (if any) to return any mail that is errantly delivered to your address, whether it is for a former resident or just delivered by mistake to the wrong address. Anyone who tells you otherwise I would question where they get that information. Most people I know aren't versed in the law when it comes to the US Mail. I do read that tampering with the US Mail is a federal offense but I don't interpret that discarding mail that was errantly given to you to be tampering with it. On the flip side, as much as that person has been a sore spot to you, would it be so hard to just write on the outside of the mail "person doesn't live here" and leave it in the mailbox for the letter carrier to have sent back to the sender? In theory, the letter may find its way back to the sender who may update their records and you won't get any mail from them anymore addressed to the former tenant. Just a thought. Thanks for writing.

I was wondering if letter carriers are trained to close the hinged lids on vertical wall mounted mailboxes? I've had many carriers over the years and none of them has ever closed the lid. As a result, whenever it rains my mail gets drenched.

Asked by Contos over 9 years ago

Great question. Since it has been many years since I have been trained to be a letter carrier, I don't remember if I was trained to make sure the box is closed. Personally, it is just common sense to close any mailbox if you can. What I mean is that sometimes the mail is too "tall" and would prevent a lid from closing completely, but I would still close the lid as much as I can. To be honest, I don't think training is that thorough when it comes to being a letter carrier. I have seen carriers just put the mail on the ground in front of a house (not even rubber-banded) because they couldn't find a mailbox or doorslot. I have also seen the mail delivered but hanging out of the mailbox in a very messy fashion when there was clearly enough room to fit it all in. Granted some mailboxes are quite small and it is impossible to fit the mail entirely inside, but I've never heard a customer complain about the mail hanging out of those small boxes. My suggestion would be either to call the PO and speak to a delivery supervisor about this or put a note on the mailbox saying "please close lid after delivering the mail". By the way, I am presuming that your mailbox is deep enough to fit even catalogs and magazines. If this isn't the case, then I do understand the mailbox lid not being closed.

hi, mailman on my route tdy (main mailman is great guy) was rude/dismissive 2 me, asked him 4 his name he evaded ?, told my this was his street and he didnt give a fck who i was. don't feel safe w/him in my building or handling my mail. any recourse?

Asked by brimfield over 10 years ago

I apologize on behalf of the USPS for such bad behavior by the letter carrier. Did you ask him something that may have bothered him. Were you polite to him? Either way, he should not be rude to you and I don't think it's appropriate for him to curse either. My only suggestion is to call the PO where he works and speak to a delivery supervisor. I'm not sure that would resolve anything. They are sometimes ambivalent about this. 

my HOA just notified us that the postal carrier "monitors the mail received and notifies [building] management if mail addressed to an unfamiliar name is received". Don't I have a reasonable expectation of privacy? Is this legal?

Asked by ewawa about 10 years ago

I have never heard of this happening and wouldn't think that a carrier should be doing that. I think a unit owner should be allowed to accept mail at their address for whomever they want. I have no legal education in this matter so I can't tell you if i's legal or not, just that it comes across to me as inappropriate. I just have very little faith  how far you would get in a complaint about this to the letter carrier, your HOA, or building management or your local PO.

If my regular mail isnt at the post office by the time my normal mail man leaves for his route, will they see it when they get back to the Post office and bring it back to my house the same day?

Asked by CC over 10 years ago

Not usually. At our PO, we generally won't leave for a route until all of the regular (1st and 2nd class) mail is ready for delivery. So as to your question, I would think that the mail wouldn't be delivered until the following day unless a supervisor specifically approved a carrier to go out and deliver late-arriving mail. 

how do i address a greeting cards envelope

Asked by Amy over 9 years ago

When you address an envelope, there are basically 3 sections. In the upper left hand corner of the envelope, you would write your address. That is called the return address in case the letter is undeliverable. In the center of the envelope (centered top to bottom and right to left), clearly write the address of the person you are sending the letter to. Please make sure that information is correct. In the upper right hand corner is where the postage is affixed. The current rate for a one oz. letter/greeting card is .49 . The stamp will usually have the word for "Forever" on it which is sufficient to cover the current one oz. letter rate.

What is the best pair of shoes you have found for letter carriers?

Asked by Cecilton,MD over 9 years ago

As letter carriers, we are required to wear certain type of shoes that meet certain safety requirements. They all must have an SR/USA certification for slip resistance. For many years I have worn New Balance MK706BL ordered through a postal uniform vendor. There are many choices and I think they range from $70-$120. These are low-cut, black, walking shoes. If you do a web search for USPS Uniform Footwear the result will likely show you the many choices available. 

Ok I receive ssi but the apt I have my cheek going to is vacant now so will my check go back to the post office?

Asked by meicy over 9 years ago

As long as the letter carrier knows that the unit is vacant and doesn't deliver it there, the SSI ck will eventually find its why back to the issuing govt agency where it will probably stay until they get a valid address from you as to where to send the SSI cks in the future.

If the zipcode is wrong, one city over, will i still get my package?

Asked by kaylee over 9 years ago

Not necessarily. Did you put the right name of your community but the wrong ZIP? If so, there is a good chance that the PO at the wrong ZIP city will cross it out and then the package will be sent to your community where it will then be delivered. If the name of the town and ZIP is incorrect on the package, and nobody at the receiving PO recognizes the address as belonging to your community then they may return the package to the sender as "NSS" meaning No Such Street or "NSN" meaning No Such Number. A lot may also depend on how savvy or caring the personnel is at the PO that originally receives the package to have it rerouted to your town where you could then get it delivered. I hope it works out for you. in the future, please remember that a correct ZIP is very important in an address. Thanks for writing!

he also tracked down the letter and it showed it arrived in my area but never stated that it reached my house. This letter contained something very important, what can I do to get it?

Asked by bryana over 10 years ago

I am sorry that the letter never made it to you. the letter must have been mailed with some type of tracking on it for your friend to know it reached your area. I don't know how you would go about getting it. Does the tracking # say it was delivered anywhere? Possibly it was mis-delivered.  Did the item need a signature for delivery?

Many of the questions submitted to you seem to be customer service related that anybody could and should just call 1-800-ASK-USPS directly. Does this bother you? Also, what was it like when your first applied for the job? It's all on-line now.

Asked by FF over 10 years ago

When I first applied to the USPS, it was paper applications (1998). I rcvd notices where to appear for the exams and interview and physical exam. Regarding the qs I rcv here, you make a great point. I am no expert in most of the nuances of shipping, tracking, and regulations. They can call the 800# and hopefully get a satisfactory answer. It doesnt bother me to rcv those q's but as you can tell, I don't always know the answer. 

Today my mail did not arrive at its usual time and i was expecting a package. I checked the tracking website and it said my mail was at the post office does this mean the mailman went to get it? or is he late? or will he not arrive at all?

Asked by BRANDONIO over 10 years ago

You should be getting delivery mail every regular delivery day if there are items addressed to you. The tracking website which indicated your specific item was still at the PO doesn't mean you will get iat the same day, especially if the package arrived later in the day at the PO. It is possible that your mailman was just late. 

Can you listen to music or CDs in the postal truck. How about while you are walking. Can you listen to music or CDs while you are walking? Also what is the driving test lke? What is the best way to drive on ice or heavy rain?

Asked by TDC over 10 years ago

I sometimes listen to an iPod while walking but not driving. While walking I usually only cover one ear for safety reasons. You aren't permitted to listen with earphones while driving, but maybe a portable radio or CD player is allowed when driving. Your local post office should advise you of any rules regarding this. Safety is very very important. I don't remember the driving test too well. Keep to the speed limit, buckle up, both hands on steering wheel, use turn signals,and use your mirrors as necessary. On Ice, just go very slowly. Same with rain and use the windshield wipers and headlights. Ice and Snow are the most difficult conditions for the LLVs. Rain isn't too bad as long as you drive cautiously. 

Is there any way to send a letter to be "forwarded" without ever being delivered to the original address? I don't know the new address and don't want the letter mistakenly left at the delivery point.

Asked by "wondering" over 10 years ago

If there is a forwarding request on file for a certain name at a certain address, it is possible that the letter would be automatically forwarded to the new addrEss. We have an automated system that does this. The problem is that it doesn't catch every forwardable letter. it is possible that the letter gets accidentally delivered to the old address. One option is to write the letter to the old address and write "please forward" somewhere on the envelope. That may alert the carrier that the letter needs to be forwarded. 

Thanks for answering my previous question about the application process in '98. I applied on-line last August and so far have heard nada. Zip. Zilch! Do you have any idea if I will get at least a reply or rejection notice? #lostinspace

Asked by FF over 10 years ago

Do you mean that you applied 3 mos. ago? I am not sure how long it takes to get a response either yea or nay. I would hope that you would at least get some reply but I have no further info. 

My fiancé is a CCA and we planned to go out of town for the weekend after he got off work Saturday. His boss told him on Thursday he had to work Sunday. Can they force him to work or fire him for not showing up even though Sunday isnt a reg work day?

Asked by Mmmmm about 10 years ago

I don't know for sure whether or not your fiance's boss can make him work on Sunday. I know when I was a PTF (Part-time Flexible) we did work Sunday's on occasion and during this time of year (December) it would be pretty common. He should speak to your boss and say that you already made plans to take a small trip which would include Sunday and could he possibly have off of work that day. I do understand that being a CCA is difficult with scheduling because you are expected to be available on virtually any day. Please make sure he asks off ahead of time for the wedding (If you have a date scheduled).

Our mailbox has no names on it, the other day on one of our letters was written "do they live here"

Does that mean the mailman has not been delivering that persons mail? Would the missing mail be held at the post office or sent back to sender?

Asked by Meg over 10 years ago

The Missing mail would likely be returnEd to the sender and not kept at the PO. if I were the carrier and I saw mail with a name I wasn't familiar with, I think I would deliver it and if each time the letter was not returned to me with a notice saying "not here", I would assume it was a valid delivery. Unless you live on a rural route, there is no obligation that I'm aware of to notify what names are valid at a specific address. I generally deliver it until told otherwise. 

i ordered live fish off ebay will the mailman just them in my mailbox or what

Asked by sam over 10 years ago

I am not sure, but if it is properly packaged and labeled, I think it would be fine to leave in a mailbox if it fits and no signature was required. I am imagining that it comes in a styrofoam box and inside there are some bags with the fish in them, but I really don't know.

how & why do you bid for routes?

Asked by billt over 9 years ago

I have deleted one version of this question because it was posted twice. It is a very good question and I will try to be as clear as I can with the how and why of bidding for routes. Firstly, we bid for routes (or assignments, as it isn't always an actual mail delivery route) so that we are doing the same assignment every day in accordance with a collective bargaining agreement between the USPS and the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC). It allows carriers to choose what assignment (delivery route, collection route, parcel post route, floater route (which fills in for carriers on 5 routes on their days off and pays a slightly higher wage)) they would like to work. It is based on seniority at a specific installation, not necessarily when you were hired by the USPS. For example, if you transfer from an office in Maryland to an office in Florida, you will likely lose your local seniority putting you at the bottom of the list with regards to bidding on vacant assignments. There are probably some exceptions to this rule and often in cities there may be several delivery stations that you can bid between and not lose seniority if you bid from one station to another. I am no expert in this as I have always worked in the same post office my entire career. I think it is the fairest system around and am a big advocate of seniority based assignments. The airline industry uses it for  Pilots and Flight Attendants to choose what equipment they would like to fly, what routes, what cities they would like to be based in, etc. Anyhow, back to the USPS. I am sure there is a process of online bidding, but for vacant assignments in my local post office that are put up for bid, here is how it works. Management will post a sheet a paper called a Notice of Vacancy of an Assignment. The notice will specify the assignment (usually the route #), the specifics of the shift times and days off. The notice will also specify the dates that bidding is open. It is usually a 10-day period. The supervisor will have a locked box on their desk and pink bid cards (blank) available for regular carriers to fill out to bid on the assignment and put the bid in the box. Once the bidding period has expired, the supervisor and union shop steward will open the bid box and sort all of the valid bids by seniority date. The top 3 bidders based on seniority are then announced. The winner then has 3 workdays to try the new assignment and then can decide to keep it or not. If they decide not to keep it, the 2nd and 3rd place bidders can then try out the assignment. It rarely goes past the 2nd place bidder in my experience. I hope this answers your question and thank you for writing.

Can I legally require a USPS letter carrier to NOT WALK ACROSS MY YARD (50' lot). I've gone to great expense and care to sod, then RESOD when prev. carrier wore a path in my lawn. I hate to erect a iron fence,but I may have to!

Asked by Ruth in Memphis over 10 years ago

I believe it is legal to advise the USPS to not have their employees walk across your yard. It would be better to put signage up stating that is your request. While we generally aren't too enthused about not being able to cross a lawn, we need to respect the property of our postal patrons and honor such requests as long as the letter carrier can still access your mailbox and comply with your instructions not to cross your lawn.

If I dropped some mail that I was going to hand deliver in the post office box by mistake, can I get it from them if I wait for them by the box?

Asked by Melva over 9 years ago

I don't know the answer for sure about this. It may depend on the actual carrier who comes to empty out the blue collection box as I am not sure of the rules that cover this. I know if I were the carrier who was emptying out the box and you could prove who you were and it matched a return address, I would likely return it to you. If there was no return address but you could still somehow prove it belonged to you, I also would likely give it back. But just to reiterate, I don't know the rules that cover this and it may also be up to the direction of the letter carrier.

I was just wondering. If the mail carrier delivers a package to your door, is there a reason why he chooses to leave the rest of the mail in the mailbox? I have a long driveway atop a hill, so why not bring it all up?

Asked by CJB about 10 years ago

I am not sure why they would leave the mail in the mailbox at the bottom of the hill. One reason is that if there is nowhere to securely put the mail at the top of the hill outside of the elements the carrier wouldn't want to leave the mail outside.

Can a mail carrier decide to not deliver mail to an apartment complex because he says he should not have to get out of his vehicle to put the mail in the boxes and there should be a light over the boxes. My carrier did not deliver my mail for 3 days

Asked by zholcombe over 10 years ago

I am not sure of the the regulations as to whether or not the mail should be delivered without proper lighting. It is difficult to deliver mail if one can't read the addresses clearly enough or if it isn't safe to do so. Is it possible the complex mgmt can install a light over the boxes that can be switched on or off as needed. In general if mailboxes are set up so that delivery can be effected from inside a postal vehicle, the carrier shouldn't have to get out to deliver the mail. That said, I'm sure there are many occasions that it's easier to just deliver the mail than having to bring it back to the PO for delivery at a later date. I'm sorry I can't give you any more specific info.

Thanks for this forum to ask questions! I am preparing to rent some office space, but the building shares one common address. There are no suites, ect. If I place a box with my business name on it will I be able to receive mail? Thank you!

Asked by Art over 9 years ago

I don't know the answer to this for sure. I believe the mail would be delivered to the building in one bundle with the other businesses mail mixed in if there are no specific suite #'s. For you to have your mail delivered separately, I believe you would need to have a specific address which is different from the rest of the building (i.e. the same street address, but a suite # associated with it). You could consider renting a PO Box, but that would have a cost plus would require a trip to your local PO to retrieve your mail. Most of the mail that we deliver is sorted by a machine into delivery order so if your address doesn't have a separate suite number, a letter carrier probably wouldn't segregate your mail just because you have a box with your business name on it. It's my pleasure to assist you on this forum and thank you for writing.

I moved at the beginning of the year changed my address & all of a sudden my mail person crossed out mine & my kids names on the name card I fixed it but still don't get my mail how do I fix this and get my mail so I get my sons letters from the army

Asked by Starr over 10 years ago

I Have heard this question come up several times.  While we don't use name cards where i work, I don't know the reason why the letter carrier would change the names on your mailbox. If you ever see him or her, I would try to set the information correct with them. If that doesn't work, try to contact your PO for assistance. You certainly deserve to get mail addressed to you. 

Can a mailman leave mail if there is no mailbox?

Asked by Wayne about 10 years ago

If the letter carrier feels it is secure enough to leave mail in a place without a mailbox, I think they can though it's probably not a great idea. I don't know the official rule on the proposed situation. 

I put a letter in the mail yesterday around 11 am, when do you think the letter will be in the person's hands?

Asked by jay over 9 years ago

It depends how far the letter as to travel to get to its destination. I think 1-4 days is the normal amt of time for a letter to reach its destination.