Monday, October 30, 2006

Wonder why the mail is slow these days?

On the farm, we rarely expected our mail to be delivered to the local post office on time.

After all, it was such a long route. The mailman originally loaded his truck 45 miles away, then started quite a long circular journey that involved a lot of little towns and a lot of miles before it was over.

The roads weren’t the best. There was pavement, gravel roads and the occasional dirt roads, and mud, snow, hail and dust storms were all hazards of the route.

Occasionally, slow moving farm equipment, cattle, deer or even elk or moose may cause a few unexpected delays. We would keep an eye on the road past our farm for the familiar mail truck, or sometimes we would even call the local postmaster to see if the mail had come.

We were especially anxious on the days that the weekly farm newspaper came late. That day mattered the most to us. After all, we didn't want those classifieds to be stale by the time they reached our kitchen table.

This was before cell phones, but even now in the world of cell phones our area has little cell phone coverage. So even if the driver wanted to say, “The moose isn’t budging, so I’m not sure what time I’ll get the truck around him,” there was no chance to call the post offices ahead. Also, usually the road conditions needed the driver to have both hands on the wheel and not holding a phone.

The city life spoils us. We expect mail 6 days a week, and seem lost when there is a holiday. We also expect our mail at a certain time. Whenever it’s late, our neighbors and us worriedly peer into the empty mailboxes and ask each other “well, did YOU get any mail today?”

During the last few weeks, the neighborhood had noticed that our mail is being delivered hours later than usual, and it seemed like with each day the length of time grew. Getting mail three hours later than usual was quite noticeable. Back on the farm during bad winter blizzards, we were lucky if the mail came through three days later.

But here in the city, we quizzed each other and looked for clues. At first we pondered whether it was a new delivery guy. No, same guy. Also, seemed to be the same route when we’d see the little truck in the neighborhood.

Finally, someone asked today at the post office what was going on. Was it serious? Did we need to do a formal complaint to someone higher up in the post office?

No, we were assured. The problem was … the election.

So many governments, politicians, special interest groups and others attempting to educate and influence voters had flooded the post office with their literature that it was slowing down the whole postal system and they were struggling to keep up with it all.

Surely the post office must be making a lot of money from this, correct?

Wrong. The post office said the bulk of the mail is going … at the bulk rate. It isn’t just my neighborhood that is being flooded with enough election literature to heat the house’s fireplace for the whole winter.

With that mystery solved, my neighborhood will return to more challenging questions that face us like how to catch the raccoons, possums, nutria and other critters visiting our yards at night.

Maybe we can barricade ourselves behind the mountains of mail.

No comments:

Ag in the West social media watch

Capital Press videos on YouTube

Our most popular videos