I wrote this ‘story’ about a year ago. I had recently moved to a new place and my mailbox was part of a stand at the end of my block, so I needed a key to access it. Here is the story of acquiring that key.
I went to the Post Office on July 1 to pick up my mailbox key since none was left in the house when I moved into it. The guy at the post office informed me that, while I was at the main post office for my town, there was actually a 2nd location that was a sorting station only, except for holding mail and ordering keys. So next day, July 2, I drove over there during lunch. I talked to an employee and explained that I needed to order keys. He said they didn’t do it there and that I needed to go to the other location. I told him no, I had been there yesterday and they sent me here. This threw him for a loop so he started humming and hawing and looking around. Finally got somebody else up there and I watched them debate over whether or not they could in fact take an order for keys, and if they should charge me, and which clipboard I needed to fill out. Eventually they handed me a clipboard and had me list my information and said that since I was a new resident there wouldn’t be a charge. Great. I filled out a hold slip for my mail to be kept at the post office until I had a key for my box. Adios twiddledee and twiddledumb!
The following Tuesday, July 8, I drove to the post office to pick up my held mail and see if the key was in. This time a lady helped me. She brought my mail up and I asked about the key. This time I threw her for a loop. She hadn’t placed any new orders, when had I ordered it? I explained that I had been in the week prior. She looked at the magical clipboard and then sighed and rolled her eyes. “Those idiots. Was it a tall guy and a fat guy helping you?” I hesitantly answered yes; didn’t seem like the nicest ways to describe your co-workers. “Sorry sweetie. They forgot to ever place the order. I’ll do it right now for you hun.” Great. Adios lady who is going to help me out!
I went in several more times and my key was never ready. In order to get there during business hours I had to go during my lunch break. Round trip from the office and back was between 15-20 miles, through town. So the miles added up when I was heading over there twice a week.
July 24, another routine visit over lunch to get my mail. The lady from before, we’ll call her ‘M’, was there again. She brought me my mail and I asked about my key. “Oh honey, I’m lazy and forgetful. I didn’t get it ordered until the 21st. Sorry about that.” Grrr….adios ‘M’. I no longer like you.
July 30, we’re pretty much at one month and over 100 miles of me doing this drive, and I’m getting a little tired of it. I wasn’t having the best day ever, and ‘M’ wasn’t about to make it any better. I fill out my slip asking for them to pull the mail from my slot. The guy helping me comes back up and says there’s nothing in my box. I told him yes there was because it had been a week since I had been there. He went to look again and came back with the same report. He wandered off to get ‘M’ who came up to the window and smiled when she saw me. “Honey, we still don’t have your key.” I said “I know, but I’m here for my mail. I haven’t picked it up for a week so there has to be something there, a freebie flyer or junk mail at the least.” Dude chimes in and tells me if I want my mail held I have to fill out a hold slip. I explain that I did that a month ago. ‘M’ and dude disappear and eventually ‘M’ reappears rejoicing because she has found my hold slip. It was shoved into the back of my box. I didn’t clap for her for finding it and instead just asked where my mail was then. She excitedly told me that it should be in my mailbox. So I asked “you mean the one I don’t have a key for?!” “Yep!” ‘M’ replied. So I asked how I was supposed to get it. Well she would call the carrier and have him pick it up and bring it back to the post office. I turned around and walked out almost in tears I was so frustrated at this point.
When I got back to the office I decided it was time to escalate this issue to someone higher up. I went online and found a complaint form on usps.com. I filled it out explaining this whole ridiculous saga. I marked that I wanted a phone call within the next 48 hours.
This is where things temporarily start looking up. ‘R’ from the post office calls me the next day. He received my complaint and was incredibly sorry for what I had been going through. He explained that the making of keys is contracted to an outside firm and they were currently behind. He was confused with some details of the story so I filled him in. He started asking about the people who had helped me. ‘M’ was the only name I had picked up on, so he asked me to describe the others and even asked if they were white or black…seems slightly inappropriate. He told me he had a lock and key with him and would leave right then for my place. I was actually heading home from work so told him I’d meet him there. He brought the keys to my door and everything was made right in the world. I drove over to the P.O. and handed in my last slip to request my mail and happily marked the ‘Resume Delivery’ box. ‘M’ helped me and I gave her a snarky smile as I walked out that door for the last time. Adios ‘M’. I’m done with you!
I got my mail like I should for about a week. Then one day at work I get a voicemail from ‘R’. He reminds me that he was my lifesaver that originally came out and changed my lock. Then he goes on to explain that even though he had cancelled the original order for my lock and keys, the company fulfilled it anyway and the delivery man had changed my locks that day. But have no fear, ‘R’ is here! He personally dropped of my new keys in my door so there shouldn’t be a problem.
Ha, you’re funny ‘R’.
I get home and find the keys in my door. I walk up to my box and guess what?! It was full of $100 bills to compensate me for all my troubles! I wish. The reality is that none of the new keys worked. Of course. So I walk back home and figure that I should probably try my existing keys. Walk back up to the box, and they still worked! So I have my originals keys, and now I have 3 other keys. Which one of my poor neighbors did they drag into this mess?!?! I noticed on the tag attached to the new keys that someone had written my address. I live in unit #2, but the genius had written #12, and then tried to turn the 1 into a 0. Well, that obviously didn’t work. Our mailbox numbers don’t match our house numbers anyway. I walk over to my neighbor’s that I think probably got their lock switched. I tried 3 times that night, but they were never home, so I just threw the keys back in my door and figured I’d call ‘R’ in the morning.
So, next morning, call the P.O. and ask for ‘R’. Of course ‘M’ is the one that answered. Told her who I was and that I wanted to leave a message for ‘R’. She got excited and said “oh honey, we finally got your lock changed! ‘R’ dropped off the keys yesterday.” I just said, “no, you didn’t get mine changed. My keys I’ve been using for the last week work just fine. You managed to change one of my neighbors. The keys are in the door. Someone can come pick them up today. My keys work just fine. Please don’t do anything else to my mailbox except deliver mail to it.” ‘M’ laughed hysterically at this screw up. I hung up..
Thus ends my story??? NOPE!!!!
Today, I decide to be the lazy American that pulls up next to the mailboxes instead of walking the half block to them from my garage. Hm, this is strange, MY KEY DOESN’T WORK! I tried a couple times thinking maybe it was the heat or something. A neighbor who I haven’t met yet walks up and gives me a funny look when he sees me repeatedly jamming this key into a lock that it obviously doesn’t work in. I shrug and smile and as I back away just say “hm, guess my key doesn’t work.” I get home and just have this feeling that someone has brought me new keys again. I check my front door and sure enough! There are keys under my rug! There is a sticky note on them that says “Old new key still works, changed #12 instead”…whatever that’s supposed to mean. I march back down the street and am of course surprised when the ‘old new’ keys actually work.
I called the post office when I got back in the door. ‘R’ was gone for the day, so I let loose on that poor sucker that answered the phone. I don’t usually go off on people, it’s not in my nature, but today marks the end of 7 weeks of hell from the Post Office. That guy got an ear full!
I truly hope this is the end and that they leave my box alone from here on out. But, I just have this feeling that something more will happen yet. I don’t know what else they could screw up at this point, but I’ve thought that before and they just keep finding new ways.