now comes the time of the prince

Wait, wait, wait…

That’s probably getting a little ahead of ourselves at the moment as I, the Jester, will still be responsible for the upkeep of this kingdom.  However, the prince has arrived.  We know from Stephen King’s Dark Tower series that all things serve the beam…  Well, in the matticus kingdom all things serve the prince even if he isn’t cognizant enough to realize or appreciate that.

So it goes.  And so it should be.

But, how did we get here?

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service level expectations

“Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these courageous couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds” unless, of course, you live in a condo.

My wife and I live in a condo where each property doesn’t have its own mailbox so rather than delivering door to door the USPS carrier just has to drive up to, park next to, open up and deposit the mail into the two cluster mailbox units.  Unfortunately, neither of the cluster mailbox units has one of the larger boxes/slots to store package deliveries.  So, without that alternative and without door to door service, what expectation should we have for receiving our packages?

Is it too far of a stretch to think that the carrier could walk the 100 or so feet away from their delivery truck to knock on the few doors who have packages and see if someone is home to deliver to?  Isn’t that what they would do if they were going door to door for normal service?

Apparently, that is not the case for my condo complex.  They don’t walk away from their truck.  They don’t ring the doorbell or knock on the door.  They do not attempt delivery. 

My wife was home when the mail was delivered yesterday, we were expecting a package, she heard the truck pull up and the cluster mailbox unit being slid open, and she was ready to answer the door when the knock came; but it never did.  

When I got home and checked the mail yesterday afternoon, you’ll never guess what I found: a missed delivery notice in our mailbox. 

I jumped back into my truck and headed over to the post office – it’s only a 10 mile or so drive, but at rush hour on surface streets with stop lights at every block along the way it still takes over 30 minutes to cover that distance.  I waited patiently in line and then handed the slip to the clerk as I have countless times before.  The clerk took the slip and took two steps away and then turned back, “Is today the 5th,” she queried.  I confirmed it was.  “I can’t get your package for you until tomorrow.”

So much for “swift completion” of their rounds. 

I assured the clerk that I have always come the same day I’ve received the missed delivery notifications and it has never been a problem before.  She looked flustered and frustrated and fairly floored that I would have the audacity to request her to go look for it.  “They are all in a pile.  I’ll go see if I can find it quickly.”

She was back in less than a minute.  “You’re in luck, it was on top.  But, we can’t normally look for these the same day.  We’ll get in trouble.”

Really?  You’ll get in trouble for trying to deliver a package to the intended recipient the same day it would have been delivered if the carrier had bothered to knock on my front door?  After I’ve spent an hour driving to collect that package (trips to and from the post office)?  I’ve basically done your job for you, and you won’t give me my mail?

Okay.  So, for argument’s sake let’s say they have a policy in place not to attempt delivery to certain condo complexes due to added delivery time to walk from the cluster mailbox units to each front door (for large complexes) or in certain areas where crime rates (and mail theft) are above a certain threshold.  I’m fine with that.  That type of policy would make sense.

But, then shouldn’t the people shipping the packages get a discount because the item isn’t getting the same “to the door” service that it would otherwise?  And, if the package has no possibility of actually being delivered why was it placed on the truck in the first place?  Put the missed delivery slip in the mailbox and let the recipient head over to the post office and pick it up, where it’s waiting for them, on that same day.  Wouldn’t that make sense?

Am I missing something here?  Am I being too logical about this?  It is a government entity after all… perhaps my expectations are too high.