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View Full Version : What are the hours of day mail should be delivered?


Ruffian
07-02-2002, 12:05 PM
My current residence must be either the end of someone's route, or the beginning of someone else's.

Mail has come as early as 9:00a.m. and as late as 6:45p.m., with the latter being last week. The community was rather irked about the extreme lateness of the delivery/pick up time--and, as most post offices are closed by then (and the last pick up at public mailboxes is 5:30pm), several were wondering if their bills put out for pick up that day would get postmarked that date.

I've done some searches at usps.gov, but there's nothing of this nature on the site.

So...just how late can the mail man come?

Exapno Mapcase
07-02-2002, 04:19 PM
My experience with this is pretty old, consisting of summers as a mail carrier during college, but might still be relevant.

Summertime is vacation time. Therefore summer subs are flung in at random to fill slots. Almost anything can happen after that.

Sometimes I would have to sort the route myself. This is the process of putting the letters into their proper slots by address. Since I would never have seen the route before I did this much more slowly than the regular carrier, and got started much later.

The route itself is supposed to be walked (or driven) in the same order as the slots are arranged. This is so all routes can be timed to be the same length. In reality, carriers learn all the short cuts (cutting though yards, etc.) that can cut hours off a route, and may do routes in a completely different order than the official set-up. Subs don't know these tricks and do things in order, and the results may vary widely.

I remember once coming back after a full day's route and being assigned to another full route. If you think you're unhappy, imagine how a bank feels when it gets its mail at the end of the day. Or at least that's what I assumed by looking at the manager's face as I high-tailed it out of there.

I suppose it's also possible that a route might be split up between two carriers, although that never happened to me.

Whether the letters picked up go out that day depends on when the last truck from the local station goes to the main office. So maybe, maybe not.

BTW, the same stuff happens on a smaller scale the rest of the year because of vacations, holidays, illnesses, and the like.

It's a harder job than it look, even in a truck. The logistics are intense. I try to cut my carriers a lot of slack, but I have to admit that I would complain to my local post office branch if I got my mail as late as 6:45.

Exapno Mapcase
07-02-2002, 04:27 PM
My experience with this is pretty old, consisting of summers as a mail carrier during college, but might still be relevant.

Summertime is vacation time. Therefore summer subs are flung in at random to fill slots. Almost anything can happen after that.

Sometimes I would have to sort the route myself. This is the process of putting the letters into their proper slots by address. Since I would never have seen the route before I did this much more slowly than the regular carrier, and got started much later.

The route itself is supposed to be walked (or driven) in the same order as the slots are arranged. This is so all routes can be timed to be the same length. In reality, carriers learn all the short cuts (cutting though yards, etc.) that can cut hours off a route, and may do routes in a completely different order than the official set-up. Subs don't know these tricks and do things in order, and the results may vary widely.

I remember once coming back after a full day's route and being assigned to another full route. If you think you're unhappy, imagine how a bank feels when it gets its mail at the end of the day. Or at least that's what I assumed by looking at the manager's face as I high-tailed it out of there.

I suppose it's also possible that a route might be split up between two carriers, although that never happened to me.

Whether the letters picked up go out that day depends on when the last truck from the local station goes to the main office. So maybe, maybe not.

BTW, the same stuff happens on a smaller scale the rest of the year because of vacations, holidays, illnesses, and the like.

It's a harder job than it looks, even in a truck. The logistics are intense. I try to cut my carriers a lot of slack, but I have to admit that I would complain to my local post office branch if I got my mail as late as 6:45.

There are some current carriers on the boards. I'm sure they'll be along in a minute to update my 30-year-old story.

Exapno Mapcase
07-02-2002, 04:33 PM
I guess you connect even when the error message says you didn't. Sorry 'bout that.

ratatoskK
07-02-2002, 04:37 PM
Probably the regular carrier was out sick, or something similar is going on. Normally you'd receive your mail around the same time every day (give or take an hour or two). There are no regulations saying you must receive your mail before a certain time. In the winter, when it gets dark early, the carriers are urged to be back at the P.O. before dark for safety reasons. In theory they're supposed to be able to hurry up and get it all delivered before dark, but in practice they may be out after sunset or (in extreme circumstances) have to give up and return to the office before it's all delivered.

ratatoskK
07-02-2002, 04:40 PM
p.s. or the mail truck could have broken down

kirk
07-02-2002, 05:36 PM
In general mail will be delivered only during daylight hours. So, you can expect it anytime. If you have any concerns or complaints, you should talk to your local postmaster.

Also, the postmark on a bill means nothing to most companies. They will only consider a bill paid after it has been entered into their system.

Tamex
07-02-2002, 06:57 PM
A slight hijack:

IME, you shouldn't put bills (or any other "important" mail) in an unlocked mailbox to be mailed anyway. I got a voice mail warning from the police department once warning me of a scam going on in my area. Seems that thieves were stealing outgoing mail out of curbside mailboxes and using the bank account numbers on the checks to make new checks, and then using the new checks to drain the victims' bank accounts. The police advised that you either bring your mail to the post office or put in in one of the locked blue collection boxes. Seems like a good idea, and it ensures that the mail is postmarked on time, to boot.

If you like your mail early, you could get a PO Box. Mail is put in those first thing in the morning. Of course, you do have to pick it up yourself.

Duckster
07-02-2002, 11:21 PM
When we lived in the SF Bay Area, our mail was regularly delivered after 8pm, sometimes as late as 11pm. The excuses all varied, but never satisfying, especially when I found my mail soaking wet in my mailbox on more than one occasion.

(When you consider my mail was always undercover from postal annex, to the truck, to its final destination inside a central building designed for mail, all I can figure was the job for my local postal employee always rained on his parade. But in July, too, when it never rains?)

Despite numerous complaints to my local postmaster, service never improved. I eventually got a post office bos in a neighboring suburb and directed all my mail there. Service went through the roof.

To this day, I think the Dublin, California, post office and its employees must have learned their customer service skills from the California DMV.

Duck Duck Goose
07-03-2002, 12:40 AM
Well, Ruffian, I'm sorry you're having troubles. :(

On the subject of deliveries:

If it's any consolation, it's almost certainly because you live on the tag end of a route that wasn't big enough to make up an entire route. It's a kind of leftover piece, okay? It doesn't have enough customers to make it worthwhile for the Post Office to assign a regular letter carrier to it, to deliver eight hours' worth of mail every day, so its mail gets taken out by whoever's in the office, usually Part-Time Flexibles ("grunts" :D ) or regular letter carriers who are on the Overtime Desired list and who just want a couple of hours of overtime at the end of the day, after they've finished carrying their own routes--those will be the days when your mail comes really late. The supervisor has to juggle schedules to find people to deliver your mail every day, so some days it comes early and some days it comes late.

As to "how late can it come", union rules specify that all letter carriers must return to the office by darkness--they aren't allowed to carry mail after dark, due to the American householder's inclination to shoot first and ask questions later, when he hears strange footsteps on the front porch after dark. There is also the "Bicycle Factor", which means the likelihood of letter carriers tripping over bicycles left in front yards and on front sidewalks in the dark. This all means that in the summertime, mail can come much later than in the winter. In the summer, the Better Half (who is on the Overtime Desired list) frequently doesn't come home until 7 p.m., and sometimes not until nearly 8:00, but in the winter, I know he'll always be home at least by 5:30.

On the subject of pickups:

You live in an apartment complex with its own mailbox? The story is somewhat the same there--every day the supervisor has to juggle schedules to find someone to drive out to your mailbox and do a pickup, and while the times posted on the box are *supposed* to be adhered to, still...

If it's not a mailbox, if folks are just sticking the bills to be picked up into their own mailboxes and assuming that the letter carrier will take them with him, well, you should do them (and him) a favor and tell them to stop doing that. The letter carrier isn't required to take those, but he usually does, because he's a nice guy. And what he then has to do with them is what the customer should have done, which is find a mailbox and drop them in. He doesn't normally take them back to the office with him, because there's nowhere to put them, when he comes in through the back door at the loading dock. They have to go in a mailbox, just like all the other mail.

So there's no way of guaranteeing that just because a bill was put out for the mailman and he took it with him, that it got postmarked that day.

I don't even give our family bills to the Better Half to mail, because then when he gets to work, he has to walk all the way around to the front of the building and drop them in a mailbox, and it annoys him. So when I pay bills, I drop them off at what he says is one of the most reliably picked-up mailboxes, the one by the Medical Offices and the Fire Station on Main and Grand. He used to tell me, unti they removed it, "The one in the Eagle Country Food Market parking lot [which was closest to our house] is hopeless, don't ever put bills in there..."

If you really need something postmarked "today", do what I do (yep, even me the Post Office Wife :D ) and take it down to the actual Post Office and drop it in the slot, inside the Post Office building. Even those mailboxes just outside the Post Office in their parking lot are subject to late pickups, and yes, they're even completely forgotten every so often :eek: no kidding...

Billdo
07-03-2002, 08:06 AM
So, DDG, does that mean that the motto "neither rain nor snow nor dark of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds" is incorrect?

Should someone take a chisel to the front of main post office building here in New York City?

kirk
07-03-2002, 02:33 PM
If it's not a mailbox, if folks are just sticking the bills to be picked up into their own mailboxes and assuming that the letter carrier will take them with him, well, you should do them (and him) a favor and tell them to stop doing that. The letter carrier isn't required to take those, but he usually does, because he's a nice guy. And what he then has to do with them is what the customer should have done, which is find a mailbox and drop them in. He doesn't normally take them back to the office with him, because there's nowhere to put them, when he comes in through the back door at the loading dock. They have to go in a mailbox, just like all the other mail.

According to the Domestic Mail Manual, Section D100 - First Class Mail, Part 2.1 Mail Deposit- Single Piece And Card Rates mail may be placed in your mail box for pickup. http://pe.usps.gov/cpim/ftp/manuals/DMM/D100.pdf

When I delivered mail I was required to pick up outgoing mail from a person's mail box. I always brought it back to the post office and I placed it in the bins for outgoing mail at the front of the office.

Threadkiller
07-03-2002, 04:56 PM
Originally posted by Billdo
So, DDG, does that mean that the motto "neither rain nor snow nor dark of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds" is incorrect?

Should someone take a chisel to the front of main post office building here in New York City? They can carve an addendum "Just don't ask us about unions"

ratatoskK
07-03-2002, 05:12 PM
Rural carriers (at least) are supposed to pick up mail if left in boxes. They're also supposed to put on stamps or sell you a reasonable amount of stamps, if you put out money.

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