US Postal Service deficiencies
I just took the time to send a rather lengthy and detailed complaint about 4 incidents since I've been doing business here in April to the USPS Inspector General through the complaint website. I think it would be great if the IG got several more complaint submissions at the same time. So here is a link to the site complaint page.
Don't be distracted by all the info blocks they seem to want you to fill in, just be sure to detail your incidents in the "What are the facts..." box.
Maybe if the IG gets inundated with complaints all at once, they may think it serious enough to spend some time on it. The text of the complaint is inserted below if you care to read it:
We just moved to St Croix on April 6th with the intention of expanding my IT consulting business here. I had heard of the problematic postal system on the island but never experienced it for myself. I want to share several experiences with you that are typical of what others on the island have resigned themselves to.
1) My first job, I find I need some installation CDs from my CT residence where my wife had returned to deal with moving details while I try and make money on the island. So I asked her to locate the particular CDs and send them priority mail to my address. She mailed it from Willimantic on 4/25. There is a number on the stamp of 00095566-06 if it helps any. This package arrived in my mail box on 5/6.
2) Being apart on our anniversary, my wife sent an Anniversary card first class on 5/8 hoping it would arrive by our anniversary on the 15th. Here it is 5/26, and I still have not seen it.
3) My second job I find I need a hard drive for a repair. I find one directly on EBay, and order immediately on 5/15. The seller sends me an email Sunday the 16th saying he got the sale notice too late, but would ship first thing on the 17th. I received this final email from our communications this morning.
“Hello,I'm dissapointed to hear that you haven't received this yet.USPS says it was delivered to Christiansted VI 00820 may 22,2009 at 11:23 a.m.If you can,contact your post office and inform them I have delivery confirmation and ask what they have done with the package.The confirmation # is 0305 2710 0002 3560 3164.Hopefully this will get resolved without further delay.”
I still do not have this important piece for this job on 5/26.
4) On the next two jobs I find I had to spend a significant amount of money for several hundred feet of LAN cable on the island. I realized I had several thousand feet on a couple of reels in CT, so I asked my wife to stuff several hundred feet of LAN cable off one of the reels in to a priority box and send it to me. She mailed on 5/18, but this time she asked for a signature to guarantee it would get here. I’ve not seen or heard anything on the delivery of the item by 5/26.
I’ve heard several theories from various locals on the deficiencies of the PO system.
1) The trip through San Juan takes it’s toll
2) The items arrive in Christiansted and just sit there until they decide it’s time to deliver the “Priority” item.
3) The workers in St Croix have this “GOD” attitude. They will wait on you when they are good and ready. They only produce to a reasonable level when they are being scrutinized.
How is a business (new or established) supposed to stay in business if we can’t get the service we think we are paying for from the PO?
Don’t these PO employees realize it is privilege to have this job and not an entitlement (especially in this economy)? I’m sure there are hundreds of people that would line up to do the job conscientiously if given the chance.
I understand an audit was done fairly recently in the VI, but I understand the workers were prepped for the visit, and performed to expectations while visited, but then returned to their old ways immediately after. This evidenced by the issues detailed above.
You want to cut waste out of your 6 billion dollar deficit? Start here! I think you will find if you cut half the workforce that does nothing, the other half may get the picture and do the jobs we are paying them to do.
Maybe not enough research before moving?
USPS yes but in the USVI. They are the Virgin Islands!
You must learn to Chill! The Sun does come up tomorrow!
Did you move there for money/stress? It's islandtime mon.
Cheers and take a chill pill.
It appears you have not yet rebalanced your internal clock to island time 😀 The dates in the four examples in your letter aren't particularly long delays. I'm still waiting for a package sent Priority Mail from CA on February 1 2008 -- and I still believe it will arrive! Priority Mail is on time here when something is sent from the states and arrives within three months. I have had package slips in my box and no package could be found when I tried to redeem the slips, only to have the packages returned to sender after a several month delay during which the STT post office lost the package. If you really need something, UPS is more reliable. You will pay international fees but their tracking is vastly superior to the post office.
I'm sorry your struggling with the realities of life here. Those of us who moved here from the states and stayed have all had to overcome some frustrations. This problem is the sort of thing that locals on this board try to explain to people who want to move here and operate a business that requires reliable access to things in the states. People don't get what we mean when we try to explain that things here just don't work the way they do in the states.
I have found USPS on STX to be reasonably good. It's only a bit slower than what I experienced state-side. Priority Mail almost always gets here (or from here to the states) within one week. I always do Delivery Confirmation, and sometimes Insurance. The biggest problems are from senders mis-addressing the mail.
Talk to the post office ladies, they have told me and others (while I wait in line) that priority doesn't work in the vi like it does stateside. It can take up to 3 weeks to get here with priority. If you want it here quick you have to use EXPRESS mail with the usps.
If you absolutely have to have something....everyone knows you use fedex, even stateside. The usps has improved greatly in the last decade but its still a govt enity.
If you are nice and talk to the post office ladies like they're human beings they will be nice to you. 🙂 Treat them like servants or peons and you're going to get no where.
eagleray and dntw8up thanks for your comments. I have been coming to the islands for over 5 years. The last 2, I spent over ten weeks per year here through the course of the year. I most certainly do understand "island time" as I have been dealing with it for some time. In most if not all other cases, I would be laid back and take it in stride.
These, however are US government employees in a system that should be standardized across the continent and territories. For a priority package to arrive in the local PO then sit there for 5 days is not appropriate, responsible, or acceptable. As the owner of a business that is currently thriving in the states, I do have certain knowledge that some things do not have to be lived with, and will only change with the proper channels being greased and inundated.
You really don't have to accept this type of service from this particular organization. But the only way upper US management will know of the situation is if everyone does their part to let them know. If you want to let the current status quo go on, don't do anything. I'm sure there are others that have read this and already responded.
Believe me, I don't intend to try to change the whole island or the VI government, I'm relaxed in that regard. I do believe this particular organization can be massaged in to compliance.
I am sorry for your distress but I have to giggle just a little. Hubby and I are at the post office quite a bit as we do a lot of mailing. Shortly after moving here I had some packages to pick up but they were addressed to my husband and he was off island. The clerk helping me refused to give me the packages. I explained to her quite sternly that my husband and I were in all the time and the other clerks knew me. She told me quite loudly that she did not know me and asked to help the next person in line. At that point I apologized very profusely and begged her to give me the packages and listened patiently while she chewed me out for my rudeness. Since then I put on my happiest face, use the proper greeting and ask how the clerk in question is doing that day before conducting business. Now when I go to the post office they greet me like an old friend and if package is late or lost they always take the time to try and find it. When I first arrived on island I felt quite put out by all the butt kissing I had to do but now I realize it is a small price to pay to exist here. Now it is second nature to be calm in all situations and you will find that the people here are wonderful and will go out of their way to help you. Take a deep breath, smile and be calm. It will get easier.
Sorry man, but USPS is only the tip of the inefficiency iceberg (or sand bar) here. Mail takes anywhere from 1-6 weeks with no pattern; maybe longer. Many things here are a nightmare. I moved from Connecticut too. It is hard to get used to it, but every Sunday is 'beach day'. It really helps take the edge off. I was worried that I would become lazy and slow, but it has been the opposite. I move faster and work harder just to make it. Try not to become an alcoholic like many transplants have.
, however are US government employees in a system that should be standardized across the continent and territories
You really don't have to accept this type of service from this particular organization
Vroberge, everyone feels like this when they come. But its just not the way things work here. This is not really the US. You can expect the same standards but you are going to be beating your head against the wall on a daily basis. We, transplants, have to adjust to life the way it is here not the other way around. You've been vacationing before now, now you are living here. I don't think I know you're not going to have any luck changing a govt enity here.
Betty is right. When in Rome................
Sometimes i get tired of the excuse "island time" yes we are on island time and we have to slow down our pace but somethings there is just no excuse for. We pay the same postage as they do in the states and for that should expect the same kind of service.
We usually even pay more here and get the worse service.
If you get mugged or robbed and it takes the police 6 hours to respond are you going to say.....hey mon don't stress about it.
Easy to say that when its not you....
sorry had to vent
While I understand why everyone is saying "this is just the way it is here" I cannot agree that apathy is acceptable. The OP is correct in his morals and I applaud his desire to change things even if they are ultimately overly optimistic (which is what I think others are trying to get at).
As I drive around this island I have lived on for years, see the lack of opportunities for our youth etc. I cannot help but feel that it is a result of too much apathy and excuses about how "this is island time." How can we compete with a world that doesn't operate on island time in this increasingly global world?
While many of us made money in other places and brought it here, those who are born here of more modest means are doomed to mediocrity because they will only know "island time." They will be taught by teachers operating on "island time" so they will get an inferior education. They will only be offered mediocre jobs because the companies they work for will operate on "island time" never able to compete with the rest of the world so never able to pay a decent wage. They will drive on roads maintained on "island time" and possibly die in a traffic accident because of the terrible conditions. They will fall vicitm to criminals who are policed by officers operating on "island time." They will have to subject themselves to medical treatment in a hospital operating on "island time" when they are ill, and may die prematurely because of it. Sound's far fetched? I've seen every single one of these scenarios happen. "Island time" is not a joke, it has consequences, unfortunately they are often not seen as an immediate result of this scourge.
Ok, I feel a little better 🙂
To the OP, I agree with the others, you will have to adjust/get used to many things here...but at the same time I don't think that should ever stop you from trying to make a difference, even if it's sending letters to the USPS demanding better service.
Also, Betty's advice about how to approach people in business here is VERY true. I've learned that it is not butt kissing, it is a much more civil way to do business that we have forgotten about stateside. We SHOULD try to know the people we conduct business with, even simple busines with. In the end it can be far more efficient than the way they do things stateside. It took me a few years to figure that out.
Good Luck with your business here!
Totally understand the need to vent. It gets frustrating for everyone and we all blow up from time to time. There is a big trade you have to accept to live here and great weather and beautiful ocean aren't always enough everyday.
Whoa!!! Didn't mean to ruffle so many feathers. Believe me mine aren't. I'm quite cool, and I'm sure I'll live a long and happy life.
But, based on the response this post has gotten, and the supportive PM's I've gotten, do you realize what could have happened today if you didn't waste your time trying to tell me to "chill" and diverted your attention to the site I simply offered to to you for the purpose it was intended?
As I indicated in a previous post, DixieChick hit it on the head. PO employees get paid the same here or in the states, they go through the same training, we pay the same rates, if the system is broke why not tell somebody?
If you're happy...be happy. If your not...go to the site. Can't hurt.
Never had a problem with the post office that didn't require taking a deep breath and waiting a few more days. I don't feel any need to complain. The longer I live here the less I do complain and I like that. When I go back stateside I am embarassed at how often people whine, insult and berate other people in the name of customer service OR in trying to get something for free.
If you were rallying people to fight for better education, better police protection or even lower wapa bills I'd be with you, but this is pretty minor and just not worth it IMO.
"Island time" may seem like a poor excuse, but the fact is that the following was true when it was published forty-four years ago, is true today, and will be true forty-four years from now, regardless of how much and/or how loud anyone complains:
"The West Indian is not exactly hostile to change, but he is not much inclined to believe in it. This comes from a piece of wisdom that his climate of eternal summer teaches him. It is that, under all the parade of human effort and noise, today is like yesterday, and tomorrow will be like today; that existence is a wheel of recurring patterns from which no one escapes; that all anybody does in this life is live for a while and then die for good, without finding out much; and that therefore the idea is to take things easy and enjoy the passing time under the sun. The white people charging hopefully around the islands these days in the noon glare, making deals, bulldozing airstrips, hammering up hotels, laying out new marinas, opening new banks, night clubs and gift shops, are to him merely a passing plague. They have come before and gone before."
Herman Wouk, "Don't Stop the Carnival"
As the song by Jimmy Buffett says.........Senator Pullman expalins to Norman Paperman in the stage production of Don't stop the Carnival....
But you gotta play by kinja rules
Forget about da tings you learned in school
We use a different box of tools
And you gotta play by kinja rules
veroberge, no ruffled feathers here. I too would love for things to be more efficient here and in the three years I have lived here I have seen remarkable improvement. Today for instance, my hubby was able to get our car inspected and registered in less than an hour and was able to sit in air condition while he waited. Three years ago when registering our car we waited over 3 hours in what felt like a dusty outpost in Africa. Your complaint to the post office will hopefully do some good but I have already seen great improvement there as well. It might be my attitude or maybe service is improving. Everyone who comes here to live makes some ripple in the day to day living. Some for the good. Some make it worse. The skills you bring to the island will hopefully benefit us all. I think dntw8up is correct in quoting Herman Wouk. The people who live here will go on in spite of us all the way they always have. They will make advances and improvements in their own time. I don't know if that is island time or not. I think maybe it is just a more relaxing way of doing things.
I am probably jinxing myself by saying this, but I have not had many issues with the post office. I always use the priority mail flat rate boxes or envelopes, then pay the extra 75 cents for delivery confirmation. If I mail something on Monday, it is usually there by Thursday (of the same week!)
I order stuff constantly from a cosmetics company, and they send priority mail too.... usually gets here in about three-four days.
The only time I ever had a problem was when my friend sent a box of books media mail, and I got a piece of cardboard with the label on it, and a note that said "Sometimes accidents happen. This package did not make it. We apologize for the inconvenience."
I liked (parts of) Wouk's book...and that quote brings up an interesting point about what we really "value" in life. Sometimes we do forget about the simple things that are good, we lose good things in our quest to make things "better."
OTOH, "passing the time" sounds great until you realize that when the world lived this way we had far more famine, disease, death and despair than we have now (and we still have a good amount of it). "Passing the time" never cured cancer, hiv/aids, polio, and left us completely at the whim of nature (good crops=people ate, bad crops=famine and people died). It seems like those that simply "pass the time" usually end up living off the backs of those who "make the most of their time" by working hard.
vroberge: I avoid the post office like the plague. If you run a business, I'd recommend getting a box at a private company, such as Mailboxes & More in Sunny Isle. I was forced to do this because, like you, my business couldn't handle the severe shortcomings of the PO and I often didn't have two hours to wait in line to mail a package (despite all the sunny thoughts I was thinking about island time). Anytime we need to mail something, we do it from Mailboxes instead of the PO. Small wait and decently efficient service. And we have all our mail sent there.
Gee, you should have been here 27 years ago. Things have improved but I doubt island ways will become totally stateside ways in the near future no matter how many letters are written or complaints are registered. If those things worked, these islands would be more crowded than Manhattan.
My experience with the postal system was::: it was xmas eve a few years ago. Had a card in my mail box in Cotton Valley that i had a package. Since it was Xmas eve i knew it was a gift from parents.
Went to Richmond to pick up package (drove from east end mind ya) . Waited in long line. When i got up to the postal worker to help me, i gave him my card showing that i had a package there, welllllllllll he said......can you come back later? i don't have time right now to get it......
I am like....whattttttttttttt i said no way i was going to come all the way back in. He of course sucked his teeth, but after a bit he went to get it. took him about 1 min. to locate it.
That would not be allowed in the states. That was not island time that was just plain not doing what he is paid to do by the U.S.; Govt.
So the heck with this island time stuff.
Well got to go. i am on island time now.
LOL!!! Got home from a job this afternoon and went to the mailbox. Recieved:
1 first class bill dated 5/21
2 first class statements dated 5/21
1 first class anniversary card dated 5/6
1 Priority box dated 5/18
1 Priority box dated 5/19
Hmmm... pretty ironic.
Well got to go. I am on island time now.
vroberge - I too have written complaint letters to the post office and I applaud your efforts. I have a bit of advice for you. Always use Priority Mail and Insure the package (no matter what it is). I was given this piece of advice by a "stateside" postal worker when dropping off a package to be mailed to the USVI and I told her how long it took to get packages here. It has worked like a charm. I used to wait up to 3 weeks for my priority mail packages now when they are insured (even for the minimum amount) they arrive in 3 to 5 days - every time!