Saturday, August 4, 2018

Still Life with Robin: Get Informed about Your Mail

USPS Mail Truck - Public Domain
by Peggy Robin

It’s not often I have anything good to say about the US Postal Service. I’ve had more than my share of delivery complaints over the years --no, make that decades!-- including experience with ALL of the following: neighbors’ mail being delivered to me; my mail being delivered to neighbors; weird mail meant to go to far-flung places that could not possibly be mistaken for my address being delivered to me; notices of attempted delivery of packages time-stamped for when I knew I was home and could have accepted the package; packages left on my doormat that were addressed to neighbors who live ten blocks away…..I’m sure I’m leaving out five or six other kinds of postal delivery errors. And I was far from the only one.

Back on January, the Cleveland Park Citizens Association organized a big sit-down with USPS officials and local political leaders and pushed for improvement in mail delivery and a better response to complaints. It’s definitely helped. Certainly, thanks are due to all who have been watchdogging the problem. But I’m here to tell you there’s another tool in the toolbox, and I think it’s helped even more: It’s called “Informed Delivery.” It’s a USPS mail imaging program that allows you to receive a once-a-day email displaying the images of the envelopes you can expect to receive in the mail later that day. You can sign up for it here:

I’ve been signed up since May, and I have to say, “Good job, USPS!” Each morning, I open an email from USPS that shows me the images of the mail items I can expect to receive. Not every blessed thing. I don’t get images of flyers and circulars – just the mail that comes in normal sized envelopes. But so far, it’s been totally accurate. It’s reassuring, too. I used to worry all the time that I wasn’t receiving bills, or worse, checks that people had put in the mail. Now I can see what’s coming, and so far, I have actually received everything that’s the Informed Delivery Program has told me to expect. Quite a change from the patterns of the past.

Has being a member of this Informed Delivery Elite made the Postal System take more care with my deliveries? I won’t complain if it has. Would I recommend it to anyone else who’s been plagued by missing mail? You bet! Anything that helps to keep the Postal System on target has got to be worth trying. So join us! And you too can be one of the still-small but rapidly growing “Informed Delivery” movement!

Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.  

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