Hi, there. Thanks for visiting. I'm starting this blog as an advocate for mental and physical health. I'm a freelance writer and also own a home based medical transcription business. I was diagnosed in 1978 with paranoid schizophrenia and started to become acutely ill three years prior to that, unmedicated, frightened, confused, and in trouble with the law. I graduated from university with distinction the year I became ill. I've never regretted learning how to think at university. I struggled with my illness for 35 years and have reached the top of the mountain now, I think, or the other side, where the grass is greener and the path easier. There's hope for all of us, the whole human race, and never think there isn't hope or joy no matter your circumstances. I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences with mental illness in all its forms: depression, brain injury, autism, schizophrenia, bipolar, anxiety disorders, etc. and your positive experiences as well as those lies and half truths society and even therapists would have us believe about ourselves.

We are different folks, and we are beautiful. The whole human race is beautiful. Let's celebrate life.

Friday, November 19, 2010

How do you like your post office?

I'm bemused by the Postal Service which seems to charge for parcels whatever they please at these small outlets, and tell you what they please...some of you may know what I'm talking about who live in small towns or have small postal outlets and send mail internationally and both to and from the US. I've begun going online to print out labels for my parcels, using a tape measure and postal scale to determine the correct price, and choosing the cheapest option if I can. It always seems correct but I noticed at our little postal outlet the other day, and I've noticed this before, that a woman was charged expedited parcel as the cheapest way to send a small parcel, which would have been half the price. I wonder why they charge more? It seems to me somebody's making quite a bit of money on overcharging for parcels that could have gone out much cheaper...and I'm aware of that, as I see the rates online, and have the dimensions and weights posted on the Canada Post web site. I've never had a parcel returned. They're either poorly trained or are using a different scale and measuring system. But to ignore the fact that many parcels can be sent small package air or small package surface for a fraction of expedited parcel seems even dishonest. I once saw a man being charged $31 at this particular post office for a brown manila envelope and when he questioned it they changed the price to $11. I'm sure it could have been sent for half that...if anyone wants to question the Post Office about this kind of thing I have no proof, you know, just what I've observed. But I think the Post Office employees should be monitored more closely. Ours is private now. It used to be government. Stores have Secret Shoppers and the transit system has supervisors who check up on the drivers regularly. I think the post office should have supervisors who check up on post office employees as though they're customers and see what is happening. I used to work in an office where the mail was delivered at four or five o'clock in the afternoon. I phoned the local postal outlet a couple of times and was told once the carrier was there reading a book and they thought he'd completed his rounds. Lots of times I'd see him smoking in the Safeway parking lot with the security guard there. When we complained they'd tell us he had until five o'clock to deliver his was an office. Since moving into this apartment building I've had times when the mail was delivered late at night because apparently the carrier didn't show up at all during the day and mustn't have phoned in.

I love the concept of the postal service and depend on it as though for my lifeblood sometimes; my cheques come through the mail and my friends and family send cards, letters and parcels frequently. Seldom do they go astray, and often arrive before they were scheduled. It's the individuals they hire sometimes, especially here in Canada, who don't seem to be properly screened for efficiency and punctuality. They're well paid. I wouldn't be a mail carrier myself; too many dogs and icy sidewalks to contend with. But here in our apartment building there was really no reason for two cheques and a card with money in it to be sent back as "moved" in the interim when we had a substitute mail carrier, nor for the multitude of letters in the lobby which were misdelivered. Fortunately our regular mail carrier came back after a period of two or three weeks and things were back to normal. But I remember a time when a mail carrier spilled coffee, cream, and sugar all over everyone's mail and then delivered it that way with no apology. And the Post Office took out the complaint line...our previous mail carrier seldom worked on Mondays or after a long weekend or holiday, often delivered mail to the wrong suite, and was frequently very late or didn't show up at all. If he had a parcel he would cram it into the mailbox and sometimes so tightly it wouldn't come out, or came out damaged. He wouldn't ring our suites to tell us we had a parcel nor would he leave it at the office. He would leave a notice that we had to go to the post office to pick it up as he was apparently too lazy to deliver it to us or to the office so we could pick it up. Often I'd receive a notice that a parcel was there when I'd been home all day.

The larger parcels are delivered by a carrier in a special truck at another time of day, and she's excellent. She brings the parcel right up to my door, and is very pleasant. I keep candies and chocolate bars for the couriers and delivery people, and they almost always are inordinately pleased with the wee sweets. I do think they have a somewhat thankless job, but not particularly difficult.

The previous mail person kept his job for a long time, and probably is still sorting and delivering mail somewhere else...they do seem to have better service in the US, where a mail carrier also will post letters and parcels for customers. But I've read that the US Postal Service is in financial difficulty. Their postage rates are cheaper than ours. I don't complain about the flyers and catalogues I get because I think that keeps our postal service going, but it seems as though our rates are quite high and go up every year.

Once I left a thank you card with some candy for our regular mail carrier in the mail box. She thanked me with a note in my mailbox and seemed surprised that someone would remember her like that. I complain about poor service but I don't complain to supervisors anymore as I don't want to get anyone fired, unless they're really BAD! I did phone the post office and lodge a complaint about the cheques and money that had been misdelivered and returned as "moved". I will compliment good service and often have gone out of my way to speak to someone's manager and give them a kudo. But poor service and sloppy or rude communication skills just really irritate me. There's no reason for it; no matter how humble the job, do the best you can and be pleasant.

I think maybe for Christmas I'll slip a card with a $10 bill in it into my mailbox. I seldom see the mail carrier face to face as there's a large bank of mailboxes on the wall in the lobby and she goes into a locked room behind the wall to deliver the mail.

This post is a bit disjointed but I'm torn between complaining about the poor service and then complimenting the really good people. Customer service at the post office was very nice when I called and agreed "that shouldn't have happened." He also apologized. I wish more companies would realize how such a little thing like politeness and "thank you" and "I'm sorry" or "how can I help you?" go a long way towards promoting positive feelings for the company and stopping any hurt feelings that might go any further.

I notice since our regular mail carrier returned the end of October that no mail has been put up on the bulletin board or table in the lobby as being misdirected. And our mail is being delivered mostly before noon. I wonder what's going to happen at Christmastime when they get more subs?

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