Thursday, December 04, 2008

USPS

My house payment is lost somewhere in the nether reaches of the some post office's back wash of dead letters. I am not happy.

We owner financed our home through a very nice woman in Wisconsin nearly eight years ago and like clockwork, rain or shine, every month I've mailed this payment, priority mail delivery confirmation. We've had few or no problems with this system. In fact, I'd gotten so relaxed with it, that the last three months or so, in the interest of saving a few dollars, I've simply stuck a stamp on it and sent the check off.

But this month, for some reason I can not logically account for, I just didn't have a peace about sending it that way and decided to return to the former system. Last Wednesday I sent it from the local post office--being careful to allow for the holiday. I checked online later and was happy to see that it had already been scanned at the regional office. It's on its way, I thought. Ordinarily this would have been the end of a rather pointless story, but sadly there's more.

I checked on the day it should have been delivered. It wasn't there. I checked the day after that. Still not there. Thinking that maybe the system itself was backlogged, I called the woman we make our payment to. No, she said, it wasn't there. In fact she was just about to call us.

So I called the post office's one-eight-hundred-don't-bother-us line and played twenty questions with the automated prompter. It reminded me of one of those pixelated quest games I like to play where the lego-shaped person is trying to fight their way through the dragons and giant blue ducks (you had to be there) while negotiating the twists and turns of a maze that leads to the castle doors, behind which is the beautiful maiden. One wrong turn and your little person is blown to lego shaped bits by a land mine and you have to start over. In this case, the wrong combination of button pushing meant a trip to the main menu where I could choose another option.

After being sent back to the beginning at least four times, I learned that silence was my friend. I realized it wasn't going to give me the option of talking to someone with a pulse unless I played possum. So I entered half the information and stopped. It was a little funny to listen to the prompter reword its directives six or seven times, giving me different directions and buttons to push (I only fell for this once), and then finally ask me if I was still there. When I indicated that I was, it all but sighed and said, "Fine. Let me put you in touch with one of our customer service agents." I did the victory dance while my children stared (I do this whenever I triumph over the blue ducks too).

I spoke with a nice young man who wasn't more than slightly helpful until I told him it was a check and that the check was my house payment. I spelled out to him how very important it was to me that my house payment get where it's going. I told him I was going to come and live in the post office lobby if I lost my home. And I mentioned how I was going to bring all my boys, my dogs, my cats, and my hippie mother. Suddenly he was all ears, actually sympathetic even. He promised to send it to the department that investigates this kind of thing, asked lots of questions, giving me a confirmation number and a promise that someone would call me back.

In case you're wondering, I'm not holding my breath. I don't have visions of some detective sitting somewhere in the recesses of some post office, feet up on his desk, smoking a cigarette, gun in his drawer and a badge on his ample chest, waiting for an assignment like mine. It suspect it's more like a whispered exchange between customer service people that ends in, "Just make something up so they'll go away".

The lady who send our check to counts on it to pay her bills. She has a sickly husband and they're struggling just like everyone else. They can't wait for the thing to just turn up. So, thanks to USPS, I now have to wire the money to her tomorrow (an extra $45.00 I did not need to be spending this month of all months) and cancel the check (another $15.00).

I'd feel better about this if I thought there was a moral to it. Some great lesson in faith, maybe. But all it seems to be is: Don't trust the post office, which is kind of weak as lessons go. I guess the good news is, I didn't a send cashier's check this time (had a bad feeling about that too--that would have been a disaster) and following my instincts turned out to be a good idea. So Yay me. Still, I'd rather have the sixty something dollars this is going to cost me instead of being right.

*Goes off Grumbling*

2 comments:

Big Plain V said...

I've been hearing a couple people complain about lost packages and things lately. Apparently the 'whether sun or snow' thing has just come to an end.

jeanie said...

That is awful. Surely, if it is registered they have to offer some compensation...