One of the letters I pulled out of my mailbox yesterday had already been opened. It’s possible that it was a cheap envelope with weak glue. It’s also possible that the envelope and its contents had been tampered with by a prying, preying postal worker.
At least I was allowed to see this letter. The USPS selectively delivers my mail. I get the bills, greeting cards, wedding invitations, and junk. But forget about any reliable receipt of even slightly oversized regular-mail packages. And, more than once, I’ve gone for weeks without getting my Newsweek magazines. My senders, the Newsweek subscription office, and I blame the federal postal system. The federal postal system blames my neighbors. “Maybe someone in your building took them,” a postal employee proposed over the phone, while chewing on something crunchy. I know the people in my building and none of them are the stealing kind. Nor can I envision any of them reading Newsweek.
When I first realized I wasn’t always getting all my mail, I launched a two-week, one-woman investigation. Most of those two weeks were spent trying to get a relevant person on the phone. When I finally got ahold of someone at my local station office, after getting hung up on a few times, there was a series of heated, early-morning phone conversations with multiple mail carriers, who all turned things around and accused me of improperly accusing them of mail theft (I never accused, I implied). They mocked me - I heard them in the background. And I still never got those packages.
The USPS is an above-ground, federally-mollycoddled, less charismatic version of the underworld. The Gambinos without the guns and gusto.
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