Residents grow increasingly frustrated with spotty USPS

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — No post on Sundays … or most other days, according to many frustrated U.S. Postal Service customers. Many residents from towns throughout Essex and Union counties have reached out to the newspaper in the past few weeks to complain that their mail is arriving late — if at all.

A woman from Union Township described her experience, saying, “Monday there’s no mail, Tuesday there’s no mail, Wednesday there’s no mail, Thursday there’s no mail, then, finally, Friday, I get all the mail I was supposed to be getting during the week.”

Other residents have described similar experiences, where they don’t receive any mail for several days and then receive a bumper crop of mail, leading them to believe that they had mail to be delivered and it simply wasn’t being delivered.

George Flood, the Postal Service’s Northeast Area spokesperson, told the newspaper that the post office is struggling with the impacts of coronavirus and is doing its best.

“In these challenging and unprecedented times, the Postal Service has not been immune to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has not been business as usual. We are dealing with the same employee availability, child care, elder care, health and quarantine issues impacting other essential government services, businesses and the general population,” Flood said. “Our employees are doing a great job as we flex our available resources as best we can to match the workload created by the impacts of the ongoing pandemic.

“Another factor that is impacting public perceptions is the change in mail volumes,” he continued. “While the number of packages is above Christmas period, the steep and sudden decline in letter mail during the pandemic may be misconstrued at the mailbox as delivery delays.”

But some residents are not buying this reasoning. A Maplewood man argued that he is not receiving less mail than prior to the pandemic — he is merely receiving it in late bundles.

“Postmarks have dates on them,” he said. “I can see that this letter was mailed two weeks ago from three towns over. It shouldn’t have taken two weeks to get here.”

Another Maplewood resident reported that she is enrolled in “informed delivery,” meaning each morning she receives an email with pictures of the mail items she can expect to soon receive. Nevertheless, she sometimes receives mail items days after receiving notice of them, similarly receiving no mail for several days and then all the mail from the past few days at once.

“Why would they send it every morning if it’s a random assortment of mail that you might get at some point?” she questioned.

As frustration levels are rising among Postal Service customers, Flood is sympathetic and urges anyone unsatisfied with their service to contact the post office and communicate their issues.

“We are committed to providing the best possible service and value consumer feedback as a tool for identifying specific areas of opportunity to improve,” Flood said. “Northern New Jersey residents are encouraged to share their thoughts with us by contacting our toll-free customer care center at 1-800-ASK-USPS — 1-800-275-8777. Another convenient way is to send us an email by clicking on ‘Contact Us’ at the bottom left-hand side of our homepage and follow the prompts. Every call and email will be carefully documented and appropriate action taken to strengthen service.”