Postal Failure

I’m waiting in the car right now, while my mom is in the post office. She’s bringing them a broken box, marked with a label that says, “found in this condition at JAX” and a multidigit code. A knife had been used to slice off most of mom’s return address label from Connecticut; only the large TO address written in Sharpie marker allowed it to be delivered at all.

The box contained my family’s Christmas presents. Mom came north for Thanksgiving this year, did her shopping, and mailed this box around December 10 to her Florida address, where we planned on spending Christmas. The box didn’t arrive, didn’t arrive and didn’t arrive. Finally it came on Saturday — bashed open, address label sliced off, and emptied of everything but some wooden spoons for my kitchen.

It’s hard to know if the new kitchen tools for me, the polo shirts for dad, some fabric for mom’s quilting projects, and some other sundry items were lost or stolen. But these objects were entrusted to the US Postal Service for $17.16 in postage (and admittedly no insurance). Nothing irreplaceable, nothing particularly valuable.

We had a lovely Christmas without them. It’s not about the presents after all. The Grinch taught us that, Lo these many years ago. So did the Whos down in Whoville.

Yet I think my family is going to be a lot less trusting of the postal service from now on. Which is a shame. A well run postal service doesn’t allow its customers’ property to be damaged or stolen.

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