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MMD > Archives > October 2002 > 2002.10.25 > 01Prev  Next

Postal Service in the Outback
By Patty Slayton

Before moving to this tiny rural valley off the real world about 25
years ago, I had also had terrible experiences with rude postal clerks,
long lines, forms and smashed packages.  Our little post office in
Moore, Idaho, is "manned" by some local ladies who are both helpful
and nosey.  One doesn't mind the nosey part, or at least I don't.

If someone in one of the remote areas fails to take the mail out of his
box for a couple of days, they have the sheriff check on them.  In one
case I remember, an elderly lady had fallen and broken her hip.  She
had been unable to get to the phone.  There were other times isolated
people were rescued because these people paid attention and cared.

Since there is rural route delivery, whenever I receive a registered or
certified document, instead of wasting a day delivering a notice, one
of them calls me in the morning and tells me about it.  If I have a
package that is too large to fit in the box, they also call me, tell me
who sent it and even what they think is in it and ask for instructions.
Since my mail box is 1/2 mile from my house, I have a choice of either
promising to pick it up at delivery time, which is always about 1:00
PM, so it doesn't sit long in the weather, or they keep if for me to
pick up.

I have taken in and raised several "thrown-away" teenagers over the
years.  They always know who is living with me and redirect their mail
to my address.  If there is postage due, the delivery lady Karen simply
scribbles a post-it note, pastes it to the delivered envelope and I
leave the money in the box for her the next day.

During one of the many postage increases, I failed to put the proper
amount on a letter I had left in the box with the flag up.  Karen put
an extra stamp on it and left a post-it note so I could leave her what
I owed.

When we have tough winters, I'm often snowed in and the delivery jeep
can't even get to the mail box, or the box is totally covered with
snow.  They hold my mail and call me if there is something that looks
particularly important!  When anything is amiss, they personally track
it down.

UPS is just as good.  Dooley, the driver, not only knows where everyone
lives but where they work and when.  When I was working at the hospital
in Arco, he would bring my packages to me there instead of leaving them
inside the door at home.  We don't have locks on our doors around here.
One time, he had a package for me and saw my truck at the grocery store
in Arco.  He put the package in my truck and then went into the store
and found me to tell me about it.

When Dooley delivers things here at the house, our four dogs run out
to greet him.  They leap into his truck and snuffle around to see if
he has anything for them.  He carries dog cookies.  He's one guy in
uniform that never gets bitten by dogs.  Another time, I was driving
to Idaho Falls and passed him on his way.  He flagged me down and
delivered my package to me in the middle of the desert.

Of course, if the government knew that the postal ladies were giving
personal service, these ladies would probably get fired.  The same is
probably true with UPS officialdom, although Dooley is actually saving
miles and time in the long run.  I hope they never find out they are
inadvertently providing above and beyond the call service somewhere
in the bowels of Idaho.

It's a place where everyone still waves at each other as they pass on
the road, instead of flipping the bird, and where, if you break down
on the road, the next car along stops to help.

Patty Slayton
3326W 3400N
Moore, Idaho

(Message sent Fri 25 Oct 2002, 05:33:25 GMT, from time zone GMT-0600.)

Key Words in Subject:  Outback, Postal, Service

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