Inconsistent mail deliveries have some USPS customers frustrated

Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 5:53 PM EST
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WILLISTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Staffing shortages are affecting businesses and organizations across the country, including the U.S. Postal Service.

A packed post office parking lot in Williston on Wednesday, with people making sure their mail gets into the hands of the post office.

“I’ve been bringing my bills over here. I don’t leave them in my mailbox because I don’t know when they’re going to come. I feel safer dropping them right at the post office,” said Donna Lee of Williston.

Lee has been experiencing spotty delivery and pickup at her house for months. That inconsistency has her worried about the rapid COVID tests she’s expecting from the federal government.

“I figure I”m going to have to keep going out there and checking the mailbox several times a day to see if they’ve arrived or not,” she said.

Lee isn’t alone. Some people I spoke with Wednesday said they had only gotten mail delivered once in the last 11 business days, including time-sensitive materials like tax forms and medications.

“If you go down there, the line might be out the door to pick up mail or drop off mail. What we are being told-- there’s no one there to sort it, there’s no one to get out in the vehicles and make a delivery,” said Frank Foley of Williston.

I asked the USPS regional office what is going on and they say there are 100 openings in Vermont, ranging from letter carriers to mail processing clerks. In a statement, they said, in part, “The COVID-19 pandemic continues to present unprecedented challenges and occasionally impacts employee availability... we will continue to use all of the tools at our disposal to assure that our Vermont customers get the kind of First Class service that they’ve come to expect and deserve.”

To improve the situation, the post office is continuing to authorize overtime work, expanding mail deliveries and even coming on Sundays to get mail into customers’ hands as quickly as they can.

Despite their frustrations, many people I spoke with were sympathetic to the people working at the Williston post office.

“Quite honestly, we won’t get mail for two or three days, and when you come down here it’s always crowded because people are here picking up their mail. And I just feel badly because I know they are short several employees and the employees that are here are wonderful,” said Barbara MacArthur of Williston.

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