Viewpoint: Why are long lines at post office a continuing problem?

I sent a letter similar to this one to the postmasters at both the Sunset, Las Vegas office and the Pahrump office.

The previous postmasters at the main Pahrump station and the current one say that decisions about the Pahrump office are made in Las Vegas. Every year in December I call someone at the main Vegas station and the Pahrump station to complain about the poor “customer service” we experience during the month of December out here, and each year I get a tremendous run-around and nothing is done about the problems. I read with great interest Selwyn’s story on page 1 of the Dec. 18 edition of the PVT, for apparently, the main office is still experiencing long-line problems.

This year, I decided to write letters in hopes that the right people would see them and understand the problems with the postal service in Pahrump during the month of December.

Some years I am told that “they” have been looking for extra help for over five months and have not been able to find anyone. MY GOODNESS!!! All you have to do is register with the NyE Communities Coalition jobsite out here and you would immediately have over 200 applicants willing to work part time temporarily for extra money during the Christmas rush.

This year I was told that it has been determined the volume of mail and business at the Kellogg station (in the south end where I live) does not warrant a second person there for extra help.

REALLY? I was there on Monday, Dec. 14 and there were no less than 20 people in line to mail packages, or handle signature letters during the whole time of the 45 minutes I had to wait in line.

One or two people would come out of the door and two to three new people would come in the front door. I have been an AARP card-carrying older person for some time now and it is difficult for me to stand like that for 45 minutes at a time because of my arthritis, but I continually see much older people on canes, walkers or oxygen tanks, who must have a much more difficult time of this when they need to mail something in December. There was also a very pretty twenty-something who had a large trash bag that she could hardly carry, with numerous small packages inside, right behind me.

I saw at least five people come by the front door and leave when they saw how long the line was.

There may be a lot fewer people writing letters or paying their bills through the mail, but with many more people shopping online through Amazon, eBay and other sites, rather than visiting physical stores, there are a lot more packages going through the mail.

When I came out of the counter door, an older gentleman in line asked me how long I had waited.

I told him 45 minutes and there was a loud “OH NO” from several people in the line that stretched back around the corner to the mailboxes, a distance of about 25 feet. About three people in the line just left. The parking lot was full and people were parking outside the lot on both sides of the two streets bordering the post office.

When they built the Kellogg station, they made room for two computer stations, because they anticipated the large population growth from the Artesia, Mountain Falls and Pleasant Valley developments, among others, that would take place in the south end of Pahrump. Only one station has been opened, and I’m sure that the postal service will not spend the thousands of dollars needed to put in the second station, at this point. But, they could hire another person to help place mail in the boxes, give the present clerk a break, be open during the lunch hour and prevent the present clerk from having to stay there until 9 or 10 p.m. daily to finish putting mail in the boxes after closing at 4 p.m. At this rate, I know that my mail is 2-3 days late getting in my box because we receive certain mail for our business on certain days and in December, it is always late. The clerk is there most usually until 7 p.m. every night, even during spring and summer slower mail times, because she does not have enough help and because of the large amount of business at the Kellogg station. I can’t believe that the postal service was thinking of closing down the Kellogg and Blagg Road stations a couple of years ago.

What is the local postmaster’s solution to this problem of making seniors wait exorbitant amounts of times to mail something during December? She says that there is no possibility for extra help, that this is just the way it is and there is nothing that can be done about it. She is also now down three people as it is because of a surgery and illnesses and they are also having a difficult time at the main post office. She suggests that people in the south end drive up to the main post office and use the automatic teller machine. REALLY? Many of these people don’t drive. They have to hitch a ride with family or friends who are also going to the post office. And, many of them have never even turned on a computer and have no intention of ever doing so. How many times have you heard that some individual, company or government entity has been hacked and their entire database is compromised? Many of these people do not have a credit card, which you must have to use the automatic machine.

I have stopped by the main post office twice this past week to mail something there when doing other errands in town. Both times there were about five people in line to use the ATM (and a long wait) and, there were also long lines there at the main station.

This is a management problem and they have no sense of how to anticipate possible problems and, therefore, take care of them before they arise. In business classes, I learned that successful companies learn what their customers’ needs are and then take care of those needs in an efficient manner. The post office will never be successful if they keep treating their customers in this manner.

The current postmaster has only been here about three months. We have had about four postmasters in just about a year. When she said that these are union workers, I then understood the problem. Are union rules of hiring personnel so restrictive that they cannot hire temporary workers to take care of high volume business? What about all the contract route carriers that the post office uses? Surely they can have a simple contract and hire temporary workers during high volume times. I am all for unions because that has most usually been the only way that workers have been able to get fair wages and working conditions through the years. But, I get highly upset when those “rules” make conditions that interfere with my business, well-being, or convenience, when they seem so arbitrary and useless. And, apparently, the postmasters and many of the workers drive in from Las Vegas daily, and that is a main reason they can’t get anyone to fill in out here. Isn’t there anyone in Pahrump who is qualified to be a postal worker or postmaster? Or, is it perceived that we are all illiterate, country bumpkins out here?

None of these problems are the fault of the current postal clerk at the Kellogg station. She is an exemplary employee, somehow maintaining a pleasant demeanor with her customers and being as efficient as she can be under difficult circumstances.

I want to know why the postal service is willing to treat their customers so badly, and why extra temporary help cannot be found to help alleviate these problems in the month of December. I think many other people want to know the same thing. If I am the only person complaining, surely nothing will ever be done to solve this problem. That is why I am urging everyone else who uses the post office in Pahrump to call or write and let the postmasters know how angry you are over this.

The local address is: Postmaster Dallas, 2300 E Postal Drive, Pahrump, NV 89048, 775-727- 7055. But I urge everyone to write or call Las Vegas as that is where any action would have to be made. Postmaster Dana Urbanski, 1001 Sunset Road, Las Vegas, NV 89199, 702-657-2631.

Thank you so much for anyone else’s help in this matter.

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