In Colorado mountain towns, the U.S. Post Office no longer delivers like it used to
Special to the Colorado Sun
Margaret Bowes has personally felt the pain of a poorly functioning postal system in Colorado’s resort towns.
In her role as executive director of the Colorado Association of Ski Towns, she recently ordered paper goods from an out-of-town supplier and specified that they be delivered to her home office in Dillon.
Instead of receiving the items at her home, she found a slip of yellow paper in her work-related post office box notifying her that packages were available for pickup at the post office window. That meant standing in line, schlepping seven heavy boxes into her car, and then up the stairs to her office. She never found out why they ended up there instead of at her home.
“It was a pain in the butt,” said Bowes, who recently compiled complaints about resort-town postal woes for a ski town association survey.
That survey showed mounting problems at often understaffed post offices that are crammed into often too-small spaces in towns where home mail delivery is usually not an option. The offices are dealing with the double whammy of population growth along with the increasing pressure of more package volume from online purveyors of goods, including the behemoth Amazon.
The packages are piling up, and so are complaints. The survey cataloged long waits in lines, snarls in deliveries, lost packages, mail returned as “undeliverable,” packages going to post offices rather than home addresses, and confusion on both sides of the post office counters.
Crucial mail-order medications have been lost. Late fees have been assessed because utility bills were never delivered. Gifts have gone missing. Overnight mail has turned into five-day mail. One town hall went for a week without receiving a single piece of mail because everything had been returned to senders as “undeliverable.”
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