A late arriving birthday card is a minor irritation, but not receiving any mail for two or three days, or frequently getting someone else’s mail and it’s time to call the Post Office.
Area residents have been grumbling about the mail for months, maybe years, but the arrival of the Covid-19 Pandemic and lockdown seem to have made things worse. Postal customers in Asbury Park, Neptune and Ocean Grove have called their legislative officials to complain and demand answers. Many have also commented on the social media site, Nextdoor, as well.
The issue has been brought to the attention of state lawmakers in the 11th District. Sen. Vin Gopal and Assembly members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey have sent a letter to U.S. Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker and Representative Chris Smith asking them to get involved and resolve the problem.
“At a time when so many households are relying on the USPS for important documents and correspondence from the Dept. of Labor, utilities/telecommunications services and health providers, it is imperative that this problem be addressed and satisfactorily resolved as soon as possible.”
Employees answering the phone at the Asbury Park and Neptune Post Offices could not comment. A call to the USPS (800-275-8777) yields a recorded message explaining that “the Covid-19 has impacted delivery operations including packages containing medications and First Class mail.”
The message said they are “monitoring the daily performance” of the service, but have no further information.
Here is one of the comments on social media about mail delivery.
“We’re constantly getting other people’s mail. It’s been an ongoing problem since we moved in in September. Our mailbox literally says ‘We love mail! Just not our neighbors.’ I went down to the post office in AP and spoke with the supervisor who thought my labeling was hysterical but not the incorrect delivery of mail.”
At the UPS store in West Grove Square in Neptune, owner Charlie Spiler has been very busy ever since the coronavirus hit in March. The store has not been closed a day since then. Spiler said it’s “Worse than Christmas” with the volume of packages being sent up at least 30 percent He said it’s “tons of returns” of purchases made on Amazon by people stuck at home during the lockdown. With the temperature in the 90s customers are lined up outside the UPS store which allows only three people inside at one time.
Other comments on social media include:
“It’s not so much the coronavirus is affecting it. The only way the coronavirus is affecting the mail is that there’s a lot less mail because of it. But there’s a lot more packages. The reason the mail is getting screwed up is the new Postmaster General is saying no more overtime. A lot of routes are overburdened and if they only let them work eight hours they end up bringing the mail back and have to send it out again.”
And another one, “This is going to affect mail-in voting. Already primary votes have been rejected due to late cancellation at the post office even when they were mailed on time.”