Right before Thanksgiving, we received a notice from USPS that a signature confirmation would be needed to receive our order of medication for our son. Strangely, instead of listing our local post office as a place for pick-up, it had a pre-printed address of a post office 8 miles away.
Tuesday, I went to that post office and was informed by the woman that I would need my son and his ID for this pick-up. I explained to the woman that my son of course was in school and I’m not sure if I had an ID for him or not, but that our last names were the same and my address is the same both on my license and on their form. She said she would make an exception this time, she was just explaining to me the policy, and went looking for my parcel.
When she came back she said they didn’t have this parcel, asked me my address and said that I should be at the post office in my city. I agreed and said, “But look at your form. It says to pick up here,” at which point another USPS woman said, “Oh we’ve gotten a few of those lately. They’re mistakes.”
So I leave and call the pre-printed phone number on the USPS slip. After multiple attempts at putting in my phone number and zip code, which their automated machine has trouble understanding, I finally get a live person named Joe. Joe is very nice after I explain that I’ve driven out of my way to the wrong post office, to stand in line for 25 minutes, to be told I need my minor son to sign for the parcel and then to be told the package isn’t there and he very nicely says that he can help me. It takes about 10 minutes for him to find my package based on the article number handwritten on the pre-printed USPS form and we agree that he’ll request drop off at my house the following day.
Wednesday, the next day. Still no package. And the post person comes inexplicably early that day-like a couple of hours early-so I am not able to talk to anyone.
This time I go on-line to USPS and try and use the article number that is handwritten on their slip to see if I can request re-delivery the following day. After multiple attempts, I am told by the computer that the article number cannot be located and they can’t find my package. I write a request and submit it on line.
I call USPS again.
After several attempts with their ineffective automated message system, I finally get live people. This time I talk to two people. First a gentleman who informs me that the article number handwritten on their pre-printed slip is incorrect-that there is no such number. I say, “Wait a minute. I have your form. I’m sent to the wrong post office. I talk to Joe at the number I’m talking to you now. He found it yesterday and said it would be redelivered. Now you are telling me that this article number written on your form, by your employee, reaffirmed by Joe, doesn’t exist. How is that possible?” He says, “I don’t know because he couldn’t have found anything with that number, it’s too short. Maybe he lied.” “He lied? What’s going on in this office? What are you talking about? Do people lie about getting packages delivered in your office? Why would anyone lie?”
So he sends me to the next person and now I tell her the whole story and while she’s very nice, she can’t help me either but suggests that I’ve been a victim of fraud and gives me the number of Consumer Affairs. She says I should file a complaint and they will investigate.
Thursday morning with the USPS slip and copy of email request in hand, I decide to go to local post office to see if by any chance my parcel is at there. This is needed medication for my son. When I arrive at the post office however, my pre-printed USPS slip is no where to be found. I tear the car apart. I finally fall apart-sobbing, sobbing, and two women stop to help me because I am a wreck. I explain how I’m just trying to get medication for my son and all the difficulty with the USPS. One woman says to me, “And they’re so mean here.”
I stand in the regular line and after 15 more minutes, I’m told that this is the wrong line and I’ll have to stand in the Will Call line. I go to Will Call. There is a door with painted signs indicating their hours (I’m fine) and I knock as it is closed. No one answers. I knock again. Finally I see a door buzzer and I press it. I wait several minutes and press again. After 5 minutes another customer comes and she buzzes as well. The custodian comes out, leave the door ajar and says, “I’m just the custodian.” So I open the door and call out, “Is there anyone available who can help us?” I am met by a woman with a disgusted look, arms crossed who says, “What can I help you with!?!” I explain my problem. She has me write down my address and indignantly tells me that there is a lot of stuff in the back and now she’ll have to look a long time to see if she can find my package. I thank her for her trouble. Isn’t it her job?
After 10 minutes, she comes back, can’t find my parcel, but does bring another lady. This lady is lovely and takes down the tracking number my husband has texted me from the Mail-In Pharmacy. I can tell she looks a little shocked at my whole story but does spend over 30 minutes looking everywhere she can think of to help me find my parcel. No luck.
So I go to another city to get a new prescription for my son. I take it to my local pharmacy. They tell me that the insurance won’t cover it since it looks like according to the computers I have already received this prescription. I tell the pharmacy to fill out 10 days and I’ll pay and ask for reimbursement later. You see I must have this medication for my son. $155 later, I at least have the medication in my possession.
When I get home, I find my mail. There on the pile is a second USPS slip, with the same wrong post office listed, with the same non-existent article number hand-printed, just like the first time, asking for a signature confirmation. What’s a Mother to do?