“Like hotcakes with syrup”

For all that the U.S. Post Office is against the ropes and going down for the count these days, just try renting a post office box at your local branch (or try to mail a package on your lunch hour) and see for yourself how popular it still is.

I tried today to secure a box as my new business address, and only the two smallest sizes (3″ x 5.5″ and 5″ x 5.5″) were available. Wanting to be able to receive catalogs and more than about three sticks of mail at one time, I opted for the Size 3 box, which is 11″ x 5.5″. Seems like a good size that a little business might reasonably hope to grow into. But alas, none was available and they wouldn’t know whether one would be until October 11 at the earliest (box holders who don’t pay their rent by the first of the month have a 10-day grace period before the box is repossessed on the 11th of the month). I could put my name on a waiting list, the clerk suggested, and I should because “these go like hotcakes with syrup.” It’s nice to know there really is still a need for old-fashioned snail mail delivery, so maybe the Post Office needs to increase the capacity at that branch (the only one in town) if the boxes are really that popular. Just a crazy thought.

I was again confronted with the lack of service orientation on the part of the U.S. government, as the clerk would not tell me what the rent was on any of the boxes unless I filled out an application and presented two forms of ID, one showing my photo and another proving my physical street address “to prevent mail fraud.” I just love how our government makes its citizens prove they are not criminals before they can conduct the most basic, everyday transactions, including banking, mail delivery and air travel.

Layering technology over that just makes it worse. I tried to check rental rates and put my name on a waiting list online, but of course I was unable to get any information about cost or availability there, either, unless I filled out that same application and created an account with a username and password. I don’t know about you, but I am to the point of drowning in all the online usernames and passwords I have. I recently printed out the whole list, and it ran to three single-spaced pages. I am no longer able to keep track of my online personae without this list near at hand every time I venture forth on the internet to be confronted by one login after another to do just about anything.

As usual, I digress. I’ll do that.

Anyway, unless I am willing to “locate” my business to another (sort of) nearby city in which I might be able to secure an appropriate mailbox at the Post Office, it looks like I’ll be a bit delayed in moving forward with getting that set up. The business registration form is publicly available online–you don’t even need to create a username or password to view it–so I don’t want to use my home address for that. One more fly in the ointment.



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