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A Monument to My Stupidity - June 27, 2012 


Somewhere around two weeks ago (before my San Francisco trip) the postal carrier placed in my mailbox (attached to the house) a single page, poorly photocopied letter informing us we have 30 days to install a curb-side mailbox.  It was not on letterhead but did have US Postal Service at the top of the page and had Station Manager at the bottom with an illegible signature. 

It was written that the box should be no more than 18 inches from the road way and no less than 42 inches above the road.  There were several reasons I did not wish to comply.  First, teenage kids love to use road side mail boxes for batting practice, cars run into them, it’s easier for identity thieves to pilfer the mail, and lastly, I would have to go out into the rain to get the mail. 

In any case, the San Francisco trip was coming up and I didn’t want this project hanging over my head upon my return.  I bit the bullet and went to Lowes (after some web searches) and bought the cheapest box I could find and a post to go along with it.  I searched the USPS web site and found their instructions were a little different from the instructions in the letter, both as to height above the ground and distance from the curb.  That should have been a warning but I figured the Melrose Post Office wouldn’t lie to you - would they? 

I installed the box and grumbled to the neighbors who grumbled back about having to put a box at curb side.  I put the whole issue out of my mind and went to San Francisco. 

Upon my return, the person who dog sat Rocky for me had left a clipping from the Miami Herald for me and the friends who picked me up at the airport had the entire page of the Sun Sentinel waiting for me.  Apparently the letter was not an official letter.  The Melrose Post Office said it was due to a well meaning employee but a mistake.  My question is, if it was from a well meaning employee, what about the signature on the letter?  Was the signature of the station manager forged?  Also, apparently every person on the Melrose circuit received the letter from every mail carrier in the district.  How can all the mail carriers send out the same letter without some official approving the process? 

The articles in the paper basically said oops!  Nothing about disciplinary action, nothing about an investigation, nothing about how it happened.  Many people, according to the paper spent a significant amount of money on their mail boxes (getting the secure, lock type) with expensive posts, etc.  My cheap version was around $70 with post and numbers.  The paper indicated that some people couldn’t afford the expense. 

Apparently there is no regulation that requires residents in the city to have curb side mail boxes.  So, as a monument to my stupidity, I erected the mail box in my back yard to remind me every day to never trust the Melrose Post Office again. 

© Fred Searcy 2017