The Unbearable Banishment: The dirty, rotten thieves in the U.S. Post Office

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The dirty, rotten thieves in the U.S. Post Office

I was feeling all full of myself because the Thunder Road chapbook odyssey finally came to a successful conclusion. The books sold out. Demand is still strong. (I continue to get emails requesting a copy.) During the eight years it took to make them, I had a terrible falling out with a great friend but I am happy to report that we are communicating again and it feels like nothing ever happened! I just submitted a fat check to Ambitious about Autism, the designated charity, for $15,778.27. As you can imagine, they're thrilled.

Then I get this from one of my customers:

Unfortunately, it looks like someone purposely targeted your package, tampered with it, and switched the contents. The Post Office is taking responsibility for the damage to the package...

The generic apology affixed to the package says "Dear Postal Customer: We sincerely regret the damage...bla..bla...bla. Although every effort is made...bla...bla...bla. We hope you understand."

Once the damaged package arrived at its destination, here's what tumbled out:

Can you fucking believe this? Of course, I wouldn't want this to happen to anybody, but here's a note that accompanied the payment:

The book looks beautiful. My grandfather was a lithographer and ran a letterpress early on. I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to see a chapbook 'in person.'

The book meant a lot to this person and all they got for their money was a Disney DVD. I am in a terrible bind because it is completely sold out. There are no more copies. I reject the assertation that my part of the transaction is complete and it's the post office's responsibility. Sending the money back is unsatisfactory to me. I want this person to own a book.

Dear Post Office: I do not understand, nor do I accept your apology. Call me cynical, but do you know what I think happened? I think the package accidentally tore open, as stated in your templated apology, and one of your shitheel employees saw a beautiful hand-made book fall out and decided to steal it. Chalk up another one for mankind. It never fails to disappoint.


Blogger mapstew said...

As we say in genteel Ireland, "CUNTS"!

August 21, 2011 at 8:56 PM  
Anonymous daisyfae said...

massive "CUNTS"... grrr...

August 21, 2011 at 9:16 PM  
Anonymous dinahmow said...

Someone's due some pretty heavy come-uppance.
Check your email, UB.

August 21, 2011 at 10:31 PM  
Blogger savannah said...

what map & daisy said, sugar! that really is fucked up! xoxoxo

August 21, 2011 at 10:32 PM  
Blogger Jeff Vaca said...

"Accountability" is such a vague term these days but it seems to apply in this case...the post office needs to hold someone accountable for what they did, plain and simple.

August 21, 2011 at 10:34 PM  
Blogger lx said...

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

I'm thinking that in some other household someone is trying to explain to their kid why they have a Springsteen book and not the Disney movie they ordered.

August 21, 2011 at 11:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh how incredibly sad and annoying

August 22, 2011 at 4:40 AM  
Anonymous looby said...

If they "take responsibility" for it, then surely this isn't the end of the matter?

The best bit though is the reconciliation with your friend. Hope that continues to get better.

August 22, 2011 at 6:09 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

As someone once notably said:
'Don't let the bastards grind you down.'

August 22, 2011 at 6:32 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

map: That's the word I try never to use but perhaps it's appropriate in this case.

daisy: I am NOT a drama queen. YOU'RE a drama queen.

dina: Check YOUR email. You and daisy are enough to restore my faith in humanity.

sav: I'm happy there's a sympathetic ear in blog land, but wish it hadn't happened.

Jeff: I'm going after this book but I can't imagine I'll ever find it. I'll try.

lx: You may have an excellent point. After I calm down a bit I might not be so quick to accuse.

nurse: NOT the way I wanted this project to end!

August 22, 2011 at 6:39 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

looby: Good and bad new always seem to go hand-in-hand. It's the ying and yang of our humanity.

Pat: I'm not down on the ground but I really am put out by this. Over 200 packages arrived unmolested. Why this one? Is perfection too much to ask for?

August 22, 2011 at 6:41 AM  
Blogger GYPSYWOMAN said...

yes, what they said! all of it! so very sorry!

August 22, 2011 at 7:04 AM  
Blogger Mitzi G Burger said...

Some dodgy postal worker or other miscreant has some bad karma on the way.

PS if the book comes up on Ebay, you can get the police onto it. Keep an eye out?

August 22, 2011 at 7:21 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Gypsy: Thanks, dear. This isn't the end of story. I think I have a replacement in place.

Mitzi: That's exactly what Mrs. Wife said! I've been monitoring eBay for the past few days.

August 22, 2011 at 7:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have had this bullshit happen from the post office before, but never this obvious. What other company takes your money for a service, completely destroys your stuff and thinks that an apology letter covers them. Imagine that you drop off a roll of film at Wal-Mart and they lose it and when you go to pick it up, they just hand you a letter saying "sorry, we lost your irreplaceable film. Have a nice day." Then Wal-mart tells you that you still have to pay for the processing as they processed it and THEN lost it all.

And I know that this is a bad example as people don't go to the Walmart to develop film anymore, but as I print with 500 year old technology, it is clear that I'm not on the cutting edge of technology.

Still. Fuck the post office. Track down this postal employee and put that Federal crimes felont statute to the test. What is it 7 years for opening mail? Of course, the defense attorney could make the argument that the machine opened the mail and that his client just stole it..



August 22, 2011 at 8:22 AM  
Blogger Eryl said...

This is heartbreaking, but I'm with lx: remember Bukowski, I don't suppose the post office employs the brightest.

August 22, 2011 at 9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow how sad that person does not have a heart.....

August 22, 2011 at 10:08 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Bill: I don't doubt you've been through this many, MANY times. A solution seems to be on the horizon, though.

Eryl: I'm suspecting the worst because I'm angry. My cynicism is in overdrive.

MT: Why didn't you return my call?! How's John!?

August 22, 2011 at 10:14 AM  
Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

Damn!!! That is downright criminal and I totally understand your feelings. Our good ol' Canada Post has a reputation for losing things and they once misplaced a whole bunch of Polaroid photos (so no negatives to make more copies) that I mailed to my sister after her daughter was born. Totally irreplaceable, as was your book. Let us know if there is a resolution. I hopehopehope there is.

August 22, 2011 at 10:58 AM  
Anonymous dinahmow said...

Got your email.
Crossing all my fingers that UPS gets the job done this time round.(They seem to have "misplaced" 20 postcards I sent 6 months ago. )

August 22, 2011 at 8:32 PM  
Anonymous Nana said...

Hope that 'replacement' offering has fingerprints. I think the FBI handles crime when the Post Office is involved.

August 23, 2011 at 4:43 PM  
Blogger See Bee said...

This is regular business in India. You should see the number of missing parcels, tampered parcels reported in the Indian consumer court. Sigh! i am shocked to hear of such a story in the big and mighty US of A.

July 31, 2012 at 12:08 PM  

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