I Want My Mail

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By John Hubbuch

Having seen Mandela yesterday, I appreciate not receiving any mail for 4 days is not all that big a deal in the greater  scheme of things. The 900 block of South Euclid did not receive any mail delivery on Saturday January 4, Monday January 6, Tuesday January 7 and Wednesday January 8. I went to the post office yesterday and was able to collect Saturday's mail. The whereabouts of the rest of my mail is a mystery.  

Now I do appreciate that a big snow storm followed by historic cold is no doubt a big part of the explanation of the missing mail, but the question is: at what time should I get upset? What if there is no mail delivery today? tommorrow? next week? next month?             

I have lived in Oak Park since 1976, and my best recollection is that only 3 or 4 times was the mail not delivered , and then only for one day--not 4 and counting. I wonder whether Berwyn, River Forest and Chicago have been without mail for the last 4 days.  

Catastorphe response is hard to analyze. On a much larger scale, I remember Hurricane Katrina and the inundation of New Orleans. Apologists  could afix no real fault because the natural disaster was of such epic scale that no human response could have been adequate. Others faulted city, state and federal governments both past and present for inadequate preparation and response. The nuclear power plant melt down in Japan, the 2008 US economic collapse and the Iraq War  are similiar examples of these two competing analyses of disaster accountability.  

But back to the much more mundane mail mess. It would help if there was a better explanation than the cryptic " short staff". I wasn't clear if that meant snow drifts prevented tiny mail carriers from reaching my mail box, or carriers couldn't make it to work, or what. Also, it would help if there was information or communication as to when mail delivery might resume rather than checking the mail every couple of hours to see if this day might just be the day the mail arrives.

The real reason I'm upset is that I'm waiting for my Netflix DVD delivery of the next season of "The Wire" which I was hoping to help pass these cold winter days and nights. Also, as a senior citizen the aging process causes brain changes that create a need to look at the mail each day even if the delivery only brings Eddie Bauer catalogs, Jewel ads and AARP solicitations.             

It's warmer today so I am hopeful that today just might be the day I get some mail. Wouldn't it be great if I received a letter from Publisher's Clearing House that I had won one million dollars a year for the rest of my life? It could happen. But I would settle for the current edition of The New Yorker.  Hope springs eternal.

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Reader Comments

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yalonda from broadview  

Posted: February 9th, 2014 8:48 AM

Omg, I havent recieved any mail for a week also....I will go to the post office this morning....I rather call the postmaster.

Bill Bixby from Oak Park  

Posted: February 1st, 2014 3:06 PM

John Hubbuch--Lo and behold, our household mail has just arrived (on a snow-blanketed Saturday afternoon, Feb. 1) Why am I so elated? Because it didn't come yesterday. (That would be Business Day 12 missed in the last six weeks.) I am launching a new campaign, called USPS R US of South Oak Park. I will volunteer to work one full, 10-hour shift ANY WORKING DAY IN THE NEXT CALENDAR YEAR to deliver our mail. Will hold harmless, do mini-training, bring my own lunch. Are there ~300 others?

From South Oak Park from Oak Park  

Posted: January 30th, 2014 11:39 AM

We received our mail at 9:45 p.m. yesterday! What is up with THAT??? (We had no mail on Monday, but did get mail on Tuesday, mid-afternoon.)

Bill Bixby from Oak Park  

Posted: January 28th, 2014 3:32 PM

Our tally over the past five weeks--since December 17--is TEN NORMAL BUSINESS DAYS of NO MAIL DELIVERY. This includes, quite under-standably, Jan. 6 & 7, but also includes many days where (dare I say?) other businesses and local organizations nearby were up and running, with Chicago grit. I have been to the South Oak Park post office twice to make a detailed report, to no avail. This is beyond awful, and I really have no confidence that it can be rectified until the hue and cry is unbearable.

From South Oak Park from Oak Park  

Posted: January 28th, 2014 1:53 PM

We got no mail yesterday (January 28) and I imagine we won't get any today. Unhappy.

Mary Unbehauen Rodrigo from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 24th, 2014 5:45 PM

I for one have written to the postmaster general over five times and received only one response which was worthless. They gave me a local phone number to call which no one answered. Wrote to my congressman, Durbin and have received no response. Perhaps the President of the US could help. No mail yesterday and the chances of mail today are slim. Apparently if your regular mailman is out sick there is no one to replace them.

Ray Johnson from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 24th, 2014 4:17 PM

While Village staff have escalated concerns on behalf of residents to the local postmaster, today I asked that we escalate concerns to the federal level as well (e.g., U.S. Post Office General and our Congressional delegation).

R Lopez from Oak Park  

Posted: January 24th, 2014 1:41 PM

We have received mail once this week. It was Wednesday at 8:45PM. It would not be a concern were I not waiting for some rather important documents. I don't think it is unreasonable to expect service on a daily basis if that is what the USPS is offering. If they had changed to twice weekly with notice I would be fine with that. However carriers might then complain that the load is too great and would start to pick and choose how much they would deliver leading to greater delays.

Frustrated from South OP  

Posted: January 24th, 2014 6:50 AM

I agree with Jay A -- what the heck is going on at the South OP post office? We too have had limited mail delivery for over two weeks now. I know that it's cold and snowy, and I feel for those who have to be out working in this weather?.but IT'S YOUR JOB. Get it done. Or just close the PO branch entirely.

Jay A. from Oak Park, IL   

Posted: January 23rd, 2014 10:14 PM

Once again, no mail. No mail 7 out of the last 10 mail delivery days. You really have to wonder what could possibly be going on at the South Oak Park Post office.

Bob from oak park  

Posted: January 22nd, 2014 6:07 PM

I live on 600 Block of S East Ave....haven't gotten any mail since last Thursday 1/16. So ridiculous.

Mary Unbehauen Rodrigo from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 18th, 2014 9:09 PM

We are getting mail every two to three days now. Today we got mail. Sorry David, I guess they came our way and skipped your area. This is suppose to go on for about another two weeks from what my neighbors have been able to discern from the post office. Good luck to you and may you get your mail.

David Hammond from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 18th, 2014 5:12 PM

It's Saturday 1/18/14 at 5PM on the 200 block of south Scoville. No mail. Yes, it is snowy outside, but nothing like we've seen. So now, if it snows there's no mail. How about rain? Is rain sufficient recent not to deliver mail? How about too much sunlight?

Berwyn Terrace Tom from Oak Park  

Posted: January 13th, 2014 11:59 AM

We did receive some mail on Jan 8. Got mail again on Sat, Jan 11 at 6:15pm - looks like it was the stuff we typically get on Tuesdays. Still no sign of a Wednesday Journal. Maybe today.

Anneli from Chicago  

Posted: January 11th, 2014 5:30 PM

Up in Rogers Park, we are still without mail in our building. I know there's a ComEd bill sitting somewhere in the system and only hope that delivery resumes so that I can receive my financial aid disbursement, too.

Debbie sapp from Marble Falls, TX  

Posted: January 10th, 2014 6:39 AM

I live in Marble Falls, TX & my husband works in Pharr, TX which is 325 miles away. We did not get mail at the house here in Marble Falls & they did not get mail at the business in Pharr on January 9, 2014! Very weird!

John Hubbuch from Oak Park  

Posted: January 10th, 2014 4:53 AM

No mail for me yesterday. My mail has now been held hostage for 5 delivery days and counting. My son who lives in Glen Ellyn reports that his mail has been delivered every day. There's something weird going on here. I have adjusted my expectations: mail by March1 unless it snows!

Michael Anthony from Chicago  

Posted: January 10th, 2014 12:46 AM

I just stumbled by your site. Live in Rogers Park and no mail since last Saturday. Several people at work report same thing in various zip codes. Why in the world is media not reporting on this??

Speedway from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 9th, 2014 4:45 PM

Sorry John, I had no mail yesterday and at this time (4:45 pm) there is no mail today. Hope springs eternal. WJ have yet to receive my weekly newspaper from you. What shall I do?

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 9th, 2014 2:59 PM

NewFlash to WJ -- The weather crisis is over. Snow is being removed and mail is being delivered.

Dan Haley from Wednesday Journal Wednesday Journal Employee

Posted: January 9th, 2014 2:45 PM

John, we love our whiny columnists. In fact, I'm one of them. As Elizabeth noted, there is a story coming from our enormous pool of two reporters. Should be posted later today.

Elizabeth Rexford from Oak Park  

Posted: January 9th, 2014 2:22 PM

Excerpt from an email to me from the office of the Postmaster General of the United States: "As you were informed, our investigation revealed your carrier was out making rounds. However, when weather elements are extreme, our policy is to have all carriers back in the office by 6PM. As a result, some addresses may not get delivery for the day. For those routes that were missed, they are given priority the following day."

Elizabeth Rexford from Oak Park  

Posted: January 9th, 2014 2:21 PM

John Murtagh, Excellent point about the WJ not having a news story. After discovering our mail problem, I went to WJ right away to see what was up. NO NEWS at all! I hear there is a reporter working on it, though. To add another comment: this latest problem is only the latest in a series of mail delivery problems in our neighborhood. Mail commonly arrives after 6 p.m. here. The South Station should hire more carriers. They can't handle what's going on.

Carol from Oak Park  

Posted: January 9th, 2014 2:19 PM

The area near Oak Park & Chicago Aves has not had regular mail delivery for years. They frequently dump it all at one house & leave it to neighbors to deliver and/or drop it on a porch to get wet. Sometimes there's no mail for several days, then a pile -- often at the wrong address. Packages arrive weeks late, if at all. Last month I traced a package thru the sender's website to the OP Main Post Office, where it disappeared. Going to the PO with the tracking number did no good.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 9th, 2014 1:59 PM

To:WJ - Isn't the paper amazed that the missing mail story was reported first in a whining columnist's article rather than as a news story?

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 9th, 2014 1:44 PM

Elizabeth - I did some researching on the mail non-delivery and found that Oak Parkers was not the only ones to have delayed delivery. The problem was country-wide though I suspect California, Arizona, and Alaska (lots of snow/cold experience.) When you have a Storm of the Century that is complicated by the Holidays, the flu season and the likelihood that there are a lot postal workers were on vacation during the slow volume time of year, and a dangerous threat of frostbite, I guess postal delays are to be expected. I checked bordering states and all faced the same circumstance. One of the things I noticed was that local press coverage was the key to residents finding out that mail was delayed. I got our first mail on Tuesday and it was a huge bundle. Yesterday was a return to normality. Perhaps the OP periodic e-mails and post informing us of the village activities should include mail cancellations. Regards.

Elizabeth Rexford from Oak Park  

Posted: January 9th, 2014 1:00 PM

I'm sorry that some are dismissive of this problem. Mail IS very important to all of us, at times. For example, I am due a paycheck that was supposed to be here Saturday. Others of us receive bills in the mail. Not everyone does bill-paying online. Some people receive medication through the mail. This is not a trivial matter. And the other thing is, the Post Office is a federal agency which should be held accountable for mis-management.

John Hubbuch from Oak Park  

Posted: January 9th, 2014 12:44 PM

The cause of all this is very mysterious.I assume it's sinister. Maybe VMA is trying t make our new "Can Do" Village President look bad or punish him for winning. See Christy playbook. Or maybe Republicans who want to further privatize mail delivery are behind it. Actually not a bad idea. As for papal intervention, if the new pope can't solve Oak Park's mail problem, how can he ever hope to solve the priest abuse of children? Baby steps.

JH from Oak Park  

Posted: January 9th, 2014 12:36 PM

Family and friends in Chicago have reported not receiving mail for two or three days. I understand this can be annoying. But really folks, we need to get a grip. The mail has not been permanently suspended. The weather brought on a run of cascading events. Things will smooth out and mail will hit our mail boxes once more. If this is the only thing you have to complain about then count your blessings.

Speedway from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 9th, 2014 11:04 AM

Went to the postmaster general site and got a limited menu. Says basically that if it has been less than two weeks of no mail delivery they are not too interested. The site just goes around and around. If you skip the really cold days (Mon and Tues) we are not nearly two weeks. I did not try to call.

Elizabeth Rexford from Oak Park  

Posted: January 9th, 2014 10:54 AM

Sorry to "hog the blog", but here is a very handy way to contact the Postmaster General of the United States: http://answers.usa.gov/system/templates/selfservice/USAGov/#!portal/1012/article/4425/Postmaster-General

Elizabeth Rexford from Oak Park  

Posted: January 9th, 2014 10:42 AM

Thanks, John Murtagh! I certainly will do that immediately. It's hard to know how to break through the bureaucracy and how to make an impact on this situation. It's a kind of helpless feeling. . . .

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 9th, 2014 10:31 AM

Wow, what else can we forward the the village president to fix? Really folks, if you don't get your mail, you should contact the Postmaster General; not the Village President, President Obama or the Pope!

joe from south oak park  

Posted: January 9th, 2014 10:12 AM

I spoke with one of the letter carriers on 1/2, (not the normal carrier for my route). He said at that time that quite a few carriers were out sick and that those who were working were trying to make up for the other routes. But when your normal route is 6 hours there is only so much you can do.

Elizabeth Rexford from Oak Park  

Posted: January 9th, 2014 10:05 AM

Our Village President, Anan Abu-Taleb, just replied to my email about this issue. He said he will contact our congressman! YAY, ANAN!

ronald sirota from river forest  

Posted: January 9th, 2014 10:03 AM

There has been no mail delivery in in South River Forest (1 Gale Ave) for the last three days. Unacceptable.

Elizabeth Rexford from Oak Park  

Posted: January 9th, 2014 10:00 AM

Also: I called the South Station yesterday, after 2 days of non-delivery and inquired about mail delivery. The person who answered me said, "The mail will be delivered today." NOTE: It wasn't. How can we assure that the United States Post Office, a federal agency, is doing its job? To whom can we appeal? I have asked Senator Durbin's office to look into this. Any other ideas?

South of the Ike from Oak Park  

Posted: January 9th, 2014 9:59 AM

You could set your watch by our mail delivery for the past decade -- our longtime carrier was the best. Now, however, it seems he has either retired or been reassigned, and we are getting mail very late in the evening, which never happened before. Still, I saw a carrier at 8:30 am today out delivering mail on a neighboring block so not sure what is going on.

Elizabeth Rexford from Oak Park  

Posted: January 9th, 2014 9:47 AM

John, do you live in south Oak Park? It seems that much of south Oak Park has not had mail for several days. This is unacceptable. I think we could forgive one day of non-delivery, the day it was way below zero, but not three or four days! The South Station is poorly run and they don't seem to be accountable to anyone! However, they are a federal agency and we expect more than what we are getting from them. Someone needs to shape that station up! We get our mail at 7 or 8 p.m. most days!

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