As the saying goes

If you want something done right, just do it yourself.

Back in August, the neighborhood “cluster” mailbox was attacked with a prybar by tweakers in the hopes that they might find something worth of value inside.

It was reported to the police and to the USPS. They stopped delivering to the box and we have been going to the not-so-nearby postal annex to pick up our mail ever since.

At first the USPS said that they would fix it or replace it. In 4-6 weeks. After about two months of waiting, the box still wasn’t fixed. We asked our carrier and she didn’t know why. So I asked the folks at the postal annex, and they didn’t know why either.

Another month or so goes by and I keep asking. I finally get an answer: The USPS decided that the box isn’t their responsibility because the developer put in when the neighborhood was built up in 1991/92, so the box is the responsibility of our HOA.

We don’t have an HOA.

I spoke to the USPS and if the individual households put up their own mail box, say, at the end of their driveways, the carriers won’t (or don’t have to) deliver to them because of the previous “cluster” box. So that option was right out.

I was also thinking of building a covered mailbox pen where each household could just bolt their own mailbox on to and then charging each household a portion for it. But that would require getting everyone to buy a mailbox first and then attempt to fit them all in a space five feet wide (any wider and it will be blocking someone’s driveway). You know there is always one asshole who has to have a mondo mailbox that wouldn’t fit. That, and getting money out of a neighbor can be….straining to the harmony of the neighborhood.

Since December I have been asking the manufacturer for parts so that my metal-working self could repair the box. First they said no parts were available for that model as it was discontinued 10 years ago. Shortly thereafter, they contacted me to say that they found some parts. I placed my order, got the parts, but they weren’t actually the right parts.

This happened three times. The manufacturer finally gave up and returned to the “there are no parts” line. They placed me with one of their local vendors/suppliers so that we could buy a new “cluster box”.

12-door-cbu

For $1200.

The vendor put an expiration date on the price two weeks out from the date of the email. The price went up after that. Trying to get 12 households together in each coughing up $100 is akin to herding cats on LSD, and we missed the close date.

I finally collected $1100 of the $1200 this weekend and decided to take the model number the vendor supplied with their quote and used the intarwebz to see if there were any cheaper vendors.

This is still America (a little bit), and there sure as hell was.

I deleted the $75 pedestal, since we already have one of those, and the total, with shipping, came out to $1020. Everyone gets $15 dollars back. The remaining household now only owes me $85 and will get the keys to their mail slot when I get my money.

It should be here in a week and I’ll have it installed shortly thereafter.

Then all we have to do is wait for the USPS to mosey their pimpled posteriors up here to put their locks into it and I no longer have to take part of my Saturday and stand in line at the postal annex.

Yay for me. (notice there is no exclamation point there)

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10 Responses to As the saying goes

  1. Toastrider says:

    Your tax dollars at work, courtesy of the USPS.

  2. Mom says:

    Patience and determination …………. you used a ton of both. Whew !

  3. Merle says:

    That’s more patience than I could muster up.
    Maybe a trail cam to catch repeat offenders?

    Merle

  4. Inbredredneck says:

    Just curious, Toastrider, how much tax money goes to USPS?

  5. Armageddon Rex says:

    What you’ve done is miss out on a golden opportunity. You should’ve contacted everyone you do legitimate business with and informed them that they must use UPS FedEx or DHL if they wish to reach you. Then you could’ve left the postal annex with all the junk mail intended for you… Forever!

  6. Micky Dee says:

    I believe that there are strict postal regulations about mailbox locations. That Post Office is not in charge of where you receive your mail; you are.

    I suspect that if you find a retired postmaster, or someone else knowledgeable about postal regs, he can walk you through the forms needed, and you can put your mailbox on a post wherever you damn well please.

    There was a local uproar, when the Post Office wanted to change a neighborhood from door-to-door delivery to a cluster mailbox, and everyone on the block filled out the right forms, and the post office was legally required to continue delivering door-to-door.

    Sorry, I don’t know anything more about which forms, or anything else.

  7. Scott says:

    Inbred, a quick search on Bing shows a reported $5 billion net loss in 2013 as reported by the New York Times….so I would say a lot of tax money. Who do you think pays that bill?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/16/us/postal-service-trims-its-losses.html?_r=0

  8. Scott says:

    Here is more if you are really interested. Estimated $20 billion loss this year.

    http://www.dailyfinance.com/tag/post+office+budget+shortfall/

  9. Inbredredneck says:

    Scott- I ain’t sayin’ that it’s a money-makin’ operation, but the bleedin’ wouldn’t be so bad if’n they hadn’t been throwin’ money into the federal treasury at the rate of billions of dollars a year to fund retirement benefits for future employees who ain’t even been born yet. Pre-funding is, of course, the only smart and moral thing to do, but anybody who thinks all that money is just sittin’ there, safe from the predatory hands of our elected jackals… oh, uh, excuse me… representatives and it’ll still be there when the bills come due is smokin’ some powerful stuff.
    Add in all the bucks bein’ thrown at “sustainability” and “diversity” and you can see where the operating capital has been goin’. Add in poor management and worse negotiating when dealin’ with the unions and you can see how it’ll take quite a bit to change the attitudes of those runnin’ the system. It should, actually, be able to make money.

  10. Brian says:

    I have one of those cluster mailboxes here in Redmond, people have twice knocked it off the pedestal by backing into it lightly- the pedestal is an aluminum extrusion which has screws going vertically up through the 1/2″ thick base into channels in the extrusion- not the most secure means of securing the base. In fact, if the tweekers had more sense than a common fruit fly, they would have just knocked it off the base and taken the whole thing. I solved the problem by TIG welding a 4″x4″ x 1/2″ piece of angle aluminum to both the base and pedestal.

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