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Sunday, May 02, 2010

I Hate NY #3 - Mailboxes

In other parts of the world there are things we take for granted, like running water, toilets, and mailboxes. In New York we take none of those things for granted, and just pray to God that the first 2 things work.

New York City does not have mailboxes. There are mail slots, mail chutes, male nurses, and drop boxes. We even get our mail underneath the door sometimes but no actual mailboxes.

In a real mailbox you are able to send and receive mail, including small packages. In New York, you cannot actually send out mail through your mail delivery system, whatever you have. Mail carriers will not pick up mail from your location. It's a fact. Why is this? Probably because New Yorkers steal anything that is not nailed down.

To mail something you have to find a freestanding localized blue or green mailbox. It doesn't matter how inconvenient it is to find it on your daily commute to your subway stop, that's the only way to do it. If you are in a hurry in the morning and don't leave yourself enough time to get to your mailbox, you're stuck all day long with stamped mail - probably Netflix movies.

I'll admit, not being able to mail things is only a minor inconvenience, albeit one of a thousand, of living in New York. The big issue with not having mailboxes is receiving packages. Nearly anything you order from Amazon or Target or thousands of other places have to be signed for upon delivery. They can't just be left on your front porch or nearby because it can't be verified that you received it. If you are never home because you work a lot, or you're an intravenous drug user passed out on the couch, you won't hear the doorbell ring. You will be left with an annoying yellow sticker on your door advising you that UPS, USPS, or Fedex will be attempting to deliver your mail tomorrow. They do this 2 more times and then return the package to their local delivery station.

If it's the post office, then you have to take your yellow slip and wait in a 30 minute line behind immigrants who can't speak English haggling with the one person waiting behind the counter to help you. The one post office worker at his post may spend what seems like hours looking for boxes behind the counter, or weighing things while you look at your watch nervously hoping you didn't leave the oven running or your door wide open.

If you can't get to your post office during normal business hours, then you are in serious trouble and may never see your mail.

If you missed a delivery from Fed Ex or UPS then get ready to take a long trip to the middle of nowhere Brooklyn, or the Bronx and you better have 2 forms of id including a letter that verifies your address. Yes, those are the same things you need to get a drivers license from the DMV.

Also, you may have to wait for hours for the trucks to arrive back from delivering other people's packages.

But that's okay, you live in New York, it's not like you don't have a thousand other things to do than wait around all day for that very important package you need for work the next morning at 8 am.