By Jake Sallerson
On Tuesday, November 27, the morning of the large snowstorm that cut power at some point for most Valley residents, I ventured out to the Warren Post Office to collect a package that had been delivered for me to the post office the previous day.
For those that are unaware, I have been a resident of Warren since the age of 14, when I moved from Moretown, where I had spent the previous 10 years of my life. Prior to that, I had lived in Warren from birth. I’m now about to be 30.
In Warren Village, the post office opens at 8 a.m. most days. I walked through the door at no later than 8:05 a.m., the morning of the storm. My goal was to be there before the weather got worse.
When I arrived, knowing the package had been delivered, according to the tracking number via the USPS website, I informed the woman behind the counter that a package had arrived for me and gave her my name. She asked me if I had a mailbox with Warren. I said no, as I always do when asked this question, and she promptly went to the back of the building to look for it.
She informed me that no such package existed.
I knew the package was in the building, so I asked her to check the stacks of packages closer to the front, on the off chance of it having been misplaced. She quickly informed me it could not possibly be there, because that space was reserved for folks who have a mailbox in Warren, and as I do not, there is no possible chance it could be there.
Rather than being confrontational, I drove home, in the snowstorm, to recheck what I already knew to be true. The package had arrived and had been available for pickup the previous day at 10:05 a.m.
I drove back and informed the same clerk of this, and she quickly sourced the wall of packages reserved for individuals with a mailbox with Warren.
Obviously, she located the package and upon bringing it to the counter informed me that, though I may have had some arrangement with the previous postmaster to hold packages, the Warren Post Office would no longer be willing to hold packages for me; citing the reason being the onset influx of “out-of-staters” that would be needing the space for their packages.
Now, to clarify, I get my mail in Waitsfield, with a P.O. Box. It’s been this way for as long as I can remember and hasn’t really been an issue for me. Until now. I do my shopping in Waitsfield, I appreciate the post office staff in Waitsfield, and it just works to make one trip in one direction.
However, that really should serve no issue, as I am a resident of Warren, a taxpayer residing in Warren, and someone who has spent the majority of my life in this town.
Certain packages cannot be delivered to P.O. Boxes so I am forced instead to use my physical address to have those packages delivered. FedEx, UPS, and all the other carriers have no problem delivering to my home when packages are sent via their services.
However, because I do not have a mailbox with Warren, the United States Postal Service in Warren refuses to deliver packages to my physical address. Yet they have no problem sending a vehicle to deliver packages to my neighbor whose house is 30 feet away and, per their policy, holds packages until the sendee retrieves them.
As I already stated, given my understanding of this policy, I do my absolute best to retrieve these packages in a timely manner so as not to leave packages in their storage area for any longer than absolutely necessary, at most 24 hours. For clarity, if I do order something, it’s usually a small box, and I do so rather infrequently.
However, this is the post office we’re talking about here. Their sole job is mail. It’s their entire purpose, and sometimes part of mail delivery services include small packages.
The fact that a resident of the town can no longer use his physical address to have packages sent to, when the sender often has the discretion to use whichever delivery service they choose, sometimes without informing the buyer prior to sale, this is simply unacceptable. Especially when the reason behind why the post office is suddenly refusing to hold packages is that the space needs to be kept for people who don’t even live here.
Is this how we treat the residents of our towns in this Valley? Maybe it is time to move.