Millions of us rely on the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for timely and safe deliveries year-round. But starting this week, the agency will be facing the busiest shipping time of the year: the holiday season. Whether you’re cashing in on Black Friday deals or sending Christmas gifts across the country, the USPS is set to deliver billions of packages over the next few weeks alone. You may want to be cautious about what you’re shipping, however, as the Postal Service is now being hit with backlash over what some are calling “unacceptable behavior.” Read on to find out why the USPS is under fire.
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There’s no question that mail troubles have been mounting over the past year.
At the beginning of 2022, the USPS faced significant backlash for issues over the rollout of free at-home COVID tests, with officials criticizing the agency for glitches on its ordering website and delays with delivering the tests.
Then in May, four U.S. senators sent a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, slamming the Postal Service for a “deeply troubling” rise in mail theft. Those issues have only grown, with police and politicians warning about check-washing scams, and demanding an answer from the USPS.
In August, USPS workers spoke out against their agency, explaining how a new consolidation plan has many “very concerned” about getting put out of a job amid already existing staffing struggles. That same plan could also slow down deliveries even further, experts have said.
Now, the Postal Service and its employees are being called out by customers for a different package problem.
A USPS employee was recently caught on camera in Phoenix, Arizona, throwing delivery boxes into the back of his vehicle, Fox 10 Phoenix reported on Nov. 21. According to the news outlet, the boxes contained vinyl records from The ‘In’ Groove, a music store in the city that ships out up to 300 packages every day.
“Three carts in total, and he was just throwing them in until there was absolutely no more space,” Michael Esposito, owner of The ‘In’ Groove said, explaining that he watched the USPS carrier do this live on surveillance video. “I mean, violently hurling them into the truck from about a 10 to 12 foot distance and then once the truck got full as they were falling back onto the ground he was throwing them back on top of the pile.”
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It is not known whether the postal carrier was fired or reprimanded for throwing Esposito’s packages. A spokesperson for the USPS told Fox 10 Phoenix that under the federal privacy act, the agency cannot disclose that information.
But postal officials have apologized to The ‘In’ Grove owner for this issue. “The situation has been addressed with the employee. This is clearly unacceptable behavior that does not reflect the efforts of the thousands of professional, dedicated carriers in our workforce,” the USPS spokesperson said in a statement.
According to Esposito, there were approximately $40,000 worth of records in the packages being thrown. “It’s a very difficult job and I applaud the post office for that and in my experience everybody at the post office has been fantastic, but at the same token, I feel bad for my customers,” the store owner told Fox 10. “If you spend $200 to $300 dollars on a record, you’re excited about it. It’s a release that you maybe have waited months for, it finally comes in the mail, you get it, and it’s been destroyed.”
Despite the agency’s apology, this is just one example of a larger issue. A woman in Houston, Texas, caught a USPS mail carrier on security video throwing a package at her dog back in January of this year, Fox 26 Houston reported.
Then in May, customer Dana Thomas shared surveillance video footage of a Postal Service employee in Memphis, Tennessee, tossing a package across his front lawn, according to Fox 13 Memphis.
“Several neighbors commented saying they recognize that exact carrier and they’ve had similar experiences as far as delivered packages to their home,” Thomas said. “We want the items that we pay for to be delivered safely … You’re the face of the Postal Service. You’re the main person that we see, so if nothing else, you should be the one that should be representing the Postal Service to the fullest.”
The USPS assured that it does not condone carriers throwing deliveries in response to these previous incidents. “The Postal Service always seeks to provide the highest quality service possible, which our customers expect and deserve,” the agency told Fox 13. “A mishandled package is unacceptable and does not reflect the careful efforts of the thousands of professional, dedicated carriers in our workforce.”