Thursday, July 26, 2007

Going postal

Where I come from, mail is sacred. There are serious laws in America regarding mail and mail delivery. Tampering with mail, handling mail improperly, or even vandalizing a mailbox are federal offences. Then we have Italy and its postal system… Where to begin? I won’t bother commenting on that madhouse known as the Ufficio Postale- that’s another can of worms. Today I want to complain about the mail carriers. For the past few years I’ve noticed that every now and again, our mail carrier just tosses all the mail on the floor in the entrance of our building. You might be wondering: Do you have mailboxes? Yes we do. Do your mailboxes have names on them? Yes they do. Is the mail too big to fit in the boxes? Nope. That’s my beef.

Yesterday morning as I was leaving the building, I saw a huge pile of mail on the floor yet again. On occasion, a letter or two might arrive for people who no longer live in the building, so this mail might sit around on the floor for a few days until the mail carrier takes it back, and that’s understandable. But this pile I’m referring to was OUR mail, the entire building’s mail. After cursing under my breath, I proceeded to sort out the mail and put it into the appropriate mailboxes. It was simple enough- just insert the mail into the mailbox with the same name. So if I can do it, why can’t the mail carrier? Furthermore, although I’d like to think that my neighbors wouldn’t touch other people’s mail, I’d rather have my bank statements, bills, and personal info safe in my mailbox instead of lying around on the floor. It ticks me off that this person is paid to d-e-l-i-v-e-r mail but isn’t fully delivering it. This is not the first time it’s happened and I’m sure it won’t be the last. In the past, I’ve sent complaints to the post office via their internet site. And each time I got the same ol’ response: “Thank you for your input. We’ll look into it”. Yeah, right!
So after I did my mail duty, I ran into the building’s superintendent and shared my postal woes with him. He told me this often happens in his own building and he actually denounced the post office. He sent a registered letter to our neighborhood post office and Carabiniere denouncing this violation of postal laws. When I told him I sent email complaints to no avail, he sort of chuckled and claimed it was useless, apparently the only way to really see results is to denounce them. Great, so not only do I have to waste my time playing mail carrier, now I have to write two formal denouncement letters in Italian AND pay to send them via registered mail?! All this just to have my mail put in my mailbox…

***And while I’m at it, what’s the deal with mail carriers not wearing uniforms here? I mean, Italy looooves uniforms of all sorts, so why don’t mail carriers wear them? And why do they go grocery shopping and promenading about while carrying our precious mail around in a bag that looks like it’s about to burst and leave a trail of our mail on the streets of Rome?


sognatrice said...

You need Striscia!

My postino wears a uniform (complete with vest!) and tools around the village on a Poste Italiane moto, not motorino--it's quite funny actually b/c it's so, so too big for these streets and the village is small enough that not even a motorino is *really* required.

Also, he knocks on my frakkin door every time he has a bollette or something. Dude, I don't need to *see* you every day grazieverymuch.

Guess I have the opposite problems here, although I'll take these over mail strewn about on the floor any day. It is rather ridiculous when we come from a place that is so very protective over mail.

Farfallina - Roam 2 Rome said...

I guess in the ends it's all up to what the postino feels like doing...

too protective? not protective enough? both in the end are the same problem: things are not always standard and what ever goes! Hmmm...

Romerican said...

yeah! i actually considered calling Striscia for this and many other issues! wow, you live in a postal paradise, lucky you. maybe your postino has a crush on you & that's why he knocks at your door (;

it's not just about things being standard. an over-zealous postman is actually much better than one who doesn't do his job, especially because his salary comes from my/our taxes and let me just say- i pay HELLA taxes in this country! so i would like to have at least one service that functions. if not health care or public transportation, then at least the freaking mail delivery!! if it were cheap to live here and if taxes weren't so outrageous then i wouldn't even dare to complain, for real. but when you're in a place that costs just as much as a big city in USA, you can't help but expect normal or decent service. you know?

Anonymous said...

Our mail carrier generally puts stuff in the right boxes - but my gripe is that I've had numerous packages, letters etc STOLEN from the mail. At Christmas some #$^^&&@#$ ripped open the package from my mum in Australia and helped him/herself to some of it's contents. My mum (naively) sent a load of clothes back to Australia from the central post office in Milan - never to see them again. And I've now had THREE wedding invitations not be delivered to me (I assume because the thick envelope looked like it might contain money.) There have been scandals in which postal workers were filmed via hidden camera stealing things from the mail. And still - nothing is done.

At this point, I just don't send anythign by mail. :(

And as you say Romerican, it's not like we're not paying a ridiculous amount of tax. In the Netherlands they pay a lot of tax too but they get a great mail service, good roads, good public transport, a functioning health care system and my OH's parents have lived off the Dutch state for 20 years since OH's dad had a heart attack and could not longer work as a construction worker (plus they get a free cleaning lady who comes and cleans their house once a week!)



sognatrice said...

Hah, funny about the crush--he's actually quite neurotic, and so not meant to be a postino, IMHO. He actually asked me one day if it's OK to put the mail under the door when I'm not here b/c he thought that one time my dog grabbed it and ripped it up. Um, no, she probably just swiped it with her paw, but she definitely doesn't chew it up. How nice of you to be so concerned though, Signor Postino!

In case you wondered, though, the lines at the post office or horrible and the computer is down about half the time, so it's not all rainbows and daisies around here regarding Poste Italiane.

Anonymous said...

The scattering of mail of the floor would concern me - especially with identity theft.
Canada Post is the complete opposite to the Italian postal system.

Anonymous said...

A NYC client suddenly decided they wouldn't wire payments to my bank account. They claimed its "unreliable", which sounds very strange to me, but.. They just said: "you'll find your check in the mailbox in a few days". Yeah,right. I hung up and fainted.