Dear R.V. Shrink:
My wife and I have been living in our RV for almost two years. We love the lifestyle, adventure, and the fact that we never have to mow the lawn or paint the house. Everything has fallen into place as far as setting up communications, knowing how to find the types of camping facilities we enjoy, managing finances and maintaining our rig.
One problem we didn’t anticipate, that drives my wife nutso, is the inadequate United States Postal Circus. We gave up on trying to work with them on mail forwarding. We have a friend that collects our mail and deposits all of it into a Priority envelope whenever we call and give her a mailing address. We always pick a small rural post office in an area we will be spending some time. Without exaggeration, our Priority traceable package travels more than we do and often does not show up for a couple weeks. I tell my wife we are not on a schedule any longer and we should just plan on the worst case scenario when dealing with the post office. She gets so upset when 2-3 days turns into 2-3 weeks that I’m afraid it is going to cause her health problems. She also runs a small business on the road that relies on the Postal Service. I have put as much as I can online and hope the rest will soon be. Do you have any words of wisdom for her? Anything will help.
--Out of luck and mail in Lubbock
I am probably not the best person to be dishing out advice on this matter. I have been known to go “Postal” a few times myself over mail service issues. I am picturing your wife looking as wild-eyed as myself, the day 35 bags of my newspaper mailing came up missing several years ago. I called the head of second class postage in the state of Michigan and was told, “We don’t guarantee delivery.” You cannot deal with, or argue with, a monopoly and win. Give it up. Here are the things I suggest your wife spends her energy on other than venting.
1. Put additional effort into moving information from hard copy to digital delivery. 2. If you have lost something valuable, there are two large postal dead mail centers. One is in Georgia, the other is in Minnesota. You can go there and bid on bins of lost mail. You get whatever is in the bin you buy. Maybe you will get lucky and find your own stuff. 3. Use Tyvek envelopes. As much as 10% of mail is damaged by aggressive postal sorting machines. If you do not want your mail to end up in a postal body bag, use strong packaging material. 4. Although more expensive, vote with your dollars. Use a competitor such as FedEx or UPS.
I don’t know what your wife’s on the road business is, but here is an example of one that relies on USPS. Many RVer’s make extra money buying used books and selling them on Amazon. They find the Postal Service’s media mail very slow, but convenient as they can drop books in the mail wherever they travel. Those that are never delivered just have to be considered part of doing business with the USPS and refund those orders. The problem is Amazon has a rating system. If your customer does not receive the book that was ordered and paid for, they do not blame the Postal Service, they blame the seller and issue poor feedback. Mail delivery has become a “lost art,” literally.
Whatever you do, never, and I mean never, let them see you sweat.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink