Public service

My phone lines are inoperative. The nice computer voice at my local phone company has assured me that it’s the phone company’s fault, and that I should have service back by Friday night. How comforting. Thank goodness I have a cell phone and cable internet access.

My sister missed a few important bills and checks, which led to the discovery that mail that had her correct address is nevertheless being bounced and returned to the sender. Turns out that, in her community, a street has a name similar to her street name. Occasionally, mail sorters put her mail in the wrong bin. When the mistake turns up at post office’s end, rather than correcting their manifest error by rerouting her mail to the right bin, they simply return it to sender. Now that’s consumer service.

Of the two situations, my sister’s is the much more egregious. Phone lines die, and I know that my phone company is working hard to fix it. I suspect that my service will resume long before Friday. My sister’s situation, however, reflects a systemic failure, a whole anti-consumer ethos, that really deserves to be ridiculed and should be fixed from the ground up.

UPDATE:  My phone is back, but I suspect my sister’s mail will continue to go astray.

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  • Larry Faren

    I feel your sister’s pain. The street on which we live these past three years (a young development) was granted the same name as one about 2-1/2 miles East of us (although ours is “Dr” and the other is “Ln”) and until last July we had the same zip!! Even after the change we occasionally receive mail “late”. To top it all off, effecting change with business correspondents has been a nightmare since they all say “Sorry, we operate off a master address database provided by USPS and can’t just manually update to your new zip.” Translation: “Even though USPS says you’re in a new zip beginning 7-1-2006, we can’t update until THEY distribute the updated DB.” And we’re talkin’ about Nationalized HealthCare again?