BAH, HUMBUG! on the U.S. Postal Service.
That's what I used to think, especially at Christmas as I addressed cards and prepared gift parcels for mailing. There's always a story about how the post office mangles, misdelivers or loses Christmas mail.
But it took a recent experience to make me realize that the Postal Service may be getting a bad rap. Last week on one of the busiest postal days of the year -- 3.2 million pieces of mail moved in the Baltimore metropolitan area, more than three times the normal volume -- I dropped 35 cards in a mailbox in Govans.
It wasn't until I arrived at my office that I realized I'd posted 25 cards intended for my colleagues at work. Each was addressed with a single name -- Phyllis, Dee, Mary and so on -- and, of course, none was stamped.
But I felt lucky that day. I called the Govans post office and explained what I had done. The man who took the call said, "Hold on," and transferred me to a second man. I expected a bureaucratic runaround, but he asked me to describe the stray cards and asked which box I'd dropped them in.
A short time later he called back. He'd found the cards. I could pick them up anytime. When I went to the post office a few hours later, the unaddressed cards were waiting for me in a neat little pile.
These are trying times, and we need to be nicer to each other. bTC Thanks to the post office for acting in the spirit of the season.
Carolyn J. Hardnett is library director at The Baltimore Sun.