One More Step In-Between Before Reaching out to the Office of the Postmaster General

January 26th, 2023

So, I am going to take some time this weekend, and if needed, into next week to review the current Postal Operations Manual and some other relevant documents I have acquired to see what the exceptions are, who can make exceptions and what may constitute an acceptable exception policy change to standard POM policy. As I have noted from my communications with Brianna and Ms. Warner, thus far the Sparta Postmaster has not provided the relevant POM data being used to enforce his decision. From a cursory look, there are actually exceptions to the current USPS mailbox policy, and perhaps I’m not suppose to see that.  I suppose one the benefits of being self-employed, is the fact you can carve out large swaths of time to research stuff and put together facts that can facilitate moving things forward.

My goal is to make some notes on this using the actual POM and put together some valid reasons to justify an exception. After some persistence, and digging, I plan to reach out to the Sparta Postmasters actual supervisor. Ms. Baldwin. I will probably get her receptionist, Ms. Mosie, but I think if I have an opportunity to provide relevant POM data, tied to the business benefit for USPS, she has the authority to override the local Sparta Postmaster on this issue. I’m not sure she will. Given the deception already experienced at the hands of the Sparta Postmaster, I am not sure if his supervisor has any details related to my issue. If she does, then that decision has already been made and I can move forward. If I can advocate for myself with his supervisor, maybe I can change her mind, or if she is not aware, convince her it is a good  policy decision.  Anyway, I’m hoping I can get her email to give her an overview of my present situation, and a request for a phone call with her to talk through any questions she might have. I have all ideas her time is quite valuable at her level of responsibilities!

Let’s see where this goes 🙂

Next Step – USPS Office of the Inspector General

January 24th, 2023

So, my next step after the Consumer Affairs operations is to reach out to the USPS Office of the Inspector General. There are apparently no other steps in the Chain of Operations with regards to Sparta Postmaster and policy.

So the number I have for that is 1-888-877-7644

Lets see where this goes.

Escalated Case; Case Number 47294884 Regarding Case 47145321

January 24th, 2023

So someone at USPS said they attempted to contact me, which is just another lie. Case number 47145321 opened by Khaliah on 1/19/2023 on p/up request WEC494997628.

The new escalated case is 47294884. I kind of feel like this circle is protecting one another and just covering their own fellow co-workers behinds rather than really making an effort to even hear my side of the story and seeing how that makes sense with USPS business.

Lets see where this one goes, I have to make call to Ms. Warner reference to case 47146749 which is still showing open.

1/26/2023 – I Spoke with Brianna today on this case – 47294884. She reached out to the Sparta postmaster and has received the same info, that without a mailbox, in the designated area, he would not be picking up my USPS packages. I do now understand the organizational chart a little better. The consumer side with the CSRs are the go between the post office personnel and really don’t have any authority. They help customers understand why things happened and reach out on behalf to the local Postmasters to resolve staff issues etc. So, the poor CSR’s really are the filter for the actual post offices, their staff and Postmaster. So, I am at a standstill as I told her that I had asked Ms. Warner on case 47146749 to reach out to the Postmaster to identify where in the POM he was referring to when making his final determination so I would have an idea of where to start researching before starting down the path of reaching out to the USPS office of the Inspector General. I told Brianna that Ms. Warner had probably not heard back from. I knew the case had to be closed the day I spoke with her. Brianna said that she would escalate this to her supervisor to see if she knew what in the POM the Sparta Postmaster was using to come to his determination and that she would follow up with me tomorrow. Just another wonderful CSR from the post office!

Monday 1/23/23 Package Pickup Request for Tuesday 1/24/23 WEC495928106

January 23rd, 2023

So far today, I have 4 packages for pickup. 1 x Priority Mail, 1 x First Class, Insured, 2 x Albums/LP’s one of which is insured. I will update this post at the end of the day with the final relevant information and the relevant package pickup request confirmation.

So the day ended with just the four packages with an order value of $352.00

I submitted a package pickup request for these four packages. I had another 3 orders come in overnight with an order value of $67.50 that I will add to this grouping. If the route carrier does not arrive by 3:30 today, will need to drive them over to the post office as they two of these will need to go out today!

These are the initial four packages. When I complete packaging on the additional 4 orders I will take a photo for them to be added.

Added another 4 packages totaling an additional $232.50 in product. I went ahead at 3:30 and drove these over to the Glade Valley Post Office as I have not heard anything from anyone at that point.

1/26/2023 This is the final outcome on this pickup request – as expected. I have not put in any additional requests after speaking with Kim as they are doing nothing but creating work for the poor CSR’s in the Advocacy department.

1/22/22 Pickup Request WEC495660748 for Monday 1/23

January 23rd, 2023

Had 11 orders come in over the weekend for various merchandise. Approximate sales total of $639.00. I submitted a package pickup request on Sunday 1/22/23 for these 11 packages.

This is my package pickup request confirmation;

As Expected, this morning I received a pickup request not completed because…blah blah…

When the route driver did not show up by 3:30pm yesterday, my wife was kind enough to take these packages that needed to go out yesterday up to the post office in Galax on her way to Walmart.

 

Phone Call to Greensboro Consumer Affairs for the USPS

January 20th, 2023

1/20/2023; I called the number provided to me by Khaliah at USPS. I spoke with a very nice young woman who asked for my name and case number. I provided her the most recent case number assigned to me which is 47146749  I did not get her name because she was not the agent in charge of my case. My case has been assigned to Ms. Warner, and she put in a message for me that I called with a note requesting she call me back. Her direct number was provided to me which is for my reference; 336-668-1339. I hope to hear back from her today, but if not, I understand as they are probably busy and have an order in which they process cases.

I’ll update this post with any relevant information that comes as a result of my communications with the Greensboro Consumer Affairs office of USPS.

1/23/23 – 2:05PM left a voicemail message for Ms. Warner using phone number 336-668-1339.

1/24/23 – 10:50AM approx left another voicemail for Ms. Warner using phone number 336-668-1339.

1/24/23 – 1:47PM phone call ended approx with Ms. Warner. Went through the entire situation in an overview concept from start to finish. She said she was going to call the Postmaster in Sparta and would call me back with the details related to the case outcome. She was very nice, and patient.

1/24/23 – 4:45ish PM Spoke with Ms. Warner, she spoke with the Postmaster and he will not budge off the mailbox at the end of the road requirement and according to Ms. Warner, as the Postmaster he has the final say. I can go above his head to the Postmaster Generals office in an effort to apply pressure to him, but outside of that, not a lot they can do at the consumer affairs office. I asked her to reach out to him to identify what part of the Postal Operations Manual he is using to justify his position given I have been told by two USPS CSR’s that I do not need to have a mailbox for package pickup. She is going to reach out to him tomorrow to identify the section which should give me a point of direction to go on with regards to this issue.

1/26/2023 – Ms Warner called me back today. She let me know she did have to close the original case we were working on. She advised me that she just wanted to reach out to me to let me know she never did hear back from the Sparta Postmaster about what section in the POM he was using to make his final determination. I really did appreciate her call back! I figured she did not hear from him and she, like really all the advocates and CSR’s I’ve actually spoken with, went above and beyond what she needed to do for me. I really do have to commend whoever is in charge of this operational aspect of USPS.

On a related note, the USPS CSR Chenica said this case – 47146749 – is scheduled to be resolved today. Hence my ongoing attempts to communicate with Ms. Warner so I can get some communication in with the Advocacy department – which I have yet to have the opportunity to do. I will try her back after lunch time.

1-20-2023 Case Related to 3 Package Pickup Requests Service Request Number 47146749

January 20th, 2023

This morning, after getting the pickup attempt notification and the package picked up notification I received a Service request notification from my conversation with Khaliah. I believe this case is reference to pickup request WEC494997628. My phone conversation with here is referenced in my 1/18 post centered around 9 packages, 3 pickup requests, that were not picked up. You follow that trail on this post.

I am going to make a call here shortly the Greensboro Consumer Affairs Office. Khaliah suggested I reach out to them at some point, and I think now is as good a time as any given that the Sparta Post office has mis-led (one could really say lied) again and said they picked up a package that they did not actually pickup reference to my pickup request number WEC494997628.

 

1/19/2023 – A sad day on the sales Front!

January 19th, 2023

1 sale today on a best offer on eBay. Unfortunately, the buyer has not paid, which is always a concern with higher dollar merchandise. Todays sale was $1000.00. We’ll see if it comes through tomorrow with payment or over the weekend. So, no package pickup request for USPS today needed.

________________________________

Update 1/20/2023

Buyer actually paid for the purchase. I have it packaged up and ready to go, unfortunately, with the package pick-up issue with Sparta, I cannot submit a package pickup request for this item as it needs to go out by tomorrows mail and on an order this large, I just can’t wait for them to not show up again. This insert is to simply document the package that would have normally had a pickup request sent in on it for today.

________________________________

I increased my product listings on Etsy for sale today from a little over 400 items to over 1500 items. Hopefully I will see some product movement, but usually January is a tough month business wise with the Christmas holiday hangover – the credit card bills start rolling in. My movement on product is more about preparing for February thru April to ensure good product is  available during the tax refund season. I may look at running a sale next week to see if I can squeeze some dollars out of some pockets.

I am still on the struggle bus with eBay, only having right at 680 products for sale. The biggest issue has been finding the right application that will work with my online website juststuffisell.com. I need to find some product that can efficiently migrate product from the Shopify based platform to eBay without it costing a mint. I have about 1800 or so products I need to get migrated into eBay, but just can’t get it done efficiently so far with the products that I have tested out. I am working on a 4th product now, but a lot of this week has been spent on the wrong things. Documentation for USPS and driving around town, dealing with Shopify product errors, ugh…more productivity please.

4th Package Pickup Request for 1-19-2023 Confirmation WEC494997628

January 18th, 2023

Sad sales day. Only have 1 eligible package as of 5:30 PM for pickup. I have scheduled a pickup on the 19th of January. I used the “This is a business” check box because, well, I am running a business here. This package is 1st class mail, insured with signature due to its ship to location being an apartment in New York NY. Approximate value of the shipments is $70.00, the darn shipping was $10.51. I have blacked out the address for obvious reasons.

Mail pickup request number is Confirmation #: WEC494997628

My sad and lonely package will sit on the porch by itself since there is no rain scheduled for tonight.

1/20/2023 – And I received this notification from the Sparta NC Post office;

As you can see in this notification, it says “We have successfully completed your package pickup”, which is not true. Interestingly, this package pickup I actually used the “this is a business” check box – which this is, so I am now like, hmmm, can they not select the “pickup attempt made blah blah” when it is a recognized business? Interesting question.

Here is an updated picture of the package they did not pick up yesterday that I will need to drive down to drop off today….another 40 minutes of my time wasted on top of what I am having to do to document the crazy here at the Sparta NC USPS office.

So just got back from errands in Galax VA and dropped this off at the post office. Here is the scan receipt to show they did not in fact pick up this package.

 

What A USPS Employee Advised Me To Do – USPS Delivering for America Plan

January 18th, 2023

One of the wonderful things about having to reach out to USPS customer service is in fact the caring individuals with whom I have had the opportunity to speak with regarding this matter. There are a tremendous number of things that are at the Post Masters discretion relative to policy. The mailbox issue is one of them. It is my understanding that the Sparta Post Master has the authority to determine whether or not this policy is enforced as it relates to package delivery and pickup. I rent a PO Box for mail, we have all of our mail sent to this PO Box address, so I do not need a mailbox for my personal mail. What I need is for the Post Master of Sparta to actually deliver my packages, and what I need most importantly, is for the Post Master of Sparta NC to require his route driver to pick up my business packages when I have outbound shipments. I respect his objection to not deliver packages, and the policy he is using for that, even though I disagree with him, what I cannot abide with is what I consider the abuse of that policy to refuse to serve my business needs, which is what the Post Master is doing.

The last two USPS customer service representatives understood completely this last part and cannot understand why the Sparta NC Post Master is actually refusing to pick up my business packages for outbound shipment. I was advised that the only way to force change, was going to be documentation. That I must request a package pickup every time I needed one. Document it. Require a response from USPS ( I assume she means Sparta USPS, Greensboro USPS and the Charlotte USPS representatives). Escalate it. Require a response and repeat this process until I had enough documentation to move forward with a filing with the Consumer Advocate office for USPS. At that time, it is my understanding that all parties involved in the communication process related to this issue will be contacted and made to justify their policy stance. If I wanted to attempt to Escalate the matter in an effort to bring it to the attention of the office of the Post Master General, this would be the time to do that.

_______

1/19/23 – I have updated this post with relevant details below and a few tweaks above. As I said in my phone conversation today with another wonderful USPS CSR, I don’t want to see anyone get fired or anything like that, I really just want my packages picked up when I submit a package pickup request. My hope is, if I make enough noise, someone will reach out to the Sparta NC Post Master and say “You need to make this go away”, because I think that is the only thing that will change anything. Granted, it could end up, USPS as a whole is just to big to change no matter how committed they are to changing. I don’t know. Only time will tell.

_______

My address collection for the Post Office

NC Greensboro USPS Consumer Affairs Phone number: 336-668-1246

Consumer Advocate USPS
Office of the Consumer Advocate
475 L’Enfant Plaza SW
Washington DC 20260-2200

– and –

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy
USPS – Headquarters
475 L’Enfant Plaza SW
Washington DC 20260-0010

I also plan to cc relevant key members of the Executive Leadership team whom I believe are tasked with the USPS Delivering for America plan. I am of the opinion they would have some interest in my situation and I figure if I get the attention of 1 of them it will get where it needs to go. So I will make an effort to bring them into the loop on this issue;

Joshua D. Colin
Chief Retail and Delivery Officer and Executive Vice President

Jacqueline Krage Strako
Chief Commerce and Business Solutions Officer and Executive Vice President

Steven W. Monteith
Chief Customer and Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President

Douglas Tulino
Deputy Postmaster General and Chief Human Resources Officer

Luke T. Grossmann
Senior Vice President, Finance and Strategy

Scott Raymond
Vice President, Retail and Delivery Operations–Atlantic Area

3rd Package Pickup Request for 1-18-2023

January 17th, 2023

So, I have 2 packages I have requested pickup for scheduling on the 18th of January. Both are priority mail, approximate value of the shipments is $185.00. As you can see from the confirmation, my address is an approved pickup location. I have blacked out the address for obvious reasons.

Mail pickup request number is Confirmation #: WEC494737144

 

As an update, I had two orders come in last night. I can’t update the pickup request but have added a priority mail package and another LP order totaling about $115.00 in additional product going out. Due to shipping requiring packages to ship out two days from time of order, I can’t hold the orders for another pickup request tomorrow given the history that USPS has of not coming up to pick up the orders.

New stack awaiting pickup….

Update 1/18/2023 – Route carrier never came and picked up these packages. Because there were 3 priority mail packages, I went ahead and drove over to the post office in Glade Valley to drop them off so they would not be late on delivery. I just can’t have my eBay rating impacted due to USPS not showing up.

Tomorrow I will open a new case for this pickup request. I have a feeling here shortly they are going to stop letting me open cases.

1/19/2023 – Called USPS at 3:40PM. Speaking with Khaliah. As I suspected, I cannot file another report because the last report on the 9 packages is still open. This means I cannot file a report on the package that is suppose to be picked up today.

Good news, as the conversation continued, Khaliah determined that this needed escalated and created another case number 47146749 that includes this pickup request and pickup request WEC494997628 for the package that was not picked up today. Khaliah said she put in some solid communication for me that outlined some of the issues I am facing when it comes to the Sparta Post Master. I explained about my needing to document what is taking place before I go into the consumer affairs direction due to the fact I would also be reaching out to the office of the postmaster general. I need to show that it is not just a few pickups we’re talking about with my business and she got that. She asked hard questions, was fair in the conversation, was patient and listened to my dilemma providing good feedback.

I have got to say it again, this is at least the 4th or 5th USPS customer service rep I have spoken with, all have been super nice, all made me feel like I was a valuable customer to USPS, regardless of how the outcome of a case came out. Kudo’s to whoever is in charge of this area!

Here is to hoping as I have not heard anything related to the service request report number 47051688, which could be a good thing, or bad thing.

I received this service request also, so I am thinking that Khaliah may have escalated a different service request further up the food chain…. I think we may now be cooking with butter!

Update: 1/24/2023 – I received a survey from USPS on this case number so I am assuming this case was closed. I never heard anything back so I am on the phone on hold to speak with someone at USPS to find out what was done on this particular case. I spoke with Chenica. She said the case was closed as resolved; she said the case notes say they attempted to contact me – which they did not, the notes show “I do not have a mailbox at road. Instructed to install one. Once installed package pickup will begin.” She has escalated this case, and the case number for the escalated case is 472194884.

 

Well, 1/20/23, this morning I received the following email;

 

USPS Contact for Service Request – Escalating 3 Unfulfilled Package Pickup Requests from the 11th of January.

January 17th, 2023

So I am calling USPS again to file a service request regarding the failure to pickup 9 packages on the 11th. I decided to wait on this filing since I was running around trying to get ready for leaving town on Thursday the 12th.  I will update this specific post with the communications relating around the report rather than doing 1 off posting.

The complaint concerns package pickup requests reference:

Confirmation #: WEC493286652
Confirmation #: WEC493316084
Confirmation #: WEC493362482

My point of contact for the complaint is: Geisha

My service request report number for this package is 47051688

USPS Confirmation for Case:

USPS Confirmation out of Charlotte

 

Vacation Update 1-17-23

January 17th, 2023

So wife and I went out of town for the weekend to the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains. Great time! Left on Friday, I had two orders from Thursday evening that needed to go out and requesting a pickup was not an option given the track record of USPS here in Sparta. I just couldn’t have those two packages sitting around for 4 days knowing they would not bother to do the job of picking them up…. so we dropped those off on the way out of town, was in a rush so didn’t document shipment.

Naturally, my eBay (I allowed orders) and Etsy (Does not allow orders) stores were in vacation mode just because I hate setting unreasonable expectations for customers. Had 3 LP orders come in while out of town, we arrived back on Monday, so I took a 40 minute round trip drive to the Glade Valley post office to drop them off. This order bundle is 85.00 and I insured two of them so bonus money for the ol’postal boys.

I had mail I needed to pick up from my post office box, so it all worked out, otherwise they would be part of todays package pickup request.

 

2nd Package Pickup Request Outcome

January 12th, 2023
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So, on 1/12/2023 I received an email regarding 1 of the 3 package pickup requests I submitted to USPS;

Confirmation #: WEC493286652
Confirmation #: WEC493316084
Confirmation #: WEC493362482

“This email confirms USPS attempted a Package Pickup Important! This email confirms a Package Pickup was made or attempted; however, there was a discrepancy reported by the carrier. Please reference the Package Pickup Notification the carrier left”

Which is to say, the carrier never came up to my office building to attempt to actually pickup the packages I had that needed to go out. I have left off, on the screen shot, the address information for security reasons.

What a petty little bunch at that post office. Off we go to file a report on these 9 packages.

2nd Package Pickup Request – A New Strategy

January 11th, 2023
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So after my experience with the 1st package pickup request, I am trying a new strategy. Given my location is an approved package pickup location with USPS, I have set the package pickup to be on my front porch, where there are security cameras. I ended up having to send 3 package pickup requests with one having to be edited to add packages because every time I thought I was done, at the end of the day, another order came in. It’s a learning process for me on how to use this system efficiently….

My pickup requests were all submitted on the 10th and incorporate the pickup of priority mail, media and 1st class packages.

My USPS confirmation numbers for pickup are:
WEC493362482
WEC493316084
WEC493286652

There are a total of 9 packages that include orders from my shop in Etsy and Ebay with a total product value for the day of $662.00 now sitting n my porch awaiting attention from USPS.

I have not done my books, so I cannot say the shipping costs, but naturally some are insured and require signature.

I will make a point here, given this is my first grouping of packages since starting my written as it happens communication, this grouping is an example of why putting packages out of view at the end of a gravel road is dangerous for my business. I have to make sure these go out today – so frankly, if they do not pick up the packages, I am going to be very upset as delivery times are important and will be impacted.

So….lets see if the route carrier picks up my packages, and what his response will be should he not come up to pick them up.

Update: 4:46pm on 1/11/2023 – Packages are still on the porch and does not look like the route driver is coming up. I expected as much given his route in this area is usually done somewhere around noon time. I will of course, have to open a support ticket with USPS on these requests, but I am awaiting the outcome of another open case that I have not written about yet as I am suppose to receive communication from them within 3 to 4 days from the case opening which was, I believe, this past Friday.

 

USPS Re-Open Case 46674270 Related to 1st Failed Package Pickup

January 9th, 2023
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Note: This post has been backdated from the original time it was written to properly provide a context to the posts that follow it;

After having not received a response from the Sparta Post Masters Supervisor, I decided I would try and escalate the case which ended up leading to a new case being opened on 1/9/2023. At the time I did not note the operators name, but I was told I would receive a phone call from USPS Consumer affairs to go over my complaint.

 

Upon receiving confirmation of the case, I responded to the email forwarding the entirety of the conversation of case 46521355 be included in this case. From what I could tell, the entirety of my email communications with the Sparta Post Master were outside of the case communication file and I wanted that included is USPS records.

My email simply said:

I would like this communication chain included in Service Request 466742470 for easy future reference. Thank you;

(Email Chain with all communication)

I waited patiently for a phone call looking forward to speaking with someone other than the Post Master for Sparta…alas… on the 12th of January, I received no phone call but I did receive two emails.

This one came in first…..

Then I received this email: ( Am assuming both cases were escalated)

 

on 1/12/2023 I replied to the email – simply:

Why did I not receive a phone call on this case? I was told that someone from this office would be contacting me by phone.

Thank you.
George Chaney
(My Phone Number Redacted)

 

This was the response I received back within about 30 minutes

 

USPS Contact for Service Request – Escalating Unfulfilled Package Pickup 46521355

January 3rd, 2023
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Note: This post has been backdated from the original time it was written to properly provide a context to the posts that follow it;

We had family up for a year end celebration for two ECU graduates so the time for follow up on the initial failed package pickup request was delayed.

I filed the request on 1/3/2023. This post will detail the communications and outcome.

 

I received as it relates to service request 46521355 the following response from the Post Master of Sparta NC arriving via email on 1/5/2023.

___________________________________________________

Good morning Mr. Chaney.

I felt sure that my staff had resolved this issue after my visit to your house. We have no issue picking up your packages when there is a package pickup notice submitted alerting us to the fact that you have packages to be picked up. However, the placement of your mailbox should be at the end of (Redacted), intersecting with (Redacted). Once the box is placed and mail delivery is established we will be glad to drive up and retrieve any packages you have submitted for pickup.

(Redacted)
Postmaster

____________________________________________________

Well, you can only imagine how smoking hot I was given this is nowhere near how I thought our conversation ended…..

So my reply was, I thought, restrained and reasonable, but probably in hindsight, not the smartest move given how wordy I get…..

My reply was on 1/5/2023

____________________________________________________

Good Evening (Redacted),

Thank you for your timely response to this service request. The entirety of my email gives you the benefit of the doubt as to what was said and what took place.

In follow up to our on-site meeting, and based upon my recollection of what was said at my property, your response in this communication is not what I remember us agreeing would happen. It was my understanding, at the close of our meeting, when I was ready, you would have no issue having packages delivered to our physical location (your office would no longer return packages to sender as is being done now), and you had no issue having packages picked up from our physical location when I submitted a package pickup request. You were not ready at that time to have regular mail delivered to our physical location until such time as you could evaluate the number of trips the route carrier would be making to our location to pick up and deliver Packages. It was my understanding, that the route driver worked for you and that what I thought I heard you say was that you would have no issue “making” the route driver follow these instructions.

The delay for initiation of this agreement on my end was a result of my needing to find a package mailbox large enough to accommodate my album shipments, more as a courtesy to the route driver to minimize the number of times he/her might have to get out of their vehicle to pick up packages from my office porch. I could not get a package mailbox suitable for this purpose locally and had to order one in. Between shipping delays, and the holiday business, it took longer than anticipated. Further, it took more time for me to spread the gravel area in an effort by me to provide an easy location for the driver to turn around. While I still need a to order a little more gravel, it is a usable turnaround location for the driver as is.

I apologize for not returning your phone call, but this falloff in communication is why I requested we communicate in writing via my service request and why I am requesting that all future communication regarding this matter is in writing so as to eliminate any chances of future misunderstanding or confusion on who said what as we move forward in this process.

When we first moved here, after I had our property addressed, I came up to your location in Sparta and asked what I needed to do. I can tell you with certainty that I was told simply all you need to do is “put up a mailbox, let us know when it is up and ready, and we’ll begin mail service”. After cementing a mailbox post 2 feet into the ground and adding a mailbox, I came back to the Sparta location and told the clerk working the counter that my mailbox was up, provided the address and mail began being delivered to our location, for about an entire week. As it turned out, the regular route runner was on vacation at that time. When he returned, that is when mail delivery stopped. We received no notice, and my NC Dept of Revenue sales tax quarterly reporting stayed in my mailbox for a week before I finally got in the truck to drive to your office to find out what was going on. On an side, this is exactly what happened when I put my mail pickup request in Thursday before Christmas last month to have 2 packages picked up – one priority mail – both arrived late to the recipients thanks to someone failing to properly communicate to me. I received NO notification from you or your office that the situation had changed and my packages sat ins sub zero temperatures until we returned from the weekend….with the mail carrier saying no mailbox – when he knows exactly where the mailbox is. I could have carried them down to Wilmington NC and mailed them there had you or your office let me know you changed your decision sooner.

As you have explained, if I heard you correctly, “the Post Office now has a standing policy on Consolidated box locations”. I make assumptions from here, that decision was made in order to save money for the post office as I know residential delivery is a losing proposition as it relates to post office revenue. In speaking with my neighbors, it is my understanding that mailboxes at one point were all located at the beginning of (Redacted) – as per another referenced policy regarding private road delivery. I also understand that your predecessor authorized the change to incorporate the entirety of (Redacted) to address an issue plaguing the area with regards to mail and package theft.

As I have made clear to you in our conversations, my business deals in valuable merchandise to include gold and silver products. These items cannot be safely secured at the end of (Redacted). I cannot place a security surveillance system at the end of (Redacted) to safeguard merchandise being shipped in and out to my business location, regardless of whether it is a keyed box or traditional mailbox. In addition, some days, I have more packages than can fit in even the largest of residential mailboxes designed for packages and I have no interest, nor should I need to, purchase a 500 or multi thousand dollar mailbox just to get service. What I do have located at my office is security in place  to include cameras on the property and at the door to my office building and alarm systems.

Based upon my one and only conversation with the present route driver, at the end of conversation, while he blamed “Management”, I had the impression he had no desire to add my address to his route, it would seem especially so if it required a lot of packages (work). My opinion on this has not changed based upon my referenced paragraph above where the substitute driver had no issue delivering mail to our physical address – on two different occasions. The route driver presently drives exactly 1 mile – one way (2 miles both ways) – to make residential deliveries down (Redacted) – where I doubt there is any business spending thousands of dollars with USPS annually shipping packages, but for some reason, your office is refusing to drive another approximate 800 feet one way to my office building to service my business, and yes, my personal mail requirements.

Like most modern families, we no longer mail or receive a lot of personal mail beyond bank statements – which we could go paper on – and magazine subscriptions, many of which we could go online with. We do receive government communication from both the state and federal systems. Beyond the holidays (we still like to send Christmas cards) and birthdays, the bulk of what is left is junk that we would not miss. The primary mail service needed is commercial in nature for my location, but as customer, I also have expectations given the amount of money I spend, that your office services my personal requirements as well in a thoughtful, and reasonable, manner. Every time I hear about the post office losing money, it is stuff like this that makes me just shake my head….

As I have stated to you, and you saw on your visit, we maintain the road. I have also stated to you, I have no issue if the route driver does not deliver or pickup if the road is unsafe – i.e. we have snow storms here in the mountains and that creates a safety issue. The gravel road must be plowed and cleared before he can safely come up or down, just as it is on (Redacted). We have the equipment to that, though it might not get done until the afternoon or after the snow stops.

Regardless, I have now spent over a year patiently attempting to work with your office to service my business, and personal, physical location in a way that is safe and secure for us as a residential and commercial customer. All of those conversations have been verbal in nature. As I recall, when the mail stopped getting delivered in 2021, with our initial heated conversation, you promised to come up and view our road, and make a determination and that you would call me and let me know what you decided. I waited patiently for months. You never called, and to the best of my knowledge, given we tend to know who comes and goes on our no outlet road, I do not believe a trip was ever made.

All of this began when you were “Acting” post master attempting to get the job you now have, and it now continues with you as the official post master in charge of our area. I do sometimes wonder, given the circumstance we have experienced with your office since moving here, what your predecessor would have decided given the past decision that they made on changing the route so that it incorporated the entirety of (Redacted) – a private road, which the USPS no longer services.

I want to reiterate, in writing, excerpts from our last conversation that I am sure I shared with you. Up until September of 2021, my business was quite active in New Hanover county, having shipped well over 10,000 packages through the life of its business period in Wilmington NC, most of those packages via USPS. When we moved to Glade Valley, I took a hiatus from running my online business in order to take time out to get our new property ready for both living on, and working on. The very first building we completed was my office building. This was so I could continue to run my business once we had the residential side in order. Unfortunately, builders in this area cannot provide a firm price and are still scheduled out over 2 years, so we have yet to be able to build our home….but that is aside the point.

I officially reopened for business in Mid-September of 2022 with the new Glade Valley NC address and began selling product on Etsy and at the beginning of December, I began selling some products on Ebay again. Both are in addition to our company website which was never fully shut down, we just did not market it. Through this year I have shipped over 350 packages outbound, many of them via USPS using first class mail, priority mail and media mail with values ranging from $5.00 to $3000.00, with about 320 of those packages being over the last 90 days. This does not include all of the inbound packages we have coming in that we have to fight around the fact that USPS wants to return anything shipped to our physical location.

As of now, every trip to the post office to deliver packages wastes right about 40 minutes round trip of my day that could be spent investing time in running my business operations. Something your office could resolve with a simple direction from you to begin delivering and picking up mail to our actual physical location. As I have explained to you, even FedEx and UPS pickup and deliver from my office location. Given my customers pay for shipping, I could very easily say no more to USPS and just work something out with UPS or FedEx on all non-media mail shipments. Instead, I continue to try to work with you.

At the end of the day, I feel like I have made a good faith effort to resolve this issue directly with you and your office, thinking twice now, the issue of mail pickup/delivery and package pickup and delivery was resolved. I am really quite exhausted mentally and physically in the ongoing issue of having USPS properly meeting the needs of my home and business delivery and pickup requirements.

With all that said, I want to get this resolved now in a meaningful way that meets my needs, and ends the hamster wheel I feel like I have been on for the last year with your office. If you are unable or unwilling to do that, then I am officially requesting you send this information to you supervisor for further review and guidance. I look forward to hearing from him or her and providing them the documentation that they require to show I am a valuable small business customer for USPS that deserves to be serviced in a manner that helps my small business grow.

Thanks for your time,
George Chaney

____________________________________________________

The Post Masters reply was on 1/6/2023 and as my .gov wife said, right in line with how you would expect a .gov response to be, short and to the point…lol

____________________________________________________

Good Morning

At the time of our onsite meeting, we discussed your decrease in shipping and I expressed to you that for mail delivery the box would need to be placed at the end of your road where other boxes currently exist. At that point, any time there are more packages than will fit into the mailbox OR you have a package pickup request, we would gladly then drive up to deliver the excess packages and/or retrieve the outgoing parcels for that day. The establishment of the mailbox in the correct location will be the key to clearing up any delivery/pickup issues. Once the mailbox is placed, we will begin servicing your address.

Prior to sending this email, I did consult with my boss and it is in agreement that I have made the correct decision.

Sincerely,

(Redacted)

Postmaster

Sparta Post Office

____________________________________________________

Well, you can only imagine how smoking hot I was at this point…and it really all stems from frustration against the bureaucracy.

No being a political person, my reply was, in hindsight, not the smartest nor most politically savvy move….. It was therapy, and therapeutic for me, but I hate to say it, I am businessman, and just not accustomed to dealing in the realm of political situations. In business a lot of the decisions that are made are weighed against risk and cost benefit. The decision are driven the most by profit, with the least exposure to the benefit of your company and customers….. If one of my employees did this to a customer that would be low maintenance, low risk and making my company money, they’d probably be in the unemployment line. The ask is not much, the return is much higher… Regardless….not smart me….responded in a way that was, for the Post Masters authority, just not wise in the long run. Ohhhh to be a political animal….

My reply was on 1/6/2023

____________________________________________________

Fair enough (Redacted),

That is not even close to the conversation I remember us having, as I am quite sure you are well aware, I have objected to that request since I paid to have a mailbox installed where it sits. If you indeed did check with your supervisor,  why did he not respond directly to me with the reasoning? As it is now, I have no idea if in fact this was escalated, nor does he have any skin in the game by not participating in the discussion.

So I will make it clear to you, as I think it is in both our interests, I am asking this to be escalated to him directly and I want a communication directly from your supervisor.

After a year or so of dealing with you, I do not believe you have shown, to me as a customer and based upon my recollections of our conversations, the ability to be truthful, nor do I believe you have the ability, or possibly leadership, to follow through on what you actually said you would do. It seems to me (Redacted), you have made this a personal hill to die on, when for me, it is really about good business and safely and securely conducting business from my location.

I want to make sure you, and your supervisor, understand that I will move forward with reaching out to every member of the executive leadership team for USPS, every member of congress and every members of the US Senate. (1/18/2023as a note, I will be moving in this direction, I just didn’t know at the time there was an advocacy group I could go through) I will do so because this is not a change consistent with what USPS is supposed to be doing to become profitable. I want to make it clear to you, that I have had the privilege of meeting with members of congress in the past as a guest of Google, now known as Alphabet Inc. This is not my first rodeo, and I want you to know, this conversation is just the beginning, and I expect it will gain traction where it needs to gain traction so that the right outcome will inevitably take place. USPS needs to follow the future of profits and part of that profit center is found in home based small business. If you fail with that, you will die as an organization in the 21st century.

I feel I have been patient with you, and that I have made a very good faith effort to make this very easy problem go away for both of us. At this point in time, I do not believe you have taken me, or my business interests, seriously.

I want you know that I will include the entirety of this communication chain in my communications with, in the end, your ultimate supervisors. They will see your supervisor, at this point in time, never directly communicated with me as I expected would happen when I asked this matter to be escalated. Finally, I will provide them with documentation to show my value to USPS as a small business over the last decade of operation and why I should be serviced in a manner deserving of a business that has made USPS money in the past and will do so again in this VERY small market.

Finally, I will be requesting a new route carrier for my area because, frankly, I believe the present circumstance have tainted any possible positive relationship I may have been able to form with the present route carrier. Given the nature of the types of merchandise I ship, to allow the present route carrier to pick up and deliver packages from my location creates an unnecessary increased risk of loss to both my business and USPS given these packages are typically insured. I say this because, as I have said, I believe it is the present route carrier that has fought being required to take on my stop as an addition to this route from the outset. I believe his objections and a failure of leadership, may be the reason we find ourselves in this position. Granted (Redacted), I am not in the back room of your offices, so that is something only you, and some of your staff, would know.

It is unfortunate (Redacted) that neither you, nor your supervisor, have made any effort to even evaluate the cost benefit of doing business with my company in our small little county where revenue must be so critically important for USPS’s operations. We are talking about driving somewhere in the neighborhood of what….1000 feet extra a day? You’ve not asked for financials, or any other documents that could have helped you actually make a good business decision. You could have spoken with your staff and had them maintain a count, though I will venture both current and past staff at the Glade Valley post office could tell you, I make USPS money.

Instead, you’ve simply said, no, that is not how we do business, and now, you’ve changed your tune to say, I will do X but only if you do Y. If you said that during your visit, I would have told you that is not going to happen and frankly (Redacted), having a mailbox down at the end of (Redacted) has nothing to do with delivering or picking up packages to and from my office building. Packages that have no business being on a gravel road, unattended, invisible to anyone unless someone is walking or driving by. I think anyone that reads that will see it for exactly what it is, a very weak excuse to justify why your route driver won’t come up (Redacted) to service my address.

Businesses partner together all the time, for mutual benefit. Both UPS and FedEx would love to have my business, both companies understand business must be mutually beneficial for it to be successful, especially in such a small market as Alleghany County. Every dollar helps defray the cost of doing business. Both companies drive up (Redacted) and pick and deliver packages because, it makes good business sense for them.

Do you know if it makes good business sense for USPS? You know it does, but here we are….it seems your solution says, you don’t care how much sense in makes for USPS to do business with me, you either do what I say you’ll do, or “screw you and your profitable packages”.

The unfortunate fact is, decisions like this one are why USPS continues to lose money. Decisions like this, from the perspective of a business owner, should call into question whether or not the right people are in the right positions at the USPS in Alleghany and apparently Greensboro. Just last year USPS received a historic 100 plus billion dollar bailout at tax payer expense. In return, USPS was supposed to change how they do business so that bailouts like that would not be required in the future. As an actual tax payer every year, I do not appreciate how you are managing the resources for which I have contributed!

So I will ask you directly (Redacted) and the mysterious (Redacted) Supervisor, do you consider it a positive outcome for USPS should I shift package business to UPS or FedEx who service my account as I need it serviced? Do you consider this a positive outcome for a business customer when you are unwilling to service a customer’s reasonable request for service in exchange for historically 1000 or so packages a year? Do you consider this to be “Changing how you do business” as an organization to make USPS profitable into the future? I believe anyone who evaluates the situation will come to the same conclusion as I have. Right now it appears that the USPS, at least in Alleghany County, is all about business as usual. As a tax payer that participated in your bail out, that is simply not acceptable.

So at the end of the day, the question then becomes, is that how you want to be seen? Ask yourself, what is in the best interest of USPS as an organization working to become profitable? How would you feel if a member of USPS’s executive leadership team reviewed the entirety of this situation? Would you be proud of the decision that you made? Would you be willing to stake your future career path on this decision and its outcome?

I’ll give you, and your manager, the weekend to think about it. I really do hope that you can take the emotion out of the process, that you can set aside the bureaucracy that is killing USPS, so you can find some clarity to make the decision that should have been made a year ago, the right decision in this matter. If at the end of the business day Monday, you decide your way is the right way, I will begin the process of moving all of my profitable business over to UPS and FedEx, and I’ll leave you, and your organization, with only the least profitable of business, media mail.

I look forward to your supervisors final determination in this matter.

Have a nice weekend,

George Chaney

____________________________________________________

As I expected, that was the end of communication on this case. Probably for the best.

1st Package Request Outcome – 12/24 Notification

December 24th, 2022
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Note: This post has been backdated from the original time it was written to properly provide a context to the posts that follow it;

So as I noted in the first post regarding this request, the route driver never picked up my packages. His reasoning was not provided beyond a discrepancy being reported. It was this point I realized the Post Master had either not provided instructions or not told the route driver that he was to honor these pickup requests. In hindsight, I can say, that I did fail to go down and let the Post Master know I was ready for him to start service. I simply just assumed and I should not have done that.

Anyway, the notice was basically;

This email confirms USPS attempted a Package Pickup. Important! This email confirms a Package Pickup was made or attempted; however, there was a discrepancy reported by the carrier. Please reference the Package Pickup Notification the carrier left.

Regardless, as I have said, they know where my mailbox is. It is now a new  mailbox package sized. Due to this, I escalated this to a case.

 

1st Package Pickup Request for 1-23-22 Conf. WEC488925634

December 23rd, 2022
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Note: This post has been backdated from the original time it was written to properly provide a context to the posts that follow it;

On December 22nd, I had two orders come in that needed to be shipped. We were headed out of town for the Christmas holiday to spend time with our children and I thought, with the arrangements I had with the Post Master, that this was the perfect time to start package our picked up arrangement. So I had 1 priority mail package and one LP being shipped out. I don’t recall the order value. The evening of the 22nd I put in a package pickup request. Before we left the morning of the 23rd, I put those packages in the mailbox outside my office building for pickup.

Confirmation number WEC488925634

This is the package pickup request:

When we return from Wilmington NC, both my packages were still sitting in the parcel mailbox not picked up. Given my shipments were now 4 days late, boy was I livid as anyone who sells online with eBay or Etsy knows that late shipments impact future visibility and sales online and can result in negative feedback for your business and lost customers!

Sparta NC Post Office, The Rest of the Story

December 20th, 2022
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Note: This post has been backdated from the original time it was written to properly provide a context to the posts that follow it;

This post is a wee bit long, but it includes the balance of what took place and has brought us to where we are today.

When my letter was not picked up, I happed upon the route carrier and managed to stop him and have a conversation. The long and short of it is, the route driver said it was not his decision, that his boss told him not to pick up or deliver to our address. Boy was I hot.

So, my first introduction with the Post Master at Sparta was quite heated. My wife was present for some of the communications and was embarrassed enough – as I was super hot – to step outside and wait in the car. As I have stated, I did what I was told to do, and now the goal post has been moved and at my expense. I asked to speak with the Post Master, and I was told they did not have one. I asked to speak to the person in charge and out came the now official Post Master (who was acting at the time in that capacity). We had a lot of words over this subject, heated at times, going over the history of the area, why the route on Ashe Lane was added, my company products etc. when he finally agreed to come view my property and see if the road was safe for delivery and just how far the route driver would have to come in addition to his present stops. He said he would call me and let me know what his final decision was. Months went by and he never came, and most certainly never called.

During that time period, I was not actively selling a lot of stuff to include on eBay and and on Etsy. Most of what was being sold was holiday type driven and on my website, which, as I have noted, was not really being actively marketed with any great effort. In the mean time, our packages being shipped to our physical location were initially being held at the post office – regardless of the fact many would never have fit in a regular mailbox, and eventually, they were just returned as undeliverable, despite the fact, the entire time, we had a mailbox readily available for pick up and delivery, it was just not located where they wanted it after they said just put your mailbox up and we’ll start delivery without saying it had to be located at a specific location. My wife even tried to just do a forwarding address from our physical location to our PO Box (Yes, they even knew we had a PO Box at the Glade Valley location – but still returned merchandise…..). They said, no, you cannot just forward your mail from your physical location to your post office box without first installing a mailbox where we told you to put it. The fact remains, they never originally expressly required us to put the mailbox anywhere but where we wanted it.

As an active way to try and work around the Sparta post office, we began using both address lines with our inbound shipments. Both UPS and FedEx deliver and pickup from our physical location. Unfortunately, when dealing with Amazon or other online sources, you simply have no idea how a product is going to be shipped. I always used as the main, PO Box 507, and on the second line “If Shipping FedEx or UPS Use (our street address). It did not matter. Stuff just got returned by the Sparta Post office as undeliverable.

Since I like to go off on rambling topics…. at the end of the day, had USPS said, your mailbox needs to be X, we would have had this conversation over a year ago about packages and the like and the communications relationship would not have started so heated. I am pretty sure, they would have left a pick up notice and not delivered a package even if we had a mailbox located where they wanted it – requiring us to drive nearly an hour round trip because the route driver clearly won’t drive up our road… alas, this topic is not the purpose of this communication, but I have to say, if I were to go spend the money again in order to place a mailbox at the end of the road, that is exactly what would happen. “I’m sorry, we can’t drive up your road to deliver packages” – another moving of the goal posts.

Regardless, near the end of the first week of November, I had an inventory shipment in coming in from Canada containing a lot of valuable merchandise for resale. For whatever reason, the company, for the first time, used a combination of my PO Box ship to address and the second line used my physical address meant for UPS and FedEx. You can see in the tracking information, that USPS in Sparta had this slated to be returned – CH025047998CA – knowing exactly where our post office box is, and despite the PO Box being part of the address. To me, this shows just how petty they are being. I am fortunate in two ways, I caught that when checking on this Christmas season inventory during the late afternoon on the 7th. Again, I was livid seeing that on the tracking and as I noted, I suspected it was at the direction of the Post Master. I drove down on the morning of the 8th to the post office angry as a hornets nest that just had a big wack, and Becky, the postal woman we used to have at Glade Valley, let me know she caught it (the second part of the luck) and sent it over to Glade Valley that morning for delivery.

I am pretty certain, this package was the moment I decided enough of this non-sense. I am pretty sure this was the day I asked to speak with the Post Master for Sparta again about the returning of packages and what has been going on. If it was not this particular day, it was not long after this day. Regardless, when I asked to speak with him, he came out and we had a conversation about his original promise to come out to our property and how I was still awaiting his phone call. To his credit, he agreed to come out right that moment. I had a stop I had to make, I asked him to give me a 30 minute head start and he kept his word. He came up to our property shortly after I arrived home.

The conversation we had was, at the time, I thought very constructive and created a resolution that was to both the benefit of my business packages, but also, finally, a resolution to our personal package delivery. I have insisted from the beginning I am not going to move my mailbox. Period. It has been a non-negotiable for me. As I have explained before and will again, I was simply told to put my mailbox up, and that is what I did. The Post Master knew that before and he knew it during our conversation on the ridge. He knew FedEx and UPS delivered to our address, specifically, to my office building.

Our agreement was simple, I would put up a package mailbox in place of the standard sized mailbox for the benefit of the route driver. I would provide a place for the mail carrier to easily turn around and he would put an end to packages being returned to sender, he would require the route driver to deliver those packages and he would require the route driver to pick up my packages when I submitted a pickup request. Outside of packages, the Post Master would not approve the delivery of any other mail until I put a mailbox at the end of our road. He would reconsider regular mail deliveries to our physical location (where our mailbox is presently) based upon the frequency of pickups and package deliveries by USPS in the future. That was the full extent of what we agreed to. I was fully OK with that, as I have not been worried about “regular” mail. Had the conversation gone any other way than the solution we agreed to, he would not have parted my property as a happy man, and neither would I have been a happy man. We would have had some ugly words because, I consider all of this to be a waste of my time and I would have begun doing what I am doing now, back in November.

What has been and continues to be the main focus is putting a stop to packages being sent back and the refusal of USPS in Sparta to pick up packages from my home based business.

Here is the unfortunate fact. Based upon the responses I have received and how things have played out. I have finally figured out, I cannot trust the Post Master in Sparta to take him at his word and that any communications with him need to be in writing so there is no misunderstanding. I have security camera’s around my property. Our entire interactions were on video with sound. Had I known the Post Master in Sparta was not going to resolve this issue, I would have done everything possible to secure those videoed conversations.

On the plus side, I also have a camera on the door. I’ve not had time to dig into it, but these files are stored online and I am certain I have at least some video of the Post Master and parts of our conversations. Unfortunately, the bulk of our conversation took place well away from where that camera would have been activated. We’ll see. At least now, after writing this entry, I have an idea of what date to start looking. I will update this post, or create a new one, to reflect what, if anything I could find and if there are relevant video, I will set it aside for use when needed.

Update 1/18/2023

Unfortunately for me, Ring only keeps recordings on the server for 30 days. I really thought our plan kept those available for 120 days, alas, that is how it goes. So, no recordings at all – another sad day for me.

 

 

 

Sparta NC Post Office Overview of My Experience – The Beginning

December 20th, 2022
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Note: This post has been backdated from the original time it was written to properly provide a context to the posts that follow it;

My wife retired from the wonderful world of Government (and I suppose, I did in some ways as well) on September 30, 2021. We found a beautiful undeveloped property in the Blue Ridge mountains in the cozy community of Glade Valley and purchased the property in May of 1921 in preparation for our plans. Naturally, given the property was raw land, we had to do some work to include building a new office building for my little online business, a storage building, and living area, well, septic, power, etc. We have also cleaned up the woods, added a garden and quite a number of improvement which continue to this day.

Alas, our property is not really the topic of this blog or this post….The purpose of this post is the first step in documenting an ongoing battle with the Sparta NC post office that has been going on for right about a year. The main purpose of documentation is to make the information easily accessible to Executives at USPS, members of Congress, and members of the US Senate with whom it is my plan to write and advocate to in order to institute change in how the USPS does business, especially with small home based businesses such as mine.

Sparta, North Carolina 28675 PostOffice

Given I was not writing notes about the subject back in the day, I will have to generalize time lines. Given in the past I was not requiring written documentation, communications between myself and the Sparta NC post office are general understandings from my recollections and view point as to what was said and or agreed to. So to start, somewhere between approximately October of 1921 and December of 1921 I traveled down to the Sparta Post Office to find out what I needed to do to start mail delivery to our newly addressed property. The counter clerk gave directions, which I followed, that were actually very simple; put your mailbox in, and when you were ready, come back and let us know and we will begin mail delivery.

Well, as I said, that was simple and sounded great. I really wasn’t in a hurry, and we had already opened a PO Box as part of my business because I don’t like customers having my physical address and use a PO Box for return shipping information. I was still doing business online, just not aggressively. My plan had been, once we had things situated/settled on the property, to continue with my online business as an additional source of income and….I enjoy it.

Anyway, somewhere either in October or December, I went down to Lowes – and I have receipts, I just don’t feel it necessary to pull them out and get specific dates – purchased a bag of cement, a mailbox post, mailbox and numbers. I installed the mailbox outside of my office building as given my future plans for business that is where I felt the proper location for it should be. Once I had it setup, the next time I went into Sparta I let them know the mailbox was up, gave them the address and left. In no time at all, the mail began being delivered to our new mailbox location for the sum total of about a week – I seem to recall receiving two junk mail deliveries.

During this time, I had to do my quarterly North Carolina sales tax report, which is why I believe it was October or December based upon reporting deadlines. I put that in the mailbox with the flag up and there it sat. Given we did not have really anything being mailed to us, I did not think anything about it for about four or so days after it had still not been picked up. Alarms went off….

Mail Box Photographs

January 20th, 2023

So, I know this seems a bit menial, but when I originally put up my mailbox, I used this mailbox, purchased from Lowes, outside of my office;

 

After the Sparta NC Postmaster came up in the first part of November, and we came to an agreement about package pickup’s/delivery, I traveled down to Lowes again, to purchase a Centennial post mount mailbox, extra large, because they showed it in stock and it was wide enough and deep enough to allow me to put the majority of my regular parcels and my media mail (record albums) in without issue. Unfortunately Lowes did not have this in stock – they had one and it was the display which could not be sold. Needless to say, I had to order this online, it was purchased Nov 25th 2022 and it took a little time for it to arrive and it took a little more time for me to figure out how to mount it to the existing post.

Had the Postmaster for Sparta said anything other than, yes I will pick up your packages (and he did say he would stop returning them and have them delivered) I would not have spent the money on this stupid higher end package mailbox.

A Little About My Business History

January 18th, 2023

Since 2013 I have been self employed running a sole proprietorship business, buying and selling vintage items. I started out buying storage lockers that I thought had cool older stuff and gradually got into picking and auction lots, simply because that allowed me to select the merchandise I was selling versus storage locker where you just really don’t know what you are going to end up having to sell and deal with.

2011 into 2012 I was basically retired, enjoying life and my family. At one point, my wife told me I needed to find something to do and that is how I ended up doing what I presently do.

2003 to 2011, approx, I owned at one point four corporations. A company called SEO King, Inc in which I and my staff provided web services to customers throughout the Tampa Bay area, This was a small business focused company doing web design, small scale programming, ecommerce solutions, SEO, web marketing and other service. I owned another company called Down Payment Solutions that provided resources for home buyers needing down payment help with home buying. These two companies were very successful and profitable for me and many of my clients. I cannot even remember the name of another company, at the time, it wasn’t but a few months old and someone bought out the web assets from me before I could ever get started with it, it really was a nice payday for about 90 days of part time on the side evening work. I had one e-commerce corporation within a partnership and that never really went anywhere due to multiple failures in operations, that was where I learned having partners in business ownership takes a very special person and that special person was not me. Regardless, it was through my company SEOKing, Inc that Google invited me up to Washington DC. On side note, it was that trip to Washington DC where I met my beautiful and special wife!

From approximately 1998 to 2002 I was an independent Mortgage broker for a mortgage bank out of New York.

Prior to that time period, I worked for other individuals. Some of my accomplishments included

Hired by Don Lewis to turn around the Florida operations for his regional company in preparation for selling the firm. Mission accomplished, with the company profits increasing by 10x and resulting in the successful merger with Hertz Equipment Rental. Unfortunately for me, I was not qualified to work for Hertz in the capacity I was in. Unfortunately for Hertz, they let me go, and with me went their good business practices. It only took about 12 months for the FL operation to get shutdown and full operations merged into their existing locations due to mounting losses.

Hired by Bob Manee to help him turn around his company so he could sell and finally retire. Mission accomplished, profits up, buyout done. I stayed with the new owners, happily, for about another 2 1/2 years. Unfortunately, they were floundering with equipment sales at the time and they moved me into a position requiring national travel which, as a single father, I could not do.

Successfully helped develop and then manage the Americare Program for a company called American Hi-Lift, the program was duplicated across the country and the firm was later acquired for Prime Equipment Company. Martha Manee saved me from Prime Equipment when she reached out to me out of the blue telling me about he dads situation. He, and she, were such wonderful people.

Over the course of almost my entire adult life, I have been a problem solver for business, and made the hard decisions that needed to be made in order for a company to grow and be profitable. While my approach to doing business was always successful for other firms, my style of management was not suited for making friends during the process. In two of the cases, I had staff full of bad apples that had to retaught how to treat customers, how maintain assets etc and that is hard thing for people that think the way they have always done business, is the only way to do business.

A Drive Around To Show What We Are Talking About

January 18th, 2023

This is a video showing the present currier route for our area and the proposed addition for package pickup and if possible, package delivery. The addition is approximately, based upon my drive up the drive, 2/10th of a mile or about 1000 feet one way.

Available Inventory For Sale as of Today

January 18th, 2023

I have most of my available inventory listed on my main hub site JustStuffISell.com

Unfortunately, my eCommerce platform panel does not give me a place where I can quickly identify how many products I have available. I’m pretty sure it is close to 2200 or so available bits. You can visit JustStuffISell.com to see the types of products I deal in. I have a Storage locker full of additional inventory that I have not listed as well as a lot of additional inventory to be listed here in my office. All of this shake down by the Sparta USPS has been a distraction and the lost time driving every day just creates unnecessary inefficiency.

I have not renewed a lot of my Etsy inventory, but that is intentional. A lot of the bits are not inexpensive so waiting until those tax refunds start rolling out before spending the money.

Again with eBay I am still trying to decide how deep to get at the moment. The next store level more than doubles the price of the store plus I am presently dealing with an issue of how to efficiently get my juststuffisell.com website inventory moved into eBay efficiently. The platform host did away with a pretty good eBay app which has led to a few issues. Compounds my initial work load and I really want to get more merch available before those tax refunds really start hitting.

Some Shipping Expense Reports Since I Started Using Quickbooks

January 18th, 2023

I went back and pulled the records for my shipping stuff and here are the details.

As noted, not really been working in 2022 for the first 3 quarters:

Since September 1st;

Since I started using QuickBooks for accounting;