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Sparta NC Post Office, The Rest of the Story

December 20th, 2022

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.




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