FOLLOWUP: West Seattle Junction post office’s outdoor mailbox might still be months from replacement

An update of sorts in the saga of the missing mailbox outside the US Post Office in The Junction, last seen in mid-January:

IMG_8241
(WSB photo: Damaged Junction mailbox just before it was removed in mid-January)

Reader Diana shared with us the response she got from a complaint made to USPS Customer Service, and the news isn’t good. First, she said, she met with a supervisor at the Westwood post office last Monday. She was referred to the consumer complaint hotline (253-214-1800), through which she filed a complaint on Tuesday. Then on Wednesday, Diana received a phone call from USPS, and quotes them as telling her:

We are very aware of the problem and there have been a lot of complaints. A replacement was requested 6 months ago. We followed up with the manufacturer and it may be several more months before we receive a replacement. Unfortunately there is nothing we can do.

USPS had indeed told us in January that they’d ordered a replacement. So what’s the problem with the manufacturer? Don’t know, yet; don’t even know who the manufacturer is, despite spending some research time trying to find out.

P.S. Diana adds, “Just a note from me…please be courteous to the USPS employees. They are really out of the loop on this issue and their jobs seem pretty stressful as our city and community changes.”

37 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: West Seattle Junction post office's outdoor mailbox might still be months from replacement"

  • Jennifer June 23, 2017 (1:59 pm)

    This is SO annoying. What could possibly be taking so long? Are there so many requests that they can’t fill them all? I doubt it. Are they mining the materials they need in order to make them? I don’t think so. Are they making them in another part of the world and having to ship them? Even if that might be true it can’t take this long. I hope the WSB can get a straight answer from someone about the true reason it’s taking so long.

  • Jon Wright June 23, 2017 (2:00 pm)

    I bet the sheet metal class at South Seattle College could build them something in a day. I swear USPS couldn’t be more incompetent if they tried.

  • Joe June 23, 2017 (2:25 pm)

    At least Diana got a response. I have asked as well about the box and repainting the arrows in the lot and never heard back. Also the lobby box is often jammed.

  • Lola June 23, 2017 (2:37 pm)

    The request for a new box probably got lost in the mail……………………

  • Conjunction Junction June 23, 2017 (3:11 pm)

    Its my opinion they aren’t going to replace them.  I went to a post office in Kenmore that always had a drive up box, like ours, and it is closed too.  It was not damaged or in bad shape, it’s under cover where the teller drive up box used to be (it used to be a bank).  I bet the officials high up haven’t told supervisors so they can have plausible deniability.

    • WSB June 23, 2017 (3:14 pm)

      Well, as noted previously, the Westwood box did get replaced/repaired. I am chasing this through the national media reps, meantime, but the first person I tried is out of the office and since they’re on the east coast, everybody else is gone for the day. On my Monday list!

  • West Seattle since 1979 June 23, 2017 (3:42 pm)

    They always take soooooooooooo long to replace these, and I don’t know why.  The one near my work at 1st & Yesler was removed a couple years ago because someone had vandalized it, and it took them about 8 or 9  months (at least) to replace it.  

  • d June 23, 2017 (3:46 pm)

    Maybe we should just repair the old one I got the skills who wants to make it happen

  • WSNative June 23, 2017 (3:47 pm)

    This also happened at the Des Moines Post Office.  It took 6+ months to be replaced.  

  • Ken June 23, 2017 (4:17 pm)

    @ Jon Wright – Exactly what I was thinking when I came here to leave a comment.  

  • old timer June 23, 2017 (4:21 pm)

    I’ll bet these boxes are built to order, not something “on the shelf”.

    So, with the Government being the leviathan it is, there is no way they could accept a donated box from a high school shop class, nor any other source other than that established thru channels rutted as deeply as those in Eastern Washington’s coulees.

    So, we will just have to put up with being boxless for longer than we could think possible.

  • CanDo June 23, 2017 (4:31 pm)

    The sad thing is that they seem to be unable to be creative about solving this problem… maybe it’s a government thing.  They could pop a slot in the wall and re-route traffic or do something in back of the place, but maybe they aren’t allowed to do anything creative, who knows.  All I know is that it’s darned annoying trying to mail something these days.. finding parking, etc.  I am using the internet more as a result though.

  • dhg June 23, 2017 (4:53 pm)

    I only noticed yesterday that the downtown post office, 3rd & Union, no longer has drive up mailboxes available.  Are they simply removing them for security reasons but believe it’s best to keep us in the dark?

  • Lorrie June 23, 2017 (5:10 pm)

    This is the kind of government ineptitude that gives fuel to the Republicans desire to privatize everything.

  • A June 23, 2017 (5:11 pm)

    As an employee of USPS I can tell you they are never creative about solving problems. There are way too many managers and upper management and they all have their own idea of how things should be done and therefore things take forever to get done. The station manager at the junction post office probably put in a work order or a request to get that box fixed and it went to his boss who then had to forward that to his boss who probably doesn’t care about an outgoing mailbox in West Seattle. Now you are left with no drive up mailbox at that station but please don’t take that out on the carriers or clerks we have no knowledge or control over when this box will be replaced. This is strictly an upper management issue therefore please send your complaints to the Seattle postmaster. He is the main boss and in charge of every station in Seattle. Maybe if enough people complain to him something will get done sooner rather than later.  His name is Trent McNeal and his email address is trent.j.mcneal@usps.gov

  • JHC June 23, 2017 (5:24 pm)

    There is another box literally a block up by QFC. Why is this box so important?

    • Jon Wright June 23, 2017 (5:54 pm)

      Is the box by QFC a drive-up box? What time is the last pick up from that box?

      • JHC June 23, 2017 (6:31 pm)

        It’s not a drive up, no. But if you park in one of the many garages in the area, or free lots, you can walk to it and place your outgoing mail in it. What is it about drive up mailboxes that are better? Are people that lazy around here? It’s not like it costs to park in West Seattle.

        • Joan June 23, 2017 (8:28 pm)

          Uh, it’s a hassle to find parking in order to mail one item. Plus that post office lot has such limited parking. We have no more street mail boxes, so we must drive all the way to the post office to mail stuff. Leaving items in my own mailbox for pick up does not always work. I don’t trust the carrier to pick up mail.

        • sam-c June 28, 2017 (10:19 am)

          I used to roll my eyes about drive through starbucks until I had kids…  Wrangling an infant in a carrier and toddler that has their own opinion about holding hands definitely makes ‘just find a place to park and walk there’ more cumbersome.

          The other day I picked up a card at NW art and frame, (an after-dinner ice cream stop next door to write message in the card), and then drove to the post office (cause I had get it in the mail that day), totally forgetting about this.  Luckily I found parking right out front, took the card inside, leaving toddler in the car for about 20 seconds. 

          • Wiser One July 5, 2017 (6:41 pm)

            SAM, I would edit your post because technically leaving any kid in the car (hot or not, keys in, etc) is considered a crime against parenting and has legal ramifications. Unfortunately some people steal kids, not just dogs and cars but cars with kids too.. But none the less. Some police will tell you as long as you can see them, others will say no it’s against the law, other SPD officers  will tell you the kid can stay at home by themselves if they have a cell phone, I still haven’t figured out how 8 & 9 years olds with cell phones can stop a burglar or pedophile but West Seattle SPD says it’s so. Regardless someone will see, worry and dial CPS and you will wrongly get labeled as a bad parent when you’re NOT but possibly just hurried, overwhelmed, efficient, lacking sleep  or more intelligent. You’ll possibly get your kid taken, a costly legal battle then ensues, maybe get visitation or kid back but you’ll both be scarred deeply from the experience, loss of consortium and flat broke from legally getting screwed for inexperience , lack of spousal help, lack of money, lack of quality daycare or wrongful judgment as a parent.  And a kid that really needs CPS intervention will undeniably not receive it as some CPS worker thinks she’s saving your child when in fact she’s destroying your family and the other kid from the real family in need of services. 

  • Just Wondering June 23, 2017 (5:37 pm)

    I just use the Burien or Westwood Village drive through when I head south out of West Seattle.

  • Kaye June 23, 2017 (5:44 pm)

    ok d…. I’m ready!!!

  • Wb June 23, 2017 (6:42 pm)

    Some people don’t want to get out of their SUVs. 

  • aa June 23, 2017 (6:46 pm)

    Park you car and walk a block! Yes, I know some people are not physically able and I’m sorry for your inconvenience. 

    other possible options- 

    take your mail to work and put it in the outgoing mail

    dont work? hand it to your mail carrier

    And what is everyone still mailing?  I can’t remember the last time I mailed something that fit in that slot.  Xmas cards?

  • Mr. J June 23, 2017 (7:10 pm)

    First World Problems.  There’s almost always parking nearby and not to mention most grocery stores have mail drops, there’s Alki Post etc etc. 

  • Jon Wright June 23, 2017 (7:31 pm)

    Do you have children? I have three, the oldest is 5. Hauling them all out of the car and back just to mail a letter is a big pain. Also, all of the boxes around the neighborhood now have a ridiculously-early pick-up time (like 10:00 a.m.). Where do you have to go if you need to get something in today’s mail? The post office.

  • Jon Wright June 23, 2017 (7:33 pm)

    Thanks for your brilliant suggestions! The rest of us never would have come up with those ingenious life hacks. Feel free to put your smug sanctimony in an envelope and mail it to yourself.

  • Jon Wright June 23, 2017 (7:37 pm)

    No, it isn’t a “First World Problem.” The problem is an inept bureaucracy with a monopoly that apparently has no interest in delivering customer service.

    P.S. Apparently the mobile site isn’t properly threading my replies. Apologies for the burst of new messages!

  • WSB June 23, 2017 (8:51 pm)

    All – The semi-acrimonious debate over whether it’s needed isn’t the point. The point is that USPS has said repeatedly that this will be replaced – and somehow after six months the replacement hasn’t materialized. If nothing else, it’s an interesting mystery, and I hope to find out why, if somebody somewhere in the USPS media-relations web will reveal who the mystery manufacturer is … otherwise I suppose a FOIA request for the purchase orders might work … TR

  • KD June 23, 2017 (10:26 pm)

    ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜„

  • KD June 23, 2017 (10:38 pm)

    Hopefully a helpful added tip.. For all of you that go to or past SODO (or have a trusted friend or neighbor to take your mail) there is the big drive thru box on 4th Ave. So. just north of Lander St. inside the Post Office Station there, but that’s me.. I go down to SODO everyday anyways, so that’s the only way I do outgoing mail. 

  • Smitty June 24, 2017 (6:40 am)

    Big government strikes again.  And you wonder why people want to drain the swamp?  

  • Marty June 24, 2017 (9:49 am)

    I think everyone is aware that other options exist. The point here is that six months and waiting is a ridiculous amount of time to wait for a simple mail box replacement. A drive-by mailbox at the post office should be a given convenience. The manager of the post office should be embarrassed.

  • Edie Neeson June 24, 2017 (6:44 pm)

    Surely the USPS could order a year’s supply of drive-up mailboxes to store, and ship them out as needed, to locations like the West Seattle Junction post office.  Perhaps they might need minor adaptations to install.  Does the USPS have installers on staff?

    As posted earlier by “A”  let’s all email Trent J. McNeal, Postmaster for Seattle.

    ” This is strictly an upper management issue therefore please send your complaints to the Seattle postmaster. He is the main boss and in charge of every station in Seattle. Maybe if enough people complain to him something will get done sooner rather than later.  His name is Trent McNeal and his email address is trent.j.mcneal@usps.gov

  • Nora Taggart June 25, 2017 (6:12 am)

    savethepostoffice.com/where-have-all-blue-boxes-

    Every year the Postal Regulatory Commission (prc.gov) does the Annual Compliance Report. In it you can find how the USPS eliminates thousands of blue boxes every year. 

    The destruction of America’s Public Postal Service is being orchestrated at USPS Headquarters.

  • Wiser One July 5, 2017 (6:26 pm)

    You can drop in lobby 24/7 this location only. And there are some mailboxes on street corners no longer used that could be transplanted as a replacement. Find one and fix one. Simple solution. Cameras please. And as far as thefts there’s been much more thefts by employees nationally from the post office than by actual habitual thieves, ahem! Nice people work at this Post Office. It’s the last of its kind. And the only one with 24/7 lobby and postage machine pay by credit card only. And if the USPS would re-open up a 24/7 Post Office downtown with one security guard or at the airport then us last minute people needing something postmarked would go there.  Business owners have a hard time going to Post Office standing in long slow lines. Internet has made a dent in the not profitable postal world.

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