Here I continue my rant regarding the US Post Office, poorly informed postal clerks, and cumbersome policies connected to the act of mailing a package to a deployed military person overseas.
First, it might help to know that when a package goes from Mrs. Bee Balm Gal in upstate New York to her Brave Girl in Afghanistan, no one touches this package except US Postal Service employees, contract carriers, and US military staff.
So WHY am I required to fill out a customs form? WHAT country's CUSTOMS does it pass through?
Last week, I showed up at the branch post office with a typical box of assorted goodies to send to my deployed soldier. I think it contained some boot socks, dried fruit snacks, perhaps some granola bars, some crackers, some canned fruit, stuff like that, all of which I had duly listed on the customs form.
The clerk peered at my customs form for some time before informing me that I had neglected to list the weight of each individual item in the package. He commanded me to fill in this information.
"I don't know what each item weighs, " I told him. "It's snacks and socks. Nothing that I haven't mailed like this before."
But, no, the clerk insisted that I write in the individual weights or he couldn't accept my package.
So I made them up. I just filled in random numbers. This clearly made the clerk nervous but I think he could tell he'd pushed me far enough for one day.
What the hell is this all about? Nine years into the Afghanistan war and we can't make it easy for moms back home to send their soldiers a package of cookies?
I think Postmaster General Jack E. Potter need to hear from a few thousand military moms. He needs to know that his policies and his clerks are unhelpful to families trying to send a bit of cheer to soldiers serving multiple deployments abroad. Here's his email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Or you could always send him a letter. Just don't forget to put a stamp on it:
Jack E. Potter
U.S. Postal Service
475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW
Washington, DC 20260-0010
Photo credit: http://www.bsmok6.org/