“ZERO STARS.” “Do all you can to avoid this.” “A truly painful experience.” “It makes me hate America.” These may read like descriptions of the United States Congress, a Michael Bay film or the newest Nickelback track. They are actually several different Yelp reviews of the New Haven post office. For years now, the Yale student body has been subjected to sluggish, discourteous service at the hands of this institution — and nothing has been done to redress the situation. After a year of divisive campus issues, there is still one thing Yalies can all agree on: Our post office sucks.
Every Yalie has their own war story from the post office. Like most freshmen, I acquired a P.O. box the first day I arrived on campus. During the first month of school, I received one book with a torn cover and another book one month late — and I never received the poster lost in the mail. In November, the post office finally realized they had assigned me someone else’s P.O. box, and then proceeded to blame me for their mistake. Little has changed since being assigned my own P.O. box: I can always count on receiving my packages late, and it takes several days to process packages before I can pick them up. The service is so poor that I never order anything off the Internet that I’ll need in under four days, even if I choose overnight shipping.
Cameron Koffman ’19 has had enough. He recounted his story to me in an email:
“After paying for overnight shipping a few different times and not getting my package until four days later, I was so fed up that I actually called the post office hotline and filed a formal complaint. I explained to the lady on the line that the processing at Yale Station is painfully bureaucratic and slow and that even when I do get my slip, I could wait an hour at the parcel window, as there is no guarantee that there will be anyone there. Seeing students open up the employees-only door and retrieve their package on their own is a regular occurrence at this point. My complaint made it to consumer affairs, but I’m not stopping until I’m on the phone with the postmaster general.”
Let me be clear: I empathize with government workers. My father is a police officer, and my mother was a public school teacher. Both of these professions have faced charges of ineptitude and inefficiency. I understand such vices often attend bureaucracy, but that is still no excuse for this institution’s chronic underperformance.
Service at the New Haven post office is listless and brusque. Whether due to lack of staff or lack of motivation, many services are simply not available during advertised hours.
This is unacceptable.
I propose that the post office hire Yale students. A Yale student is more than capable of manning the parcel window, and an extra set of hands or two during the busy afternoons could mitigate the long lines. Perhaps an innovative Yalie can even create a more efficient system. Regardless, students should never have to waste 30, let alone 60, minutes of the day simply retrieving a package. The additional workers would expedite the post office’s operations and ensure that all services are actually available to students.
Furthermore, employing Yale students would foster better relations between the student body and New Haven. The post office workers would surely be relieved to have the help, and Yalies would surely appreciate the extra income. In addition, working side by side with New Haveners will give students greater insight into the city they call home and improve town-gown relations. This model has already been implemented in dining halls with success; let’s expand it to the post office. The median post office salary is $25 per hour, significantly higher than the amount paid by most student jobs. The promise of a wage north of $20 would attract many students, myself included, looking to earn more money throughout the school year. The people most motivated to reduce waiting times are in a position to do so.
We have the opportunity to increase jobs, save students time and even help New Haven residents. Reform the New Haven post office: Hire student workers!
Grant Richardson is a freshman in Davenport College. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org .