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USPS Employees Know These 9 Interesting Post Office Facts… Do You?

USPS employees aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when we mention “law enforcer” or “adventurer” or “domestic dog wrangler”. Which is a pity, because they are often all three of those things at the same time.

The postal service is one of this country’s oldest and most storied professions. In today’s article, we’ll be breaking down 9 little-known USPS facts for your reading pleasure.

  1. The First Post Office Was A Bar

We’re going to start today’s list off with a good old fashioned softball-sized tidbit of information. In 1639, the country’s first post office was established. And they established it right in the middle of a bar in Boston.

  1. One City In The US Still Has Mail Delivered By Mule

This might sound a little old fashioned and more than a little out of the ordinary, but the village of Supai in Arizona still gets their mail by mule. And there’s a straightforward reason for it: they’re located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

The local Havasupai tribe receives its regular deliveries in this way, using a fleet of 50 horses and mules that cover the 8-mile trek.

  1. Dogs Really Do Hate Them

There are some things that are just too comical to be true. Actually being able to slip on a banana peel. Curing amnesia with a second bump on the head. And mailmen getting bitten right on the behind by errant and wayward dogs.

Only, you guessed it from the title of this section, mailmen actually get bitten by dogs at the houses they visit. A lot. 2016 USPS data shows that over 6,200 postal employees were attacked by dogs across the country.

Maybe it’s the bright colors, shirt buttons, and mailbag. Maybe it’s just a case of stranger danger. Whatever the case, dogs are no friend to the modern mailman, and nobody can quite agree on why.

  1. They Have No Official Motto

A common misconception is that the U.S. postal service’s official motto is the same common saying we associate with them. “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

Those words are simply engraved on the front of the New York City 1912 James A. Farley Post Office. They were taken from a book but actually refer to the ancient Persian Empire’s messengers.

  1. They Have A “Bad Handwriting” Department

Have you ever put the name and address on the front of a letter, looked at your own handwriting, and thought, “There’s no way this gets there”? Not to worry—there are actually experts at the post office whose entire job is to decrypt your horrible handwriting.

Specifically, the Remote Encoding Center in Salt Lake City handles a lot of this kind of case. And, from what we’re told, they’ve gotten pretty good at it. Receiving every piece of hard-to-read mail that automated mail sorters can’t sort—this is where the postal rubber meets the postal road.

Eagle-eyed employees work around the clock to make sure scribbles and splotches on important mail get treated like names and addresses. And their average time to decode this writing? Roughly four seconds.

In terms of USPS innovations, that’s them at their most efficient, by far!

  1. They Help To Track Down Criminals

Working for the postal service means more than just delivering the mail and fighting crazed dogs every day. Post office workers have been useful to the police by helping to find criminals, investigating crimes, and gathering evidence.

Several large criminal cases have actually been solved because of input from trusty postal service workers. They’ve seized narcotics and helped to identify criminals based on fingerprints and DNA.

  1. Mail Thieves Were Once Sentenced To Death

There was a time when the U.S. mail system was the only method available for sending money and various sensitive documents. So, as much as it seems a little severe, the truth is a death sentence was often completely appropriate. After all, this was the backbone of the country’s communications network, and people were depending on what was being sent.

It also wasn’t long before congress reconsidered, downgrading in 1799 to whipping for first offenders. A prison sentence of up to 10 years was applied to repeat offenders and second offenders were, well, still subject to death.

Of course, they wouldn’t have had to worry about executing mail thieves in the street if they’d just followed this simple process.

  1. The Postmaster General Earns A Lot

The position of Postmaster General is the second-highest-paid federal employee in the country. Where the President earns somewhere in the region of $400,000, the Postmaster General earns a not-to-be-scoffed at $285,240, annually.

The current officeholder, Megan Brennan, is also the first woman in the history of the country to hold the job. In the grand tradition of this position, she out-earns the current U.S. vice president, who makes $243,500.

For overseeing the operations of the country’s post offices, the stress alone may justify the money, but 275k can help with a lot of pain and suffering.

  1. They Deliver More Than 200 Billion Pieces of Mail Annually

Currently, USPS statistics show that there are more than 40,000 post offices in the United States. These offices deliver not only to 144 million addresses in the United States, but to Puerto Rico, Guam, US Virgin Islands, and American Samoa as well.

It’s also the largest employer of civilian staffers. 700,000 career workers handle over 44% of the world’s cards and letters. That’s a massive industry, and it seems all the bigger when you consider they are still, to this day, a not-for-profit organization.

Is USPS a federal agency? Yes, but regardless of the political landscape of the country, the USPS still gets the mail delivered, rain or shine, by car, bicycle or, yes, even mule.

Nine Things USPS Employees Won’t Tell You

The USPS isn’t something many people associate with fast times and interesting stories. The truth, however, is that it is easily one of the most fascinating careers available today, with a long and storied history to it.

Interested in learning about more than what a day in the life of USPS employees is like? For everything from health to lifestyle, check out some of our other awesome blogs today for the best that life has to offer.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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34 comments

  1. If I’m like most employees who’ve done their time , there’s a reason why we don’t tell you how easy it is to get a job at the post office . Why would you want any human being to go through that ? Going on 31 years now I can’t wait to retire !! Up until about 7 years ago our office was the lead of our district . Now it has become an office with a revolving door where management “Dirt Clods” come in one after another make a mess and leave . The “Next” ,one as I call them comes and goes doing the same . They are all “acting” postmaster , plant manager , mdo , supv etc . There is no accountability . There is no qualification to become one , they are just pay check collectors . Myself being a clerk in a certain location , my job was abolished after 28 years . Management doesn’t care how degrading and worthless that can make a person feel . I think most actually enjoy doing that to someone . It’s the only thing their good at .

  2. Virginia Kelly Brookbank

    The usps employees in Lynnwood Washington are psycho. I didn’t get my mail for 19 days because I refused to throw away the tenants before me, first class mail. Carrier and supervisor Patrick Fowler

    • Why would you use statistics from 2006? Pre-Great Recession statistics are no measure of the current US Postal Service, even including non career employees (whom make up about a third of total employees) your figure is about 50 thousand too many. And when talking about crime prevention why wouldn’t you mention the US Postal Inspector Service? They are in the same league as the FBI. For instance do a little research on the Unabomber.

    • All of whaz has been posted here us true. There is also the presumption of guilt whenever there is a complaint ir whenever a carrier suffers an injury. Time and again I’ve seen carriers suffer an injury, whether it’s a strain, a muscolskeltal problem aggravated by the repetitive motions of the job, there’s always an “investigative interview.” And, regardless, discipline follows. Why they waste money going through the charade of an investigation when guilt has been determined is a mystery.

    • No employee would tell you to throw away any class of mail. We will take all mail back unless it’s addresses to current resident. And most important of all we would never refuse to deliver mail as long as you have a mailbox and there is no danger to the carrier getting to your mailbox.

  3. The problem with the USPS is that the idiots in charge are half trained by half trained idiots who were trained by half trained idiots. Most of which never carried mail and are dictated to by no loads in an office somewhere who dont have a clue what it’s like on the street

    • OMG. How pathetically accurate.

    • I went a ways up the ladder. I found myself in heated
      Arguments with other supervisors and managers. They
      Have not a clue about letter carriers. Having been one
      Myself….I thought that I could seriously defend the
      Craft. Now…having been a regular carrier and in the
      Day…a T-6….I would defend carriers to a certain point.
      We all know there are people that don’t do their job well
      Steal..are abusive to people..and many other things.
      This is why I would hear a story, trace down the facts
      Then make a decision on ojr employee. I would also
      Do this in my job in Labor. Around 80% of the time a
      Carrier would have justification for a decision. The rest
      I still investigated but when a person is wrong and dishonest
      They must take their punishment. Capish?

    • Blame the NALC union. Make every carrier a salaried employees and you would not need supervisors and postmasters

  4. If the USPS Human Resources worked like any other multimillion-dollar business’s, half of the postal supervisor / post-master’s would be fired. They belittle, threaten, intimidate and lie to the carriers, clerks and mail handlers on a daily basis. If you really want to know what it’s like find a city carriers or a rural carriers Facebook page and read what the carriers are saying about the supervision. That’s what the Postmaster General needs to do to find out what it’s really like in most of the post office around the United States.

    • Absolutely true. They don’t have street experience. A lot of them don’t have managerial experience. Their talent is number crunching, lying about working off the clock (it’s the only way to meet your numbers). There’s a lot of intimidation and passing blame to get a fat paycheck.
      The turnover rate is astronomically high. Managers threaten instead of teaching. It costs a lot of money to screen, train and hire a new employee. No wonder USPS can’t turn a profit.
      The managers are monsters, screaming, sabotaging to give themselves permission to bully their least favourite carriers. The postmaster turns a blind eye.
      I called my union rep who was buddies with the abuser. He did nothing. I called the 800 number, went to see a convenor. All Postal service provided.
      She told me I had to learn to tolerate the bullying. USPS entire management chain is full of purple like that. All that matters are the numbers. A lot of social misfits end up here. They seem to promote for being a horrible person.

    • And that is exactly why I couldn’t wait to retire. And I did, this past April 2019. And they lost the best carrier that ever was

  5. Watch Out ! Mine was trying make out with my husband

    • WOW! Now that is crazy. I guess even mail carriers need love too. However, if that were my mail carrier I would record her (I asssume her, but could be a he. lol) inappropriate behavior and send straight to the postmaster.
      Then I would go get one of those dogs that would be much obliged in returning her kisses with his teeth.
      Lastly, in the event your husband was dumb enough to reciprocate the advances, I hope you moved him in with his new new roommate tje one mentioned above.

  6. I been in the postal service 26 plus years. Plus because I have time that not counted because it was noncareer.
    USPS was a place of dedication, respect, every piece every day mail delivery, 4 to 5 hours maximum street delivery, and 3 to 4 hours casing mail in office daily ( more during holiday).
    Now, if mail get delivered fine or not fine, people come to work fine if not fine, mail misdelivered who cares ( except those employed more than 10 years), and managers and supervisors who dont care of what’s really happening at the stations just dont come back with mail.
    They NOW wants carriers on the street 7 to 11 hours. Don’t worry on anything but to get finish and get off the clock. It dont matter how you achieve it just dont have an accident. (THATS A WHOLE ANOTHER ISSUE.
    I said all this is because we are NO longer a public servant. No leisure time to speak and find out the problem of OUR (USPS) customers. We tell them to contact 1800 customer service. At that time the customer is pissed. We can’t keep up with forwards or who is living in the house. We find out mostly when the house is empty. Lastly, but not least, everything is so automated most of our mentality have shift to us being robots. Dont do what make sense do as I say.
    I love my job but station manager should have a minimum requirement of working 10 years as a mailman/woman before they can have a station to oversee with an additional 5 years as a clerk.
    Only then, I believe the atmosphere within the office will get better and the customer complaints at local stations will improve. Managers will have the experience and expertise to deal with customers way before it reaches the 1800 Complaints!!

  7. USPS is a dying industry. Its absolutely horrendous working for these maniacs. Please do not encourage anyone to take this job by suggesting it is an honorable craft. The leadership is corrupt and have no respect for their workforce. Withholding paychecks, forcing people to work mandatory overtime excessively, changing job description adding undue stress and disregard for our unions labor contract are just a few of USPS incompetent leadership results.

  8. Wow after 35 years of City carrier, Rural and CDS I’d have to agree with most of these statements . I recently had a package lost a package which had a tracking number on it , scanned and moved across the country for 2 months . Mysteriously they still can’t find it . Managers wanted zip code of delivery location . Item is valued at $250.00 to Verizon , which to this day has yet to be found . How is this possible.? Manager just blew me off saying we deliver millions each year ( no shit ) . Item was sent from a contract station and Supervisor told me they had problems with the tracking labels they used , yet won’t replace them or trash them , so the problem still exists for the next unsuspecting customer . Piss poor management for sure !!

  9. My sister was a postmaster and proud of her service to her tiny community. But then everything changed and it only became about rules, regulations, paper trails, etc. She lost the love for her job and retired. Very sad because the post office was one of the hearts and pulses of the little communities it served. That is now gone.

  10. I enjoyed the article.
    It’s to bad most of the comments left have no bearing on it except for the one about the US Postal Inspection Service. They most definitly deserve recognition for their contribution to the safety and security of of the mail system.
    I’ve worked in the postal service for over 20 years as a clerk, city carrier, 204b, and maintenance. Yes, management has problems but overall I consider it a pretty good place to work if you can handle the bureaucracy.

  11. WOW! Now that is crazy. I guess even mail carriers need love too. However, if that were my mail carrier I would record her (I asssume her, but could be a he. lol) inappropriate behavior and send straight to the postmaster.
    Then I would go get one of those dogs that would be much obliged in returning her kisses with his teeth.
    Lastly, in the event your husband was dumb enough to reciprocate the advances, I hope you moved him in with his new new roommate tje one mentioned above.

  12. The post office employees enjoy absolute immunity, and enjoy their abuse of authority
    Don’t honor universal service guarantee
    The post office has no accountability, or legit dispute resolution
    It is nothing more than an Affirmative Action redistribution scheme, with the mail being second
    USPS blows chips hard

  13. Being a mail carrier for the USPS is a horrible job. It may have been a great place to be years ago but now, I can’t see how anyone could be happy there. I started working there not too long ago and everyone hated it, there were about 8 people retiring within the next year and they all looked broken down & depressed, and all said they couldn’t wait to be out of there. Everyone in management was put there with no qualifications. While I worked there I watched a guy go from mechanic to supervisor of CCAs, the current postmaster was “acting” after the other postmaster quit. She went from mail carrier to acting postmaster, completely skipped over having a management position. And if the postmaster wasn’t there for whatever reason, the supervisors were calling her every few minutes because they didnt know what to do. Every morning it looked like a bunch of chickens running around with their heads cut off. And every evening was chaos. Don’t even get me started on Amazon Sundays. Needless to say, I quit after a few months and so did the other 4 people I started with.

  14. It’s a terrible place to work. I quit after a few weeks as the management there was stupid, rude, and arrogant, yet did virtually nothing.

  15. And then they wonder why they have a 50 to 80% turnover rate among CCAs. Personally speaking, we have a supervisor in the Brooklyn Center Post Office (55429) who allocates extra all the way on the opposite end of our three zip codes to the people she doesn’t like, even when there us extra in the zip code our route is on. Our manager doesn’t make sure that she’s (the supervisor) not fucking up the number of hours our station uses each day and then he gets yelled at by his bosses because our station doesn’t do as well as his bosses feel it should. While they’ve on multiple occasions had me close to quitting, I’ve instead decided to stick it out and use my military supervisory training and experience to hopefully take one of these shitty bastards jobs in order to try to improve things as soon as I can after converting to career carrier.

  16. The problems in post offices. Is not just management it is the mentality of the system. We had a station manager years ago who we filed EEO complaints with evidence and witnesses three times before he was removed. The EEO office sent personel to our office to ask us as workers if we could “just get along” They wanted us to drop the grievance. He was finally removed the 33rd time. And yes he did get promoted

  17. I have been with the USPS RCA Rural Carrier Associate for 13+ years. I’m now 66 with no chance of retirement benefits. Almost any other job could look forward to retiring after 20 yrs. This is not a Government job like most think!

  18. Would somebody please explain to me why city carriers and rural carriers are treated so differently by management?
    There are so many reports, statistics and measurements done in order to monitor city carrier performance down to the minute. its ridiculous. The shear number of people and man hours expended has to be enormous.
    Then there’s the rural carrier…come in, case mail, deliver mail, go home. Yes, they have standards and reports too, but nothing compared to a city carrier. Get paid for 8-9 hours and work 5-7 hours. I’m sure there are exceptions to this, I’ll hear about.
    Seems like if city carriers were handled like rural carriers, a lot of needless work could be deleted along with numerous people in high paying jobs who appear to create work to justify their position.
    They both deliver mail, so why the different treatment?
    Please don’t say Unions…that’s another issue all together.

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