Letter Carrier Christmas Gifts
An Opinion from Rick
Owens: Postal Employee Network CEO
November 18, 2007
Warning - If You Are a Letter Carrier USPS
Will Try To Step on Your Christmas Cheer!
If you're a letter carrier, rural or city, USPS
wants to ruin a small portion of your Christmas
- at least that is our opinion. It is now that
time of the year when USPS sends out
newsletters, news releases, etc to postal
customers - mostly business customers - warning
them not to provide letter carriers with cash
gifts or any gift exceeding $20.00 in value.
What? you didn't know they did this? My oh my,
learn something everyday.
During the Christmas season if you have been
(what your customers consider) a great letter
carrier then you will more than likely receive a
gift from many of them. This practice is as old
as the postal service itself. Why? Because
people just like to reward good service....and,
they want this good service to continue.
I believe USPS says carriers cannot accept gifts
exceeding $20.00 in value or the gift must be
under $20.00 in value. Now, on the flip side it
is perfectly fine for postal executives to
receive lunches, dinners, comps, etc etc in
return for their service, presence, opinion, or
assistance with postal matters - especially from
large mailers. USPS will tell you that this is
not the case - yeah, right.
Our opinion? Do not advise any customer
regarding gifts for letter carriers - let them
make that decision. There is absolutely no
reason to advise postal customers that their
gift should be under $20.00 in value or, for
that matter, over $20.00 in value. The customer
should make this decision...not you, not USPS,
and certainly not the federal government.
Whether or not a letter carrier receives a gift
or not is entirely the decision of the postal
customer and, in our opinion, a private matter
between the customer and the carrier. By the
way, if you're a letter carrier and you receive
a gift...keep that information between you and
the customer. This was an act of kindness in
return for your good service...it is not news to
be shared with other customers or other
Carrier Thank You
So, the little old lady that lives on the corner of Good and Evil left you a
Christmas card with a $100.00 bill in it two days before Christmas. She did
not do this because you deliver her mail. No, she did this because you ring
her doorbell once everyday when you deliver her house, or when she is
outside digging in her flower bed you're kind enough to make small talk for
a minute or so to ask how she is doing, or if you don't see her for a day or
two you take time to see if all is okay.
These are only a couple of reasons customers like to reward a carrier
that has provided service above and beyond the service that USPS requires of
them. Yes, good service should be rewarded.
In summary -
If you're a postal customer that cannot decide what to give your letter
carrier for Christmas then just do what you feel is right. If your carrier
has went above and beyond providing you with great service then by all means
you may, if desired, go above and beyond the amount someone else, such as
USPS, says you should give. Just keep it to yourself.
If you're a letter carrier then do this...
- Do not advise customers on gift amounts and keep quite on quoting
gift rules. That is not your job.
- Do not share with others, especially USPS, how many or how much your
gifts totaled - it is none of their business.
- If you do not know the person who provides a gift to you then
politely return it. You probably shouldn't be accepting it anyway.
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