A Life Series: So What if there is a 9 Digit Zip Code - Part 1 ! By Anthony R. Zuzolo Sr. (Written in February 2009) (Issue 32 – July 2013)
(This article is one of a continuing series of articles dealing with the true story of my life. Some of them will be unbelievable, some amusing, some very serious, but all interesting! The ‘A Life’ group is the latest in such a presentation. It succeeds ‘The Nightmare’ series and ‘The Dream’ series.
This is an article, which describes how the Post Office, has been dealing with its customers in 2012 and my mail in particular during previous 40 years. It demonstrates how it is bad that the Post Office keeps raising rates. Now its up to 45 cents an ounce for first class mail delivery - ARZ).
When I became unemployed from my professional jobs, I would have to get some temporary employment if only a part time guard job or become a post office worker. This was necessary because we were a family of four to be fed, clothed, and sheltered therefore I would need some sort of income.
After having lost several jobs because of Kiernan’s Group (KG)`. I thought that there were other ways of getting income. I was a Catholic and my wife suggested with advice given by a friend to go to Catholic Charities. I said to my pregnant wife you are better able now to go there and explained our dilemma to them. Because of my illness I was not able to explain things as well as her.
This Christian Charity was anything but. They wanted to see me also so we went and left Tony Jr. with a sitter. They made us fill many forms and were told they would let us know shortly.
They did, and they denied us any support whatsoever. That was a slap in the face for all three of us growing up in our parish church from birth. This put a nasty feeling in me for the Catholic Church for over 40 years that I wouldn't contribute to Catholic Charities even if I could afford it.
Thus, I knew that I had to get a job, both a temporary part time job, and also a more permanent one in my field (of mainframe computers). At the end of that year Christmas was coming and I didn't have money to buy gifts for my family. I heard that the Post Office (Section Center - 105 in Mount Vernon) was hiring for the Christmas Season. I went there, took the test, and was hired.
At that time there were no electronic reading of barcodes and no need for technical expertise in the post office. Thus I would be only a file clerk at the minimum entry level pay.
The files clerks would file letters into slotted compartments according to cities (more or less), because there was no mandate at the time to have a five digit zip-code on mail and the four digit suffix wasn't even introduced.
Packages were inputted on a conveyer belt at the sectional center, which extended from the mail truck inside to a central-slotted-metal slide piece of equipment. This structure was at least 15-30 ft. tall. An employee would have to climb steps to get to the platform on top of the mountain. The machine would extend circularly around the platform. The postal worker manually slide packages down the sorter in each lane of cach city of destination. Finally other workers on the bottom landing zone would put these package into large canvas mailbag US Postal bags, which would be delivered to each area.
When the zip code was introduced by the PO in the 1950's or 60's, it was required to enter the 5-digit code on all letters and packages. But it wasn't until the late 70's or 80's when it was mandated to append this information to your sending and returning addresses. Lack of this info would result in an item to be returned to sender.The nine-digit zip-code , I, predict ,will will be required in the next five years I already have been using it for over 10 years.
I was lucky, because after the Sectional Center temporary job, I acquired a professional position in New York City within walking distance of Grand Central Station. However, I worked there for a few months and then resigned due to constant pressure from KG and the people around me (i.e. on the train platform, in the the train , while walking to work, and while on the job). In response to KG's negative generated feelings that I wanted stopped. This pressure was totaly unbearable and this led to many institutionalizations.
Therefore, when a position opened up in Harrison, New York Post Office (a nearby village), I went for a job interview with the local Postmaster. He said after the interview questions, that "I see you scored high on the job the Post Office test, and that you seem like you are an intelligent and bright guy." So he offered me a job with a salary, which was lower than then my last job, with the hint of job stability and potential I was looking for. However, it would be for a trial basis of three months.
During the time at Harrison PO, I worked as a clerk and carrier. I enjoyed the outdoors and the walking of a mail route even though it was the longest walking and biggest in volume in Harrison. This was in the springtime of 1973, which had beautiful weather, but this job was a learn-as-you-do job, a pain-in-the-ass. It was easy to learn and function. I worked any shift, including the early morning shift, which began at 4:00 AM. The job didn't have the potential that I thought it would have have. It was not based on a 40 hour week plus overtime, which I had thought. Some weeks it was half of it. It was very difficult to balance the family budget with an expectant wife, 2-1/2 year old son, and a mortage on a house.
Then I started to think about the hot summers and the cold winters, and what I would do, if there was either extreme temperature.
I was disenchanted again, things didn't look good. I was having problems with the KG Group and fellow employees, who kept saying, "you have 3 degrees (at the time), why don't you get another job?" This constant pressure led to erratic work output and eventually led to dismissal after the three month probationary period.
As for the the 5-digit zip, it was widely used for the postal worker though it was not then mandated. It made life easier for the Post Office.
The reason, I wanted to write this article, was to illustrate how many PO workers there are then have a union's mentality of a slow walking, low production, and only interested in getting a paycheck. But some are not. To get the mail delivered and save costs, the Post Office has been using temporary hired workers, who are cheaper than permanent employees.
These new hirees have three months (more or less) to prove themselves and to pass a local PO test. If they pass then they become permanent employees and become union workers, if not they are released from the PO. What a racket this is, because these 'rookies' get paid less and do all the work. In the last more than 40 years, concerning my mail deliveries at my home, I have not had a regular mail person! What a windfall this is for the PO.
For example, there are only two houses on my street and mine is 4 Smith Avenue, and the other, my neighbor, 7 Smith Avenue and both of us use a different nine-digit zip. Thus there should be no confusion about where the mail should be delivered between the 2 houses on Smith Ave!
On these particular occasions, I have seen (with mail addressed to 5 Smith Avenue) with my correct full name and 9-digit zip written on it and stamped 'return - no such address' and send back to the sender. If there was a permanent need for a carrier, who knows the route ( because each route stays basically the same each year) there is no example better than an more experienced mail person.
The Post Office makes money on this transaction. Let's say it cost $20.00 to mail a package. When it returns, the original package is postmarked (with cancelled postage) and if the sender wants to send his package again it must pay another $20.00. This is another way the PO makes money, which shows how 'cheap and disconcerting' they are to their customers. This is why the PO is losing money, it lacks compassion and customer relations. There are many other ways they shylock money. Will the P.O. ever learn?
(Each structure has its own unique 9-digit zip code throughout the USA. That is why it was developed.)
So what if there is a 9-digit zip code the mail wouldn't be delivered any way!