Saturday, December 02, 2006

A couple of crappy things

#1 - A shady caller

I've been getting blanketed with phone calls from an 800 number lately. They call up to 6 times a day, but never when I would be home if I had a job that required me to work during the day. They hang up on the voicemail.

My policy is never to answer the phone if I cannot identify the caller, but they were calling so much that yesterday I relented and picked up the phone. A prerecorded voice told me they were calling to reach me, and only me, and that by pressing "7" I could find out what the hell they want. It's always nice to find yourself on hold when you pick up a call.

I pressed "7" and waited. A woman's voice came on.

"Moon Topples, please," she said. (Note that I have cleverly used my blogging name for the purposes of this re-enactment.)

"Who's calling?"

"Denise." (Note that I am using her actual name, as she certainly deserves no protection from me.)

"Denise who?"

Long pause. "Denise." I should point out that I did answer one of these calls earlier in the week, and at "Darryl who?" he hung up on me.

"OK, Denise, what is this regarding?"

Pause. "An important business matter."

"And what is that?" I asked.

"Is this Mr. Topples?"

"Yes, it is. What do you want? You call me several times every day. Tell me what you want."

"For security purposes, will you verify your date of birth?"


"I'm afraid I need that information in order to continue."

"Well, Denise, looks like you're out of luck. You could be anybody, and you certainly don't conduct yourself in a manner that suggests professionalism. So whatever 'business' you had is a pipe dream: you will never reach me by telephone again." I hung up the phone and thought about how unsatisfying it is to angrily press a button on a wireless phone. I should keep a good, old-fashioned wired phone around for when I get angry. Something I can slam.

They haven't yet called back.

#2 - C'mon in!

A couple of months ago, my building went from having basically a mail trough to having shiny new mailboxes: a separate box for each of us, and each of us with our own key. I was delighted. Some of the people in my building are incredibly lax about collecting their mail, and I was having to sift through the same piles of their crap every day to see if I had anything. The new system consolidated all of the mail from both sides of the building (there's a separate entrance in the back, and they used to get their mail there).

The mailboxes were installed inside the first security door, with a box outside from which the letter carrier could retrieve the key to this door. Things went well at first, although about a week after this started, I went to England and forgot to leave my box key with my cat-feeding friend, so he couldn't retreive anything for me. Small thing; my fault.

Shortly after I returned, I noticed that the little box with the front door key inside it was open. We cannot shut it ourselves: this requires the master key that only our letter carrier has. So our key was just lying there in a visibly open box.

This kept happening. Letter carrier left the box unlocked, key sat out there on display. Once I found it lying on the stoop. And then one day the key was simply gone. Vanished in the night to God-knows-where. My guess is that some kid stole it. That's probably the best-case scenario.

So now we get mail through the little slot in the door again, but now it's for both sides of the building. And the trough is gone. It just collects on the floor. Twice as much mail, an extra key on my keyring to a pointlessly empty box, and as an added bonus the security of our front door is compromised, because literally anybody walking by could have taken the key.

It's been a couple of weeks now since this happened. At first, I assumed that someone would fix it. That my landlord or someone was on the case. But nothing has changed. We get our huge pile of mail on the floor each day, the key box hangs open, and the lock to the front door remains the same.

Do I complain to the landlord? Is it possible that somehow no one has brought this to his attention? Do I try to get the letter carrier fired? It looks from my vantage point as though her laziness is what created this mess. And certainly the new system is great for her. She doesn't have to sort anything, or remember who lives at what entrance. She doesn't have to walk around to the back of the building anymore. She just shoves our stuff through the slot and moves on.

I'm not an enthusiastic complainer when it comes to stuff like this. I'm better at bitching to my friends or on my blog. I certainly don't want to be the guy who costs someone their job or anything. But clearly I have to do something.



Kate said...

YES. Do something about it! Why the hell should you put up with such shit? No one wants to sift through tons of other people's mail just to find their own. Besides, these other people could steal your mail!
Get it sorted, dude! I'd go nuts if I had the same problem!

S. Kearney said...

Love it! And I totally relate to the wireless phone and the button. There was something so nice about slamming down the phone, wasn't there? But maybe it was never good for our health.

Unknown said...

I work in Property Management and I'm appalled by your mail situation. You should say something to your landlord - if they care at all they'll replace the front door lock and contact the post office.
What I don't understand is this - why did the mail carrier have to open a box to get out a key each day? They should just have the key - that way there is only one person who is responsible for it and has access to it. Giving someone a key to pick up another key on a daily basis is just plain silly.

The Moon Topples said...

Kate: you are brash but correct.

Shameless: If a phone call is going to inspire rage, isn't slamming something and releasing some of that rage healthier than tapping a button?

Zorak: Landlord's out of town, but I've left him a message. I don't know why they set it up like they did. Seems like they also could have put the boxes outside of our lobby, and then nobody would have had to get a key to the front door. I think they used the master postal key or something, so maybe it was something the letter carrier already had. The box was there for a couple of days before someone installed the lock in the first place.

The rent's cheap, though. That counts for something.

Liz Dwyer said...

Too bad you can't *69 Denise and give her what she dished you.

Anonymous said...

I am a letter carrier and just stumbled upon your story about the "key keeper" being left unlocked with your building key inside. I think it's ridiculous for your carrier not to secure your building. There is no excuse that I can dream up. If the key keeper was not working correctly it should've been fixed. . I dunno, this just seems like laziness.

What should you do? Obviously call and complain. And call and call and get your neighbors to call. You can complain online too. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Do not think that you can get a unionized employee FIRED for not locking a key up. Not unless the employee has a well-documented lonnnnnnng list of other petty discipline. I've made a mistake or two in my eleven years at the post office, but I'm human. I don't cut corners though and hate to hear your story. Your carrier might have some (crappy) excuse to tell their supervisor/postmaster, but more likely you will have your problem solved. If not, call again and again and again. That supervisor doesn't want to have more paperwork, that is their incentive to fix this problem. Every time you have a legitimate complaint, they have to document that the problem was addressed.

In the meantime, get that mailslot sealed up!! Do not give them a way out. Have your landlord drill screws into the slot and make a little label that says "Mailboxes are inside" or some such to stick right on that slot. Hey, maybe you got a new letter carrier that doesn't even know that that key was ever used! That certainly happens. Be prepared to not get any mail though, if you seal up the slot and don't get the Post Office a new key.

Hope this helps.