Friday, March 23, 2007

Going Postal: Kensington Post Office Redux

Kensington Boxes

Perhaps you saw the post about the YouTube vid of the man going insane at the Kensington Post Office. It either speaks to the gentleman's tenuous grip on reality and need for anger management or gets at what some post offices can do to people. Chris Curen, who sent the following dispatch from the front lines, reported of the Kensington Post Office, with we he must deal quite regularly, in the email that came with this story that "The employees in there are insanely abusive and unresponsive, especially to people with poor English, which is about 3/4 of the neighborhood. I've actually had supervisors refuse to tell me their names in there."

Is it "The Worst Post Office in America"? His report on the recent community meeting held about the wretched state of affairs at the post office is as follows:
At a community meeting in the packed Immaculate Heart of Mary auditorium last Thursday night, Kensington resident Ethan Rosenblatt stepped out of an angry crowd and asked a reasonable question.

“Why is it so hard to contact a supervisor at the Kensington Post Office?” Rosenblatt asked. “You can’t find a phone number. You can’t find an email address. You can’t even find out where to send a letter of complain.”

In front of him, Brooklyn Postmaster Joseph Chiossone and newly appointed Kensington Station Manager Raymond Schweikle stared into their notes. Finally, the meeting’s organizer and moderator, Assemblyman Jim Brennan, addressed Rosenblatt’s question.

“I used to list those numbers in my monthly newsletter,” Brennan said. “But the post office kept changing the numbers as soon as I listed them.”

A chorus of boos ensued, until finally Postmaster Chiossone promised that supervisor’s phone numbers would be displayed in the Kensington Station within a week.

Such was the mood Thursday, as Kensington residents swapped war stories about what one person called “The Worst Post Office in America.”

Complaints from the feisty crowd of over 200 – many of them senior citizens – included allegations of identity theft by postal employees, and descriptions of lines running out of the Kensington Station and onto MacDonald Avenue. Many recounted instances of rudeness on the part of employees, others described missing packages, two month delivery delays, and chronic understaffing.

“I’m from Vietnam,” one speaker told the assemblage, “And I can tell you that the post office in Saigon works better than this one.”

For his part, Postmaster Chiossone sounded like a man who had taken the first step towards recovery by admitting there was a problem.

“We can’t do anything about the past except admit to our mistakes” he told the crowd repeatedly. “We can only try to move forward.” Chiossone cited new policies that would help mitigate service problems in Kensington, including increased lobby monitoring, retraining staff members, longer service hours, and a “zero tolerance policy” for staff rudeness. But he was careful not to promise too much, noting that there were three post offices in Park Slope’s 11215 zip code, while Kensington’s 11218 code, with a larger population, was served only by the MacDonald Avenue office - a condition over which, Chiossone said, he had no control.

And as of Wednesday, the walls of the Kensington Post Office were still unblemished by supervisor’s phone numbers.
--Chris Curen
So, is the Kensingston Station the Stephen King Novel of Post Offices? Or is it just a somewhat more extreme version of the average depressing Brooklyn postal adventure?

[Photo of boxes stacked at the Kensington Station courtesy of Chris Curen]

Related Post:
Crazed at the Kensington Post Office

10 Comments:

Blogger Erica said...

That's a photo of the post office? Is it me, or does it look more like an antique Russian chotchke shop?

[/completely riveted by this developing story]

8:43 AM  
Blogger grumpygirl said...

christ, if they had a meeting in park slope about the post offices and mail delivery they might be stampeded. it's horribly insane here, everyone knows it, and nothing is done.

mail was better in jersey.

10:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DEFINATELY the worst post office I have ever had the misfortune of using. There is never any materials needed for shipping, the stamp machine, if there is one, is always broken, MINIMUM 30 minute wait on the line, RUDE employees, have had so many problems with packages returned to sender when the mailman didn't leave any notices, 3 missing rent checks (including one from a lovely lady in east new york who got my rent check, address to broadway in manhattan, typed, who sent it back to me), it is hell on earth there. Had better service in bushwick when I lived there.

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's an idea; use a different post office. There are quite a few all over the city.

You cant realy believe that complaints will result in cheerful, efficient service....can you?

Be glad the mail gets where you want it to so quickly and cheaply.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Meg said...

Here is the thing... some of LIVE in Kensington, so we get our mail delivered by this post office if we like it or not. Lost mail, late mail, packages delivered to random parts of the city and when we finally retreave them by car on our own have been ripped open. Awsome stuff. Don't give me this "be glad it gets there quickly and cheaply" crap. Much of the time it never arrives at all.

1:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The post office in Red Hook that Carrol Gardens residents have to use can be very bad at times as well for package pickup. If there wasn't two inches of bulletproof glass between me and the little asian package dude, man....

3:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, the aforementioned 11215 Post Office is ALSO a hell hole. What's it going to take to get them to deal with that?

6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had similar problem in Harlem postoffice which until now I thought was the worst in the city. I went federal on them. I wrote a long, angry complaint on the post office website and listed the specific names of the people I was dealing with. lo and behold I got an email response, a phone call from a federal authority and then another phonecall from the branch manager apologizing and promising to fix the matter! I was shocked by such a thorough and prompt response from the government. I don't know if things have been permanently fixed there as I've moved (further uptown w/an even worse P.O.!) I think some P.O. are so bad because upper management must be ineffiecent and putrid and it just flows down hill from there. that and the fact that once you get a gov. job you basically can't be fired no matter how bad you do your job. my advice is take it to the top and be sure to use specific details and names and use a real phone number that they can contact you at.

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had similar problem in Harlem postoffice which until now I thought was the worst in the city. I went federal on them. I wrote a long, angry complaint on the post office website and listed the specific names of the people I was dealing with. lo and behold I got an email response, a phone call from a federal authority and then another phonecall from the branch manager apologizing and promising to fix the matter! I was shocked by such a thorough and prompt response from the government. I don't know if things have been permanently fixed there as I've moved (further uptown w/an even worse P.O.!) I think some P.O. are so bad because upper management must be ineffiecent and putrid and it just flows down hill from there. that and the fact that once you get a gov. job you basically can't be fired no matter how bad you do your job. my advice is take it to the top and be sure to use specific details and names and use a real phone number that they can contact you at.

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geeee, where do I start? I've lived in K for about 9 yrs. I try to use other POs whenever possible. But sometimes, not possible. My classic was about 2 months ago. I had been told the wrong thing by 1 of the postal workers, and as a result, my health insurance was being canceled. Even though they had charged me for an irrelevant and incorrect service, they were going to charge me FULL PRICE for the RIGHT SERVICE. I needed to get this piece of mail to ins. co. the next day. When I asked to see a manager, they LAUGHED AT ME! If I didn't kill someone then, I guess it's just not in me. But I could SO relate to the guy in the video! It's always adventure with the Kensington Post Office in Brooklyn--I insist upon and watch any tracking vigilantly and insure everything. Even so, it's more likely that things "disappear" than break, (only 2 breaks in the last 9 yrs-at least 15 "disappearances" or "misdeliveries" that I never did get). A couple of weeks ago, I had 2 insured packages sitting there that they never left notices with me for. One of them had just been scanned as delivered! That box looked good to someone--but I got there first. Aw!! Seriously, I hate these rude F---ers and their stupid F---ing Fiefdom. It's been a little better the last couple of months with Brennan and DeBlasio trying. But the congress people try, and THEY can't get control of the situation. The Van Brunt Station on 9th St (4th/5th) was always WORSE THAN THIS ONE when I lived in Park Slope. So for me, it's a tie for the worst PO. The UPS and DHL people over here are even better at making things "disappear". I now have to pay extra to get all my packages delivered to a UPS Store in Brooklyn Heights. Couldn't use the one in Park Slope because they usually couldn't be bothered to call me and some things got sent back; then they raised prices! I now get everything I am supposed to, either from Brooklyn Heights UPS STORE, or the KPO WITH continuous low-level rage pattern as soon as I set foot in the door. They know me now. But I don't swear at them. It just escalates their stupidity. How f---ing exhausting!!

4:05 AM  

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