Check is still in the mail

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

The Bulletin post office box was in big trouble recently. It got shut down for lack of payment.

That was unusual, since I remember paying the bill. But I could be wrong, so I looked it up. I paid the annual box fee on April 4 by putting a check in the no postage needed, self-addressed envelope, and mailing it at the post office where the box is.

You’re probably asking by now why I just didn’t give the check to the teller. Because I didn’t want to wait in line, which was to the door.

It’s very seldom that I can go in when there is no line, or the line is short. Most often the line goes pretty deep. And when I do decide to just wait, the people ahead of me often have a problem that takes a long time to solve.

That’s why I just slipped it into the slot, along with the other mail. It didn’t cost anything.

It is my understanding that the pre-paid envelope that contained my payment then went to a processing center in Houston, and then returned to the same post office from where I mailed it.

Somewhere along the line it got lost -- in the mail. The check is in the mail, alright. We just don’t know where.

That’s ironic, but I didn’t give it much thought at first. Every now and then, things get lost in the mail. With all the volume the USPS handles, it’s understandable.

So, I went in person to pay again after checking with the bank to make sure the check had not cleared.
“I paid this on April 4,” I mentioned it to the clerk. She never looked up from her computer screen. “I guess the check got lost in the mail.”

I said it jokingly. The clerk did not respond or even look away from the screen.

I know that these clerks handle a lot of customers, but a little human touch would have been nice. But everyone is different, and this clerk was to the point, matter of fact, business mode.

I used to know almost all the clerks at the post office. Now I only know one, who was there when all the others were also there before retiring. We used to know them by their first names. We learned their names because we exchanged pleasantries.

Anyway, the check is still in the mail, so to speak. Maybe in due time it will be returned to me in a plastic envelope on which a long apology is printed, like the one I wrote about a few weeks ago.

I mentioned in my column at the time that the apology was so long and wordy that it was enough for three more letters. So, I guess this lost check used up one of those.

When I posted a comment about the lost check on my Facebook page, the replies started.

“John: last year they locked my PO box for non-payment. I ran off a copy of the cancelled check to show that it had been paid. This year I presented the invoice and check in person,” responded one friend.

“They lost a check for bulk mail permit TWO years in a row here in Galveston! Well, not lost....sitting on desk of vacationers!!” said another friend.

Enough already. I should never have brought it up.

“Maybe you should have paid online?” added a third Facebook responder

“Next time send it FedEx,” wrote another. LOL

From the Internet machine: “The only time USPS messed up a delivery was when I ordered some computer parts. The package was shipped from California, but somehow ended up at a hub near New York. This was strange since it was shipping to Denver.”

But let’s put it in perspective. When I flew to Europe one year, I wound up in Germany and my luggage in Italy. It took a while to reunite us.

The P.O. box is back to normal, again receiving Bulletin mail, which is good timing because we’ll be starting our Schlitterbahn ticket giveaway contest shortly, which will require mailing in your entry forms.

Or, maybe we’ll try an online contest this year.