Whately post office
The otherwise excellent article about the future of the Whately post office (How Do You Want Your P.O.?, Sept. 24) badly underestimated the number of people using the post office and its value to the community.
The Whately Post Office serves far more than 330 residents. That’s the number of mailboxes, each of which handles mail for a family, a business, or a community organization. Many of these box holders could receive delivery at their home or business but actually pay the postal service for the privilege of getting their mail at the post office. In fact, mail delivery there is so popular that there is a waiting list for boxes.
Moreover, the whole community, including those who get their mail delivery at home, uses the post office to mail packages, buy stamps and get questions answered about postal regulations. It’s a busy place.
Cutting out two hours a day at the post office doesn’t sound so bad, and may be the best long-term solution to the postal service’s budget problems. But residents of Whately and other towns facing this situation should be aware that these shorter hours will do more than cause some inconvenience. The shorter work week eventually means replacing a full time postmaster with a part-time employee. (That’s where the expense savings are.) Part-time people may be just as hard working — and we’ve had some wonderful ones — but they rarely arrive familiar with postal regulations and procedures and don’t tend to stay as long. Given the complexity of postal regulations, that’s a problem. In Whately, with its three zip codes and address confusion with neighboring towns, it’s a big problem.