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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

More with the Post Office

The response to my email so far is as follows (received 8/12):

Response (Brandon O) - 08/12/2006 01:11 AM


Thank you for visiting our website. I understand you would like a refund for the $2 for your online Change of Address.

In order to best assist you, I have forwarded your information to our website's technical support group for follow up.

If I can be of assistance to you in the future, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thank you for choosing the United States Postal Service.

Brandon O

I do expect to get the $2 returned to me, but I do not expect to get my mail forwarded.

My next assertive action will be to take "Please forward to: Linda T XXXXXX, Atlanta, GA Zip"
stickers to my old office to assist the office manager in forwarding mail to me. In today's mail, three weeks since I have moved my office, there was no forwarded mail for me.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The ongoing Post Office Saga

Today I called the old Post Office to talk to Mr. Turner to find out why my mail hasn't been forwarded. He told me that because I rented an office in an ongoing business and didn't have a separate address from the business (although my mail came to me in my own name and not the name of the business), they would not be able to forward my mail.

He was very sweet and told me he would try to pull my mail and forward it to my new address, but they would be unable to do it in the usual way.

I went online to the feedback page and wrote the following assertive letter to the US Post Office:

I filled out an online change of address form when I moved my business to begin on July 27. I received a confirmation from the post office. When no mail was forwarded, I filled out a second online form. Again I received an email confirmation from the post office.

Mr. Turner at the old address post office 30xxx tells me that they cannot forward my mail because I was a renter in an established business.

I was at that address for 20 years and mail will continue to come to me there, despite every effort I make to change my address with people who send me bills and insurance companies who pay me. I am a psychologist and patients often recontact me after years of not seeing me.

I understand that because I rented an office room in XXXX XXXX Psychologists and did not have a specific suite number, the Post Office cannot forward my mail.

I would like this situation changed.

My mail should be forwarded to me.

In addition, I would like to have my credit card credited for the $2.00 you charged me when I changed my address online twice.

Linda T

Their automatic responder indicated that I should have a response in 1 - 2 days. Meanwhile, it sounds like sweet Mr. Turner at my old post office is going to try to help me get my mail. The very kind office manager at the old office will also hold mail for me to pick up.

For those of you learning about assertiveness, this letter is assertive because of several factors:
1. I make "I" statements to say what I have experienced and what I want to happen
2. In no way do I demean the Post Office or say devaluing things about their system
3. I chose to space the sentences in such a way that what I think is most important in the letter stands out (this is especially important in the email world of today in spite of how our English teachers may have taught us to put together paragraphs.)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Office move and mail forwarding

I moved my professional office at the end of July. On July 19, I went to and filled out a change of address form. The USPS site happily says,

  • "Quick and Easy - Saves you a trip to the Post Office - takes less than 5 minutes
  • Safe and Secure - Verifies your identity - requires a $1 fee charged to your credit or debit card
  • Email Confirmation - Sends you an immediate email confirmation of your Change of Address

So I filled out the form on July 19 for my move date of July 27 and got a confirmation email.

My mail continued to go to the old office. I received no mail at the current office.

On July 31, in frustration I filled out another change of address form on the USPS page. Again I received the lovely confirmation email. However, it is August 9 and I still have received no forwarded mail and my old office reports that my mail is still regularly being delivered there.

Several days ago I called the USPS number to hear that usually your mail is not delivered when it is being forwarded until 10 business days after the move date.

{Made me imagine lots of inappropriately delivered mail all over the US for people who didn't know that they should tell the USPS a moving date 10 days earlier than the actual date to assure that they didn't miss any mail.}

Today is the requisite 10th business day after my move and my old office still is getting my mail and nothing has arrived via forward - including the notice by mail that the Post Office assures you in the confirmation email that they will send you by the 10th day.

I called my old zip code post office today and the first employee I talked to put me on hold until I had to hang up 7 minutes later to see a client in my office. At my next break I called again and spoke to Mr. Turner.

"I requested via Internet that my mail be forwarded beginning on July 27 and I haven't received any forwarded mail. In addition, my old address reports that I am receiving mail regularly there."

Mr. Turner put me on hold while he went to check on the situation. "Well," he said, returning to the phone after a 5 minute wait, "I can't see that your carrier has any notification that he is supposed to hold your mail for forwarding. I can't do anything about it until I can check the system to see what is holding this up."

"I need my mail," I said. "I get insurance checks in the mail for work I have done and I get bills and magazines that are important to me. I need this fixed right away."

Mr. Turner assured me that he would get it figured out and call me between 10 and 10:15 tomorrow morning.

We'll see if I were effective or not. Meanwhile I still have to go over to my old office tomorrow to pick up all of my unforwarded mail.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Speaking up in day to day life

Assertiveness is a skill that one can apply almost every day. Here's an example:

I moved my professional office (after 20 years in the same place) and went to Office Depot to order new business cards. I gave the clerk my old card so that she could order the same card stock and print style and color. I also gave her a typed paper with the new information on it that was supposed to be on the new card. I did the order two weeks ahead of my first day in the new office.....just in time to have the cards when I first saw clients there.

When I went to pick up my cards on the week of my move, I found to my dismay that they had simply duplicated the old card, so the cards had all of the old information and were completely useless to me.

I said, "I ordered cards with my new office address and these are printed with all my old information and none of the new."
The clerk said: "Did you give us your new information?"
This was a different clerk and she did what people often do when asked an assertive question: she blamed the victim.
"Of course," I said. "The new information was on a separate piece of paper. The clerk wanted to use the old card as a model for the stock and print, but the separate piece of paper was included with the order."
"Well, we'll just have to place the order again," the clerk said.
"I'm disappointed. I had wanted the cards for my business opening this week. I would like to get these sooner than the usual two weeks waiting time. I need them as soon as possible."
"I'll put in the request," the clerk said, "but I can't be sure that they'll be here any sooner than two weeks. I will put a rush on them, though."
"Thank you," I said and left feeling somewhat discouraged.

One week later, I went to Office Depot to check to see if on a chance, the cards were already there.

The clerk said to me, "Hi, how are you?" as she waited on the previous customer.
"You are going to determine how I am," I said, lightheartedly, "depending on how you answer a question."
The customer turned and said, "I'm curious, what is the question?"
So I told the customer how my cards had come in done wrong and it had only been a week, and I was hoping that the cards would be there and that would make my day. The question was, "Are my business cards in yet?"

The clerk finished with the customer and looked under the counter. "Oh," she said, "I was just going to call you. They came in this afternoon."

The assertive statements are in bold above. You can see that I wasn't angry, but simply assertive and the results were good ones. There was no point in being aggressive, as I have often seen people do, with the clerk, since it was not her fault. But making respectful "I" statements got the job done.