Petworth Post Office

IMG_5850, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

How has your experience been at the Petworth Post Office at 4211 9th St.?

A reader writes: “I just had another terrible experience at the post office (4211 9th NW). I’m wondering if I’m the only one who has bad luck there.

I tried to send a portable/personal dvd player today and asked if the woman could bubble wrap it for me. She said “No.” After waiting for a reason or maybe an alternative and not getting one I asked why. She said she didn’t have any. “A cushioned envelope?”. Nope. When I asked how I was supposed to ship the dvd player she said I’d have to find another post office.

I moved to the neighborhood about 5 months ago and have been elated. Walking on air… The neighbors are great, the kids have been considerate, the gas station people are nice, the restaurant owners are gracious. I understand there are other, more important issues that need addressing (crime)… but really, is it too much to ask to have a decent post office?

Ours is fine if you want to mail a single white envelope that you already have the stamp for. Otherwise, you’ve got to find another post office.”

What are your thoughts?

18 Comment

  • The USPS is not a Parcel Plus or UPS Store. They don’t pack stuff for you. Your reader could have gone into any post office in the nation and gotten the same response. The fact that they didn’t have bubble wrap to sell her so that she could pack it herself is another story. That’s just the USPS ignoring a revenue stream in an age where they cannot afford to do so.

  • Yeah, I wouldn’t expect a post office employee to wrap my packages for me. You should have your stuff wrapped/ready to ship when you walk in there. If you don’t, maybe they will have mailers (some POs do but if you’ve been in the Petworth PO you know it is not stocked with any of that stuff) but really, like jtnt said, you should be going to a Parcel Plus/UPS store if you need that level of service.

    I have only had good experiences at the Petworth PO and the woman who is always at the window there tolerates a lot of clueless and/or obnoxious people from what I’ve seen.

  • of course, usually, my experiences at the post office are that the people there could stand to be nicer. sure, they deal with jerks occasionally….we all do. but i’ve been to the brentwood station, 12th and pennsylvania, 14th and L, 14th and T….all have been terrible. but, that’s typical DC service for you.

  • Frankly, I’ve never been to a USPS where the employees were anything other than bored and rude. It’s like a job requirement. And now they have those same people in charge of passports. If you really want to get berated, sneered at, and made to wait an hour for a single signature on a form, try to get a passport at the big post office on Wisconsin in Tenleytown. Wow. I just go to the Parcels Plus across from the Uptown Theater when I need to ship something. Not really that much money, if you ship UPS ground. They pack it, and the peanuts are free! FREEEEEEEE!!!

    imgoph – for what its worth, post office employees don’t work for the city.

  • I have had particularly rude service at the Petworth Post Office as well, including a lack of supplies readily available at other branches. I do continue to use that Post Office though, because it is never as busy as the one on Georgia Ave.

  • In Texas I never had any problem getting help wrapping packages at the post office (and I needed a lot of help too). Welcome to the north, land of a thousand sneers.

  • The only time I’ve been here, it was the best post office experience I’ve ever had. The woman that works there was so friendly and a young child welcomed me to the post office. I stayed and chatted with her for about 10 minutes!

  • Oden, that’s only because ignorance is bliss and southerners sure seem happy!

  • Ummm… has your reader ever actually been to a post office before? Frankly, I get annoyed when I see the Postal Service employees even doing so much as taping up a box for someone, which they generally are nice enough to do, but they certainly have no obligation to do so. Why should everyone else wait behind those people who can’t be bothered to get their stuff ready to mail on their own time?

    As the first commenter said, USPS is not “pack and ship”. That service costs MONEY. If you go to a Mailboxes, Etc and ask them to do that, you pay extra for it. I certainly have no interest in the cost of postage including a subsidy for people who are too lazy to pack up the stuff they want to mail, so I’m glad that they didn’t oblige you here.

    I am pretty sure that if you went there for a service that was actually within the scope of services generally provided by the USPS (such as selling you a stamp for said envelope, or even mailing a parcel which you had bothered to pack on your own time!!) then they would be much more to your liking.

  • I’ve had great experiences at that post office. The woman who works the counter has always been very nice and pleasant to me.

  • I’ve only had really good experiences at that post office. Friendly staff, helpful. Nice community post office feel. Reminds me of a small town post office in the midwest. Much better there then the T street station.

  • the post office is where cvs clerks get their training…..
    if i dont want my ego slapped around, i trek to the takoma park post office…
    three really nice clerks there…. of course, its sad to have to go out of one’s way for courtesy, isn’t it?

  • The Petworth Post office is okay, albeit Sovietly sparse when its actually open. Your better bet is to drive up Georgia to the one near Piney Branch and the car wash — it’s big and has everything you need.

  • I had a HORRIBLE experience there several years ago, where one of the clerks was extremely rude to me and my son. I could have cussed her out but I am too well brought up to do that sort of thing in public, especially to people “waiting” on you. Since then, I buy my stamps at the supermarket and NEVER GO TO THE POST OFFICE, especially that one. I have occasionally broken my own rule and gone to others with satisfactory experiences each time.

  • The woman who works there now told me she’s relatively new so Toby that other clerk is gone. It’s safe to go back to the post office.

  • First, as several contributors have pointed out, the USPS is not MailBoxes Etc, or Parcel Plus. We ship packages that you wrap and that is our role. We are banned, by Congress from making a profit, that includes selling bubble wrap and padded mailers, those are sold at cost with only the added markup of shipping and stocking expenses. Thanks to our litigious society, we are not allowed to sell these products at a profit. If you want to mail packages via USPS at another location such as MBE or Parcel Plus, they are free to markup the cost as a service fee. The employees of the USPS are union workers that are barred by law from striking because a disruption of the mail would be a detriment to the US economy. And for all of you who avoid the neighborhood post office, continue to do so and eventually it will be gone. The Post Office is an executive corporation, they are in the business of providing universal mail delivery to every home in America 6 days a week at the lowest cost. If an individual Post Office does not bring in enough business or customers, it is closed, this is happening to small post offices all over the country. So if you would rather stand in long lines at huge center city post offices like Brentwood, continue to boycott Petworth, but if you want to retain your sense of community and local amenities, patronize you local post office. Window clerks at post offices stand on their feet eight hours a day and have to serve every manner of individual that walks in the door. They are going to have good days and bad days. I am sure everyone can forgive a less than perfect performance everytime.

  • The best thing about this post office is that it is closed for lunch from 10:30 to 11:30. That is a seriously early lunch.

  • I appreciate Post Man’s informed comments on this question. It sounds like postal workers who do not like their assignment might be surly toward customers in order to drive business away, in order to make their branch a candidate for closure, in order to be assigned somewhere else. As Post Man points out, if we want to keep a neighborhood post office, we should use it whether the service is surly or not. It is a battle of wills, but if the surly window clerks hate their job long enough maybe they will leave and we will have the chance to interact with someone who actually doesn’t mind being there and doing the job.
    On the other hand, if it is true that window clerks have to stand on their feet eight hours a day when a stool of some sort would surely not prevent them from executing most of their duties, you kind of wonder why their union hasn’t won that small victory, or accomplished any of the hundred other small changes that could make the job less burdensome, and the workplace more pleasant.

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