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Yesterday I received a letter from the U. S. Postal Service. Since I had never received a letter from the Postal Service, I was intrigued by it. In the envelope I found a form letter that begins with “DEAR POSTAL CUSTOMER” and a check I wrote for my child as a birthday gift. The letter said “The enclosed was found loose in the mail or has been damaged in handling in the Postal Service (whichever is applicable to the enclosure)… When a Postal Office handles in excess of three million pieces of mail daily, it is imperative that mechanical methods be used to maintain production and ensure prompt delivery of the mails… Damage may occur if mail is insecurely enveloped or bulky contents are enclosed. When this occurs and our machinery is jammed, it often causes damage to other mail that was properly prepared…” I was very much annoyed by this. I personally took the birthday card in an envelope (that came with the card) in which I enclosed a check to a local post office. I asked a female clerk at the service counter if the mail would arrive by a certain day because I am sending a birthday card. The card was neither bulky nor insecurely enveloped (I used glue to seal it). Somebody suggested that the clerk opened the envelope thinking she could find a gift card in it. Unfortunately I think it a likely scenario. These days we occasionally receive letters addressed to somebody else, and this makes me think that somebody else may have received letters addressed to us. I am not exactly sure how to interpret these incidents, but certainly they make me question the efficacy and integrity of the U.S. Postal Service.

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