PS form 4056 (more questions)

So I have been issuing PS form 4056 to the customers and I have been getting good responses.
But then again, there are those that would rather be stubborn and difficult.
One of which is my sub's BFF. My sub texted me to just let this one "slide".
I just find it hypocritical that my sub would not back me up on this.
I checked fault #s 17 & 18. Customer said she's not happy about it and wants to retain her rusty mailbox for the "antique" looks.

Backtracking a few weeks earlier, another customer who has the same problem - rusty mailbox - (plus a whole lot more: extremely dented, the lid doesn't close, not fasten to the base, no numbers) complained to the supervisor about it. I compromised with the rusty part because my supervisor said, "we can't make them do it just for aesthetics because if we do, then we would have to make everybody change/paint their mailboxes." Somehow, he has a point, although I said that the term "everybody" is just a wanton generalization.
That customer fixed the problems except for the number and the rusty parts. His is in the middle of a row of boxes so I just write the numbers on it, which doesn't last very long and I have to constantly write it, sigh. :cautious:

QUESTION : Are we even allowed to write the numbers on the mailboxes? I know it's not our job and we're just doing it as courtesy, but can we get in trouble for that?

Now, going back to the other customer... Hers is the first one of two boxes in a group. She wrote on the side, using a black skinny marker, against the rusty background.
It's not noticeable. Not at all. Unless someone really looks for it.
I could let go of the rusty part, like what I did with the other customer, I just need the numbers on the mailbox for the RCAs.
Now she threatens (through her BFF, the RCA) to call the supervisor about it, saying that it's federal offense for me to hold her mails, blah blah. Well, I won't really hold her mails, I will leave them at my case so she could come and pick them up. BTW, she was given 2 notices and 15 days to fix the mailbox faults.

QUESTION : How many days should we give the customers to fix the faults?
QUESTION : In the event the supervisor caves in, what should I do next? Is this worth grieving about? It just makes me wonder why the bosses make us use the forms and wouldn't always back us up when customers throw fits...

Please help. 😣
I don't think it's FAIR for the other customers who did what they were asked to do.
I don't think it's RIGHT to reward customers for their bad behavior.
 

RDruckus

Well-known member
Wow, what a sense of entitlement!

1. Rust is a safety hazard. It can give you tetanus.

2. You are not cleared of responsibility for the mail until you close the box. If something happens to it because the box doesn't close, guess who they come after?

3. It's management's responsibility to fill out the ps 4056, Your Mailbox Needs Attention. They just inspected my route, but didn't give me any completed forms to deliver.

4. If management feels that bad about it, let them go out and fix it.

5. Sorry, but yes, you can get in trouble for writing on the boxes, if the customer complains.

6. This customer is full of it. Have they considered a career in postal management?
 

btdtret

Well-known member
WONDERing WOMAN -- "Are we even allowed to write the numbers on the mailboxes? I know it's not our job and we're just doing it as courtesy, but can we get in trouble for that?"

-- Starting out as an RCA, I'd use a white SHARPIE "Meanstreak" to put the address number INSIDE the mail box. No one complained. And RCA's that followed my actually thanked me for doing it. Even had a customer or two put their number inside the mail box when they changed it. Hard to complain when no one else sees it when the number is inside. Could be some customer prefer anonymity--especially if they owe someone money.

"rusty mailbox"

-- Take a picture of it. Remind the PM and the customer that if you a cut, one of the two will be paying for the tetanus shot.

-- As far as " aesthetics " is concerned, rust does not qualify!

-- They should consider themselves fortunate as my last route had an HOA that required ALL mailboxes be the same size ( thankfully large! ) and had to have the same post. Families found out it costs $250 for an new mail box and post. And the person that did the job only worked one day a week in the area!

"Hers is the first one of two boxes in a group. She wrote on the side, using a black skinny marker, against the rusty background.'

-- Put the number in white on the inside of the mail box. Who cares what is on the outside.

" PS form 4056" -- unfortunately does not specify any time frame to correct noted issues / problems.

-- At least it DOES say: Rural box number ( or house number ) MUST be painted on the box in numerals not less than one inch.

Google "mailbox guidelines" to get the USPS guidelines. Under "Maintenance" you will find:

Tighten loose hinges on the door.
Take care of rusty or loose parts.
Replace missing or faded house numbers.
Keep the path to your mailbox clear.

You could print that out and attach it to the 4056. Point out to the customer the URL in the bottom left corner. usps.com/manage/mailboxes.htm in case they think you are pulling their leg.

"How many days should we give the customers to fix the faults?"

-- As usual, nothing in print. ( a week seems "reasonable" after informing the PM and leaving a 4056 - again, not time frame assigned to "reasonable )

-- Take a picture of the offending mailbox when you leave the 4056.

-- If the door does not stay closed, or actually falls off, if the box is on a slant so mail can easily fall out after you leave, the mail box leaks, etc
why not keep the mail "safe" the office as you are responsible for the "sanctity" of the mail.

-- I used to have customers complain their mail was wet, yet it had not rained in a week. I asked had they checked where their sprinklers are pointed. Er, well, an, no - why?

-- After hard rains, not uncommon to find an outgoing letter completely soaked. Time to take it to the door to tell the customer to dry it out and try again later because if I put it in the mail, the machines will literally destroy it -- and you'll get a late payment notice. That usually took the wind out of their sails.

"I don't think it's RIGHT to reward customers for their bad behavior."

-- Feel free to take pictures of questionable mailboxes -- saves a lot of "The customers says there is nothing wrong with their mailbox. Are you harassing them?" A picture of the offending mailbox tends to calm down manglement.

" In the event the supervisor caves in, what should I do next? Is this worth grieving about?"

-- Cite any of the above. Grievance? The PM not doing his/her job - nothing new there!

-- Show a picture of the offending mailbox to the PM and ask the PM for a written order to leave mail in the box -- despite its ( many ) problems.

-- At the next Stand-Up, why not bring up some of your questions since Mailbox Improvement Week is the 3rd full week in May. Give the PM some time to look for answers. Just don't hold you breath.
 

Shafted

Well-known member
I always sharpied the inside of the lids on boxes that customers refused to label on the outside.. RCA’s appreciated it as well. Never had a complaint from any customer.
 
I've never had anyone complain I wrote the number on the inside. I have one long road that is a county line road. Different counties on each side of the road and different number systems for each side. I've been running that route for over ten years and I'm not sure I could put them in order off the top of my head. lol They are all numbered on the inside and other people who have run the route have thanked me for it.
 

callofthewild

Well-known member
Every box on the route I am assigned to are numbered......inside...outside and if in a line of boxes on the front..........also a arrow pointing in the direction of the houseplace (inside).............it takes about as long (with permission of course) to use a paint pen to put numbers on a box as to fill out the form 4056 and get the PM to sign it..........and I can read my own writing....and they are all in the same position on the box. Yes, I know it isn't my job...but i have never been known to be that person.....that it isn't my job type person........if it makes my job easier and the work day of the Sub easier...going to do it......with permission of course....oh have I said that already???

As for the boxes with rust and no lids and Lord knows what else.....they are out in the weather for goodness sakes......if they don't care and the route passes inspection...........it is all good with me......... I have way more to worry about.

Of course there is a story about this: so the Route next to me in the PO came up...the Sub had waited 14 years for a full time route......and when she got the route........talk about a control freak..........she found sometime wrong with every box out on the route.......drove her customers and the PM nuts............renumbered the route.......without permission......passed out 4056 forms to nearly everyone......she made so many people mad....this has been 16 years ago......I will meet people at Walmart from her mail route still now and they are still talking about the carrier who tried to get everyone change their numbers.............my advise.....go slowly...........like only make 1/2 your route mad at a time.....ha ha.....
 
about writing on the INSIDE of the mailbox :

That being said, every RCA (or sometimes RC) who isn't familiar with the route, would have to stop and open the mailboxes to know the numbers.
Isn't this a waste of one's time?

And while I am OK in going an extra mile for customer's satisfaction and that I realize I have some responsibilities, I know, too, that customers have responsibilities as well. Like what Deer Smearer said, "this isn't daycare!"
 
Every box on the route I am assigned to are numbered......inside...outside and if in a line of boxes on the front..........also a arrow pointing in the direction of the houseplace (inside).............it takes about as long (with permission of course) to use a paint pen to put numbers on a box as to fill out the form 4056 and get the PM to sign it..........and I can read my own writing....and they are all in the same position on the box. Yes, I know it isn't my job...but i have never been known to be that person.....that it isn't my job type person........if it makes my job easier and the work day of the Sub easier...going to do it......with permission of course....oh have I said that already???

- How do you get permission? How long does it take you to get it?

As for the boxes with rust and no lids and Lord knows what else.....they are out in the weather for goodness sakes......if they don't care and the route passes inspection...........it is all good with me......... I have way more to worry about.

- I am worried for the RCAs who don't know the route; I'm worried about the mails being put in the wrong box.
Like I said, this is more for the subs and the customers than for me. I am not just worried, I am concerned about putting the mails in the right box.

Of course there is a story about this: so the Route next to me in the PO came up...the Sub had waited 14 years for a full time route......and when she got the route........talk about a control freak..........she found sometime wrong with every box out on the route.......drove her customers and the PM nuts............renumbered the route.......without permission......passed out 4056 forms to nearly everyone......she made so many people mad....this has been 16 years ago......I will meet people at Walmart from her mail route still now and they are still talking about the carrier who tried to get everyone change their numbers.............my advise.....go slowly...........like only make 1/2 your route mad at a time.....ha ha.....

- Thanks for the advice, and yes, I am going slowly and I have had more good responses than bad ones. I know it's not easy and very inconvenient, but it's the right thing to do.
When I was an RCA, while doing the matrix, we would talk about defective mailboxes on the routes and why aren't the Regulars addressing the issues. We came up with a few theories : 1. they are always in a hurry and think that doing something about it is a waste of time; 2. they don't care about how hard it would be for us, RCAs; 3. they are just lazy. And the list goes on and on.
I do NOT want to be like those Regulars.
 
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RDruckus

Well-known member
Lady inspecting my route was from a neighboring zip code. Carrier in that very rural office was chased down by someone who was upset because she had rubbed-banded his box closed. ( It was a non-delivery and she didn't want someone else's mail put in there.)

My managers gave me a new sub without warning. I wrote some numbers inside boxes with a black Sharpie to try to help him. One customer complained, wanted a new box! PM sent out someone with graffiti cleaner and restored the box's former glory. (Made me feel sorry for that man's neighbors.)
 

gerl2

Well-known member
Lady inspecting my route was from a neighboring zip code. Carrier in that very rural office was chased down by someone who was upset because she had rubbed-banded his box closed. ( It was a non-delivery and she didn't want someone else's mail put in there.)

My managers gave me a new sub without warning. I wrote some numbers inside boxes with a black Sharpie to try to help him. One customer complained, wanted a new box! PM sent out someone with graffiti cleaner and restored the box's former glory. (Made me feel sorry for that man's neighbors.)
I use a roll of those stickers that they print out forwards on. Whether it be a name, number, X is vacant or watch DPS, have a lot with duplicate numbers. This way it can be easily removed. Problem with going out of your way good luck on getting subs to read any of it. :rolleyes: I stopped wasting my time until I can get a sub that wants to do the job.
 
I always sharpied the inside of the lids on boxes that customers refused to label on the outside.. RCA’s appreciated it as well. Never had a complaint from any customer.
As an RCA who goes to other offices to get hours I sharpie the inside of boxes because the regs won't. Gotta help yourself out around here. My office is awesome with boxes being marked, even the vacant boxes are marked. Sure helps when you are doing multiple routs per week!
 

callofthewild

Well-known member
WONDERing WOMAN........To answer your question.........I have been on the same route for over 27 years......SUB and Regular time........I also had a Regular (a Man) (I love men...not disrespecting the other half) but he wasn't much on the finer points of marking boxes or for that matter doing anything extra.......just carry mail...... he was really good at carrying mail. During my training days ....I was so confused because only about 25 of the boxes on the route of 470 were marked. I to said I would never do that to another Carrier......and pretty sure that is why my attitude is like it is about marking boxes........it just makes it so much simpler for everyone.......

So now the whole route is marked only the new boxes need to be marked or the occasional replacement box.........once the route is marked it is easy. But what I do...........new box, figure these people don't know me.......for all they know I am the mail carrier from that Chevy Chase movie.......leave a note and ask them if they want me to use my paint pen to put their numbers on their box.....sometimes they do and sometimes they don't; but they know right then numbers are required.
 

callofthewild

Well-known member
And the vacant boxes.....I zip tie them shut for the metal ones with the little pull tab.....the plastic ones I tape them shut and write NO on the tape...........the RCA for this route parties on Friday night and is usually hung over.....so she needs a lot of help.....ha ha
 

btdtret

Well-known member
WONDERing WOMAN -- [ mailbox identification -- as in numbers on the outside ]

-- If a 4056 Form doesn't get the customer to put numbers on the outside of the mailbox ( within a "reasonable" amount to time ) then give the PM a couple of options:

a. Personally go to the address and instruct the customer to put numbers on the outside of the mail box, or

b. You will file a grievance on the PM for not doing his / her due diligence per POM 9, Section 632.522 Identification:

When box numbers are used on curbside mailboxes, the numbers must be inscribed in contrasting color in neat letters and numerals not less than 1 inch high on the side of the the box visible to the carrier's regular approach, or on the door if boxes are grouped. ( doubt if "curbside" vs "road side" matters. Anyone?? )

c. Might hint that a letter mentioning the same will be sent to District.
 

Deer smearer

Well-known member
WONDERing WOMAN -- [ mailbox identification -- as in numbers on the outside ]

-- If a 4056 Form doesn't get the customer to put numbers on the outside of the mailbox ( within a "reasonable" amount to time ) then give the PM a couple of options:

a. Personally go to the address and instruct the customer to put numbers on the outside of the mail box, or

b. You will file a grievance on the PM for not doing his / her due diligence per POM 9, Section 632.522 Identification:

When box numbers are used on curbside mailboxes, the numbers must be inscribed in contrasting color in neat letters and numerals not less than 1 inch high on the side of the the box visible to the carrier's regular approach, or on the door if boxes are grouped. ( doubt if "curbside" vs "road side" matters. Anyone?? )

c. Might hint that a letter mentioning the same will be sent to District.
Plus 902. 30. C.

C. Non-Conforming Boxes
A rural carrier may not be required to serve a box which does not conform to the Employer’s delivery standards
 
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