"Some Things Really Bug Me"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Friday, March 11, 2011

I often submit columns about changing times. The topic was one I was going to write about again this week. As I read through the first page aloud, I realized (with help from my in-house editor) I had already mentioned some of the items recently.

Once I write and submit a column, I forget it. I have to do that to let ideas for new material enter my thoughts. If I could only get readers, and my editor at the paper, to forget what they read my job would be easy. I would only have to submit the digital text, let’s say once a month. The editor wouldn’t have to let me know she got it or set new text. We could take a lot of work out of this business and have the paper just send me a check once a month. It would present a problem however; I couldn’t let you all know How I see it.

I am going to tell you about a few things that are bugging me — and you too I bet. How about the insurance company that tells us to name our own price. That may be just fine, but probably a waste of time. In the first place, I would have to need insurance — I’m very happy with what I have now. Secondly, if I named my own price, it would probably be too low — but their ads don’t address that possibility.

I really don’t like ads that say, “We will give you a second one free — all you pay is shipping and handling. They don’t mention how much the shipping and handling cost. Seems to me if they can give me a second one free just for trying the product, they should just send it first and if I want another one, I’ll let them know.

Some things we have to deal with make life tough these days, like warranty coverage on items we buy. To qualify for coverage you must submit a form with: date of purchase, date item failed, where it was purchased and the original sales receipt. If you kept a file on your purchase, which many of us do, aren’t you a little steamed when you go to that file to get your ORIGINAL RECEIPT and it is blank? Many sales register tapes use film that fades over time. If you may have been smart enough to make a copy when you filed it, most manufacturers will not accept a copy — it must be the original receipt. Perhaps they have developed scanners that can read the blank receipts.

Also bugging me are problems with my mail. Although I’m told all post offices operate under the same guidelines, I experience a wide variation from one to another. I have received my mail while living at the same address in Port Austin for over 30 years. During this span of years, the post office has changed location and managers three times, and just about everything else connected to the mail. Someone once called this progress.

One change was our zip code use, then P.O. Box numbers followed by how you had to have incoming mail addressed. You had to have your physical address and a zip code suffix that indicated your box number. Then we needed to add the P.O. Box number to the address line and they had to be listed in the right order. This procedure turned into requiring only the P.O. Box and no physical address. At about this point one year I had my IRS refund check sent back because it only had the physical address on it. Ever try to get the government to re-issue a check sent back?

Please understand none of the confusion originates in our local post offices — the shrinking numbers of people who work there just have to take the abuse when we get frustrated.

During the winter months the past 25 years, I have had a post office box where I live in Key Largo. I have survived a change of box number, an added prefix to my box number and the usual directive to leave a change of address. I have had no incidents until this year but it’s been a dilly. Because the last two numbers of my zip code were added to my box number, the forwarding office in Michigan got confused and decided to send my mail to Key West. Since there was no one by that name at that box number, after about three weeks they sent my mail back to where it belonged. Sounds weird right? I actually had to put in another change of address listing the new box number with the two added numbers to get my mail.

Another fun event with my mail occurred when I was charged several “return fees” because the post office kept returning one of my bank statements. The bank explained it by saying the post office said they knew the mail held “sensitive” material so they could not forward it. The post office explained it by saying the bank had a notation on their envelopes that the mail should not be forwarded. How odd that my other bank statements all got to me just fine.

I fully support the postal service and always have. I never grumble about raising cost and always prefer to use the post office to mail packages — just love those flat-rate boxes. Considering my recent experiences however, I am beginning to understand why e-mail has become so popular.

As I see it progress and the age of electronics are working against most of us.


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