I have been asked on occasion to discuss issues that directly affect our community instead of focusing on national issues, so this week, I will focus on a local matter.
I try to avoid going to the Kew Gardens Hills post office unless absolutely necessary. Almost every time I go, there is an issue that gets me aggravated. If I do go, it is usually Friday afternoon on the way home from my office.
One time I went, they had no internet, so you could not use a credit card to pay or purchase a money order. I was told this had been happening for a significant period of time. Another time, I was third in line and ended up waiting twenty minutes to be called. The one teller who was working spent fifteen minutes in the back looking for a package. Meanwhile, no one came out to man another location. There were other workers in the back who sounded like they were having a party.
This past Friday afternoon, I went again. Of course, there was a long line. There were more people inside than were allowed based on the guidelines. There was only one teller. I needed to send some letters by certified mail. I discovered that the Kew Gardens Hills post office does not leave out any forms; you must wait in line to get the forms, fill them out, and then get back in line. After you fill out the forms, you try to get ahead, but that may cause an uproar. It makes no sense to operate a post office in such a manner.
There is one area in which they are efficient: If you want to drop off pre-paid items. They have a cart you can drop your packages in. It seems there’s one person whose job is solely to empty the cart. I wonder why it wouldn’t be a more efficient use of that person’s time to man a station, especially when there’s a long line.
It is clear to me that the Kew Gardens Hills post office is trying to give you an incentive not to use their teller services. They make it so that you will try any alternative not to suffer through the experience of waiting in line.
Their defenders may try to excuse the problems as brought on by COVID-19. This argument may have had some legitimacy if the post office pre-pandemic had been a well-oiled machine. But people have been complaining for years about the Kew Gardens Hills post office and yet nothing seems to have changed.
Furthermore, there are other locations, such as the Pomonok branch, that have been able to deal with the crisis and keep up the level of customer service expected. Outside the post office, they leave various forms you can fill out while waiting in line. They enforce the distancing rules. When you see a teller, they give you helpful suggestions.
It may be unfair to blame everyone who works at the KGH post office for the dysfunctional situation. There are those who care and take their jobs seriously. For example, I have been very satisfied with our regular mail carrier.
Nevertheless, something must be done to rectify the current situation. I think someone must come in and clean house. There is a new administration starting on January 20, 2021. Hopefully, they will bring in new people, even on the local level. Maybe our elected officials, especially our local member of Congress, Grace Meng, can light a fire under this post office so we can finally get some decent service in our community.
If anyone has also had a bad experience with the Kew Gardens Hills post office, please send a letter to the Queens Jewish Link. It is more effective to argue that change is necessary when you have the numbers. If I am the only one complaining, it is easy to brush it off as criticism by some cranky guy.