Ferndale Resident Tired of Poor Service at Post Office
After years of not complaining finally does... and sees a change.
Ferndale is my town. I started renting a place here in 1994, was part of the big 2003 buying frenzy, I work here and have a small home business. This is the kind of place you can really do a majority of your shopping, dining, entertaining. But there is a trouble spot that has needled away at this loyal Ferndalian, and it's Ferndale's Post Office.
Our post office, located at 22681 Woodward Ave., is a lovely relic. Charming interior wood details, heavy doors and signage welcome you. The packing and mailing area is neat and organized. Bulletproof glass is there to protect, and sometimes you can find a pen to use, if needed. I've never asked for a "behind the scenes tour" but the place as a whole seems to be fully functioning.
But the most recognizable and unwavering detail that seems to be the Ferndale Post Office's unique detail is the unwavering abomination that is the customer service the clerks provide.
I suffered through for many years, sometimes several times a week standing there with one clerk serving 10 people in line. Or waiting for a clerk to even appear… at all times of day. Customers breaking into exasperated banter sharing stories of record-holding waits.
I won't bore you with my stories. I'll just share one.
Some three or so years ago, I breezed through the doors and was thrilled: One clerk in window two, a second employee on the floor refilling change of address cards and NO ONE in line. I decided instead of comically walking around the "right way" in a full circle to get to the package window, I moved forward, pulled the glass hatch up, pushed my package across and pulled the locking door down. I then moved to the left to drop some cards in the local mail slot and planted myself at clerk's window. The two female employees who'd been chatting were quiet now, and the lady behind the glass stared lifelessly at me. I smiled and said hello. Still nothing. I shifted and said, "What?"
She threw a finger my package and said, "Is that a bomb?"
"What?!" I asked.
"IS THAT… A BOMB?" She said. "You sure came rolling in here throwing this and doing that and that leads me to believe you're up to something. That maybe there's a bomb in there."
I was horrified. Was she joking? Like, making a joke or scolding me? The employee behind me snorted.
"Errr, no, it's not," I said. "I put the package in the window, dropped a few letters and came back to pay to mail that package."
I was wondering how to get it back, but she was actually scaring me and I didn't want to make her any more crazy or mad. As she proceeded to humiliate me and work about as slow as possible, I kind of glazed over just waiting for it to be over. Her hanging badge was swung backward - no name tag in sight. And you know what? I didn't go back for a long time but I didn't complain either. Of course I told everyone I knew the story, but once I found the branch at Livernois and Eight Mile, across from Baker's Keyboard Lounge in Detroit, I'd found my happiness. Fast, efficient, friendly.
But now I'm a new mom with some time on my hands, and that other location is a bit far for strolling in nice weather. So I complained, finally, and wouldn't you know it, I got a positive response AND an apology. Just this week I went twice and saw a supervisor overseeing all of the transactions. I saw a clerk in training. I also saw one of my favorite clerks from my usual branch there too! This is encouraging, earning my trust back, and made me proud.
One voice typing out in utter disgust and the action that took place because of it? Maybe!?
In closing, I'd like to share an excerpt from the email response I received from my formal complaint. I challenge anyone that lives in this town and has a reasonable complaint, a story or a suggestion to call. I love supporting the town I live in and we deserve to have a post office to brag about!
"On behalf of the United States Post Office, I apologize for the service you have received at our Ferndale branch. I have forwarded your complaint to the supervisor in charge of our Ferndale branch. Please contact Mr. Reid at 313-863-1300 in the future to voice your concerns."
Carey Gustafson is a Ferndale resident and designer at Glass Action!