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Postal Customers From Hell Version 4.0 - Windfall on Wheels

Although many are mystified by his mysterious moniker, Mel Carriere is a San Diego mailman who writes about the mail, among other things.

I see a mail truck with a blue and white eagle, you see a mail truck with a blue and white eagle, but Postal Customer from Hell sees only rolling dollar signs.

I see a mail truck with a blue and white eagle, you see a mail truck with a blue and white eagle, but Postal Customer from Hell sees only rolling dollar signs.

Playing the Postal Lottery

We live in the age of the lottery. It used to be an accepted principle that fulfilling the American dream required long hours of sweat and toil, but these days people grow up believing that something can be had for nothing, and it often is. Stock Market Day Traders go from broke to billionaire with just a few clicks of the mouse. Ambulance chasing lawyers dredge up brief cases full of cash for "Slippin' Jimmy" clients who frequently stumble on sidewalks and don't mind wearing a neck brace as a fashion statement for a few weeks. Everybody is lawyered up, because dipping into the deep well of class action lawsuits is required to survive in an economy in which minimum wage jobs are not just for teenagers anymore, but have become the standard for adults also.

The age of the lottery has infused our collective mindset with the idea that rags to riches success stories are possible without any brains, initiative, or ability to get out of bed before 1 PM. Power Ball winners have taken the place of astronauts, inventors, and authors in the cultural hierarchy of people we admire the most. Instead of being seen as the dumb luck beneficiaries of impossible 1 in 175 million odds, the winners of these multi-million dollar sweepstakes are fawned upon as if they had some secret, hidden magic that everybody can tap into with the power of positive thinking or by following the right kind of astrological charts,

Enter the American Letter Carrier into this maelstrom of easy money thinking. It used to be that seeing the friendly blue Postal Eagle turn the corner onto your block meant that your retirement, welfare, or social security check might be on the way, but with the spread of Lottery Mindset Disease (LMD) to epidemic proportions, the dollar amounts represented by that cool blue logo have increased significantly, to the point where some people have come to perceive a Postal Vehicle as a bank on wheels; a limitless rolling ATM machine with no PIN number required. After all, if smart bombs typically cost six digits apiece, and our government drops a few dozen of these on a daily basis, then Uncle Sam's deep postal pockets certainly can afford to fix my car or front fence, even if the mail truck had nothing to do with those nasty dings and dents that my wife is nagging me to get taken care of. Or better yet, if I can convince the right people that this ill tempered, surly mailman who drops the letters in my box every day said something offensive or used inappropriate physical contact upon my person, then my family might be singing a much happier "Structured Settlement" carol around our Christmas Tree this time next year.

So I, Mr. Mailman, see an automotive device stuffed full of packages, letters and flats that has to go back to the Post Office empty by 4:30 and you, Mr. Sane or Ms. Rational Postal Customer see a bearer of news arriving that is sometimes happy (check from Grandma), and sometimes aggravating (credit card statement), but Postal Customer from Hell sees only a WIndfall on Wheels (WOW) on the way, a mechanical stagecoach that can be cut off at the pass and looted of its strongbox. Here then are a couple true life examples of Postal Customers from Hell who bushwhacked their neighborhood mailman with the thought of absconding with hidden hordes of cash stashed away in some hidden postal vault buried deep in the earth, but walked away disappointed when they realized that there is no gold mine beneath 1 L'enfant Plaza, and every postal penny is squeezed so tightly it bleeds copper juice.

Postal Customer From Hell wrongly assumes there is a giant postal treasure trove beneath the earth, guarded by a fierce dragon.

Postal Customer From Hell wrongly assumes there is a giant postal treasure trove beneath the earth, guarded by a fierce dragon.

Postal Customer from Hell 4.1 - Ms. Can You Fix My Car?

Ms. Can You Fix My Car (CYFMC) is already notorious among the multitude of letter carriers who deliver mail on her auxiliary route, which does not have its own regular and is split among different mailmen and women every day. There is a three inch thick dossier on Ms. CYFMC on file at the local post office. She bears a heavy grudge against the men and women in blue ever since she permanently lost her mail delivery for letting her dog run loose. Ms. CYFMC will maintain until her dying day that the letter carrier her dog attacked was deliberately antagonizing her poor, misunderstood pooch, provoking the sweet, cuddly, 100 pound furball to uncharacteristic aggression.

Therefore, Ms. CYFMC's motivations are mixed when she sees the mail truck turn the corner onto her block; but she immediately smells opportunity blowing in from two directions on the breeze. On one hand, she wants revenge for the indignity and nuisance of having to drive a mile and a half every day to check her PO box. Secondly, somebody made a long, deep scratch down the side of her van and she can't afford the $500 dollar deductible the insurance company is demanding to fix it. Ms. CYFMC can't be certain who really committed this outrage. Because she is temperamental and a bit loopy as well, yelling at people who walk by her property in strange tongues that can't be classified into any of the local English, Spanish, or Tagalog dialects; there is no shortage of suspects for the crime. But since nobody will come forward and claim responsibility, to satisfy the demands of the rapacious insurance company she needs to ensnare a victim. Like a blood-sucking spider she spins her web, then hides behind her fence to lie in wait for an unwitting fly to fall into the trap.

The street in front of Ms. CYFMC's house is tightly bottlenecked by the trash cans set out on garbage day. Almost as if she had planned it, Ms. CYFMC's daughter, driving the scratched minivan, goes by one direction through this constricted windpipe just as the mailman is traveling the other way to drop off a holiday package. The Postal Vehicle misses the van by a clean foot. The farthest protruding object on the mail truck is the sideview mirror, which is at least two and a half feet above the deep scratch on the underside of the van. All the same, as soon as the mailman parks to drop off the parcel, Ms. CYFMC's daughter stops the van and runs across the street to accuse the mailman of striking her vehicle.

"You hit my car," Ms. CYFMC's daughter complains.

"There's no way I hit your car," the mailman counters. In the course of 20 some years in the postal service he has had his share of mishaps and close calls, having one time clipped the mirror off of a Ford Taurus while backing. He does not have a spotless driving record, but in this particular instance he is absolutely certain of his innocence. He points out the location of the scratch on the curved underbelly on the van. He got a D in Geometry in High School, but he realizes better than Euclid himself that there is no way the walls of his postal vehicle, forming a perfect right angle with the street, could have created that gouge.

Almost immediately Ms. CYFMC's daughter begins to back off. She was coached up by her mother, but her heart isn't really in this charade. Mom said it would easy; the mailman would be scared of losing his job and would immediately cave; agreeing to pay the $500 dollar deductible under the table. Perhaps Mother has failed to take into consideration that the mailman is unionized and probably wouldn't lose his job even if he ran amok down the street carving vehicular gashes down the sides of half a dozen parked minivans.

"Okay, just be more careful next time," Ms. CYFMC's daughter says, and retreats timidly into the house.

Ms. CYFMC, however, is not so easily placated. She comes out of the house barking like the bulldog in her backyard that is the cause of her mail moratorium. She shouts at the mailman that he is going too fast and needs to slow down. She accuses him of not stopping after hitting the van. The mailman wisely calls his manager.

Fifteen minutes of awkward silence and foot shuffling later, during which the mailman and his surprisingly non agitated accusers look uncomfortably at their shoes, the manager finally shows up. The manager writes a report, and she takes a lot of pictures too. Ms. CYFMC explains to the manager the part about the insurance company demanding 500 bucks to fix the offending scratch. The mailman can't help but wonder how that line came so quickly off of her tongue. It was almost like some khaki clad insurance representative had told her the same thing very recently.

Ms. CYFMC's family seems nervous now. Mom's little scheme has gone too far, and they fear repercussions. Ms. CYFMC's daughter demands assurances in writing that her insurance company will not be contacted.

"I can't guarantee anything," the manager answers, then leaves Ms. CYFMC and her family alone to stew in uncertainty for a while. The Postal Vehicle, its flashing neon dollar signs now extinguished, drives away. Ms. CYFMC's minivan remains irreparably scratched, but the mail must go through.

Warning to potential Postal Customers from Hell.  He might look sweet and cuddly on the outside, but your friendly neighborhood mailman can match any amount of angst you throw at him, and then some.

Warning to potential Postal Customers from Hell. He might look sweet and cuddly on the outside, but your friendly neighborhood mailman can match any amount of angst you throw at him, and then some.

Postal Customer From Hell 4.2 - Aspiring Movie Director

Ms. Aspiring Movie Director (AMD) has fallen on hard times. Every week she receives certified letters from the IRS, which the mailman will not deliver to her door because she is a disagreeable, combative person. She is forced to go down to the Post Office to pick these up, if she bothers to do so at all, already understanding the gist of what they say. Ms. AMD owes Uncle Sam money, and has no way to pay it. Her economic situation is unfortunate, but her contentious personality has won her few friends who will even bemoan her fate, much less offer to help. She has run out of options, but in a flash of brilliance a light bulb goes off in her ever scheming head. What if she can provoke her surly, uncooperative mailman into hitting her, or at least get him mad enough that people will believe that he hit her? She intends to videotape the incident on her cell phone, then go down to the post office with the video and extort money out of the same government that is trying to bury her under a mountain of tax debt. It's a long shot, but worth a try.

One week her regular letter carrier goes on vacation, and Ms. AMD receives her neighbor's mail. Whether or not Ms. AMD hands this mail back to the mailman or to its proper owner seems beside the point. The point is that this is the pretext she needs to ambush her regular letter carrier when he comes back from vacation; after which she will force him to do or say something stupid, which she will capture on film. She sees visions of red carpets and golden statuettes dancing in her head.

"I'm missing my check," Ms. AMD shouts at her mailman when she sees him parked in front of the centralized mail receptacles at her townhouse complex. "I got all of my neighbor's mail, so I'm pretty sure you put my mail in my neighbor's mailbox."

"Well, I was on vacation," the mailman says, not noticing that Ms. AMD has slyly started up her cell phone camera. He goes about his business of pulling out the mail to put it in the boxes.

"What is your name?" she demands.

"They know my name at the Post Office," he answers. "Just call them, they know who I am." He is within his rights; not being legally obligated to give his name to customers.

'Why won't you give me your name?" she insists.

"I don't give out my name. There's too many crazy people out here."

The mailman later thinks that maybe he shouldn't have said that last part. It was, of course, a veiled way of calling somebody crazy without really calling them crazy. Perhaps it was an ill-considered remark on his part, but he does not regret having said it.

"I'm not crazy!" Ms. AMD bellows crazily as she follows him over to the mailboxes. She continues to demand his name, and won't get out of his way as he attempts to put the mail in the receptacles.

"You are interfering with the delivery of the mail," he warns her. "If you want to talk to somebody about your mail delivery issue, you'll have to call the Post Office."

"Give me the number!" she demands.

The mailman goes to the back of his Postal Vehicle. He gently hands Ms. AMD a notice left slip that has the 800 customer service number on the back of it. He never makes contact with Ms. AMD's person as he gives it to her. All the same, Ms. AMD now has what she thinks she needs and, much to the letter carrier's relief, goes away. Or does she?

A few minutes later Ms. AMD shows up at the window of the local post office, spewing out outrage and threats at the over matched supervisor. She claims that her mailman slapped her with the notice left slip, and that he physically touched her person when he did it.

The burly supervisor is tongue tied. He doesn't know what to do. Ms. AMD seems to be a tough and stubborn woman.

The Post Office station manager hears the altercation and comes up to the window. The station manager is a tough and stubborn woman too, and much crazier than Ms. AMD when she needs to be. She hears the story and asks to see the video.

There is nothing caught on film that confirms Ms. AMD's story. If anything, the digitally captured evidence seems to contradict her completely. "It looks to me like you were harassing my letter carrier," tough and stubborn station manager says. "Get out of here before I call the Postal Inspectors."

The humiliated and humbled Ms. AMD meekly staggers out of the Post Office lobby, her directorial debut still in the can, where it will probably never be seen again by human eyes. There will be no Oscars, no Golden Globes, not even straight to video - maybe not even You Tube. Ms. AMD makes no attempt to resurrect her fledgling film career. Nearly a year has gone by, but she has yet to make her presence known again to the mailman, to inquire about the possibilities of shooting a sequel. The mailman is just fine with this; his blue uniform makes him look fat on film.

Rate Your Job on the Basis of Crazy Customers - Five Being Craziest

A Typical Day in a Letter Carrier's Life


Mel Carriere (author) from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on April 25, 2016:

Thank you Peggy. I won't hold that against you, just be warned that sometimes I don't take it easy on the people upstairs, though I know there are good people in the secret Satanic cult you all belong to. Thanks for dropping in.

Peggy on April 25, 2016:

I'm a post master. Love your stuff.

Mel Carriere (author) from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on February 14, 2016:

You're an eternal optimist, Lawrence, whereas I am somewhat of a cynic, but I'm sure we would get along. Thanks again.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on February 14, 2016:


I try to stick to the good things or things that people can laugh about later but yes easily a series!


Mel Carriere (author) from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on February 14, 2016:

Sorry about my late response, Lawrence. I am sure you get your share of loonies. When I ride the bus, I see some patrons getting belligerent with the drivers about things that are completely out of their control. You could probably write a series of hubs on this subject yourself. Thanks for reading!

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on February 09, 2016:


Yep, we've got 'em too! I even had one call to lay a complaint while she was on my bus (I'd charged her 16 year old son who doesn't attend school an adult fare and refused to give the child discount!) She was told by my supervisor "Madam, the driver is quite correct"!

Enjoyed this hub but hope you don't get too many more customers like these.


Mel Carriere (author) from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on February 02, 2016:

Just like me Clayton. 22 years in December. Thanks for reading!

Clayton Vargeson on February 02, 2016:

Funny as always Mel. If you think Mel is telling stories, just ask another letter carrier and truth be told. I have 22 years of crazy stories.

Mel Carriere (author) from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on January 30, 2016:

prarieprincess it can be fun out there, with the exception of an occasional crazy. Thanks for reading!

Mel Carriere (author) from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on January 30, 2016:

Deb, the worst part is that both these stories were completely true, no need for poetic license. Thanks for reading!

Sharilee Swaity from Canada on January 30, 2016:

Mel, this was funny! I had never realized the craziness you guys must face out there, but it makes sense, since you deal with all kinds. Have fun out there!

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on January 24, 2016:

Those are pretty fun, but I'm sure that there is some degree of truth in there. You must have to deal with plenty of crazies.

Mel Carriere (author) from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on January 24, 2016:

Thank you Larry. Always glad to deliver a few cheap laughs when and where I can. Thanks for reading!

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on January 24, 2016:

I really got a good laugh from this one. Thanks so much for another wonderfully written article:-)

Mel Carriere (author) from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on January 23, 2016:

We can laugh about it now but at the time it was terrible Linda. I'm sure every job or every profession has to deal with this. Thanks for dropping by, I hope you have a great weekend!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on January 23, 2016:

This is another entertaining hub about the problems that letter carriers face. I'm sure that the letter carriers aren't entertained in these situations, though! It sounds like they have a much harder job than most people realize.

Mel Carriere (author) from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on January 23, 2016:

Lol, Svetlana, I'm sure as a Russian you have read a lot of the same thick books I have, probably required reading for brutal Siberian blizzards. Unlike me, you have moved on.

Mel Carriere (author) from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on January 23, 2016:

Mills, every job or profession has its own collection of "Customers from Hell" stories. Trying to satisfy (probably in vain), 1% of disgruntled, malcontent customers deflect a lot of time and energy away from the deserving 99%. But what can you do? It's just an annoying fact of life. Thanks for reading!

Lana Adler from California on January 22, 2016:

Lol it makes a lot more sense now that I know where your inspiration comes from!

Pat Mills from East Chicago, Indiana on January 22, 2016:

I would share some of the horror stories of a job where too many people think they're a part of my department or in my chain of command, but I don't hate my job so much that I'd risk losing it. Sad to say, though, that documenting and fighting are a part of so many jobs.

Mel Carriere (author) from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on January 22, 2016:

Eric I hope you and your deductibles are doing well enough over in the Sprung Valley that you don't have to depend on Uncle Sam's big but empty pockets. We are a bit crazy, but you made us that way. Thanks for reading!

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on January 22, 2016:

The mailman did it. What a story to cover the arses of you crazy drivers. Now I know how to deal with my deductibles --- damn the torpedoes full speed ahead.

Mel Carriere (author) from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on January 22, 2016:

I would love to write some poems here Kim, but poems only come to me once in a great while on the breeze. If I try to force them out they are very bland. I had a couple of what I thought were really good poems on Bubblews but they went down with the ship. Furthermore, as I mentioned in my response to Svetlana, I am so 19th century I even predate Walt Whitman and his leaves of grass. I've never heard of free verse, I'm strictly a rhymer.

How's that for a caffeine fueled rant! Thanks for reading!

Mel Carriere (author) from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on January 22, 2016:

Okay Svetlana I asked for it and I got it. You're right, a long unbroken block of text is so 19th century. Now you know from what era my inspiration comes from. The problem is that my ideas branch off into so many sub ideas and I was classically trained by Mrs. Thornhill around 1881 to keep my bananas together in neat bunches. Anyhow, I understand where you are coming from and I'll try to improve. Thanks for reading you troll (lol)!

Lana Adler from California on January 22, 2016:

Ok, you've asked for it...Ready?

I always thought your articles can use more paragraphing... You're a brilliant writer and I've always admired how you can take the most mundane subjects and turn them into these dramatic nail-biting sagas exhibiting the human condition. But I think when you use long paragraphs, especially in the beginning, it makes it harder to read...Just a small suggestion so you don't feel like you never get any criticism :)

Damn that was hard!!

ocfireflies from North Carolina on January 22, 2016:

or when everything else fails, write a poem...

; ) Kim

Mel Carriere (author) from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on January 22, 2016:

You are very welcome Mike. You make my day by giving me a favorable review. I am happy you notice that your letter carrier delivers mail with mangled addresses. Most customers don't notice, or don't care, that the mailman or mail lady is giving an extra effort to keep their customers happy. Thank you for dropping in!

Old Poolman on January 22, 2016:

Mel - Once again you started off my day with a great belly laugh. I was never with the Postal Service but spent many years with the phone company and then owned my own business doing swimming pool service and repairs. So needless to say I have had to deal with many customers who seemed to be off their meds for at least that day.

I have told you before that I am a fan of the Postal Service and use them exclusively for all of my shipping needs. I sometimes receive mail where the sender mangled my address but somehow or other the letter shows up in my box.

Their improved package tracking system is fantastic.

Thanks so much for making my day Mel.

Mel Carriere (author) from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on January 22, 2016:

I hope you don't find anybody this crazy, Bill. I hope you have a great day out there in the jungle. I'm glad you got a smile out of this. Thanks for reading!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 22, 2016:

I'm just about to leave the house on my part-time sales route, and you provided the humor I need as I prepare to face customers. Thanks, Mel....great read this morning.

Mel Carriere (author) from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on January 22, 2016:

It is possible you have an inexperienced letter carrier on your route kbdressman. I am assuming you have gone to the Post Office to complain? Hmm...maybe I should write Mailmen from hell. You've given me an idea. Try baking him some cookies, so he will remember you. Thanks for reading!

kbdressman from Harlem, New York on January 21, 2016:

Hehe! Thanks for the smile! I'm currently having trouble with my Post office confusing my address for an address 2 blocks East of my address. (Same house number different street, but the other street is named so they just guess that my street number matches the name of that street and repeatedly mis-deliver my mail.) It's frustrating when we're more than 3 weeks into the semester and I still don't have all my textbooks because the manager at the apartment building at the other address had the packages returned to sender. It was fun to read this piece going the other direction under the circumstances.

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