It’s never on time, even with medical supplies and information Barnes needs to care for her 16-year-old granddaughter, who has cerebral palsy, scoliosis and spina bifida.
“She’s missed appointments and referrals when it doesn’t come,’’ she said. “I rely on the post office for her.’’
To many patrons, it is the post office from hell.
Disgusted customers are leaving blistering online reviews about snail-like service and rude, lackadaisical, unprofessional employees. The phone, they say, is always off the hook. Customers I talked to walking out of the facility were just as irate as the ones who left 25 comments on the postal website.
“It’s got to be the worst post office in Newark,’’ said Rose Smith, who is a trustee of a Newark church. “They stop, take a break, come outside.’’
Customers said the wait for packages or to get postal products has been as long as an hour, with the line going out the door.
In the neighborhood, it’s not any better.
On South 10th Street, near South Orange Avenue, Barnes and her neighbors say they’ve had a merry-go-round of 10 to 15 carriers over the past year and have gone without mail for three days.
It was longer than that for Marjorie Morgan last month. She says her diabetes medication was two weeks late and she was about to run out. She said the post office sent her an email about its attempt to deliver her package three times in the same day and that she was not home.
Three times? That was the red flag, she said, and it made her go to the post office.
“They don’t’ do that,’’ she said. “My medicine was at the post office sitting there for two weeks.’’
Harold Lewis wasn’t so fortunate. He said he had to pay a $25 late fee on his credit card bill after the mail was a month late. “They need to do something about this,’’ he said. “We’re catching hell.’’
When it does get delivered, residents say they are not sure if it’s the mail carrier or not who brings it, because they rarely wear a uniform. Residents of multifamily homes say things have gotten so backed up that bundles of unsorted mail are just shoved in the first open mail box carriers come across, kind of like, “Here you go, you go figure it out.”
Residents sometimes have found pieces of mail across the street at another house.
“You have to fish through (to find) your own mail,’’ said Cassandra Farmer, who got a stack of mail at 8 p.m. on Tuesday.
George Flood, a U.S. postal spokesman for the Northeast area, said the postal service is aware of customer complaints. After a review of operations on March 3, he said, staffing adjustments were made to speed things up, and the system to pick up packages was revamped so customers don’t wait a long time.
Flood said there’s no excuse for rude behavior from postal employees, and he acknowledged residents should not go days without mail. A high turnover of employees and a rough winter affected delivery times to residences, he said.
But if people are still having problems, Flood said they can call Cynthia Conklin, the customer relations coordinator in Newark, at (973) 693-5231 or the district office of customer affairs for North Jersey at (732) 819-3260.
They can expect a call from Barnes.
After that employee hung up on her this week, she drove over there and it wasn’t pretty.
She had a name, and a temper, and she let him have it.
“You’re rude,’’ she said loudly. “You hung up on me. You shouldn’t be working at the post office.’’
“Get out of my face,’’ the employee said, waving his finger from behind the thick security partition.
She called for the manager, who escorted her to the back to talk about her problem. After 15 minutes or so, she walked outside empty-handed with no mail.
A postal employee was ringing her bell the next day at 9 a.m. sharp, she said.
The package that supposedly wasn’t there the day before was in her hand.