Present for post office workers?
February 21, 2019 6:46 AM   Subscribe

Workers at my local post office basically have to do extra work for me and are being nice about it. I would like to bring them a small (edible?) gift to maintain good will and say thank you. Can I? What do I bring?

I can't receive packages at my house - they get stolen. I have a small PO box.

In the short term, I am receiving a LOT of "objects too large for box" at my PO box. Like, up to ten a week. None are huge, heavy or require special handling, but all need to be put on the "package too large for box" shelf and fetched when I pick them up. (Even if I rented the largest available box, it would not be sufficient until I'm done with [unusual circumstance].)

I thank the post office staff effusively every time I pick them up (about twice a week - post office hours are so short that I must take vacation time to make a mid-week pickup and there is no possibility of doing more). And I understand that this is their job and it's not really, really awful.

None the less, this is immensely helpful to me and it is extra work for them. I thought I would bring them a small gift, like candy or something. Is this a good idea? Can they accept small gifts? Would something else be better?
posted by Frowner to Human Relations (13 answers total)
I gave my local post office workers a big box of chocolate in a similar situation.
posted by kariebookish at 6:48 AM on February 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

During one busy holiday season, when it seemed like we were getting multiple deliveries every day, I set out a bunch of red bulls, water, other drinks, and fudge, on the porch with a sign that read "For UPS, USPS, FedEx and all the rest of Santa's Helpers." Our regular UPS driver made reference to it for months afterwards. I gotta believe that stuff is super-appreciated, especially when you already have a sort-of-relationship already underway. That is, a box of doughnuts or plate of cookies from you would probably be received better than from some rando who they'd not met before.
posted by jquinby at 7:06 AM on February 21, 2019 [7 favorites]

Do you get the same people serving you? Do you recognize them? I think a box of chocolates would a lovely gesture or an edible flower arrangement

I give $5 Tim Horton cards to my delivery guys if I happen to be at the door when they arrive. It doesn't happen very often, so I just gave the last one out of the 5 I bought last May.
posted by Ftsqg at 7:30 AM on February 21, 2019

Current USPS policy on gifts:

Employee Tipping and Gift-Receiving Policy

All postal employees, including carriers, must comply with the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Exec­utive Branch. Under these federal regulations, carriers are permitted to accept a gift worth $20 or less from a customer per occasion, such as Christmas. However, cash and cash equivalents, such as checks or gift cards that can be exchanged for cash, must never be accepted in any amount. Furthermore, no employee may accept more than $50 worth of gifts from any one customer in any one calendar year period.

[my bolding]
posted by Weftage at 7:35 AM on February 21, 2019 [4 favorites]

In addition, submit a formal compliment. (From here, select No/Personnel/Post Office Clerk [or Supervisor]/I have a Compliment).
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 7:42 AM on February 21, 2019 [6 favorites]

The people at my local post office LOVE snacks of any kind and around holidaytime are regularly deluged with home baked nums, bags of chips and boxes of chocolates. They seem to enjoy them and share them around if they have too many.
posted by jessamyn at 7:47 AM on February 21, 2019

I brought pizza at lunchtime after a bit of (probably obvious) research, for my mechanic and his crew. Topping preference and the best time/day to bring it.
I really appreciate my mechanic's shop
posted by Redhush at 8:27 AM on February 21, 2019

In general I like to give gifts that are somewhat tamper proof (still sealed in a box for example). That way they know for sure they aren't dealing with an an angry customer.
posted by poe at 9:11 AM on February 21, 2019 [5 favorites]

Cookies/donuts or any kind of tasty food is welcome if you take it to the post office; less so if the carrier has to pick it up and cart it around on their route. Your local may have some kind of regulations like "only sealed food" but I doubt it. Your carrier is only in the office in the early morning before they head out on their route and when they get back in the PM they usually just wanna clock out and go home, not eat. But your packages are being handled by the office staff, sounds like, so they will be there all day and could also appreciate pizza, for example. Thank you for doing this! Postal folks do work hard and most of their customer contact is people complaining, so a nice gesture like this is huge to them.
posted by The otter lady at 11:55 AM on February 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm in a similar situation with my mail carrier, so I've opted to give her a holiday gift every year. Apparently the post office has rules about this. I opted for a $20 Starbucks card, seeing as they are ubiquitous and, even if she doesn't drink coffee, it's an easy place to stop for a sandwich, they sell a variety of hot and cold drinks including bottles of water, etc. (My case is that of one person going the extra mile, not a whole office of people.)

I went that way instead of baked goods or the like because I wasn't sure about things like allergies, dietary restrictions, what she likes, etc. Also, because it's way easier to give a card in an envelope to a mail carrier on her route rather than burdening her with something else to carry around.
posted by the milkman, the paper boy at 12:58 PM on February 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

I also have a PO box with dozens of 'oversize' packages a month. You can totally bring a small gift if you'd like. I've done everything including cookies, holiday cards and (most recently) two untouched leftover pizzas from my son's birthday party.

Also, having once worked in retail I found that regulars are one of the best part of the job (unless you're one of THOSE regulars, which you clearly aren't). If they know your box number and just ask "hey Frowner, how many today?" you're officially a wanted USPS regular. Be friendly, call 'em by name, talk about the weather, get more personal if you'd like!
posted by noloveforned at 1:26 PM on February 21, 2019

I work in a library where we routinely have customers with recurring slightly irksome things, like getting a huge number of books requested in so they don't fit on the hold shelf, or calling every morning to reserve a study room. We certainly don't mind doing any of it, and don't even expect special thanks or apologies, but the one study-room lady who brings us a box of chocolates every few months is our VERY FAVORITE PERSON.
posted by exceptinsects at 6:14 PM on February 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

My husband has about 6 or 7 Starbucks cards in his wallet right now from the customers on his postal route. They are much appreciated (and acceptable for him to receive.) Food allergies mean any food related gifts (like cookies) usually end up being eaten by me.
posted by vespabelle at 7:54 PM on February 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

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