(US) Wrong mailman picked up gift
December 24, 2021 11:19 AM   Subscribe

I left a little box of candy in our mailbox for our mailman. Today, apparently our mailman had a substitute, because a different mailman picked up the candy (I happened to be at the window and saw). Do you suppose I should leave out another gift for our regular mailman? Merry Xmas to all MF Xmas-celebrators!
posted by mpark to Human Relations (9 answers total)
posted by ivanthenotsoterrible at 11:26 AM on December 24, 2021 [9 favorites]

Best answer: I read r/usps on reddit and generally the subs will give the regulars the gifts they pick up. It is not guaranteed but it is generally understood that the gifts are for the regulars.
posted by soelo at 11:38 AM on December 24, 2021 [14 favorites]

Why not?

Worst case your regular mailman has two boxes of candy. As worst cases go I'll take it.
posted by away for regrooving at 12:00 PM on December 24, 2021 [11 favorites]

Best answer: Hehe, when I was a substitute mail carrier, I turned down a ton of gifts people kept trying to give me around Christmas time. Then when I got back the regular route person was waiting for me. Where's all my stuff? she asked. I said, Um, they told us in training that as government workers we're not supposed to accept gifts because it has the appearance of wrongdoing, bribery and favoritism. She was furious and yelled, Those were my gifts! It took me way too long to learn that the rules they taught us in training were really more like suggestions. So yeah, regular carrier probably got the gift.
posted by jabah at 12:15 PM on December 24, 2021 [27 favorites]

I believe postal carriers are specifically allowed to accept gifts up to $25, not including booze. My dad always left a bottle of bourbon for our mail carrier, but that was the 70s, so...
posted by COD at 2:08 PM on December 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I'd go with just giving twice. Like away for regrooving said there is practically no down side and a lot of upside.

What exactly would a corrupt mail carrier do in exchange for a box of chocolates? I'm not seeing that they have a lot of power to make things happen for you.

There are all sorts of crime a carrier can assist with. Unlikely as that is to happen the purpose of such policies is to avoid even the appearance of potential conflict/bribes occuring.

The 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."
posted by Mitheral at 2:52 PM on December 24, 2021 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I made cookies, I hope the substitute enjoyed them. I left more cookies the next day. Substitute mail carriers deserve treats, too.
posted by theora55 at 6:16 AM on December 25, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: If you don't know your regular mail(person's) name, a label 'To my regular mailman' should direct the sub to give the gift to your regular mailperson.
If left without such a label, it is up to the sub, who may decide to keep or to give it to the regular. Many subs work just as hard as the regulars and also deserve gifts.

source - my father - rural delivery for 20 years. (of course, this may be just the 'rule' from his particular post office.
posted by gardenkatz at 5:56 AM on December 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I intended to take another box of candy and talk to our regular mailperson, with the thought of giving it to him if his sub hadn't, or if the sub had, asking him to give the sub the second box. Of course, there was a risk of throwing his sub under the bus (depending on what the local rules are here).
But today a third mailperson showed up, so I don't know what the heck is going on any more.
Anyway, this situation only became a problem because I happened to see the sub. Presumably this sub/regular mixup happens all the time without being noticed and things work out, so I'm just going to pretend I saw nothing. At least someone got some candy.
posted by mpark at 6:35 PM on December 27, 2021

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