, Newburyport, MA

February 1, 2014

Mailbox mix-ups

Rowley resident surprised when package sent in 2012 finally arrives

By Jim Sullivan

---- — ROWLEY — When Rowley resident George Gallant’s wife, Suzanne, made an online purchase of a pair of earrings in December of 2012, the couple had no idea they were about to start a postal odyssey that has gone on for more than a year.

“You drop it in the mailbox and where it goes from there, nobody really knows,” Gallant said. “It’s never-never land.”

Suzanne Gallant ordered her earrings on eBay in December of 2012 and by January of 2013, they hadn’t arrived. The package had tracked as being received and delivered by the Rowley Post Office, but had never made it to the Gallants’ Central Street address. Thinking it was a customer service issue, Suzanne Gallant called an eBay customer service representative and eventually got a replacement.

Around the same time, Gallant realized that he hadn’t gotten his property tax bill. While at Town Hall one day, he asked when the bills would be sent out. He was told they had been already.

“They said I was already late,” Gallant said. “Then I got stuck with the extra payments, the late payments, the interest and all this other stuff.”

Postal service issues are not new to the Gallants. When their regular postal carrier is not working, they often have to make the three-mile trip to the corresponding address on Wethersfield St. to deliver the mail to the family that live there and to get theirs in return. But looking on the positive side of things, both Gallant and his Wethersfield St. counterpart, Paul have struck up a nice rapport along the way.

“I’ve become friends with him,” Gallant said.

Meanwhile, over the summer, Gallant ordered some leather goods online. Once again, the Priority Mail package tracked as having been delivered by the Rowley Post Office, but never showed up on Central or Wethersfield streets. Gallant again went to the Post Office to complain, with little satisfaction.

“This is been going on for the past 15 years and nobody seems to do anything about it,” Gallant said. “It’s like, we can complain but they are not going to listen. I feel like, why bother?”

A replacement order eventually found its way to Gallant but when his wife ordered some handmade fabrics online in December, a surprise came in the mail instead of the fabrics.

When the package didn’t arrive on its scheduled delivery date, Gallant again paid a visit to the Postmaster. The next day, an envelope arrived in his mailbox.

“My wife said, ‘Did you look at the postage date on that thing?’’ he said. “And it was December, 2012.”

Her original package, the earrings from eBay had finally arrived.

“My wife was like, ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe it,’” Gallant said.

The fabrics are still missing and the Gallants have reached an agreement with the vendor, but the replacement will not be the same.

“This is a one of-a-kind of thing,” Gallant said. “And it is not going to be the same thing that she ordered. It’s handmade.”

But the bigger issue at this point for the Gallants is their overall postal service.

“There is stuff stacked on top of stuff, stacked on top of stuff,” Gallant said of the Rowley Post Office. “It seems as though they don’t really care. That’s all I’ve gotten out of it, they don’t care.”

A call to the Rowley Postmaster David Manalaysay was referred to a public relations department in Boston. USPS spokeswoman Melissa Lohnes issued the following statement in an email:

“We appreciate that you have brought this to our attention. We are looking into the situation and are working with our consumer affairs department to address our customer’s recent experience. In the meantime, customers with questions or comments about their mail service can call toll-free 1-800-ASK-USPS or send an email to the Postal Service by clicking on Customer Service at the bottom of the Postal Service’s homepage.”