Customers upset with area post office for unpredictable midday closures

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Customer complaints and FOX 4 inquiries have prompted policy change at a northland post office.

Dozens of customers reached out to FOX 4, angry about getting turned away at from the post office off N. Brighton and Antioch during lunch hours. That’s the time of day many people use in the day to take care of errands, and for northlanders who need to buy stamps or mail a package, it’s been a little harder to cross that off the to-do list.

The hours are clearly marked on a sign on the side of the building, but customers say the staff has been taking some lunch-hour liberties.

Neither snow, nor, rain nor heat will stop your postal service but lunch is another question. At this US Post Office location staffing is limited. Customers who go there say only one clerk mans the counter.

“To close it at lunch, I don’t know if that’s such a good idea. There was like nine people ahead of me and when I left, another nine people behind me,” said postal customer Gisela Marino.

FOX 4’s Megan Dillard walked into the post office Wednesday morning and found a paper sign taped to the glass door. It read “Closed for lunch will return at 3:00 pm sorry for any inconvenience.”

FOX 4 asked the clerk at the desk inside when specifically the lunch break started.

He said, “It just depends. Until they decide what they’re going to do about manpower.”

The worker told FOX 4 that Wednesday’s closing would be from one to three in the afternoon. For customers, that begged the question:

“Who needs a two-hour lunch break? Nobody reasonably gets two hours for lunch.”

The postal service confirmed a staffing issue and said management is addressing it, but that provided no comfort to the dozens of people who said they were turned away and had no clue about the random closings until they got there.

“A lot of people come here and do it on lunch. They come here and mail their packages or whatever else it is,” Marino said.

After an initial report during FOX 4 News at Noon, a new sign appeared on the window, this time listing a one-hour closing and a set time.

Voicemails and texts to two listed media contacts with the postal service were not returned. FOX 4 also called that branch directly and asked for the manager by name. FOX 4’s Megan Dillard watched as an employee answered the phone, stepped outside to check the sign on the door while still on the phone with her, and then told her that the manager “no longer works at that branch.”

FOX 4 then sent this list of questions to a Communication Specialist with the postal service.

  1. Is the office authorized to close for lunch?
  2. How was the office deciding before when to close? The manager on site? Does she have to get it cleared with the postal service?
  3. Is it normal policy to give an employee a two-hour lunch?
  4. The new sign lists a one-hour lunch each day until March 16. What happens on that day?
  5. Is this because of staffing?

FOX 4 then received the following response from the post office:

“The U.S. Postal Service apologizes to our customers at the Antioch Station who have been inconvenienced. This is a lightly visited office and volume and traffic conditions at the retail window only warrant one employee at that Post Office. To clarify the signage posted at the office, beginning March 26, 2015, the Antioch Station Post Office will close from 1 to 2 p.m. local time which is not a time period of peak traffic volume.”

The postal service also confirmed there will not be any more closings until March 16. The postal service is required to give a 30-day notice to the community before making any changes to hours.

Earlier coverage:

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