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6 Ways To Support Postal Carriers & Delivery Workers

We’ve always been thankful for the letter carriers and delivery drivers who bring subscription boxes to our doorsteps, but it’s particularly top-of-mind these days. If you’re practicing social distancing and staying at home, you’re most likely relying on delivery workers to get essentials like meal kits and groceries, restaurant takeout, and perhaps wine in addition to your usual mail and packages.

The risk of catching COVID-19 through the mail is thought to be low, as the virus has poor survivability on surfaces according to the WHO in this statement from USPS. (That said, it hasn’t been studied very thoroughly yet. The WHO also recommends disinfecting surfaces if they may be affected, as well as hand washing after touching surfaces and avoiding touching your face. Many people are taking extra precautions by letting non-perishable packages sit unopened for a few days before opening.)

We wanted to know what we could do to help make deliveries easier, and to let our carriers know how thankful we are. We asked our regular delivery drivers (Thanks, Neil!) and our friends who work in the industry how we can help, and got a lot of good ideas (most of which are free and accessible to anyone). Here’s what we learned:

 

Keep A Clear Path

Several drivers we talked to mentioned that they are seeing more packages in their systems now than during their peak holiday season. This means they have more work to do than ever before, so making delivery as efficient and safe as possible is particularly important right now!

One easy thing that you can do is to be sure your carriers have a clear path to your mailbox or porch, and eliminating anything they might touch on their way to dropping off your mail. If you have a fence, consider keeping the gate open. Make sure your sidewalks and pathways are clear by keeping yard tools and children’s toys out of the way. In warmer weather, take care to keep landscaping pruned and generally keep your pathways safe.

It’s also a good idea to try and keep kids and dogs indoors during the times when deliveries usually happen, if possible.

 

Schedule Pickups for Large Packages

I was particularly concerned about outgoing mail; we have some bills we can’t pay online, and sometimes product returns that need shipped or care packages we are sending to friends. Is it still OK to leave packages out to pick up, or is it better to drop mail in a post box when we’re out on a walk?

Our USPS carriers didn’t mind picking up letters, but did recommend scheduling a pickup if you have a package. This helps make their routes more efficient, since they can drive straight to your door and won’t need to carry your outgoing packages up and down the street while they work on delivering mail.

 

Avoid Signature Delivery, Or Make Sure You’re Home

Now is a great time to waive signatures on packages, especially if you’re working from home anyway. Try signing up for text alerts on your tracking number so you can be notified quickly, or simply post up close to the door and wait if you can.

Of course, it’s not possible for all signatures to be waived, such as on alcohol deliveries or for very important and high-value packages. Many people are ordering wine online for the first time and aren’t aware that signatures are required for alcohol delivery! In that case, the most important thing you can do is be home to accept your package; otherwise your driver will have to leave a note and haul the package back to the truck, adding time to their route.

USPS is temporarily adapting their signature procedure and will sign on your behalf (in your presence) to ensure contact-less delivery. We haven’t heard of other carriers adapting their signature policies yet.

 

Share Excess Supplies

Gloves and hand sanitizer are in short supply, and you can’t expect that your local post office is stocking their carriers up on these products. Our local delivery workers already had their own personal stashes in their trucks, but mentioned that some of their peers hadn’t been able to find hand sanitizer in stores. They confirmed that leaving extras out with a note to take some if needed was an appreciated gesture.

 

For Paid Services, Tip Generously

Ordering take-out for delivery through a popular service like DoorDash? Tipping extra is a huge way to show your appreciation. Consider how much you’d spend if you were dining out, and the convenience of not needing to leave your home. Many delivery workers are contract or gig workers who rely on tips for most of their income; going above and beyond is the best way you can show your support, should you choose to use these services.

 

Just Say Thanks

Our carriers were all thrilled to talk to us about how we could help support them. With social distancing recommendations in place, it can be easy to fall into avoiding the gaze of other people on the street. A smile, a wave, and a thank you goes a long way! If you can talk to your delivery folks in person, feel free to ask if there’s anything else you can do to help them, too. Your local area might have unique needs that are different than what we’re seeing here.

If you don’t typically see your drivers face-to-face, try leaving a sign on your door! It’s a fun project to do with kids to help teach empathy and thanks. There are also plenty of artists and designers making free versions to download right now, like this one from Pittsburgh designer Alternate Histories.

 

How are you saying thank you?

I’m definitely making a sign with our kids tonight to hang on our door. Any other recommendations to share?

Written by Lacey Volk

Lacey Volk

Lacey’s introduction to the world of subscription boxes was Julep Maven, but she quickly moved on once she discovered there were subscriptions for cooking, coffee, and art supplies. Current favorites include Crate Chef and Ecocentric Mom, and she’s looking forward to trying more.

Posted in Subscription Box News| 41 comments

Comments (41)

  1. Tips are not required or obligated. You can be offended all day by that reality but it doesn’t change the fact that tips are not required. I’m not saying you shouldn’t tip but you also shouldn’t be having a fit if someone else chooses not to.

  2. word. It’s been pouring rain here, on top of everything else, which can’t be fun, so I left a little care package with a travel-sized purell, a few pairs of latex gloves, and a new N95 mask, along with a printed-out amazon gift card saying thanks, wrapped up in plastic with a sign on it for my mail carrier.

    *USPS workers are technically not allowed to accept tips for ‘just doing their job;’ even if you’re friendly with them, they’re still only allowed to accept gifts/tips with a value of $20 or less. Amazon gift cards online start at $25 online so… meh. She can just leave it if she feels weird [I doubt she will].

  3. The FedEx guy who brought my Winc wine this week just left it on the doorstep. Didn’t even knock, let alone require a signature.

  4. I worked in a coffee shop, and I used tips for laundry supplies/costs. I spent most of my days on my feet as a busboy. Every penny helped while I worked two jobs and went to university classes full-time. It is hard to rely on tips, but sometimes there is no choice.

  5. Lacey or whoever ~ Thanks for removing some very unkind posts. 🙂

  6. So I read this before work this morning. I order a lot of things, a lot. I have a shared entryway with my neighbor, so my postal worker delivers packages inside the hallway for me.
    After work, I bought a thank you card (and added a nice tip) and a large container that I put on the porch so she can leave my packages there and not have to touch the doors. (my neighbor is retired and always home, and I am not overly concerned about people stealing -plus the box should help) Plus, it reduces the outside contact for my neighbor.
    I order so much that I should have said thank you to her many times before!

  7. My husband is a supervisor at USPS. And although he is not at this time supervising the janitorial staff, he works very closely with them. He works at a general mail facility. I can assure everyone that USPS takes cleanliness very seriously in general, and now more than ever. The janitorial staff and others are constantly washing all surfaces and equipment. His facility recently received a shipment of 55-gallon barrels of isopropyl alcohol and 60-80 pallets of hand sanitizer.

  8. Thanks for this post. As someone who has worked service jobs most of my life, I agree wholeheartedly. Tip as much as you can to these people who are bringing you stuff!! They are literally keeping the world working right now. Love and peace to all.

  9. #1 way to support your postal worker is to order only essentials. Yeah I get it, you’re stuck home and you’re bored. But they don’t have the option of staying home. You’re putting not only them but also yourself at further risk by buying things online that aren’t necessary.

    • This is such bad advice if you care about postal workers. It is predicted that the postal service will shut down as early as June due to the fall off in mail due to the coronavirus. Even before that happens, if there isn’t enough mail routes will be consolidated and carriers will be laid off. The postal workers I know would rather take extra precautions while still having a job rather than being laid off. The best way to support the postal service is to use it, while also being kind and helpful to your personal postal worker.

      • I don’t think I can post links here, but there have been news stories on it from MSN and CBS and more. Just Google “post office to shut down by June” and you will see some of the stories.

        Now, I’m not saying that they will. I’m just saying that there is an actual worry out there about this issue.

      • USPS’s issue is not just a slow down in volume; that’s actually quite minimal. The bigger concern is that they’re required to fund retirement and retirement medical out 75 years — meaning that they’re covering for people who aren’t even born yet! Congress needs to rescind that requirement (hopefully permanently).

    • So basically put them out of work?? Great advice.

    • You say that, on a subscription site that focuses on non essentials…

  10. We should definitely spread kindness and tip our “service” people as much as you possibly can. This is a difficult time for so many people. Giving to others actually makes you feel better. I have a small on line business and I’ve been adding small gifts to every order. The comments and reviews I receive really brighten my day!

  11. To all non tippers, remember these driver’s have your food in the vehicle and can do anything to it enroute. They can see from the jump if you tip or not. These apps format it in such a way if they don’t accept orders with no tip, they get punished so they basically have to do it all. They can either get your food to you safely or take liberties with it enroute, your choice lol

    • So tip in excess out of fear so people who choose to deliver food do not take liberties?

  12. Some folks in the comments have never worked a service job, and it shows.

  13. Thanks Lacey! Perfect timing!

    I’ll definitely do the things suggested to make our delivery people’s job a little easier and let them know how much we appreciate them.

  14. If you’re offended by someone suggesting you tip the person who uses and maintains their own vehicle to bring you food the way waitstaff does in a sit down restaurant then I suggest you venture out during a pandemic and pick up the food yourself. They’re doing a job where they rely on tips to survive. How dare you act like they’re doing you a favor.

    • That would require venturing out into the crowded (I have MS and Lupus so my immune system isn’t pandemic ready) , but I’ll be going so that can cook at home. However, if I get food delivered they get tipped generously. I delivered pizzas in college and we remember who the non tippers are. Doordash and other gig delivery drivers can choose to not accept orders. They don’t have to take those deliveries like in house drivers.

      • I wonder if they would accept hand made sanitizer. The kind with aloe gel, alcohol, and essential oils. I would leave this for mine weekly if accepted. Maybe with a handmade with appreciation note….

    • Well said. I’m honestly shocked at the thoughtlessness of some people on here. Delivery drivers are literally risking their lives to get your food to you, and you’re offended because someone told you to tip them. Grow up.

  15. I’m the nut that randomly rolled down my car window to thank my mail carrier when I saw her! It took her by surprise but I’m so grateful for these essential workers. It’s a hard job anyway and to add this volume and the fear of being out in public. Kudos to them, grocery store staff, etc!

  16. I left Lysol & a sanitizer for my mail carrier last week. If you have an extra it’s good to share.

    • word. It’s been pouring rain here, on top of everything else, which can’t be fun, so I left a little care package with a travel-sized purell, a few pairs of latex gloves, and a new N95 mask, along with a printed-out amazon gift card saying thanks, wrapped up in plastic with a sign on it for my mail carrier.

      *USPS workers are technically not allowed to accept tips for ‘just doing their job;’ even if you’re friendly with them, they’re still only allowed to accept gifts/tips with a value of $20 or less. Amazon gift cards online start at $25 online so… meh. She can just leave it if she feels weird [I doubt she will].

  17. I keep Tonya, my mail carrier, very busy. Earlier this week I left a thank you note, Target gift card and candle in the mailbox for her because she always goes the extra mile. I am very grateful for all the people working to keep us safe and able to stay home.

  18. Definitely agree with tipping! So many restaurants & app delivery services are advertising “free delivery!” all over the place that I feel like sometimes people need a blanket reminder that delivery is NOT free: you MUST tip your driver!

    It’s like tipping a server in a restaurant: some delivery drivers do not even make minimum wage for their services because it is ~presumed~ they will be receiving tips!

    • And you need a blanket reminder that People are under no obligation to tip. It’s up to the employer to provide their workers with adequate wages, and me ordering food Has nothing to do with that.

      • If you continue to order food from a place that underpays its workers, then you are reinforcing the employer behavior you supposedly deplore. So if you feel so strongly that you shouldn’t have to tip because employers should pay better wages, stop ordering. Show you care about workers’ wages with your wallet. Unless the real reason you don’t want to tip is just because it inconveniences you.

      • These people rely on tips as part of their income. I’m guessing that you have never worked a job in any kind of food service, because no former wait staff or delivery driver would ever say such a thing. They count on tips to supplement their abysmal wages. I would encourage you to do some research, and maybe talk to some food service workers and get their perspective. It might help you understand just how jaw dropping your comment sounds.

      • You can earn the minimum wage and still qualify for good stamps. That is obscene. Raise the minimum wage AND tip or dont eat out, get delivery, haircuts etc. Etc.

      • Food stamps. Dang auto correct

      • You clearly have no idea about the ppl who are delivering food and groceries lol!! They are basically independent contractors working for JUST TIPS!! Ppl like you are what makes me feel so incredibly bad for these ppl especially at a time like this. Please, to anyone who reads that comment know it’s not true and they are counting on tips and tips ONLY to survive! If you can’t afford to tip at this time please just go pick up the order🙏🏻

    • Ordering out is also not mandatory. If you don’t want to tip, don’t order food. The GrubHub delivery charge (as an example) is $5.99. Once that gets split all the way around (GrubHub has to make money somehow…), the driver can’t be making more than a few dollars for a trip that could take 20-30 minutes or more. They need the tips to even approach minimum wage. As independent contractors, most have to pay for their own health insurance (unless they are on a family member’s) on top of maintaining their vehicles.

      Yes, it would be ideal for companies to pay workers a living wage, but we all know that doesn’t happen, and it isn’t going to happen anytime soon, and shorting the workers to spite the company they deliver for is not a good form of protest against that.

    • If you don’t tip, you shouldn’t be allowed the luxury of ordering food. CHEAP.

  19. Since we only have one container of Lysol wipes, I’ve been spraying a paper towel with Lysol and wiping down my mailbox. I meant to write a note and tape it (hanging inside) of my box to let them know that. I don’t know if that makes them feel any better or not though.
    We haven’t got mail everyday, lately, which makes me think they are not hitting each mailbox. Not even junk mail, its odd.

    • I have 2 containers of bleach wipes but can’t find a paper towel in a store to save my life. (We’ve been using painter’s rags from Home Depot instead.)

    • I’ve been having the same experience this week, which is really strange! No junk mail, no magazines, no catalogs. I assume they’re reducing mail for safety reasons, which I’m happy about, but I do miss the little daily pick-me-up.

      • As I understand it, I believe the Postal Service is required to post all deliverable mail. I suspect that you may be getting less nowadays because the companies/organizations that mail them are not working or have only a skeleton crew available for mail production and shipping. My non-expert $0.02. 🙂
        If only that was the case with junk email, nuance voicemail, unsolicited texts…🙄

    • I realized about a year ago (because there’re 3 apartments in this building, and either all or none would get flyers/junk mail), that if there wasn’t something specific or important-seeming (like a piece of mail that’s addressed to someone, but pretty clearly an offer for a scammy credit card), they don’t bother coming up here. Sometimes even if there is something specific, they won’t bother (I’ve had MSA swap boxes say ‘delivered’ online when they were definitely not). It pretty much always shows up the day after though, so I figure it’s not a huge deal. I’m at the end of a street (possibly route) and there are stairs to climb, so I might skip me if I thought it could wait a day…

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