By: Olivia Price (Loyola Sophomore)
While the US Postal Service is struggling to carry out mail deliveries on time, occupants of Rogers Park and surrounding north side neighborhoods are troubled by the insufficiency in their expected routine postage.
Rogers Park residents are distressed and inconvenienced by the recent mail delays that have been ongoing for months with the recent election adding to the latent deliveries. By October 29 there had been 122 million mail-in ballots that were processed and delivered by the USPS, a record breaking amount that required extra measures and time on behalf of postal workers. The lack of funding for the US Postal Service combined with the effects of the progressing COVID-19 Pandemic has left the institution with a lack of employees to keep up functional offices and mail service.
“I don’t know if it has to do with that whole USPS fiasco that happened before the election but my mail is always arriving about two weeks late,” said 22-year-old Samuel Ramsey, an Edgewater local and Columbia College student. He often sends and receives packages between friends in South Carolina and has found the exchanges to take more time than they did during the summer.
As the holiday season approaches there is a significant increase in online shopping and people expecting fast service. The Postal Service is challenged with the regular annual demands on top of the surge in e-commerce sales due to the pandemic. According to Forbes, it is expected that there will be a 35% increase in online sales this year as most businesses have taken seasonal bargains online. Although there will be less consumer spending overall, the amount of transactions will have a dramatic increase and effects on the executions of timely mail transport.
Many people have adjusted to making all their purchases, including groceries, to be delivered to avoid going to public spaces. Deirdre Willet, 67, is a retired local of Rogers Park that has since shifted to buying everything via the internet who relies on the USPS and delivery services to provide a quick, contactless delivery.
“I refuse to go out anymore because I can just have things sent here without taking any risks,” she said, “I have noticed how slow the mail has been. That is how I get medications, my books, my letters, and when things are a couple weeks or even a month late, it’s irritating.”
It is estimated by NBC that The Postal Service manages about 4 million prescription drug shipments daily. With so many people across the country dependent on having their medications delivered on time, the mail delays in Rogers Park have impacted the people who rely on daily medicine in the community.
“My son had a month where he didn’t have his ADHD medication because we usually expect it to come in the mail every month but last month it didn’t come,” said Sandra Graves, 44. The mother-of-two opened up about how the late medication directly affected her sons’ performance in school and daily life. Graves expressed the importance of the US Postal Service and how she thinks people need to support the organization while it’s dealing with a funding crisis.
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, a representative of Chicago’s North Side neighborhoods, had been receiving a large amount of complaints regarding the mail. As of November 30 there had been an agreement by the USPS to hire additional employees in Rogers Park according to Schakowsky. Recognizing the complaints members of the community have had with the postal system and has told residents to contact her with any grievances.