Insider spoke to one current and one former mail carrier for the United States Postal Service about what their jobs are really like.
They told Insider they hate when people ask them to mail packages or don't control their dogs.
They also wish people would regularly empty their mailboxes and keep in mind that sometimes they are not allowed to leave a package on doorsteps without a signature.
Insider has agreed to only refer to the current United States Postal Service (USPS) employee by his nickname for fear of privacy and job security concerns (though his identity is known to Insider).
Insider has verified that both employees work for/have worked for the USPS through pay stubs and postal identification.
Mail carriers hate when you try to give them packages to mail.
Former mail carrier Miguel Cairo told Insider that most mail carriers can't stand when people try to hand them outgoing packages at the door.
"I hated when this happened. Unless you have a prepaid label, there is nothing a carrier can do to get your package to its destination because they cannot accept payment," said Cairo.
You can increase the chances of your carrier taking the parcel if you apply a prepaid label or sign up for the free package pickup, but some companies do not allow carriers to perform this service at all.
Most of the time, your "missing" packages are usually still in transit.
Misiu of Palatine, Illinois, who has opted to not use his real name for privacy reasons (Insider confirmed his identity), has worked as a mail carrier for more than 20 years.
He told Insider that when a package doesn't arrive on time, it's usually the fault of the sender, not the mail carrier.
"I dislike when customers rudely ask me about a supposedly missing package or blame me for losing it. In most cases, that 'missing' package was just mailed and is in transit, which they would know if they used the provided tracking number," said Misiu.
Online package-tracking services can also prematurely mark a package as "delivered" when the package is actually scheduled for delivery later that day. In these cases, it's always best to call your local post office or contact customer service before confronting your mail carrier about the issue.
Answering the door quickly is one of the most important things you can do for a mail carrier.
Being home for a scheduled delivery and answering the door quickly are the most crucial things anyone can do to make sure their package is received as expected, Cairo told Insider.
"When people don't answer the door for a package or chase the carrier down after they've left, it makes the carrier's job harder because they have to process the package again. As simple as it may seem, answering the door is the one thing I appreciated the most," said Cairo.
If you know you won't be home to receive a package, rescheduling the delivery online or calling the post office can save your mail carrier time and effort.
The United States Postal Service is not funded by tax dollars.
Despite being a service that has been authorized by the US constitution, the United States Postal Service (USPS) receives zero tax dollars in funding. That means taxpayers are not responsible for the salaries of postal workers.
"People's taxes do not pay my salary," said Misiu. All of the revenue generated by the USPS comes from the sale of postage, products, and services.
Mail carriers notice if you ignore them.
Mail carriers notice if customers don't ever acknowledge them, especially if they regularly deliver mail to the same address.
"One thing I really hate is when people ignore me every day and do not respond to my greetings, even though they know who I am because I am their regular mailman," said Misiu.
Though they are on the job, mail carriers always appreciate when people wave or thank them for their work.
Many mail handlers don't like it when there are uncontrolled dogs on someone's property.
Cairo explained that unleashed dogs can be seriously stressful for mail carriers.
"I love dogs, but most mail handlers hate when the first thing they see is a dog running to the door. It's even worse they are in the yard and barking. Depending on the dog, it can be a very scary feeling," said Cairo.
Cairo said that most mail carriers appreciate when people keep their pets (even friendly ones) contained or leashed when they're expecting a mail delivery.
Although it depends on the item and policy, sometimes leaving a package on a doorstep is against the rules for mail carriers.
Mail carriers know it's not fun to see a missed-delivery slip taped to your door, but they're not withholding your package by choice. If a package requires a signature to be delivered, mail carriers cannot just leave it at your door.
"It's frustrating when people are not home to accept packages and they get angry at me for leaving a missed-delivery slip. Carriers are not allowed to leave packages, especially in apartment buildings," said Misiu.
One of the biggest reasons is if a carrier leaves a package outside a home or business, they may get in trouble if that package is subsequently damaged or stolen before the recipient collects it.
Mail carriers wish people would empty their mailboxes regularly.
Looking to make your mail carrier's day? Emptying out your mailbox is a good place to start.
"Please empty your mailbox regularly. If it's too full, I cannot leave any more mail for you. If you are on vacation, request a mail hold so that I can save all your mail at the post office and not try and fit it all into your mailbox," said Misiu.
Making sure your mail is held at the post office is also a smart way to keep your home safe while you're away, as a pile of unopened mail may alert potential burglars to the fact that no one is home.
Postal workers love when customers express their appreciation and gratitude, especially when the weather is rough.
They may just be doing their jobs, but that doesn't mean mail carriers don't appreciate when customers go out of their way to make their jobs easier and show their gratitude.
"One of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me is to offer some tea on a very cold day. I also always appreciated when people offered water or gave a tip, though tipping isn't encouraged by my company," said Cairo.
Mail carriers sometimes personally cover postage costs for customers.
If a letter or package is sent without enough postage, it's up to the recipient to pay the missing postage before they are allowed to collect the mail.
In these cases, your mail carrier may actually wind up footing the bill for you.
"A lot of mail carriers, including me personally, cover stamp costs for mail that has insufficient postage. It is easier for me to pay 55 cents rather than leave notes and make my customers go to the post office to collect their piece of mail," said Misiu.
In the event that a recipient refuses to pay the needed postage, the item is typically sent all the way back to the sender for additional postage before being shipped back to the recipient.
Rather than delivering the same item three times or more, the mail carrier may just decide to pay the difference themselves.
You may still need to sign for online orders listed as "no signature required."
If the tracking information for your online order says that no signature is required, you may still need to sign to receive your package. That's because signature delivery is actually an additional, paid service requested by the sender.
"What might look like 'no signature required' to a customer may not be correct. I do what my scanner asks me to do. If it asks for a signature, then you must sign it. Otherwise, your carrier will get in trouble," said Misiu.
It's always best to make an effort to be home for package deliveries, whether or not your order information indicates that a signature is required.
Read the original article on Insider