It’s been a tough couple of years for the US Postal Service, with thousands of delivery complaints.

So how can you protect your cards and packages this holiday season?

Randy DeMint, like many people, has concerns. He has become used to an empty mailbox every now and then.

But this fall, things got really bad on his street.

“For about 3 weeks there was no mail, but we didn’t know why,” he said.

Only after neighbors went to the post office did they learn their mailman had stopped delivering, after he was robbed on his route.

“He was just doing his job,” DeMint said, “and a guy came up and stuck a gun in his face, and said he wanted his bag.”

For so many mail customers, this has been a year of discontent.

Late mail, no mail and mail stolen from blue mailboxes. It happened over the summer to Dorothy Glass.

“Actually we put some in that blue box one time and they got taken,” she said.

News reports from around the country report checks stolen out of blue mailboxes, then “washed” by criminals, who then write in much larger amounts and empty out checking accounts.

That wasn’t Glass’s only issue, though.

“Some weeks we get mail once a week. Sometimes not even once a week,” she said.

The Postal Service may say “We Deliver for You,” but since the pandemic, it has suffered massive staffing shortages, budget cuts and a wave of thefts, from criminal with keys to blue mailboxes.

Things you can do

So how can you protect yourself this holidays season? The USPS suggests you:

Mail cards and packages early. Mail checks from your local post office branch, not a street mailbox. Pay for optional USPS insurance and tracking for gifts, in case they are lost.

As for Randy DeMint’s stoppage, due to a robbery, the USPS says “if the carrier deems a residence unsafe.. mail delivery service can be interrupted.”

That applies to crime in the area and aggressive dogs.

DeMint just wishes someone had said something, “They didn’t communicate,” he said.

But don’t take out your mail frustrations on your mailman: They are dealing with a lot of challenges right now.

That way you get your mail and you don’t waste your money.

Don’t Waste Your Money” is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. (“Scripps”).

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