Montauk Postal Service at Low Ebb

Packages have piled up outside the Montauk Post Office, as the Postal Service works to "align resources" to assist the office with the massive seasonal increase in package volume.

Montauk advertises itself as “The End,” but it’s not literally at the end of the world although it felt that way recently for residents frustrated with their post office’s inability to deliver their packages and daily mail on time, if they could be located at all.

“All you’ve got to do is go down there one morning and watch the people come out the door madder than hell,” said Marshall Prado, a Montauk native who visits the Euclid Avenue branch at least twice a day for his service station and plumbing, heating, and fuel businesses. “There’s a lot of screaming and yelling in there.”

A recent visit to the Montauk branch provided reasons why complaints abound. Backed-up Amazon deliveries and other boxes overflowed inside the building and so many Amazon boxes had accumulated outdoors that the post office hired a guard. 

Some residents, who have home delivery, say their daily mail used to arrive before noon and doesn’t arrive till 7 or 8 p.m. now, if at all. Still others report being told by the overwhelmed counter staff that their deliveries can’t be located or they don’t have time to look for them. 

One patron, who asked that her name not be used, said she had lived in Montauk for 54 years and the post office sent a package she was waiting for back to the sender three times, claiming her address didn’t exist.

And Mr. Prado was told on two recent visits that the branch had run out of stamps. “What kind of post office can be out of stamps?” Mr. Prado asked. “We rely heavily on the post office to keep our business going. Now? I order repair parts with overnight delivery and they never arrive overnight.”

Paula Baldrian, another longtime Montauk resident, echoes something every customer interviewed said: Some of the problems seem related to personnel turnover and the fact the United States Postal Service delivers for Amazon.

In addition, three longtime and well-known employees are no longer employed there, while the new personnel haven’t had time to learn all the ropes. New post office employees, residents say, often seem unfamiliar with the territory or daunted by the workload, particularly now that it is summer.

“It’s gotten very, very bad in the last month, especially,” Ms. Baldrian said. “My newspaper is four days late. I just came home from a friend’s house today and they said they’ve been waiting for a check since June 26, and it still hasn’t arrived. I was sitting here at home the other night and I saw this mail truck riding up and down the street, up and down the street. Finally he pulled over and was looking at a map. He seemed to be lost.”

Montauk’s new postmaster, who didn’t want to reveal his full name, referred questions about the branch’s performance to Christine Dugas, a U.S. Postal Service spokeswoman in Providence, R.I.

The statement she provided on Tuesday read: “The Montauk Post Office is a seasonal office. During the summer season they are extremely busy and their package volume continues to grow. The district had to align resources to assist them with this increase. These volumes are being monitored and the district will continue to support the office with added resources as needed to ensure customer satisfaction.”

Ms. Baldrian said, “I don’t get it, I just don’t get it. We just want our mail. Nobody here knows what to do.”