Saturday, October 17, 2009

Like the idea of government run health care? Go pick up your mail.

A couple of weeks ago I stopped by our local Post Office to check our company mail box. One of the items we received was a letter from someone in Florida addressed to the Social Security Administration.

Given that the P.O. Box on the address was the same as ours, at first I didn't think much about it. But, being the curious person I am, I really took a good look at the address as I walked to the miss-boxed mail slot nicely provided by the post office for errors such as this.

The letter was supposed to have gone to Wilkes Barre... Pennsylvania. I'm in Georgia. I decided this was probably a pretty important, possibly deadline oriented piece of mail so I stood in line to personally hand it to someone at the counter rather than stick it in the bin for incorrectly boxed mail.

I looked it over closely while I waited. Based on the handwriting I "assumed" it was written by an older woman. I figured she probably wrote the wrong zip code... but nope, it was correct (18702... ours here starts with a 302...). The postal worker and I both looked closely and everything was correct, except the encoding at the bottom. Some worker along the line encoded the zip incorrectly, or maybe a machine read it incorrectly. No one had looked at anything other than the P.O. Box number when it ended up at my post office.

The postal worker I was talking with crossed through the incorrect encoding and said she'd send it on correctly.

While standing in line I wrote down all the ladies info from the letter, thinking I'd drop her a note to let her know it was miss-boxed, miss-directed, miss-labeled and delayed. Then, of course, completely forgot about it by the time I got home. Until yesterday when I stopped by to check my post office box again, only to find the same letter once again waiting for me.

Yup, your government workers at work. Can you imagine what government run health care is going to look like?

I remember working at the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) in Atlanta as supervisor over an area that received quite a bit of mail. Banks would send us all their bank information for processing, including their customer's checks and bank statements for matching.

One November a whole batch of bank statements from an Alabama institution went missing. We ended up recreating everything and moving on. We were used to having the post office delay or lose mail.

What makes this one interesting is that one year later, in November, the statements arrived from the post office. They had the original date stamp from the bank mailing machine of the first year, plus the post office date stamp from the first year when mailed. A full year later, on the day it would have, should have, arrived a year earlier, it appeared at the FHLB!

That may have been one of the strangest I remember, but as said, it was fairly commonplace given the volume of mail we dealt with to have delays and problems.

When they cram this health care bill down our throats and it goes into effect in a few years, we better hope that we stay in good health.

Note: I'm working on two more blogs referencing "government run" incompetence, one to do with government run flood insurance (that'll curl your toes) and the other with what happens when you're mandated to move from private insurance to Medicare. No, I'm not there yet, but I sure know some people who've gone through it over the past few years... after hearing what they've gone through, I do not look forward to the day when I go through that nightmare transition.

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