Alert “06880” reader and frustrated post office patron JP Vellotti writes:
I was at the post office recently in Playhouse Square, sending wood samples to the US Forestry Service. (Did you know they’ll try to figure out up to 5 pieces a year — for free?)
It was a Saturday, at 8:53. I waited for the 9 a.m. opening. Then I walked in, used one of those semi-free Priority Mail shipping boxes, and sent my parcel.
When the clerk asked if I wanted anything else, I said, “You don’t have any post office boxes available here, do you?” She asked another clerk, who said yes.
I told her I had a box at the old Saugatuck location, then another at the trailer. Maybe I was trying to claim legitimacy.
She asked for 2 forms of ID — one photo, one not.
My insurance card turned out to be expired. The clerk rejected me.
Now I really wanted that new box. I was having business cards printed Monday. They’d look great with my new 06880 PO box — much better than my home address.
On my 4th trip to the desk, I asked which numbers were available. The clerk said a computer picks them.
I told her my Saugatuck box was 2261, and that was pretty cool. She didn’t get the connection.*
I outlasted my welcome. I was passed to another clerk, who offered me a choice between 502 or 815.
I chose the latter. He finalized the form, handed me the keys, and wrote down my new Zip+4 address: 06881-0815.
I live right around the corner! This is downtown Westport — 06880!
This clerk said the boxes in the post office building are 06881. Any mail that says 06880 with a PO box takes an extra 3-4 days to be delivered.
I walked to the door, dejected. Could I get a refund? Why did I even attempt to get a box in the world’s worst parking lot, when I really wanted to be back at the new Saugatuck facility?
Another clerk — selling stamps at a mobile kiosk — asked why I looked so sad.
I went through the whole story.
It was my lucky day. Turns out he’s the one who takes care of all the mail at the Saugatuck branch.
He said 2261 was taken. I told him that a really long time ago — when I was in high school and worked at CamerArts in Sconset Square — I had 2122.
I went back to the desk. It took a while, but the transfer was made.
My new Zip+4 is 06880-2122. It’s music to my ears.
Westport is always #1. But for me, it will never be 0688-1.
*Do you? Think phone numbers.