Once upon a time, there was a thriving post office in Saugatuck.
A couple, actually. The first was at Desi’s Corner. Then it moved across Riverside Avenue, to the building now anchored by Bistro Du Soleil restaurant.
For a while the PO operated out of a pathetic little trailer, in the back of a Saugatuck Avenue parking lot.
It’s in fancier digs now — though not by much — at the corner of Franklin and Ketchum Streets.
The sign outside was last week’s Photo Challenge (click here to see). Martin Gitlin, Michael Calise, Molly Alger, Mark Jacobs and Moira Eick all knew the answer.
But what about the sign’s initials: “DBU”?
Do they stand for “Don’t Bother Using”? “Do Be Understanding”? “Definitely Bad Usefulness”?
Nope. According to Michael Calise, this is a “Post Office Box location only.” He thinks DBU stands for Destination Box Unit.
That makes sense, though it is not particularly grammatical. After all, a couple of miles away — at the cramped, main post office in Playhouse Square — there is a sign saying “No Dogs Allowed. Service Dogs Welcome.”
And so it goes. This week’s Photo Challenge is much more scenic. Click “Comments” below if you know where in Westport you would see this:
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.
The old Saugatuck post office — before it moved to a trailer. It’s now on the corner of Franklin and Ketchum streets.
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.
The scene outside Westport’s main post office is often as tough to manage as the one JP Vellotti found inside. This was the scene yesterday, at 12:30 p.m. Yes, the Albert’s Organics truck was parked there.
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.
If you’re one of the many Westporters peeved by the Playhouse Square post office: Help is at hand.
A new branch opens next month in Saugatuck. Located on Ketchum Street, just off Franklin Avenue — the one-way street running from Tarry Lodge underneath I-95 — it’s got 2 things our itty-bitty shopping center post office lacks: parking, and interior space larger than, um, a postage stamp.
The Saugatuck branch replaces the old building next to the train station, which was followed by a grim temporary trailer in a parking lot opposite Dunville’s.
As a resident of the condos behind Playhouse Square, I strongly urge everyone to use this new branch for all your postal needs. (Or not. As noted in the comments below, it’s for post office boxes only.)
And — once you’re there — bop over to Garelick & Herbs. WestportNow reports that the popular gourmet food store opens soon at 580 Riverside Avenue, across from Downunder. It replaces CM, another gourmet market.
Garelick & Herbs is also vacating its Post Road East location, opposite Stop & Shop. It will move to the Southport line, site of the former Double L Market.
Which is not far from the Green’s Farms post office. Where you can also go, to avoid the Playhouse Square mess.
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