CONIFER, Colo. — Living in the foothills of Colorado has its perks, but oftentimes, there's a price to pay for its seclusion. Lately, for Conifer residents like Ute Meyer, that price has been reliable mail delivery.
"It's been going on for months, but I think it's gotten progressively worse," she said.
Her mailbox sits empty most days, and there's no guarantee if or when she'll get a piece of mail she's expecting. Comments on social media from other residents back her up.
"With Christmas upon us, it's getting even worse, because we're getting packages, we're getting Christmas cards delivered, never mind the regular mail," Meyer said.
Because of the delivery delays, she's been late once already on a bill that never arrived. But recently, her growing frustration turned into a call for action after visiting the Conifer post office.
She stopped by to pick up mail she put on hold while on vacation and learned from a manager the seriousness of the problem.
"She's like, 'Well, come back, come [to the] back with me,' and I almost started to cry. I mean, it was just so overwhelming," Meyer said. "There were packages everywhere. There were boxes of mail. There were stacks of what I call junk mail, which we don't even get."
The post office has struggled to keep up because of a lack of clerks and carriers. "Now Hiring" signs placed outside the office on South Dallman Drive show the need.
"My reason for reaching out to [Denver7], first and foremost, is we need to help them. They need help," Meyer said.
We brought her concerns to the U.S. Postal Service.
A spokesperson confirmed Monday they're having trouble with staffing. Currently, the Conifer post office is down two clerks and four carriers. This week alone, it's had to borrow 12 employees from neighboring offices to help out.
"Our workforce, like others, is not immune to the human impacts of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the national labor shortage," the USPS spokesperson told Denver7. "We will continue flexing our available resources, maximizing our local personnel and augmenting from the surrounding region to help with the workload. We are proud of the efforts of postal employees in the Denver area and the nation, as they define essential public service every day."
"I just feel sorry for them, and I'm hoping that by raising awareness, we can help them out either as a community or get more people to come up here and work," Meyer said.
But until the situation improves, she's considering other options, like possibly opening a P.O. box in Denver and traveling down once a week to pick up her mail.
A quick search on USPS's careers website shows at least 77 open positions for rural carriers. The starting pay for a role in Conifer is $19.94. If you'd like to apply, click here.
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