Kelsee Brady, Campus Carrier opinions editor
Last week at around 4:45 p.m., I did what every Berry student should be warned not to do: I went to the post office on-campus and tried to pick up my mail. The line extended past the Bean’ry and I dared to attempt to get my mail before 5. Usually I would have abandoned the mail entirely and simply returned at a better time, but I had a package coming and I was hopeful that this package notification would finally be the planner that I had ordered weeks earlier. If you were curious, I am still waiting on my planner.
About 15 minutes after I entered the line, I finally reached the counter. It was exactly 5, but I had done it. I had managed to receive my mail. The package was from Mary Kay, and even though I had ordered it that same week, I still forgot that it was coming. When I left, the line still extended well past the Bean’ry, and the post office was opening the back window up to students picking up packages to speed up the process.
My experience is just one example of how long the Berry post office lines have become. I am tired of having to wait in excruciatingly long lines. Of course some days are better than others, but almost every time that I walk past the post office, I see a line. Social distancing does play a part in these long lines, but there has to be a large number of people, even socially distanced, for the line to stretch to the Bean’ry, much less beyond it.
There is a simple solution to the long lines and wait times. If the mail pickup process changed back, wait times could be reduced. The main issue in my mind revolves around W-2s. Berry distributes W-2s through campus mail, which means that in order for every Berry student to file their taxes, they have to wait in line for a lengthy and unknown period of time.
However, the long lines are not the only issue. Some students may find it difficult to find a time to make it to the post office during the day. Between classes, meetings, jobs and other extracurricular commitments, the business hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. can quickly fill up. With little free time, students may be unable to swing by the post office before 5 p.m. forcing them to have to wait an additional day to pick up their package or mail.
Ultimately, the Berry post office made the decision to create a virtual mailbox for students to save time and also create space that could be utilized for different purposes. If anything, this change has created more time that employees must be present. The P.O. boxes once used for students now sit empty and useless, and the packages are stacked on shelves in between sections of P.O. boxes.
If the post office is truly committed to the virtual P.O. box and mailing system, changes need to be made. Closing off the back window to only faculty and staff does not allow workers to identify if students are picking up packages or mail. By opening this window back up to students, the process could potentially be expedited.
Restrictions on the number of P.O. boxes present can cause issues depending on the enrollment numbers at Berry so I understand why the changes may have been made, but something has to give because I am tired of having to stand in long lines waiting for someone to hand me my mail.