It turns it out it wasn’t a Grinch who stole the U.S. mailbox fronting Chase Bank in the Village on Christmas Eve. The mailbox was taken away for repair and replaced the morning of Dec. 31.
La Jolla Light received several reports from residents concerned that the mailbox at the corner of Girard Avenue and Silverado Street had been removed without warning — and each had different stories as to why.
Barbara Solley, manager of Bulfer’s Fine Jewelry, said she heard two accounts of why the box was taken away, and wanted to get to the bottom of the story. “That one box is essential to the businesses around here,” she said. “There are banks all around it and people include mail dropoffs when they are out running errands. The day after it was removed, my customers came to me asking of its whereabouts.”
Solley said originally, United States Postal Service (USPS) representatives told her the box was removed permanently to make things more efficient for the postal workers that collect the mail. She was later told it was removed temporarily for repair.
Returning a call from La Jolla Light, USPS communication representative John Hyatt said the box was removed because the lock was jammed and postal workers could not “easily access it to collect mail in a timely manner.” He added that the box was not broken into, and no mail should have been lost as a result of the damaged lock.
With the Girard Avenue box securely back in its place — and not slated for permanent removal — Hyatt said the USPS has a specific protocol in place for terminating a box when needed, which includes public notice. He explained each USPS collection box is checked annually using “density testing” to see how regularly it’s used. Should continued collection from a box be deemed inefficient, the box might be slated for removal.
“If the box isn’t collecting enough on a regular basis, we will place a notice on the collection box for 30 days indicating the plan is to remove it, along with the removal date, and we try to list the next nearest collection box location,” he said. “We try to provide as much information as possible to make the removal (when necessary) as convenient as possible.” ♦