Washington's Five Most Fascinating Post Offices How hard is it to get some service with a smile?

Page 5 of 5

Fascinating Post Office No. 5: Ledroit Station, 20001

Location: 416 Florida Ave. NW

On the bleak polygon formed by the intersection of S Street NW and Florida, Rhode Island, and New Jersey Avenues lies LeDroit Station, as lonely a post office as one could imagine. King of its own curious, concrete island, 20001 stands alone at the center of a vortex of honking traffic and auto exhaust. What P.O. lies in this foreboding USPS no man’s land, and does it have customs forms?

1. Automated Postal Center (APC)

The designers of this miniature building left no room for advanced APC technology. Besides, the machine would block 20001’s army-recruitment poster.


2. Safety Glass

Since this P.O. is staffed by an intimidating, name-tag-less clerk, I was happy (for once) to see safety glass, as I felt that I was the one who needed protection. Also, said glass offered a convenient place to hang a picture of a local man wanted for armed robbery.

3. Prompt Service

Only one clerk at this bathroom-sized location, but she keeps the line moving.

4. Parking

20001 is equipped with a parking lot, but figuring out how to drive into it is sort of like stoichiometry—there’s a lot of possibilities, and you won’t get it right the first time. You might be able to make a right into the parking lot when traveling east on Florida. Then again, you might have to take Florida to Rhode Island, make a right, and then another immediate right. Then again, if you took Florida to New Jersey, you might have to take a left on Rhode Island, then make an illegal U-turn, and then sneak into the parking lot. (Be on the lookout for Rhode Island Avenue’s ubiquitous red-light cameras.)

5. Service With a Smile

Question: “Do I have to fill out a customs form to mail this CD to Germany?” Answer: “If I don’t know you, you have to fill it out!” Further discussion of this response below.

6. Triflin’ Factor

USPS rules clearly state that: “A customs form is not required on…non-dutiable First Class Mail International items that weigh less than 16 ounces.” Thus, I must conclude that a clerk who makes me fill out a form for a package that clearly doesn’t require one JUST because she “doesn’t know me” is triflin’. Final Grade: I don’t know any of these people! D+

Our Readers Say

This station doesn't just suck balls. It literally fries up the Rocky Mountain oysters. 15th in line on tax day? I question your calendaring skills as I've been 15th in line multiple times here, all year long. Picking up a package is a nightmare, parking is usually unavailable, and on occasion I thought I might have to get a napkin for the postal clerk's dribble and drivel.
I am so happy to see that other people feel the same way about the post offices in this area! What is up with every employee treating you like shit and moving at a snail's pace?? I'm sorry you hate your job but don't blame me. And that damn glass case that you have to lift up to slide your package through and then close it before they can open it and they yell at you if you open it too quickly or do something incorrectly.... The last time I went was to mail a package that happened to have a 1 oz bottle of perfume for someone's Christmas gift and I was stupid enough to be honest when they asked if there were liquids inside - the guy told me that since I didn't know the alcohol content of the perfume, I couldn't mail it. Now it's only FedEx for me.
I have had good luck going here weekday mornings around 10; usually the line is not too long and it moves fairly quickly. But it's kind of a no-frills experience. I expect most of those Capitol Hill workers you mention are using the post offices in the federal buildings; I think there's one in the Cannon building and I expect the Capitol's got it's own. No need for them to mingle with the common people! : )
I love the Ledroit post office and have never had to wait more than 15 minutes for service. The clerk has always been very courteous to me. For a one person operation its remarkably efficient. Maybe the bad review will keep folks away!
THE worst post office I've dealt with in DC (and I've been here since 1988) is the 20009 PO on 14th Street NW. This one is the epitome of northern charm and southern efficiency (ie. they're rude and slow). Lately I have noticed they've been staffing better so maybe there's hope...
omg...pleeeeeeeeeease go take a look at the post office in Silver Spring, 20907. They have a full staff of all the other post office rejects. I have never gone in there and not had to wait in line at least a half hour. It's also right across the street from a sunrise assisted living facility, so you're constantly stuck behind someone's grandma still trying to figure out how the post office works after all these years.

They do have an APC though...........
This is the third zip code I've inhabited in DC (20001, LeDroit Park). First was 20010 then 20009. Not being a fan of driving across town to go to the post office, LeDroit Park is my favorite. The one-woman-show is effective enough. She's a little surly but damn efficient. My experiences with DC post offices has me permanently emotionally disfigured, so ALL I ask for is efficiency and no bullshit.

A few months ago she tried to tell me USPS no longer does media mail. I calmly stated I mailed some media mail yesterday at a different post office. She looked at me flatly, and rang me up for media mail. Good enough.
The Penn Ave PO sucks. Don't go on a Saturday. You will be in line forever. Plus it is hot as hell in that place.
Requiring ID as a condition of acceptance for a MasterCard or Visa is a violation of the merchant agreement. The clerk can *ask*, but they still have to accept the card if you refuse to show ID. Lots of stores violate this rule, but I would expect the USPS to know better (snort, snicker).

Do your part: anytime a clerk demands ID as a condition of credit card acceptance, call the number on the back of your card and report them. You'll notice that any stores you report will stop asking for ID a couple weeks later.
Oh, and I can't believe the article failed to mention USPS's most grievous customer service move of all: no late-night counter service! Need to send a package after 9 pm? Sorry dude, you may be in the capital of the free world, but you ain't gettin no service. At least the station on North Capitol used to be open until midnight, but they started closing at 9 pm a few months ago. Pitiful!
Justin, thank you for exposing the heinous Southeast Station.

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