Sins Against the CCA (City Carrier Assistant) and How to Repent—Mel's Holiday Hints - ToughNickel - Money
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Sins Against the CCA (City Carrier Assistant) and How to Repent—Mel's Holiday Hints

An avowed sinner, Blogger Mel Carriere keeps his soul a lighter shade of gray by not committing egregious sins against CCAs.

Will you help lighten this chap's holiday load, or pile it on and continue to stain your soul with sins against CCAs?

Will you help lighten this chap's holiday load, or pile it on and continue to stain your soul with sins against CCAs?

Mel's Medicated Meditations for the Holiday Season

During the holiday season, I suppose it is customary for everyone, including letter carriers, to reflect and be thankful for what they have. I am not suggesting you thank the Postal Service for its largesse—after all, you have sacrificed the health of your muscles, bones, and joints at this organization's altar, but perhaps you could thank whatever higher power you subscribe to for your relatively decent job, with benefits and retirement, in this minimum wage economy. Again, you don't have to thank anyone, you have earned everything, I'm just offering some speech ideas for when you pop the cork and propose a toast around the holiday ham.

The holidays are also a time when we look down the barrel of the gun of another year ticking past, reflect upon our sins of the twelve months gone by, then resolve to make better people out of ourselves. I could use this cyberspace to conduct a philosophical discussion on the existence of God, the validity of religion, and the concept of sin, but I don't want to spark a jihad here on my humble soapbox. Instead, let us agree that if you aspire to be a good person, then regardless of religion you believe in the Spirit of Truth, and that is the definition of God in her or his many manifestations.

Enough of that. I see my drunken, wobbling holiday toast is already rambling, so I'll get to the point. My point is—Hell what is my point? My point is that we Regular City Letter Carriers—and you non-postal types can apply this to the treatment of underlings in your organization, tend to be mean to our City Carrier Assistants (CCAs). Maybe we don't consciously conduct ourselves in this negative fashion, perhaps our cruel treatment is just a moral justification for getting someone else to shoulder our workload—a sort of "I paid my dues now they have to pay theirs" mindset. While this attitude may appease your conscience while in the act of unfairly unloading your burden onto someone else, it is wrong and I think you know that.

So my unsteady proposal over this third bottle of wine, as my outstretched hand shakes and my wife gives me an evil stare, glaring at me menacingly as I threaten to sully her spotless tablecloth with spilled drops of the divine grape, is that during this holiday season we Regulars reflect upon our sins against CCAs, then vow to treat them better in the year to come.

Dante Alighieri was an Italian postman who liked to deliver letters in his socks.  Being a mailman, he had been through all seven circles of hell, then discovered two more that were unknown to the general, non-postal public.

Dante Alighieri was an Italian postman who liked to deliver letters in his socks. Being a mailman, he had been through all seven circles of hell, then discovered two more that were unknown to the general, non-postal public.

From Ignorance to Enlightenment

Sin comes in many classifications and categories, mortal vs venial, sins of commission vs sins of omission, etc, etc, forever and ever amen. I don't think you have to be a theologian, or even believe in theology as a valid field of study, to know a sin when you see one. A sin is when we hurt someone, and that hurt is not done in self defense because that person is causing, or will cause us hurt.

Sins can be big, or sins can be little—Mortal vs Venial. I haven't heard of any CCAs being murdered by Regulars for delivering mail to vacant houses, and I certainly hope that is not happening. I think it is safe to assume that most of our sins against CCAs are of the venial variety, meaning they do not permanently damage the temple of the soul that CCA walks around in, or the ability to sustain that temple. But I would argue that some of our sins against CCAs tread the fine tightrope between between mortal and venial, like daredevil Philippe Petit bouncing on that high wire between the World Trade Center towers.

Commission vs Omission? Just because you didn't abuse the CCA by piling on an extra swing or two (commission) doesn't completely absolve you of guilt. Did you thank the CCA when he or she did a good job carrying your route during your vacation? Did you share the holiday gifts showered upon you with that CCA who covered your spot on long term opt, while you were out nursing your plantar fasciitis? Not doing these things damages the psyche of the diligent and deserving CCA in a small way, and that is as much a sin as giving him or her a two hour relay and calling it an hour.

Hmmm...I just thought of another sin of omission against the struggling CCA. How about when we don't draw a map or at least give directions for trouble spots on the route that might confound and delay our new little postal bundle of joy? The attitude of figure it out rookie is unacceptable, as bad as if you put a cat in a collection box assigned to them, by way of newbie initiation. Take the time to give the newcomers a little guidance, why dontcha?

You may have noticed, astute and gentle reader, that I often use the first person plural pronoun we, instead of the second person you, in describing sins against CCAs. This is because I am as guilty as anyone of these heinous acts, maybe more so, owing to the fact that - the pen is mightier than the sword...The words of the reckless pierce like swords...All I need is a sheet of paper and something to write with, and then I can turn the world upside down.

Yes, early on in the history of the CCA, I wrote some unjustified things about the newcomers. I was peeved that these wet behind the ears upstarts would take away all of my overtime (they didn't take away my OT) and because I thought the Post Office would never allow them to make regular, I implied in my ill-considered words that they didn't need to be treated like career employees (they are being promoted to regular).

I rend my garments in contrition for this sinful thoughtlessness. I beat my chest and chant mea culpa for my wrongdoing. I blog in sackcloth while rolling in ashes, but I won't go so far as self flagellation. In other words, I have repented. Now I accept CCAs as my little brothers and sisters. Because I train them too, I look upon some of them as my children. But I did not take those offending articles down. I left them up for you to read, to demonstrate my transition from ignorance to enlightenment.

Yes we know you have an overburdened route.  We know you need help.  But don't kick that poor CCA pack mule to death already.

Yes we know you have an overburdened route. We know you need help. But don't kick that poor CCA pack mule to death already.

Silence Is Not Always Sin

Having covered a couple minor but painful sins of omission, I will now deal with two sins of commission that are particularly irksome to me, and probably should also be to you, the Regular Letter Carrier.

Although I mentioned the sin of silence against CCAs, I am not implying that silence is always sinful. Although our duty as quality human beings is To speak the truth to the face of Falsehood, that doesn't mean all of the truth, all of the time, to everyone.

This sounds like a cop out, but let me finish. If the CCA leaves rubber bands hanging on your turn signal lever, if he or she does not fill your LLV gas tank over the weekend, leaving you high and dry on a busy Monday, if the CCA buckles the seat belt behind the seat, obviously signifying it was not in use during their stint in your postal vehicle, do these sins that have to be announced out loud to everyone, shouted from the rooftops?

A lack of silence could be sinful on your part, this time around. No you should not be completely silent, but don't storm off to complain to the supervisor about it. Instead, express your concern quietly, privately, to the offending CCA. If he or she blows you off, go to your shop steward and let them put some umpf behind it. The point is, let's keep this in house, let's admonish our brothers and sisters internally, set them straight without leveling up and jeopardizing their employment.

"Oh, but they have to be taught a lesson, it's for their own good!," you say. Is that true, or are you really saying that because you are A) On a Momma or Daddy Hen power trip, trying to throw your weight around, or B) getting revenge for past wrongs, because that no good CCA left an ice cream wrapper on your LLV dashboard last Wednesday.

Think before you tattle. Do some soul searching. Is this really life or death, or are you just getting even? Okay, a bottle of pee maybe, but a candy wrapper, come on!

If you keep piling it on, Johnny CCA flipping you the mental bird here might stick back.

If you keep piling it on, Johnny CCA flipping you the mental bird here might stick back.

The Art of the Stickaroonie

There are a lot of old timer Regulars very well versed in the art of the stick, which I call the old stickeroo, or stickaroonie. Call it what you want, a stick by any other name is still a stick, meaning you are going to stick it to that poor CCA. Whatever term you use it is bad, it is downright evil. No amount of holy water can rinse the stain of this sin off of you. If Hoover Dam was filled to the brim with holy water it wouldn't be enough to clean your sullied soul, you villain.

Here is how the stick works. Don't try to pretend you don't know how it operates, you fiends out there who practice this malfeasance. You give the CCA a half hour and it takes him, or her an hour. You give them an hour and it takes them an hour forty five.

"Oh, but I could do it in a half hour," you claim when they complain. "Liar," I say. If you can do those four heavy swings in half an hour, each with two bundles of DPS and a foot of flats, then you are Super Man or Wonder Woman and you obviously don't need the help.

But I am supposed to always give them what DOIS shows, you plea in your defense. Don't make me ill. The DOIS data is from your route walk, which occurred on a day the mail was light. At least that's the sob story you always give when they try to hold you to the time of your walk. So first you tell your supervisor the DOIS numbers are the Satanic Verses, but now you swear to the CCA that they are the gospel. Make up your twisted, plotting mind.

You got to change your evil ways, Baby. Be fair and give the CCA what it is going to take you, that day, with that mail volume. Bu-bu-but Mel I'm just acting according to postal policy, I'm supposed to give them what DOIS says. Okay, maybe you're right, technically, but I say there's a higher policy, the policy of truth and fairness, that is ultimately the one we will be judged by. I don't mean by some invisible avenger on an invisible glowing throne, surrounded by a choir of invisible angels. I mean in the here and now. What comes around goes around.

A few days ago a co-worker of mine, a frequent and skillful practitioner of the stickeroo, was rather smug and mirthful about how it took the CCA an hour to do his half hour, the day after the Thanksgiving holiday, with DPS three times normal. I had to call him out and tell him what a jerk he was. This CCA was one of my trainees, one of my postal progeny. Don't abuse my children you a-hole.

When the New Year's party is over and the hangover starts, will your resolution to improve your treatment of CCAs hold fast, or spill like that last glass of bubbly in your inebriated hand?

When the New Year's party is over and the hangover starts, will your resolution to improve your treatment of CCAs hold fast, or spill like that last glass of bubbly in your inebriated hand?

Bottom Feeders - Really?

A friend of mine and I were just discussing my upcoming change to a successful bid. I have a painfully overburdened route for a guy my age and my buddy cannot believe I have punished myself with it this long. I don't know either—call it my postal penance for my own past sins of commission and omission, but I am about to be released from my personal postal purgatory and move on to better things, hopefully.

Anyway, during the course of this talk about vacating my route, my friend said, "I wonder what bottom feeder is going to get your old route now?"

Bottom feeder? Really? Ouch, what a slap in the face. In a quick little Freudian slip, he was equating me with "an aquatic animal that feeds on or near the bottom of a body of water." In other words, a loathsome creature that exists upon the discarded superfluous bodily secretions of those swimming higher up.

Unfortunately, this classification of newbies as bottom feeders is the attitude a lot of Regular Carriers have against those at the lower reaches of the totem pole, or those stuck in the lower circles of the postal inferno, I guess you could say.

But I say tread carefully upon that vestibule of hell. Let the words posted there—Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate (Abandon all hope ye who enter) be your stop sign. Your hell for sins against CCAs will not be a mystical, metaphysical one, some preacher's fire and brimstone in the afterlife. Hell can be right here on Earth, and usually is. Bad Karma breeds bad Karma. That CCA "bottom feeder" you stuck when he was an innocent babe in the woods, might find a way to stick back when he is a more savvy Regular.

Don't wait for auld lang syne to get your act together either, that festive time when you toast the New Year with meaningless resolutions made under the influence, resolutions that will probably be flushed away with the other effluvium of your January 1 hangover.

Nobody is saying you don't need help, you old Postal warhorse you. We all know routes are getting increasingly piled onto, street times are going up, and your body is breaking down in direct proportion. But don't break down the young pack mule who rides in to assist the old one. Be of good cheer, approach the brutal holiday season in a spirit of generosity, not animosity, and the fertile field you sow will bear the fruit of goodwill among CCAs. Then you can bake that into your fruitcake, next Christmas.

Comments

Mel Carriere (author) from San Diego California on December 15, 2019:

Mills, I think the carrier trying to hold the proverbial jock-strap does these sort of things because they don't care about the customer. Most Postal Service letter carriers, however, though not all, care about their customers, for emotional as well as practical reasons. Emotional-wise, we become attached to the people on our routes, because we see them every day and come to view them as extended family. From a practical perspective, if I knock out your storm window today you are going to see me again tomorrow, so I can't duck out and hide. To their credit, the UPS drivers carry the same route every day, so they also develop a bond with their customers and even with the mailmen they see, giving us a friendly wave and honk of solidarity as they pass by. Fedex and Amazon, however, I don't know. These drivers seem surly and in a hurry, and I don't think they have the same level of commitment. I know their pay and working conditions are poor, but I have always been taught to conduct myself with dignity and politeness no matter in what circumstances I find myself.

I really appreciate your comments. Thanks for dropping in.

Mel Carriere (author) from San Diego California on December 15, 2019:

Thank you Road Monkey. People don't have to work at the post office to abuse their co-workers, so I suppose these lessons here could carry over to any walk of life. Thank you for dropping in, and I hope you enjoy your holiday season.

Mel Carriere (author) from San Diego California on December 15, 2019:

Interesting insights Devika. Here the mailman still goes door to door every day. Who knows how long that will last. I really appreciate you dropping in.

Mel Carriere (author) from San Diego California on December 15, 2019:

Thank you Linda. You might be on one of those routes that is really long and nobody wants, so people leave at the first opportunity. I really appreciate you dropping in!

Pat Mills from East Chicago, Indiana on December 13, 2019:

As a consumer, I have never had a problem with a postal carrier. My grievances lie with a recent upstart I won't name and an offshoot of another big carrier who should consider this branch of their service their weak link. In fact, one from the latter knocked on my door so hard, he knocked my storm window out of place, left the package, and walked away.

On the job, I can count on these two companies to ignore out posted policies time and time again. As far as I'm concerned, neither one of them should be in the parcel delivery business, They're not qualified to hold anyone else's proverbial jock strap, and I doubt either one of them have people who care very much. Give me any other parcel service any time.

You may well have had a career in preaching, but I get the feeling that any minister who doesn't lead a mega-church doesn't make the wages you do as a postal worker. Besides, you continue to share life at your corner of the USPS very well. Thanks as always for your insight, and for the work you and others do.

RoadMonkey on December 13, 2019:

Those are good thoughts for any of us to ponder at this time of year, or even any time of year. And realising that we have committed sins in the past is a sign of growth and development. Hope you enjoy your new job.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on December 13, 2019:

Interesting of your experiences here. It is different in Croatia. A local post man a door-to-door delivery and in small community everybody knows everybody so post is either delivered at the work place of a local or at their homes. If it is an overseas package it gets delivered by DHL or a local delivery company.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on December 12, 2019:

This is an entertaining article, Mel. It's also informative. Our letter carriers seem to change their routes frequently here. It would be nice to actually get to know one of them.

Mel Carriere (author) from San Diego California on December 12, 2019:

Glad I could steer you onto the path of righteousness Eric. I do my best.

Mel Carriere (author) from San Diego California on December 12, 2019:

Thank you Jill. I am writing with an expired poetic license. I might get pulled over for that one.

Mel Carriere (author) from San Diego California on December 12, 2019:

Bill so far my holiday thoughts have fallen mostly on deaf ears. Had I written a post about how to better abuse CCAs I would have a few thousand views by now. This close to Christmas, and people still prefer naughty over nice. Thanks for dropping in my friend.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 12, 2019:

OK switched to plastic -- all is well. It should last for years.

Jill Spencer from United States on December 12, 2019:

This article was worth reading for the word "stickeroonie" alone.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 12, 2019:

You are a fine man Mel.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 12, 2019:

I can feel your heartfelt contrition all the way to Olympia, Mel. I'm sure your holiday thoughts are appreciated greatly. LOL

Mel Carriere (author) from San Diego California on December 12, 2019:

Thank you John. It is good to know old Aussie Post is alive and kicking. I appreciate you dropping in.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on December 11, 2019:

Such an entertaining read, Mel. Thankfully our mail deliverer never tries to stuff packages that are too big into the mailbox. He either brings them to the front door, or if we are not home, thoughtfully takes them around and leaves them at the back door so they can’t be seen from the street. Got to feel for some of those CCAs.

Mel Carriere (author) from San Diego California on December 11, 2019:

Who are you Joe Blow? I think I know but keep me quiet. The stickeroo was right next store to me on my old route.

joe blow on December 11, 2019:

Hi Mel name of the stickaroo and what route did you get 18?

Mel Carriere (author) from San Diego California on December 11, 2019:

Eric the old wooden clothes pins are definitely passé, and you might give your lovely mail lady a splinter. Try the newfangled plastic potato chip bag clips in trendy pastel colors. Then again, you could play the noble Gallahad, riding in to the rescue with the first aid kit if she pricks her finger. No mouth to mouth necessary, mind you.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 11, 2019:

Mel I just have some old school questions to ask. Is clothes pinning out going mail to my mail slot OK. Are the quite old mail boxes next to the Tastee Freeze still good? Do I need to go to post office or UPS to mail stuff off.

All seems to work but which is PC?

Mel Carriere (author) from San Diego California on December 11, 2019:

Pamela, to me doing the old stuff and run is as bad as the old stickeraroo. I have had to pull out packages that were literally wedged into boxes on my day off, then take them to the door.

I hope your mail service improves, and I really appreciate you dropping in.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on December 11, 2019:

Our mail delivery is a little better now than it was with the previous carrier. We still get some mail for the street behind us with the same numeral address. However, overall we are satisfied and know they have a tough job. I have not complained. I wish they could bring a package to the door when it is large and they stuff it into the mailbox, but i guess the time crunch rules. Interesting artilce Mel and we should address any problem directly.

Mel Carriere (author) from San Diego California on December 11, 2019:

Yeah Eric but now you got that cutie who makes your heart thump every time the mail truck pulls up and Old Joe, despite all his good qualities as a human being and letter carrier, never caused the same reaction.

Thank you for dropping in, my friend. I can't compose sermons on par with your wonderful diatribes, but I gave it a shot and I appreciate you reading.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 11, 2019:

Be back to read again. We just called him Joe. Christmas pie and a large tip at the holidays. Our carrier served us for over twenty years. I damned sure hugged more than a few times.

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