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Home / Neighborhood / San Gabriel Valley / Monrovia Weekly / Monrovia Old Town Report: What’s the best part of a mailbox joke?

Monrovia Old Town Report: What’s the best part of a mailbox joke?

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By, Shawn Spencer

Answer: The Delivery…Do you remember when there was a big blue mailbox on almost every corner? How about the drive-thru mailboxes for ease of mailing your bills or greeting cards? The big blue boxes are dwindling; soon to be a thing of the past. The latest box removed was located on Myrtle and Colorado at the Wells Fargo building. Luckily, Old Town still has a drive-thru — you just have to be sure to get there during its operational hours (see below).

Some say the boxes are being removed because of theft and fraud. Some say that it is an attempt at voter suppression. The plain and simple answer is that the boxes are going the way of the payphone due to “progress.”

People are calling, texting, emailing and interacting on social media far more than they are mailing their correspondence. People are paying their bills online or have them set to pay automatically. The decline in first-class mail is to blame and sadly, the iconic blue boxes are paying the price.

With all of this progress, the United States Post Office is struggling to stay afloat. They have to cut costs where they can. They are closing post offices that have little foot traffic. They are pulling the big blue boxes, which are usually barely filled with any outgoing mail. 

The Post Office actually started retiring these boxes eight years ago. It has been a slow and steady process as they navigate these waters. The pandemic certainly has not done anything to help. While it is always sad to see tradition turn into history, this is a commonsense way to boost efficiency and save money. It also helps ensure jobs for postal carriers.

The drive-thru on Palm is very handy. That is, if you get there between 8:30 a.m. through 5 p.m. The USPS put the locks on the boxes in late 2018 due to theft. Someone had filled the inside of the mailboxes with a sticky substance, which caused dropped mail to stick to the top of the bin. These people came back later and pulled the mail out. They then found the mail worth keeping:  checks written to pay bills. These checks were “washed” and then re-written and cashed. 

At that time, I was working at Citibank and one of my clients was defrauded out of over $100,000. Just like in grade school, someone is always ruining things for the rest of the class.  

Due to the rise in theft, it probably is not the safest bet to leave your outgoing mail in your mailbox at home. 

The drive-thru hours may not work with your schedule. The drive-thru boxes are open Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The Post Office Customer Service counter is open Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. However, the interior area where you can access your PO Box, purchase stamps or drop off mail is open from 5 a.m. through 8 p.m.  

Support your local postal office. Buy stamps and send more mail. One of my favorite things to do is go to Charlie’s House and purchase greeting and postcards. They have THE BEST cards!  

You can also visit City Hall or shop online at cityofmonrovia.org for cute Monrovia postcards. They have one that says “Greetings from Monrovia” with our majestic purple mountains and one of the historic train stations. The City of Monrovia Store also has his and her t-shirts, wine glasses, a plush Samson the Bear, caps, pens and sweatshirts. For those of you who want to rep your city, this is the store for you!

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