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Postal Service Struggles to Speed Up Delivery, Compounding Its Troubles


In December, she sent packages of goodies to the 12th graders in her British literature class who were reading “Macbeth.” Among those included: Renaissance-era snacks, plastic swords, scripts, headdresses and a chain mail coif, all so the students could act out the play, she said.

But one student did not receive any materials until the unit was largely complete.

“This is such a small thing, to be able to go to the post office and you spend $70 on materials, on priority mailing materials, to students because you really want them to have it for this special event, and you really can’t count on them being there,” Mrs. Nelson Selinsky said. The Postal Service is “a thing that we should be able to count on, and we just can’t.”

Occasionally, the delays can be a matter of life and death. Naya, a cat with big sage eyes found dumped in a Corona beer box, had a disease caused by a kind of fatal, feline coronavirus treatable only by a drug sold through “the underground cat railroad,” said Daniela Stolfi-Tow, who volunteers for a cat rescue group in Hawaii. They call her the “corona kitten,” she added.

When Ms. Stolfi-Tow ordered medication, it was held up in New York and never arrived. The symptoms became apparent: Naya started to lose the ability to walk straight, jerking and falling over.

Ms. Stolfi-Tow ordered another shipment held up in California that never arrived, and was preparing to get on a plane herself to pick up the medication. But finally, a third order arrived. It was sent through FedEx.

“I just cried. I was just like, ‘Oh, my God, you saved her life,’” she said. “It’s appalling to me that the government has not stepped in and said, ‘Hey, get it together or stop taking packages until you can deal with whatever the problem is.’”

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