Wednesday, June 24, 2009

And calling Fenty's 311 line is about as pleasant and constructive as removing your appendix with a rusty trowel

The problem is, you don't exist.

Honest to god, that's what some asshat at the Post Office told Nick this morning.

See, here's the thing. We bought this house that is eventually going to be spectacular. But it's a tremendous project. And everything about it, at the moment, is difficult.

Because you know we needed one more hard thing in our lives.

It has tons of space. But needs a lot of fixing. And construction.

Which will happen in increments, as we amass enough cash.

But I digress. The mail is the issue at hand.

See, it used to be part of a guest house. And so it hasn't been an address that gets mail.

We were told when we called prior to moving that as soon as we start having mail directed there, it would kick in at the Post Office, and it would start being a valid mailing address.

Alas, no.

And so, when Nick called this morning, here's what the dillweed Postmonkey said.

"Your house doesn't exist."


"The problem is, the address doesn't exist."

"It most certainly does. I'm standing in it right now."

"The United States Post Office doesn't recognize it as an address. And if you don't exist with us, you don't exist."

To which Nick replied. "Let's just stop with this ridiculous line of conversation, because you know as well as I do that my house exists."

This made the man mad.

Nick then had to call DC government.

You call 311 and get this positive recording about Mayor Fenty and services. Their website says the following: “24 hours a day, 365 days a year, District government is accessible to every resident by dialing just three digits.”

Accessible? Sure. Helpful? Not necessarily.

Yesterday I called about trash and they directed me to a 202 number for a trash office,

The woman I then called said that the 311 people just didn't know what kind of trash schedule I was on. I had to call them back and tell them we have removal twice a week, and that I need a green recycling bin and a blue trash cart.

I asked if she was sure they wouldn't just send me back to her, and she said no, but they were the ones who have to set it up.

She said to tell them specifically. Green. Blue. And to insist. They have to do this.

Which I did. But honestly. We'll see next trash day.

If you've ever dealt with DC services, you know that those phone calls are like inviting rats to bite off pieces of your soul.


Nick called DC government and explained the no-mail-no-existing-address problem. And the surly woman - who I imagine he interrupted mid-manicure or coffee and danish break - asked what specifically his issues are and with which exact department.

As in, he needs to break down the steps for her in order to have her respond to them.

He didn't know which department or how to break down the issues.

"Then I can't help you."

"Look, YOU'RE the government. I need YOU to tell me which departments and what to ask for. I just need to get my mail."

I've been really annoyed about this, but now I'm wondering. If we don't exist, can we get out of property tax?


  1. I wonder if you have to wait until the HUD forms or whatever they are clear the filing system. You might want to contact your realtor/title agent, who can check on that pretty easily.

    It occurred to me that maybe the Comcast customer service people could freelance on your behalf? If you hired one of THEM to deal with the DC people, it would be an exercise in karmic fulfillment.


  2. Take names as soon as the conversation starts. Then when they are assholes ask who their supervisor is and when they won't tell you (and they won't) you let out a teensy white lie about your job as an aide to the Attorney General - Eric Holder, and you'll have no problem finding out who they work under and do they want to help you figure out this problem or do they want it turn in to a great big hassle for themselves? Even if they hang up on you, they'll still sweat it. Little Fuckers (sorry Betty)

    I have no idea what all the AG does? but then I am willing to bet the dolts on the other end of the phone don't either. Sounds good. Fucking People Anyway! I always want to ask the shithead when they were in the interview for that job did they mention they actually weren't going to do a FUCKING THING?

    Ok the key to all this is remaining calm....and I can't even write about it without dropping an F bomb! &%$#&!! People! I feel your pain.

  3. In NY the property should have an address as soon as it's split from the other part and on file with the city and county before it can be sold. (We just did this for my grandmother's property.) Not sure how it works in DC, but maybe that helps?

    Good luck!

  4. Dagny - We had to furnish fucking HUD forms so that DC water would allow us to have the bill in our name.

    Because we would want to fucking pay for water somewhere we don't fucking live.

    And, ohh, awesome! Comcast could totally have an asshole contest with these people. I'd pay money to see it in action!

    Lynn - That is smart smart smart. I am terrible at lying but maybe Nick could do that. Also, I get all kinds of worked up and then I get flustered. Must remember: Remain calm! Remain calm!

    And don't worry about the F words - Betty doesn't use them but is OK with them. My dad is the one who would get all worked up.

    cuteellaisbold - Hmm. I have no idea, but that makes sense. So we'll see how this pans out.

  5. Wow - "You don't exist". Such a mean and harsh thing to say.

    You should Google your address, print out the "street view" then mail the printout to the post office, with your return address on the envelope!, and enclose a note with "We exist on Google. Google trumps USPS."

    I hope it's worked out soon!

  6. Oh I am so with Dagny on this one, put them both in the ring to face off. Entertainment at its best. Beauracrat against Beauracrat.
    Property Tax?? what Property Tax, if you and your address dont exist how the hell can they bill you. I would be saying not much more to be honest. Get a post box instaed of a mailbox at your house and just continue to not exist, no waterbill, no power bill no land rates because you cannot pay for what doesnt exist right??

  7. I'm fairly certain that if your address doesn't exist, the property tax people can't mail you an assessment. No assessment = no tax! I'd totally sacrifice not having mail service if it meant that I didn't have to pay property tax. I don't get any fun mail - only bills.

  8. Ooh, try that! Because if you don't have to pay property tax, you can rent a post box somewhere and you'll have a lot more cash to pay to fix up your place.

  9. We just recently moved and had a wicked problem with Canada Post. We moved into a house that the previous owners had used as a cottage so they never receieved mail there. Trying to tell the mail carrier where we were was a nightmare. I told her our address (we were one step ahead apparently) and she said she didn't know where that was. Then she said, "Oh, beside the Smith's?".
    Lady, I don't know who the Smith's are I JUST MOVED HERE! Then she asked if our house was on top of a big hill. I said no.
    I told her it was a blue house with shutters and she said "That's what I said, the house on the big hill beside the Smith's!"

    It was one of the most frustrating conversations I've had but at least it got sorted out!

  10. HKW - Hahaha! You are right - Google pretty much trumps EVERYONE now!

    Go-Betty - I would be so delighted not to get mail there if it got us out of all kinds of other bills. That would be spectacular. Although now that I think about it, we really need water and electric and trash...and I think those are all DC...

    Hillary - Good point, you know, as the bulk of my mail is bills and tree-killing junk mail. I'd gladly give all that up in exchange for the tax cash.

    SheLikestoTravel - It would be a fantastic money saving.

    Julienne - It must have been frustrating, but it's also really cute. It's ridiculous for the mail service, but it's so much how I process things. Oh, the blue house! On the hill!

  11. You know, D.C. sounds an awful lot like Chicago. They never could get address changes right (and I never moved buildings -- only apartments) and somehow managed to lose my husband's PSP replacement screen INSIDE the local branch down the way from us. I won't even get started on the time I tried to hold the mail for 2 1/2 weeks. Let's just say our carrier was very creative in how she managed to fit 94 pieces of mail in our teeny-tiny box.


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