My North African Postman’s Confusing Behavior

Typical North African house with wall in a prosperous neighborhood

For the past several months, instead of putting the mail in our mailbox, our postman has often been just handing it to workers who are at our house doing some remodeling.  One day, I caught the postman personally, and asked him to please not do that, but to put in in our box.  This seemed to take care of the problem for a while.

Two days ago, I was upstairs in my home, when one of the workers came upstairs with some mail to hand to me.  I asked him what he was doing with it and was upset that he came upstairs to find me.  He said the postman handed it directly to him, and he wanted to be sure I got it.  The postman had already left, so I didn’t have a chance to speak to him.  I was upset and just really wanted to know WHY he the postman did this again!

After discussing possible senarios as to why the postman reverted to his former behavior, I commented to the worker that I had asked the postman to put it in the box before, and just could not understand why he was doing this again.  The worker pointed out that the postman comes on a motorcycle.  In order to put it in the box (which in my country is not out by the street, but is a slot through the wall), the postman has to park his motorcycle and bring the mail to the mail slot.  Since the worker happened to be standing by the street at the moment he came, it was just laziness in not wanting to park his motorcycle and take a few steps to the mail slot.  Mystery solved!

I asked the worker next time to not accept the mail from the postman, or if he insists, just to put it into the mail slot himself, rather than walking through my home and searching for me.

Readers, how would you react?

–Lynne Diligent

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14 Responses to “My North African Postman’s Confusing Behavior”

  1. Lynne Diligent Says:

    From Facebook: Mohamed English: “Yes it is very common here in Morocco .People of my country like shortcuts and easy tracts so do I even if I am aware about it .What a pity hhh”

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  2. Lynne Diligent Says:

    From Facebook: Katherine J. Kaye: “I would talk to thepostman and explain that it isn’t fair to ask workmen to take responsibility for his job – unless he thinks they deserve his wages, too? Appeal to his professional pride and his wallet. After that, talk to his superiors in person if need be. It’s like anything – people need to be trained in professional behaviour by their customers as much as by their bosses.”

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  3. Judy Says:

    Rather than reprimand the postman, I’d appeal to his vanity and make him your ally. Tell him you rely on him alone to deliver your mail directly to your mail slot (implying you don’t trust the workmen because they are just working for you temporarily).

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  4. Happy Elf Mom Says:

    Judy is right, too… Though I think it was good of your worker to come in and find you despite the inconvenience to you. From his perspective, he was just entrusted with the mail and needed to ensure you got it directly.

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  5. rachid khouya Says:

    i think you bevaus ehe trusts your workers as you can not emplioy someone you do not trust yourself.But talkingto him againa nd again, would not do any harm.remind him to put the mail where it has to be put.because maybe , it is not theb postman to whom you spoke who brought your mail this time.postmen chnage from time to time…we do not always have the same postman..when he is inholiday another works inhis place..so , do not get mad lynn….comunicationis the best way to solve it…if you go to his superiors, be sure next time he will not bring you your mails..he may throw them , tear them, or get rid rid of them….some postmen do it…as a reaction…better get your mails either intheir box by your workers or never get them at all…haha

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  6. Lynne Diligent Says:

    From LinkedIn: Fouzia D’spain • “Hello Lynne,
    I am not sure how you would react to my opinion, but I would give the post man a tip next time I see him. It may sound unethical, but anyone will get a better service that way in some parts of the world. I first establish a relationship, then I take the action. I do it every time I travel in so many occasions and it works well for me. As long as you are not considering it a bribe, you will have positive results with positive approach.”

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  7. Lynne Diligent Says:

    Fouzia, It’s an excellent suggestion, and thinking about it, most likely to work here. Thank you for suggesting it.

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  8. suzanne Says:

    The end result (you received your mail) seems to outweigh the inconvenience. Different countries, different cultures. It is possible too, that instead of being lazy, the postman does not want to leave his bike unattended if that’s his lifehood for his job.
    In Africa as in South America or Asia, homes are usually full of people: house help, workers, etc.. When I lived in Nicaragua, the gardener had to come in through the whole house to reach the backyard where we had a few fruit trees and bushes. So his presence was not obtrusive and he would always seem to find something to help me with(carry heavy bags with groceries to the kitchen etc…).
    Have a basket inside of the entrance and ask anyone who is working to drop the mail in there if the mailman happens to stop by and hand it over. If everyone else in the street does not see any harm in it, how can the postman remember every day that he has to act differently for just one house?

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    • Lynne Diligent Says:

      Thanks for your thoughts, Suzanne, but actually the mail slot is only about two steps from the street (the width of a narrow sidewalk) so he would hardly need to leave his bike unattended, and we do live in a nice neighborhood without any such dangers.

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  9. Lynne Diligent Says:

    From LinkedIn: Nabil El Gazzar • “Dear Lynne, I would agree with your husband’s opinion. This is a normal attitude of a postman in North Africa.”

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  10. Paul Garrigan Says:

    Maybe you’re lucky that the postman doesn’t own a catapult. He might start trying to fire your mail through your window as he passes. If he took his laziness to the next level he might just stick everything back into a postbox 🙂

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  11. Lynne Diligent Says:

    From LinkedIn: Ebere Ulelu • “Lynne, in addition to what your husband and others have said, I will advice you adjust to the new culture and accept the people the way they are. Some people are not detail oriented even if you tip them all the time. As long as the mails reach you secured, worry not about the system of delivery. You may still discover in future other values, behaviors and attitudes that conflict with yours. Look for how to leverage such situations and be happy.”

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  12. Lynne Diligent Says:

    From LinkedIn: Muriel Joseph-Williams, GPHR, HCS. • I would agree with Ebere because sometimes the mail does not arrive at all 🙂 I lived in KSA and believe me it happened that I never got the mail or it came months and months later. There are no streets address only mail boxes and if you want the mail to securely be delivered to you, you ask to be sent by Fedex, UPS or whichever … to the company you work for. Is not it interesting? Quite an adjustment, trust me.

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