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Post office: Take unwanted mail home

Patrons of the Park Rapids post office have noticed something missing lately - the public garbage can.

It was removed recently when the postmaster became concerned about identity theft.

"I did it in my other office, too," said postmaster Denice Phillips-Kunze. "I just don't think it's a good idea because the trash is overflowing and there's credit cards - real credit cards in there that you get in the mail. Anybody could activate those. There's just too much personal information there with the identity theft now I just don't think that's a good idea."

The downside of removing the trash receptacle is that now postal customers pile their unwanted mail on a counter above where the garbage used to be.

"I think that's foolish," Phillips-Kunze said. "If they're silly enough to leave it laying there... I sure wouldn't.

"People should take their mail home," she said. "Why should I take their mail and have to dispose of it? Even if it's junk mail they should take it. The mailer is paying for them to receive it."

But another problem this pile of unwanted mail poses to the post office is that bulk mail that cannot be delivered or forwarded must be marked for disposal according to postal rules. It's referred to as "no value" mail.

When customers dump unwanted mail onto the counters, it could be confused with that "no value" mail the post office is trying to dispose of, too.

"If an inspector comes in and it's not marked and it's in the garbage then we get in trouble," Phillips-Kunze said.

"So I would prefer they take their mail home."