As postal problems mount, here’s one way to help

We know, it’s the holiday season. But why not buy your gifts, and indeed just shop for basic goods, right here at home?

This week, we attempt to update islanders on the troubles at Vashon Post Office, but do so realizing that some islanders may well know more than we do.

It would seem natural for The Beachcomber to take a deep dive into investigating the postal problems on Vashon, but we are greatly hampered in doing so by the fact that no postal employees on Vashon are allowed to talk to the press.

So, we must turn, as we did this week, to a USPS communications specialist located in Plano, Texas, to ask what is happening to our island mail.

It is small comfort to know that reporters from King 5 News, who came to Vashon last week to talk to islanders outside the post office, also had to reach out to the same communications department, in Texas, for an official response from USPS.

But the staffing situation does indeed seem dire, and word trickles out one way or another.

Recently, we heard from a source who had direct knowledge about the severity of Vashon’s postal problems.

This source, who The Beachcomber will not identify in any way, identified larger systemic issues at play with Vashon’s postal problem and urged islanders to address their issues to USPS district managers, rather than the beleaguered, overworked staff at Vashon’s post office.

This source was worried not only about islanders who are not receiving important mail, including much-needed medicines, but also, about the wellbeing of all the essential workers caught up in the crisis.

We’ve also heard from an islander who talked to their own temporary driver and was told that Vashon receives a huge number of package deliveries — up to 10,000 every couple of days, to deliver down the long and winding driveways on Vashon.

Again, we don’t know if this outrageous number is factual, but what is sad is that it even seems possible.

We have implored islanders, in recent months, to reconsider their own discretionary purchases that result in repeated and even daily package deliveries.

We know, it’s the holiday season — a time when many are making even more online purchases than ever.

But why not buy your gifts, and indeed just shop for basic goods, right here at home?

For our island businesses, this is a critical, make-or-break time of the year.

At Winterfest, islanders can stop into local shops, and also peruse the wares of vendors in Vashon Theatre’s new plaza. Any gift you purchase from an actual, live islander during Winterfest will stay in our community, and make it better.

This weekend also brings the opportunity to attend Vashon Island Visual Artists’ upcoming Holiday Studio Tour (see page 12), and find remarkable, one-of-a-kind gifts there, as well.

A toy swap, soon to take place at Open Space for Arts & Community, is a great place to take your children to “shop” for their siblings and friends (see page 13).

Our own beloved thrift shop, Granny’s Attic, has always been a place to make both funky and fine secondhand purchases, with part of the proceeds going to Granny’s charitable grants to island health care causes.

Experiences, too, make lovely gifts — so think about purchasing tickets for upcoming shows at Vashon Center for the Arts, Vashon Opera, Snapdragon Café, and Open Space.

Gift certificates to local restaurants are also a great way to keep our local fine dining establishments in business in the coming dark and cold winter days.

And gift cards to Vashon Theatre — perhaps the scrappiest single-screen movie theater remaining in America — can be tucked nicely into any Christmas stocking or under the bow of any Chanukah present.

Going on one local buying spree won’t fix the problems at the post office — but it’s a feel-good way to create a new, helpful habit that will also help the situation at Vashon’s post office.

Another way to help, perhaps, would be to join in the Vashon-Maury Community Council’s upcoming discussion of the problems at the post office, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15. The meeting will be held both in-person, at the Land Trust Building, and on Zoom. Find out more at v–