Living in Hawaii is always an adventure and this week it was the sudden lost of our US mail service.
When we moved to a remote part of the Kohala Coast three years ago, we were surprised at how little mail was being delivered to our condo complex. Only a dozen or so letters a day and a few packages were delivered most days to over a hundred units in our complex. This was in sharp contrast to the overfilled mail truck in our previous condo complex in Kona that kept the mailman busy for hours stuffing boxes. We decided it was related to the unoccupied state of most of the units during the year. At Christmastime the number of packages would always increase as the condos filled with their owners and vacation renters.
Since we regularly order from Amazon Prime, we quickly became familiar with the local carrier who was a contractor in an unmarked van rather than a postal worker. Starting about a year ago, when Amazon’s Prime service with free shipping became more popular, we noticed a surge in the number of packages he had to deliver. The rural carrier’s job lost its luster as his work day dragged out and he spent hours moving boxes. Many times he would dig through the back of his van stuffed with hundreds of boxes looking for ours. Most of the boxes were from Amazon and marked Prime or from some other retail outlet. As shopping online increased in popularity our rural mail carrier became more and more miserable.
Last week were notified that our contract carrier quit and that mail service along the Kohala coast would be limited until they found a replacement. We have had no mail pick up and sporadic deliveries of boxes by post office trucks. Our location is about an hour round trip to the Kamuela post office.
For us, and apparently many other people in our complex, being able to order products online with free shipping significantly lowers the cost of living in Hawaii and adds to the quality of life. It turns out that having viable US post office services that can deal with massive numbers of packages, particularly during the Christmas season, is an important piece of living remotely in Hawaii.