If the lack of handicapped accommodations at the Aberdeen Post Office makes no sense, the U.S. Postal Service's reactions to the situation border on the nonsensical.
If ever there was a case of bureaucracy run amok, here it is. Providing a simple appurtenance – a wheelchair ramp – has turned into a proverbial federal project. Customers? Who needs them, right?
People who can't comfortably walk up to the front entrance of the Depression-era building on West Bel Air Avenue because they use canes, walkers or wheelchairs, have received the proverbial runaround from the USPS, as has Mayor Patrick McGrady.
The mayor, who has been trying to get a ramp built since long before he was elected, organized a rally out front of the building last Saturday morning to call attention to the lack of accommodations. At least 40 people showed up and, although there appears to have been some productive dialog since, McGrady admits he's not convinced change is on the horizon and has vowed to keep on the pressure.
If this were a business or a local government agency, there would no doubt be repercussions galore from a legal standpoint, not to mention a public relations nightmare. Such fears do not sway the USPS, or so it appears. The Aberdeen Post Office is their castle, after all, and they'll lower that drawbridge as they damn well please, or not.
Seriously, is the cost of a ramp so onerous that stamp prices might have to go up – yet again – if a ramp were constructed? As these same folks also have thus far rejected offers from the mayor and others to build a ramp at their expense, not the USPS's, it seems clear they are going to protect their turf, no matter the cost.
And while they do, enough people can't get access to the old post office that, sooner or later, they'll find some other way to conduct their business. Hardheadedness has sunk many a successful business, and we wouldn't call the USPS particularly successful at this point in its history.
Our advice to the USPS officials is to swallow your pride – and your stubbornness – and build that ramp. You are supposed to serve this community, aren't you?