Entry: Mailbox = federal property Tuesday, September 07, 2004

A new example of Minnesota "nice" has now presented itself. If there's such a thing as what Minnesotans think they mean when they say "Minnesota Nice" I have yet to see it... Maybe Minnesotans are only nice to other Minnesotans...

We went on vacation for a week out of town and had a house sitter.

While we were gone someone from our neighbor from across the street approached our house sitter and told her that he had spoken to the post office and that they had said that as long as we agreed he could replace our mailbox. The mailboxes are at the edge of his front yard. He told her that we had already agreed to his doing this.

This of course was a lie. He hadn't approached us at all.

It's also a violation of federal law that he then went ahead and removed our mailbox and it's post so that he could put in a new single post with two new mailboxes mounted on it without actually discussing it with us. (The cheapest plastic mailboxes I've ever seen.)

Our neighbors are planning to sell their house in the spring and are having much of their yard landscaped. They removed both our and their mailboxes and replaced them with new ones on a single post and landscaped the area around it.

If they had asked us about this we wouldn't necessarily have minded. It would have been nice to be asked what our mailbox was going to look like though.

The fact that they lied to our house sitter while we were out of town doesn't sit too well. Not only did they do what they wanted without discussing it with us, but they lied to our house sitter about it so that she wouldn't question what they were doing to our mailbox.

When confronted with this their son (the fireman) acted as if I hadn't said anything about someone lying about our agreement with this. He responded that he had "asked some of his friends who are policeman about this" and that they'd said it was "not a big deal." I got the impression that he was the one who had talked to our house sitter.

He also didn't seem the least bit guilty or even to act like he had been caught doing something that anyone else would question in any way. This just fits with the behavior when their landscapers were dumping equipment in our yard (across the street from their yard) recently...

Our neighbors are native Minnesotans who have lived in that house for 30 years. So is this just how people from Minnesota act?

It's actually a federal offence to tamper with someone else's mailbox, punishable by up to 3 years in prison. I'm not sure how that qualifies as "not a big deal" unless you have friends who are policemen.


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