Frozen III

I forced the lock.

Four days after Canada Post was supposed to have fixed the problem, and after 10 days with no mail, I took matters into my own hands.

Canada Post ended door-to-door delivery in my neighbourhood in October, despite a promise from the new Liberal government to put conversion to community mailboxes on hold. I wasn’t surprised – they were making so many unrealistic promises during the election campaign they probably couldn’t keep track of them all. Anything for a vote, and worry about the consequences later.IMG_20160120_075302

So this is my first winter with a community mailbox, and I am underwhelmed. It’s Canada, we have cold; the things should be designed so they don’t freeze. And if you can’t do that, then make sure you have staff to unfreeze them in a timely fashion.

That apparently is not the case. When I complained to Canada Post that they had not fixed the problem within the promised three days I was basically told it wasn’t their problem. So I took matters into my own hands.

Why didn’t I do it sooner? Because it is not my job. It is the post office’s responsibility to ensure I can have access to my mail. I was willing to give them the chance to fix it, within reason. Only then did I speed things up on my own.IMG_20160120_075313

Several people had suggested I use a lock de-icer, a solution I rejected. That would have required me to make a purchase, with unlikely prospects of reimbursement, to do something that was someone else’s responsibility. Why should I be out of pocket?

But after days of waiting and no apparent attempt by Canada Post to solve the problem, and no response to my complaint from my Member of Parliament, I decided to act. (It didn’t surprise me I didn’t hear from my MP – this is the same guy that has yet to respond to a letter I sent him in 2005.)

It was bitterly cold, but I figured that was as good a day as any. I was expecting some cheques in the mail, including one from Canada Post itself for its last piece of non-service, and those didn’t do me any good sitting in the mailbox, if that indeed is where they were.

So I tried to put my key in the lock. As in the previous ten days I met with resistance; it wouldn’t go in. Before I had stopped there, not wanting to risk breaking my key or damaging the lock mechanism. This time I figured I had nothing to lose, so I pushed harder. Still nothing.

I jiggled the tip of the key up and down the slot. There appeared to be one spot with less resistance, so I pushed harder there. It seemed like it was giving way a little. So I applied even more force. Reluctantly the key was swallowed by the slot.

That didn’t completely solve the problem. The key was now in the lock, but didn’t turn. I pulled it out, then pushed it in again. At least now it would go into the lock without effort. But it didn’t want to turn. I figured if I forced it the key might break inside the lock. I also reasoned that if I didn’t force it I might not get any mail until Spring, given the glacial speed at which Canada Post seems to move.

So I applied force. Nothing happened, but at least the key didn’t break. So I tried again. Nothing. On the third attempt the key turned, the door opened and I was able to retrieve the pile of mail that had built up.

Now I have a working mailbox. At some point Canada Post may or may not show up to fix it. I’d tell them not to bother, but I don’t see on their website any way to cancel a service request. Not to mention that at least one of my neighbours has the same problem, judging from the note that has been on the mailbox for more than a week.

I’m thinking it will be a long time before they show up. I’m supposed to get an email when they fix the problem, so I’ll let you know.



  1. […] an automated response (no surprise) telling me when to expect a repair. Canada Post missed that target, and follow up emails went unanswered. After a few weeks the weather warmed up and I was once again […]

  2. […] is February 2, and still no contact. As you know, I took matters into my own hands. They didn’t seem to be doing anything. We have had some warm days recently so I presume my […]

  3. Brad Darbyson · · Reply


  4. Welcome to Canada… Next time, gently warm the key with a match or lighter. Works when you’re frozen out of your car or house, too.

    1. Yeah, I know that trick. Matches blow out in the wind before the key warms – and being a non-smoker I would have had to purchase a lighter, which I refused to do on principle.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: