CRESTED BUTTE — Five years after Crested Butte’s troubles with the U.S. Postal Service began to pile up, lines still snake around the town’s too-small post office; residents still bemoan the difficulty of retrieving their mail; and town manager Dara MacDonald still shakes her head in resignation when asked if the town has any solutions and answers.
“It’s tough. It’s a really tough issue for our people,” MacDonald said. “But our town doesn’t have a lot of power to change anything.”
While solutions to those problems are hammered out, the online retailer Amazon remains the King Kong in Crested Butte’s postal dilemma.
Amazon is the largest of the retailers that truck in goods that can’t be bought in a small, off-the-beaten-track town with no big-box or department stores. Amazon has an agreement with the Postal Service requiring the post office to handle the “last mile” of package delivery. In Crested Butte that means scads of yellow slips in boxes for patrons who then must stand in line to pick up their packages. It means towers of boxes in the cramped confines of the post office.
“I have been in this line and given up. The last time I was here I was in line for an hour and 45 minutes,” said a woman from Mount Crested Butte, who was not-so-patiently biding her time in line on a weekday morning with a yellow slip in hand that indicating that one of the stacks of boxes crowding the post office is hers.