Margaret Dollosso

Posted on 10 April 2009

The recently retired Sag Harbor Post Office worker on sponging stamps, her favorite customers and life after the P.O.


When did you begin working with the post office and where?

My first job with the post office was in Farmingdale as a carrier. I did that for four months and then I got the job in Massapequa in April of 1979. From there I transferred from Jericho and from there I had put in to be transferred out here. I was moving out here so I kept coming to the Sag Harbor Post office. I finally got the job at Thanksgiving time in 1987. We [with her late husband Dominick Dolloso] bought property in 1984 and had a house built. And the house was fixed and finished in ’86. So I was living here and driving to Jericho.


When you first started working at the post office, in 1979, do you remember what the cost of a stamp was?

I think it was like 15 cents. Then all of sudden one year after another it seemed to keep raising quickly.


What are the biggest changes you have witnessed in the last 30 year working in Sag Harbor?

When I first started out here we didn’t have computers, and there was no adding machine. I had to use stamps a lot. If it was a package that cost $3 I would have to put out all the stamps, sponge wet them and put them on the package. And then I had to add up the purchases with a piece of paper and a pencil. We also had books to look up a zone if you had a package and then weigh it and price it out from looking through a book. And now, everything is computerized – it’s an improved and faster system.

And also there used to be three routes and now there are six routes. Carriers, when I first started, had to use their own vehicles.  Most of them had station wagons then. Now some of them have SUV’s.


What year were computers introduced to the Postal Service?

I want to say sometime in 1992, we had a basic computer and then eventually we had an upgrade, probably ten years ago. That was the newest version with touch screens – so it did simplify life. You could look up information faster; and of course I remember when you had to lick the stamps, now we have the peel off stamps.


What was your favorite part of working at the post office?

My favorite part was probably the people. My co-workers and I had some good laughs. I loved the customers, the ones who were friendly and would tell a joke or share a story about their family with me. So that was the nicest part of the job.


What was the most horrifying experience you have had at work?

There is this one customer that came in and it was 4:30, and she stopped in our office, she might have been moving. She came in with all these parcels – and even the post master told her that we had to close at five. But she just kept bringing in parcel after parcel. The post master told her she only had until five, but she started screaming and yelling. So we ended up staying until probably six o’clock helping her.


Were there any other funny memorable moments?

We also used to have a carrier that had a car, but he wasn’t known for his driving skills. Well a customer of ours called and told us that a driver drove over some ducks in her yard. It turned out they were plastic ducks, but they were in the yard, so that still wasn’t very good that he drove onto the lawn.

I also used to have this sweet old man that would come in and hand me his bank books, instead of his postage. And when I talked to the girls in the bank, they told me that ‘that’s okay, he comes in here and hands us his mail.’


Has anything changed specifically this year, in light of the economy? I heard the post office is now going to be closed on Saturdays.

Yes I guess they are having cutbacks, and cut down on personnel. So I know they are trying to shorten routes, but they are going to raise the stamp again in May.


Speaking of cutbacks, have you lost anyone out of the Sag Harbor office?

We were supposed to lose one clerk; but I retired, and then maybe another girl will be leaving in three months or so.


Did that play a part in your decision to retire?

I thought of it, I could retire in 2009, but it did cross my mind. I already had my 30 years in January. The union, as far as I knew they were going to send her out or another clerk if I didn’t leave.


I’m sure you can recognize many of the regular customers, how many people do you know by name from working there?

I think that we have 2900 boxes, and I would say that I know a third of them. Now a lot of time I don’t know somebody’s name, I just know their box number. I’ve gotten to know some of the families because of their parents and some of their children. So I’ve seen quite a few families grow up and bring their own children in too.


Had you ever thought of transferring to another post office here – like Bridgehampton or Southampton?

At one time, I was thinking of transferring to Sagaponack, because another girl I worked with in Sag Harbor transferred there. It’s a really quite small little post office. One time I was thinking of going over there because it was a little quieter than Sag Harbor.


How did you celebrate your retirement?

At work they had a cake for me and the carriers gave me some lottery tickets. And the post office gave me a watch. And some of my co-workers took me to Bobby Vans. And some of the people I used to work with took me to the Inn Between, Buckley’s just Friday night in Hampton Bays.


And now, with all this free time, how will you spend your retirement?

Well I’m in a quilting group they call the Unhampton Quilters. I haven’t really been quilting much lately; I’ve been working and everything. And I want to start doing more traveling. And I want to start going to the beach more. A big dream of mine has been to go to Ireland; maybe this year or next year.



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