Talk about first-class mail.
A Manhattan limousine company has found a way to drive revenue now that the COVID-19 pandemic has pumped the brakes on car service around New York City: have its drivers chauffeur their elite clientele’s mail and packages from their posh city penthouses to their Hamptons beach houses, where they’ve fled to self-isolate in style.
“I had to be innovative,” Mark Vigliante, the president of M&V Limousine Limited, told Vice. “There wasn’t a choice. This was it. I had to work. Plus, you can only have so much family time, you know?”
Vigliante, who also owns Hampton Luxury Liner, an upscale bus service ferrying people between Manhattan and Long Island, said that for “hundreds of dollars,” his drivers will pick up customers’ mail from their Upper East Side and Upper West Side apartments, and bring it to their homes out on the shore.
He told Vice that this pop-up pandemic Tony Express now makes up 30% of Hampton Luxury Liner’s business, which has allowed him to keep up to 15% of his drivers employed — even as millions of Americans have lost their jobs, particularly in the travel, hospitality and service industry, as social-distancing guidelines have closed bars, restaurants, gyms and retailers for the foreseeable future.
“It’s a lot of mail and a lot of packages. It’s a lot of groceries, too, and luggage,” Vigliante said. “Some of it’s more odd. One dude had us transport a bicycle.”
Now he’s got his limousines and Cadillacs offering same-day delivery on anything that can fit in the trunk. His drivers wear gloves, he says, and the cars are also sanitized.
“To be honest with you, if it keeps going well, we’ll probably keep doing it after things get better,” he added.
Perhaps the rich don’t realize that the United States Postal Service already offers this service — and for just $1.05?
A quick Google search for “how to forward your mail” takes you to the USPS site, where with just a few clicks, and forking over a buck and change, you can redirect your mail and your packages to a permanent or temporary new address. You can use this “regular” forwarding service for as short as 15 days, or as long as one year. It can take seven to 10 business days to process your mail-forwarding request, however, so there could be a couple of weeks where your mail will continue going to the old address, and it would indeed be useful to have someone pick it up for you.
Or you can lay out some extra money for the “premium” USPS forwarding service; the post office will hold your mail for a week at a time, package it, and then ship the bundle to you each week via its Priority Mail service. There’s a $21.90 enrollment fee in person ($20.10 if you enroll online), and then you pay $21.90 for each week of service; it’s still a bargain compared to the “hundreds” spent to get it delivered by limo. You can use this service for a minimum of two weeks up to a maximum of one year.
And if you move while you’re still expecting some online orders to come in, you can sometimes change the address on your Amazon, Walmart, and Target deliveries if they haven’t been fully processed or shipped yet.
The USPS also shared a coronavirus update last week, noting it has a dedicated COVID-19 Command Response team that’s focused on keeping the mail service running, and while keeping postal workers safe. It also assured the public that there is currently no evidence from the World Health Organization or CDC that COVID-19 is being spread through the mail.
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