Voices of the Bay

Sending First Class Smiles From Bristol

A Bristol postal clerk gives something sweet to every customer.

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Going to the Bristol US Post Office is a sweet experience thanks to Postal Clerk Tom Vaccaro who completes each transaction with a piece of candy for his customers. The son of Joseph and Melissa Vaccaro, the Bristol native graduated from Providence College with a Bachelors degree in History Secondary Education. While working for eight years as a substitute teacher in the then-Bristol School District he started part-time with the US Post Office and eventually took the exam for a full-time position. After spending time at two other US Post Offices, Tom came to Bristol in 1998 as a fill in and never left. He enjoys spending his free time with his long time partner Kelly Squatrito, her children Holly and Joey and his extended circle of family and friends.

When I first started there was a guy named Warren who gave a customer service talk and mentioned that he gave out lollipops to his customers. I thought that was pretty cool. He would buy the lollipops by the box for $5 in Pawtucket. So I started doing it. When that place closed I was afraid I would have to stop giving out candy because of the expense. I go through a bag a day. I started buying the Dum Dum pops at the Dollar Store, which are affordable, and I buy the adult candy at Walgreens because they have great sales. People really appreciate it. The kids’ faces are the best when they are in line and they get so excited. If it’s a new customer with kids I always quietly ask can if I give them a candy. I have had customers say they were at a wedding and started coughing but found my candy in their purse, or diabetics say they were getting weak and used the candy. I make my Keurig coffee at home so instead of buying my coffee this is what I do.

They say the letters are falling off but I don’t see it. We mail lots of cards. People still like to receive cards in the mail. We also mail a lot of advertising fliers and there are a lot of packages from internet sales. I always tell customers if they are not sure what to do with the items they want to mail, get in line with their items and when they come up to us we will figure out what they need. We will tell them what type of box they need to package it up. Until we weigh the piece with the particular zip code we don’t know what is the best type of box (flat rate or regular) will be. They can come back up to the counter when it’s ready to go. They don’t need to go to the end of the line, which they often think they have to do. I used to smoke and would want to take a cigarette break. I gave it up because the desire was causing me to get stressed. You don’t want to take that out on your customers. I want to treat customers the way I would want someone to treat my parents. It was the way I was raised.

My late uncle Pasquale “Pat” Vaccaro was my example for providing quality customer service. He worked for the Bristol Post Office from 1940 to 1992. There is a plaque here above the Post Office boxes with his photo and it says “The man who put service to the public above all else.” I want to make him proud of the job I do and I try to live up to that.