Lenell Ammerman of Chevy Chase had a letter that she was very anxious to mail. She knew she'd probably have to go to the local post office to send it along its way in the speediest possible fashion. But maybe the mailbox at the corner had a scheduled pickup time within a couple of hours. One way to find out: look at the pickup schedule stuck to the box.

But there wasn't one.

And there wasn't a schedule on the box two blocks away.

There had apparently been one at the box six blocks away, but most of it had been torn away, and what was left didn't provide the information Lenell needed.

Naturally, she threw up her hands at this point and spent the time, gas and rubber to go to the post office. But her question is: Why don't the authorities do something about this?

No need, replied George Conrad, spokesman for the D.C. post office. "It shouldn't be necessary for the customer to report it because the carrier making the collection ought to notice it."

And if he doesn't? Call 523-2340 and report it, Conrad suggests. In Prince George's County, the number to call is 436-6014. Elsewhere in Maryland and throughout Northern Virginia, call your local post office.