Excuse my logic but it’s not surprising that the United States Postal Service has been forced to close many facilities recently. Don’t misunderstand this blog. I am not gloating. As a kid I greatly enjoyed collecting plate blocks of commemorative stamps and also First Day covers, which were special editions of new issues mounted on decorative envelopes. My memories of collecting stamps with my father and grandfather are cherished.
Yes, I think it is sad that just like newspapers, the venerable Postal Service may be put out to pasture. Yet, in many ways it has only itself to blame.
True, the advent of Email, Pay pal and other electronic methods of transmitting information has greatly dug into the Postal Service business and it can’t be blamed for something it had no control over.
However, there are glaring problems with the Postal Service that it does have control over yet continues to ignore.
It has huge overhead to pay because of gargantuan pensions it must pay former employees. From the mid 1900s until recent years, everyone wanted a postal job because they knew how lucrative the retirement package was. These former workers are living longer putting a drain on the already cash strapped agency.
Second, my own experience with the Postal Service on many occasions has shown me that it is not as reliable as it once was (unless when I was a child all this was going on even then and I just didn’t realize). People call printed mail “snail mail,” and oft times for good reason.
Here are some cases in point.
One time I walked out of my side door and past my front lawn and there was a large stack of mail (about 20-30 pieces) lying on my grass. It wasn’t mine. It didn’t even belong to anyone on my street. It had just been dropped there very carelessly.
I am constantly (I mean at least once every two weeks) getting mail delivered to my house that is not mine. Sometimes it has a completely different address which makes it ludicrous. Yet even when it has my address but is for someone other than my name I find it rather curious. You see when I mark this kind of mail “return to Sender” and re-mail it at my post office often times it comes back to me two or three times. Can’t these people read?!
Then I can recall how I lost a great deal of business thanks to USPS. My Dad and I were under contract with a textiles company to get them government contracts. We needed to get at least $500,000 worth of business for this company in our first year in order to be renewed. There was this state government bid we were going after. It was in one of the southeastern states as I recall. We put our bid package together and I brought it to the Post Office. I clearly asked the clerk if using express mail when it would arrive at the bid room. He guaranteed two days. I only needed it to arrive in three. It arrived in FOUR. We were disqualified. The most upsetting thing was when they tallied the bids, our bid would have been the lowest. It was a $240,000 contract. Because we lost that contract, we didn’t make our quota with the textile company and it ended what could have been a successful business partnership.
Did I mention that my postman always seems to be talking on a blue tooth when delivering my mail? Shouldn’t his mind be on his work? Maybe that’s why I keep getting other peoples’ mail as mentioned before.
Then there are the lines at many post offices. This is not the poor postal clerk’s fault. It’s management’s. Be that as it may, when you make working people wait twenty, or twenty five minutes to be served, they’re going to become disenchanted with your business. If you ever want to hear a wide array of muttered curses and catcalls, just go to your post office during lunch hour. If it’s one of the crowded ones you’ll get what I mean.
This cranky old blogger’s last gripe concerns something that took place about 15 years ago. I was driving my relatively new minivan down a side street and suddenly a postal vehicle just pulls out of its parking spot and side swipes me. I mean the driver couldn’t have possibly looked out her side view mirror for she would have seen me. I called the police. They came and I said I thought I smelled alcohol on her breath but they refused to issue a breath test. They acknowledged that it could have been her fault. Here’s the kicker though. At least at that time, under some provision of Title 19 from the Code of Federal Regulations, the Postal Service vehicle was not liable for damages caused by an accident, even if it was the postal worker’s fault. So I had to shell out nearly $1,800 for repairs.
Through it all, I hope the Postal Service survives. However, I hope they get their act together or it may be a short lived encore.
Copyright 2011; Greg S.