When I was a young child, I loved watching Sesame Street. One of the bits I remember vividly was the song “These are the people in your neighborhood…” Remember that? Yeah… Good times. Juice and cookies. Furry guys singing. I loved it.
One of the people they talked about in my neighborhood was the postman. I thought that was really cool because I knew the postman in my neighborhood at the age of 4. He wore an awesome uniform, drove a one-of-a-kind Jeep and carried mace (just in case!). Awesome.
Back then, I used to love to go to the post office, too. The clerks were always so friendly and there was just something magical about how you could send a package anywhere in the world… Right from that counter. Amazing.
My how times have changed.
In the last couple of weeks, I have endured several experiences that makes it really easy for me to see why the US Postal Service was a $7 Billion loss last year (yeah, that’s ‘Billion’ with a “B”). If they weren’t government supported, they would be gone. But would we miss them? I doubt it.
Here are some of the moronic things I have encountered:
- When ordering stamps online from the USPS site, expect to pay $1 for them to mail them to you (WHAT?!) – and – for it to take 9 days to arrive (even though they will tell you 5-7 days).
- Being a government agency, don’t expect them to open until 8:00 am (even though that’s when the majority of working adults need to be at work!). Oh, but be prepared for the window to actually open at 8:07 (by their clock) and for the clerk to not have change so you will have to use your credit card for an $.88 purchase.
- Do NOT expect the post office to carry all of their stamps. They have 8 or 10 designs. That’s it. Don’t ask for others. They don’t have them.
Can you imagine a private business trying to compete like this? It would never work! People wouldn’t put up with this BS… And, apparently, they’re tired of putting up with it from the USPS. A $7 Billion deficit and the elimination of Saturday deliveries is a testament to that.
In this Digital Age in which we live, we don’t really need the USPS anyway, do we? I mean, we have UPS, FedEx and a plethora of other carriers to deliver packages. Email is quickly replacing handwritten notes. Bills can be accessed online. These are all quicker, cheaper and more effective ways of communicating.
Heck, even the most famous postman of all-time, Mr. Cliff Claven, said, “They did a study between postal workers and chimpanzees. They proved chimps were 32% slower. Of course, they were better with public relations.”
But, you know what? I still like the idea of the post office. I just wish they would pull their heads out and run things like a private company would.