These are not the happiest of times at the . It’s not just the long lines or customers who think postal clerks should wrap and package their gift boxes (Hey… this ain’t Mailboxes Etc.!), it’s just that this is a business in real trouble. And we’re all to blame.
Every time we pay a bill online or send an e-mail instead of a letter, we’re putting another nail is the U.S. Postal Service’s coffin. As the New York Times reported, most of our mail these days isn’t letters but ads… just as our home delivered newspapers often contain more sales inserts than news.
Oh, we all moan when they talk about closing our local post offices or threaten to curtail Saturday deliveries. But what’s the USPS to do? They can only raise the price of stamps so much without driving more business away.
Still, their latest proposal seems self-defeating: slow up delivery of first class mail. What are they thinking? This would be like a failing restaurant deciding to use rancid ingredients making their offerings even less attractive.
When you think of it, paying 44 cents to have a letter delivered anywhere in this country in just a few days is a pretty good deal. But delaying time sensitive material in the name of cost-savings seems foolish.
News magazines will be slowed so much on their way to your mailbox that their contents won’t be news anymore, just hastening their conversion to publishing electronically.
Even Priority Mail, which used to promise second day delivery (wasn’t that what First Class used to offer) for $4.95 is seeing that delivery guarantee slip to “two to three days”. Sure, Express Mail still gets there overnight for less than FedEx or UPS, but $18.30? C’mon!
I like our local post offices. Their employees behind the counter and delivering our mail try hard. But morale must be in the dumps as they all worry if they’ll have jobs in the new year. And what will happen to their pensions?
So next time you’re at the Post Office, be nice to that harried clerk. They didn’t create this mess. We did.