Hail To The Postal Service

People often use the USPS as an example of a bloated bureaucracy full of lazy, grumpy, overpaid people who do a poor job. Well, let me raise my hand in opposition.

My experience with the Postal Service has been great. They do a great job of delivering my mail, my delivery person is friendly and hard-working. I can get a letter across town in one day, and across the country in a few more, and all for 44¢…about what you’d pay for a 1/4 cup of coffee at Starbuck’s. When I have used their on-line service to temporarily stop my mail, it works perfectly: they hold the mail as requested and then deliver the accumulation on the day promised.

So, I was a bit surprised recently when I stopped getting mail for a week. No junk, no bills, no nothing. Now, I have gone a day or so without any mail, so until it reached a week I didn’t think much of it. But after 5 days, I headed over to my local post office to find out what was what.

A pleasant postal worker greeted me, and after I explained my problem, she went to the back. She soon returned with a small stack of mail. It turns out that they were putting it aside as if there was a stop mail request. She apologized and I went on my way.

A few days later, I got a call from a representative of the USPS. She wanted to make sure my problem had been resolved. Now, I didn’t fill out any formal complaint, so I can only surmise that the postal worker had made some sort of report. At any rate, I told the rep that all was well, and I was again a happy postal customer.

Before she hung up, I asked her what she thought about the news that the USPS was considering dropping Saturday delivery. She said that she understood the financial issues, and that except for the potential loss of jobs/hours for postal workers, she thought it might be worth trying. She did say that some customers are concerned about waiting 2 days between mail deliveries, and that for a few, waiting for the mail is an important part of their day.

Then she asked what I thought, and here’s what I told her…

With one caveat, I think it’s a great idea. I can go a couple of days between deliveries (heck, I just went a week, and it was not all that bad.) If people really are concerned about missing a day of mail, you’d think there would be a hue and cry for Sunday delivery. But we’re used to that. What’s one more day?

I’ve also heard of a plan to perhaps skip a day during the week, or maybe Mondays (given so many are federal holidays anyway). Okay by me…if it helps the USPS save some money, I’m all for it.

Now for that caveat: if the savings come completely on the backs of postal workers, causing a loss of jobs or income, I’d be less supportive. That may be the only way to make this happen, but I’ll wait for more details.

The point is, the best way to see if an idea works is to try it. I hope the USPS doesn’t talk this thing to death. Try it (maybe in a few areas) and see what happens.

And if you see a postal worker, let ’em know you appreciate what they do. When you think about it, it’s an amazing system. And it works pretty well. I’ve had one problem in 57 years; I think that’s a record that most service providers would consider unimaginable.

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