Closing Post Offices | Not A Drive-By Blog

Here’s an excerpt of some interesting observations about the United States Postal Service. The piece was a reaction to a recent WSJ story about half of current Post Offices being up for the axe, or at least cost-cutting measures:

Anyone who has been to the post office recently and who has been forced to stand in line for some sort of product or service has most likely experience the maddeningly slow and inefficient customer service. As someone who has lived all over the U.S. (in big cities and small towns) I can tell you my experiences are not isolated incidents. While the staff behind the counter may be friendly enough, they simply are not in a hurry to to anything. After all why should they? They are union members being paid a government salary with some of the best healthcare and retirement benefits in public service. They get paid whether the line stretches out the door or whether there are no customers at all.

Whenever the idea of closing unprofitable offices is debated, small towns and rural areas like to cry foul. They argue that the post office is a pillar of their social community. These post offices function as a social gathering place as well as providing a needed connection to the outside world. While that may be true in some cases, the social gatherings of people should not be a concern of the federal government or of taxpayers.

via Closing Post Offices | Not A Drive-By Blog.

The stated view of the piece is fair, but as someone who’s dabbled in the fantasy game of What I Would Do To Improve The Post Office, this opens up the opportunity to discuss the same.

First, the time has come to either charge a fee for rural delivery or stop it altogether. One of the grand shell games the government has played with The People has to do with climate change (or MMGW, or whatever you want to call it). They tell us to use less, conserve more, consider public transportation, etc. Yet … we have an army of taxpayer-supported rural carriers driving all over the countryside delivering mail, the bulk of which is, frankly, completely wasteful – sort of like employing said carriers. How do people in the country – I’m one of them – get their mail, then? Hold on, I’m getting to it.

Second, after getting rid of rural carriers, urban carriers are next to go, with the same argument applied. It is wasteful – if UPS and FedEx can do it, then USPS can deliver for a much higher fee – the reason so much crap is mailed is because it’s so cheap. It’s so cheap because it doesn’t have to compete in the market – it’s supported by the taxpayers. Axing rural and urban deliver except for Express, Priority etc would drastically reduce a) wasteful mailing b) the number of people employed by the post office and c) what the hell – the carbon footprint of the Post Office.

So, if we’re getting rid of carriers and thus mailboxes, where do people go to get their mail, exactly? Good question.

I live in an area with about 75,000 people – it has five post offices and two private mailbox businesses – a UPS Store and an independently, non-franchised spot. Although there is mail delivery at my house, I get anything important – which is very little – sent to my box at the UPS Store. It costs about $70 a year.

It is insane for an area of 75,000 people to have five post offices, two private mailbox operations and rural and urban delivery. So, here are the options that would phase out standard delivery:

  1. Tax-incentives for more mailbox shops to open up – let the free market do the rest
  2. Reserving boxes at the Post Office for The Poor, schools, and other State agencies.

Just going off the $70/year figure, assuming zero other services offered by any private shop, 65,000 of the 75,000 people paying the paltry $70/year for a box means a gross of $4.5 million into the local economy, as opposed to the tens of millions coming out of it and into government waste for the salaries, benefits and pensions of the overstaffed area Post Offices; the savings of not having dozens upon dozens of vehicles driven (and the gas they use) to deliver mail; and finally, the beautiful poetry of the free market, where innovation and competition would drive down the cost of a private box in the first place, creating more services, more opportunities for growth and less government waste.

And that’s just a start.


About godsowncrunk
I'm King B, the originator of the Jellywhite lyrical style and god's own crunk.

One Response to Closing Post Offices | Not A Drive-By Blog

  1. Eric says:


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