Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Postal Blues

Back to blogs. This one is about one of my least favorite subjects, the Postal Service. Having been retired from that institution for over a year, it seems I still pay attention to the news when it blurts out. Whether that is my own self interest, watching closely to make sure my pension is safe -- I don't trust what politicians tell me -- or out of some perverse sense of loyalty to a company that went out of its way to . . . well, I shouldn't go there. Not yet.

The news yesterday reveals that the PO is dropping its guarantee of overnight delivery within the same zip code zone. Again, this business is planning to compete with other like businesses by CUTTING service to its customers and decrying, they'll get used to it. After all, the Internet ether has replaced Bill paying and catalog shopping for so many, so what if there are still a million or two people out there who don't have the Internet or don't trust the ether to protect their identities.

Not that the service is all that great. Admittedly, even as a former employee, I am aware that much mail is being lost out there. I myself have lost half a dozen packages while an eBay seller, with considerable loss. A close friend and businesswoman reported to me that a package she ailed half a year ago containing $3500 in merchandise, equipped with confirmation and tracking, was lost, and all she gets from the PO is "Oh, well." The same individual reports the loss or delay of several bills "in the mail." This kind of empirical data shows that the Postal Service has forgotten the Service aspect of its job.

Frankly, the Post Office doesn't care.

Ask a carrier or a clerl or a mail handler on the job, and THEY care. But their hands are tied and their throats are being systemmatically choked. and if they want to keep their jobs in todfay's hostile climate (not that it was ever friendly -- the term Going Postal entered American jargon for a reason). they bhave to swallow hard the changes thrown at them in the name of progress, allow the work to be piled on to fewerr individuals, and, in those immortal words, suck it up.

Again, I wonder if the Post Office wants to fail. After all, how does a business that laready has cut almost half its work force since I began there three decades ago, and over 100,000 jobs in the last few years, continue to lose money? Then it hit me in one word: Congress. The Postal Service is the onbly private business answerable directly to Congress. Congress must approve any and all suggestions, adjustments, and price hikes, often tying the hands of those who actyually might know something about running a mega business. And, frankly, our Congress isn't running anything well these days, except for animosity and debt.

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