Post Office – How It Killed Itself

The Post Office killed itself – well turned itself into a zombie.  It’s still in denial about its death.  It didn’t happen quickly.  It happened slowly.  it happened a little here, a little there.  It took millions of people to kill it.  First was the great crime of failing to change. Its great crime was that we’ve always done it this way and we’re not going to give you, customer, what you want and are willling to pay good money for.   Becauwe we don’t want to.  We want to do things like we have always done things.  We’re a business that is refusing to listen to our customers. 

It refused to allow tracking numbers or delivery confirmation for anything but espeically for packages. It made it impossible to prove that expensive things were delivered so people needed another solution.  That allowed companies like FedEx, UPS, and DHL to become established.  Once they were created, they promptly took over the package business.   You could install their free software, schedule the package to be picked up, print out a shipping label, and if the package was international, print out the customs documents to go with it.  And all you had to do was call and ask for them to send you the software, a roll of labels, and a printer.  All of which they were happy to provide, right down to the packaging.  Even the boxes were free for the asking.  All orders of magnitude more high tech than hoping that you could persuade your postman to accept a package if you had gone out and bought a postal meter, paid for a meter number, and then metered the postage – all of which were time consuming and expensive.  Now that the post office has tracking numbers and self printed postage, its much too late.  They missed the boat.  And they are still trying to compete with the package carriers which is being subsidised by the all the rest of the USPS business. 

Then came the stupid regulations.  You, home brewer or home vinter customer, cannot ship that beer or wine to your brother who lives 3 hours away.  You, plant grower, cannot ship those live plants even though the package is only going a few miles away.  You, eco-senstive recycler, are not allowed to reuse those USPS boxes even if you turn them inside out.  You, gun dealing customer, cannot ship your gun without complying with a lot of extra paperwork.  Even then you’re subjected to some postal worker’s crackpot ideas about what the postal regulations are.  I have had postal workers tell me that they aren’t allowed to accept Susan B. Anthony dollars even though I got stuck with the *&^%$ things because the stamp machine at the same post office gave them to me for change. 

Which brings me to the next nail in the postal service’s coffin – craptastic customer service.  I sent a letter from a post office near where I work.  It was eventually post marked 2 weeks after I dropped it off at the counter since i had to pay for postage.  It arrived nearly 3 weeks after it was mailed.  Yet I have friends who write home to India – half way around world – and their letters get home faster than sending anything from this particular post office.  I have heard from other coworkers that they have had similar issues with that particular post office, so I’m not alone.  There is another post office near my mother’s house.  Despite the fact that this post office is only 3 blocks from the post office to the city water department, my mother hand delivers her water bill each month because she is no longer willing to deal with the late charges.  It’s such a problem that the city she lives in sent out a notice to all the residents in her zip code warning them to please mail the check in at least 2 weeks early or to hand deliver it.  

Then came the post office where the mail was delivered randomly to anyone on the street. It was so bad that we started having rolling weekly parties and mail swaps.  If you got misdelivered mail, you would save it up all week and on Saturday afternoons we’d crack some wine or beer and swap mail.   No number of complaints to the postmaster worked.  It didn’t stop until that particular postman had to go on medical leave.  We got assigned a new postman and the weekly mail socials were a thing of the past.  Then came my move to another town which meant another post office.  Initially, I was happy because it meant that I might acutally get my mail.  I ended up very disappointed.  It was the same misdelivery.  The same refusal to accept packages despite their TV ads to the contrary.  The same snotty attitude when you tried to question them about what the rules are.  

I came home from work one day to find that I had a package.  He had pulled up in the driveway and tossed it out the window into the middle of my lawn.  No amount of complaining to the postmaster did any good with that either.  And so we moved again.  And the situation still isn’t any better.  My current post office will not deliver to my house at all.  Some dork ran over our mail box for the 4th time.  We have given up on replacing it.  Even when it comes to packages that wouldn’t fit in the now non-existent mail box, they still refuse to deliver anything to my house.  So when I order on line, I often pay EXTRA to have UPS or FedEx or DHL deliver the package to my house. At least then I know I will get my package.  

Now you have cut back the hours during which I am able to get mail.  Your hours were 8 am to 4 PM before – times when I am never home to get anything. I work about an hour from here.  I am generally gone from the house well before 8 am and not home until well past 4 PM.   But there were Saturday hours.  Now there are not.  That means I am effectively unable to get mail via the USPS.  If it won’t fit in my PO Box, please don’t send it.  I’ll never see it.  It will simply be sent back to you. BUt they won’t care because you already paid the postage.