USPS – Go Post Office!

December 18, 2018

USPS – Go Post Office!

I saw a post on FB the other day, dissing the United Stated Postal Service. I don’t recall the words, but I remember how I felt: Pissed Off! I’m a big USPS fan, and reflexive jabs at it “anger up my blood.” (Satchel Paige – maybe the best baseball pitcher ever – said “avoid fried foods, which angry up the blood.” Me? Fried foods good; dissing USPS bad.)

I shop often on eBay, and I’m the a-m-a-t-e-u-r in my life. (LB loves eBay and the USPS, and she does eBay way better than I ever will.) Almost everything arrives via the Post Office. On time. Unbroken. And with a smile and more from Dan or one of his substitutes. Dan puts up with Ozzie’s barking. (Ozzie Smith functions as the office doorbell.) Dan tolerates what comes. And he, or whoever has his route when he doesn’t, shows up. Every. Day.

The Fed Ex people are fine. USP too, although I can’t stand the level of engagement Brown demands when a package is on its way. Maybe I’m old—no maybe there, truth be told—but I want to know when my package will arrive, once! When it comes it comes, and I don’t want to feel like my day must revolve around … Brown.

The Post Office doesn’t exist to deliver my needless – mostly – purchases. Mail still plays a real role in our society. In the law world, we recognize email as a means for providing notice, but the rules still allow for mailing time, and plenty of people do not “do” email. So many of us do both, often, which annoys me on the receiving end, because I do email. But, at least sometimes, I acknowledge the fact that not everyone does email, and that snail mail still represents the default option.

All of which brings me to my old friend Ben B., of blessed memory. In the late 1990s, he told me he was passing on email. “Not sure it’ll take,” said he. Wrong he was, but there are millions among us like Ben was. They wait for the mailman – and, for most of them, he’s a he and he’s not a postal carrier or some other gender neutral some such – and look forward to getting mail. Is there junk? Sure. Is he or she late some days? Absolutely. And at Rubin & Bernstein, do we know how lucky we are that we have Dan? You bet.

Why am I focused on the USPS? The Trump Administration wants to privatize it. Not bloody likely and, yet again, the concept constitutes an idea which will harm most greatly President Trump’s base: to wit, poor folks in rural areas, who rely disproportionately on mail to stay connected. Still, when ideas get put forward, that puts them one step closer to implementation.

The USPS operates with handcuffs. First, the USPS must fully fund retirement and health care costs, now. Other public and private sector entities do not operate under such constraints.

Second, the USPS must deliver first class mail everywhere, for the same price. Me, to the law firm three blocks away? As of 1/27/2019, the charge is 50 cents. You, to cousin Bertha in West ToHellandGone, AK?  The same 50 cents.

Third, have you wondered why the Post Office doesn’t look like the FedEx store? Or, why Priority Mail costs roughly half what FedEx charges. Want privatization? Get ready for nicer stores, and pricing which pays for the glitz … and shareholder dividends.

Finally, the United States Postal Service provides last mile service to private carriers. (Here are the details.) Why? The law requires the USPS to deliver to every address in America, and because the USPS must deliver, private carriers and the USPS can both make money when the USPS provides last mile service.

LB baked rum cakes this morning. “For whom,” I asked, being ever grammatically correct. “For Dan, and some other people.”

Be kind to your letter carrier. The powers that be rigged this one. Time will tell, but we will deeply regret what we lose if profiteers take over our Postal Service.

 

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