Sunday, March 7, 2010

You're going down, U.S. Postal Service!

I sent this letter to RedEye after its March 3, 2010 article about the Postmaster General's report to Congress:

The U.S. Postal Service needs to stop living in the last century and redesign its entire business plan for today's postal consumer ("Deliver them," March 3). Email can send text, images, audio and video instantly for free; and long-distance phone service, once a luxury, is almost free. Yet USPS wants to charge even more than its current overpriced rate to send an envelope across town (usually overnight) or cross-country (usually three days). What is wrong with this picture?

The projected [$283 million] 10-year loss figure is somewhat amusing as USPS may not be around in 10 years. It should be cutting its rates, not raising them, to encourage consumer usage as a novelty: post cards and greeting cards. Meanwhile, the Postal Service should slash service to thrice weekly (Tues./Thurs./Sat.) and drastically reduce its office hours. USPS should face the reality that its service isn't so critical that we need its offices open 10 or 11 hours every day. In a decade, the Postal Service will likely be little more than a quaint reminder of how much fun receiving a letter from Grandma once was.

* * *

The Postal Service's feeble attempt to drop Saturday delivery ignored the political power of the Direct Mail Association, a powerful Washington lobby. DMA's members love Saturday mail because that day's delivery catches people when they are home and more likely to read advertising. It's my opinion that if we lose one day's mail delivery, it should be Tuesday. Delivery on Tuesday is typically light because mail sent Friday and Saturday arrives on Monday. Mail arriving Tuesday either took way too long or was mailed locally on Monday.

Congress refused USPS's request to drop Saturday delivery. For Congress to force us to continue to pay for delivery we really don't need is, once again, the height of arrogance.

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