Category Archives: Postal Systems

Marauding mutts stop mail service

An aggressive band of marauding mutts forced postal carriers to temporarily stop mail delivery to residents of Galveston until police corral between three to five mixed breeds.

The mail interruption affects about seven customers who haven’t received mail in about 10 days.  No injuries have been reported.


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Postal Service Plans To Cut 7,500 Jobs

The US Postal Service is apparently cutting 7500 jobs by eliminating 7 district offices.  District offices house administrative functions and do not affect customer service.

Supposedly, there are more cuts in the works, but this is part of the restructuring of the postal service and will be good for long term efficiency.

Personally, I think this could be good for the postal service.  I hate to hear about people being laid off, but the USPS needs to be returned to solvency.

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Stamps To Be Replaced By Text Messages

Well, not exactly.  That headline doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, to be sure.  It works like this: First, customers pay for postage by sending a text. They’ll receive a reply that includes a code to be written on a package as proof of postage payment.  Officials have yet to finalize plans and don’t expect it be launched before summer.  In other words, this may not be viable at all.

I see a few problems with this approach.  First, the impetus supposedly is that Sweden (and Denmark, they want to try it too) is looking for new ways to convince its citizens to send more letters, but they also want to ease the lives of its citizens.  That is admirable, but if you are going to go through the trouble to write a letter, is buying and applying stamps a deal breaker?

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Partial Privatization vs Shutdown vs Autonomy

I’ve long believed that shutting down US Postal Service in favor of private options is a horrible idea.  I’m a laissez faire socialist at best, but for historical reasons, the Postal Service is hugely important.  I’m also not a big fan of the idea of privatization of the Postal Service, which just feels like ‘shutdown’ in a cheap tux.  It’s only a matter of time before the US Postal Service is even worse off under that model.  But the partial privatization idea proposed in Bryant Fong’s editorial at The Pioneer, one of Whitman College‘s student publications, makes a lot of sense.

For my mind, I think the US Postal Service would do better as a government owned corporation like Amtrak.  Sure, there are challenges involved with any kind of organizational change, especially going from government entity to for-profit corporation, but perhaps this would permit the USPS to operate more efficiently and effectively.  Either way, there are tough choices ahead for the USPS.  Sure, the volume of mail is much lower; most people mention that, but I think there are other more costly issues like pensioning the aging postal employees.  Think of the last time you were in a post office.  Did you see anyone under the age of 45 behind the counter?

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Mail Trucks and Their Various Uses suggests that the US Postal Service outfit mail trucks with sensors for local weather, road conditions, and detection of chemical or radiological agents for homeland security.

I think this is a really interesting idea, but I also wonder what administrative functions could be performed from mail trucks.  For example, in my old neighborhood, the electric company doesn’t get out and read meters anymore.  They drive by in trucks and the data is transmitted via radio signal from the meter to the data collection vehicle.  Since mail trucks go to every address (more or less), could they perform utility functions like this to save money for other municipal agencies?

What do you think?

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Sale of Royal Mail Could Result in Queenless UK Stamps

The Independent is reporting on the scramble to keep the Queen’s head on UK stamps as the British government prepares to sell off Royal Mail, possibly to foreign companies.

I’ve often wondered what would happen to US stamps if the US Postal Service was privatized.  Would a private company, particularly a foreign company, have a reason to create commemorative stamps?  Would they see any reason to spend the money on design of interesting definitive stamps?  Would there be any first day covers?  In general, I fear that stamp collecting as hobby would fundamentally change.  If there were no new interesting stamps, people may stop collecting.  Older stamps would increase in value, which would be nice in the short-term, but in the end, it would drive people out of the hobby.

How do you think privatization would affect your postal system?

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U.S. Postal Service Gears Up for Busiest Day of the Year

All Voices reports the US Postal Service is gearing up for it’s busiest day of the year.

What I found most interesting in this short piece….

“With annual revenues of more than $67 billion, the USPS delivers nearly 40% of the world’s mail. It is also the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation, 150 million residences, businesses and P.O. Boxes. The USPS however, receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.”

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