Keeping an eye on delivery It seems like a couple times a year now, the United States Postal Service makes moves that mean worse service. They’ve done it again. Another round of postal facility …
Keeping an eye on delivery
It seems like a couple times a year now, the United States Postal Service makes moves that mean worse service.
They’ve done it again. Another round of postal facility closings was reported last week.
I really feel for the employees at local post offices. They’re working hard and they put their lives on the line during the COVID-19 pandemic to make sure we all received our mail without local delay. There were plenty of delays up the chain, when COVID-19 shut down sorting facilities, but there was someone at the road in front of my home six days a week, even if all they had to drop off was junk that didn’t make it farther than the recycling bin.
As a newspaper publisher, the United States Postal Service is critical to our business. We’ve been forced to adapt over the last few years when cutback after cutback meant slower service for all classes of mail. The Postal Service model is a self-fulfilling prophecy of customers using the mail less and less. They cut back local service where people were actually paying top dollar, 55 cents, for a stamp. It’s no longer possible to mail something to your neighbor and have it in their mailbox in less than two days. Many times, it’s three days or more. People then quit using the mail for vital functions like paying bills. So, they’ve created an environment with less people using the mail, so they’ve had to make further cutbacks. That sure makes sense as a business model if you’re trying to go out of business.
I received an email just this morning from someone who got their local newspaper on Saturday. It used to always arrive on Thursday. Then, it was coming as late as Monday. This is a newspaper that is mailed on Wednesday, and it needs to go approximately 15 miles. We’ve taken steps in most areas to ensure our local service. Our group of papers visits probably a couple dozen post offices each Wednesday to make sure our papers are delivered in a timely manner. The staff at those offices is top-notch. They’re going to end of up with the complaints if mail isn’t delivered as soon as it should be.
The upper management of the Postal Service seems to be attempting to transform the delivery model to attract more package delivery. Amazon pays the Postal Service about $2 per package, considerably less than what grandma pays when she sends you cookies. And poor grandma, her package ended up getting stalled at several postal sorting facilities, while the Amazon stuff got to you in 1-2 days. Grandma isn’t sending you stale goods. They’re being stalled along the way, unless she spent $15 for the kind of service Amazon gets.
How do we fix the mail? Let’s go back to keeping it local. Postal officials say that all letters need to go through the sorting facility. Have them sorted at the local post office. Go back to the days where there was a local bin and an out-of-town slot. “The union doesn’t allow it,” the local postmaster says. At some point, the Postal Service needs to realize the second word is “service.” It’s pathetic that the Pony Express got mail 7-10 miles a day in the 1800s, and that identical route is 2-3 days today.
In short, cutting service isn’t making the Postal Service profitable. It’s losing the local mail, and those are the people paying the most money for their mail.
In light of the new cutbacks, we’re keeping our eye on where our papers are going and how long they’re taking to reach their destination. If your service is changing, please send me an email and let me know, and we’ll do whatever we can to make it better.
by John McLoone