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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 4/19/10

Why the US Postal Service Will Not Survive

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Message William R Castlelich
Many years ago I went to a local computer store. I was in need of a connector for my printer. The computer guy and I were talking and I mentioned I had recently purchased an Adobe product. He said "we have that and other Adobe products, if you ever need something else." I told him I had simply gone online and purchased it. He said "well, I wouldn't buy online."

Understand I've sort of been a crotchety old man since I was about 19, so I asked "why not?" "Well, it's not secure," he said.

"I've not once had a problem," I said. "In fact," I continued, "quite the opposite. The web ordering is easy and they deliver it the next day to my door and even with shipping it's approximately the same price as yours."

"Well, you certainly don't get the service using them," he said. Here's where the crotchety part comes in "I don't get any service here, so what am I losing?" I said.

Recently I had to travel to Ames, Iowa. I fly out of a town in the south and our primary carrier is Southwest Airlines. I can get one of the other airlines for about four or five or six times the cost before they start charging, now, for my bags! I don't recall the exact year the last time I flew one of them, but they could get me to Des Moines (30 or so miles from Ames) and Southwest could drop me in Kansas City (3 to 3.5 hours drive to Ames and I'm guesstimating here), or Omaha, NE (about the same drive to Ames).

I landed in Kansas City and drove to Ames. I chose Southwest Airlines not because they're perfect, but they're customer service is a far cry above anything the other major carriers in my area offer. I used to fly to El Paso a lot (on Southwest). The plane coming back here went through Albuquerque. More than once Southwest held the plane at the gate in Albuquerque as our plane coming out of El Paso was delayed. The folks in Albuquerque understood as they'd been in similar circumstances and Southwest does a pretty good job of joking around about this sort of stuff. Not perfect, but better than my other experiences.

Once I was flying another carrier and they were late, but I still made it to the gate while the plane was sitting there "Sorry, we've closed the doors." "But the plane is sitting right there and the next plane out isn't for 6 hours." "We've closed the doors," I was told brusquely. "It sitting right there. I can see it," I said to a person behind the counter who now was looking down at his computer and didn't even acknowledge I existed.

I received an email from a company where I ordered some online plants. The email read "We have received word that your order was delivered by the USPS on April 14 [two days before]. We were writing to insure you had picked up your order."

Picked it up. I didn't even know it was here. I called the number they provided in the email to their company because there really isn't a number to the US Post Office. "It has to be at the post office," I was told "because we've been notified of the delivery." So, I left work. The person at the plant place on the phone was a little concerned that the plants wouldn't survive and it was Friday and of course the US Post Office is only open when most everyone else works and then only open until mid-afternoon and their lobbies aren't open on Saturday (maybe an 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday would be an idea, or if there's a concern an 8 hour day would be 5 too many, how about 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.). I rushed to pick up my plants hoping they had survived.

I stood in line and watched the two people behind the US Post Office counter "work" with, or work over, other customers. I thought "I'm glad they don't have rubber batons." They were, as have always been my experiences, surly, rude and abrupt. 20 or so minutes later after watching these two deal with a couple of other customers I approached the lady with great trepidation, but a big smile and a big "hello." Although I'm crotchety I can feign happiness generally long enough to get what I want.

I didn't get a lot of response. I began to explain "I received this email from this place where I o..." The lady was shaking her head "no."

"What?" I asked.

"We don't do emails," she said. "We can't do anything with an email."

"Well," I said "what I was trying to explain was that this place says the parcel was delivered to the USPS on April 14 and this is April 16 and..." She was shaking her head again.

"What?" I asked.

"We don't do emails you would have received a notice. We stick those in your mailbox. These places use couriers and they go to the GMF" and she continued for a bit.

"What's a GMF?" I asked.

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A writer for over 30 years and political satirist. Of course without a single published piece of merit, which makes me your average American blogger.
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