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Posted: 05.29.2002
Dead Letter Office
Todd just sent me this link about USPS Priority Mail being anything but. How much more are they going to blame on the 'thrax, yo', while justifying rate increase after rate increase without offering better service? Have you stood in line at the post office lately... How on earth could they be truly be losing money?! (Article from MSNBC.com.)

UPDATE: Please read this entry before replying!

Hey boy take a look at me...let me dirty up your mind...

a couple of years ago, I had a client who sent me a check via "Priority" mail. It never reached me and I'd never had a problem with this client. When I called the post office to see if there was a way to trace it, I was informed that there wasn't. The postal employee then went on to tell me that priority mail is actually cheaper than regular mail if you consider how many pounds you can stuff into the priority envelopes or boxes. His entire attitude was one that made me feel like I was damn lucky that they even attempted to deliver that mail.

Needless to say that was the last time I used priority mail.

¤ ¤ credit: Christine | 05.29.02 at 05:05 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

wow I order stuff Priority mail. It used to be 3-4 days but they changed it to 2-3 days. It rocks for only 3.50 I never had a problem with it.

¤ ¤ credit: michael | 05.29.02 at 06:28 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

As the son of a postal worker, I know what kind of work these people put in on a daily basis only to be stomped on because a stamp goes up a penny. My rant on this is here.

My relationship to the USPS aside, I almost always get my packages in a timely fashion from the USPS. I rarely get that service from any of the other carriers. UPS, for example, has lost, misdirected, and flat-out refused to deliver my packages.

¤ ¤ credit: thud | 05.29.02 at 09:06 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Thud, if I could see a true reason and benefits for rate increase after rate increase -- and actually see my extra money in action -- I wouldn't mind at all. In fact, I wish they'd just spare us the next one right now and go to 40˘ for a stamp instead of inevitable couple-pennies more that follows 18 months later. Take more money all at once, bail yourselves out, and leave me with an even-change number when I buy my stamps... But don't feel like I'm just picking on the postal service. I'm an equal delivery-service slammer.

¤ ¤ credit: robyn | 05.29.02 at 09:16 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

if i have to ship something that's farther than like, one state away, i always use Priority Mail... but i always get the delivery confirmation (for an extra $.40). it's not quite as good as insurance, but it's hella cheaper, and if your shit gets lost, you at least have something to go on to try and look for it.

¤ ¤ credit: mikey | 05.30.02 at 01:02 AM | link--this ¤ ¤

makes me glad i kept the booklet of free 1cent stamps.

has anyone tried putting 34x1cent stamps on a letter? and maybe arranged the stamps in a non-rectangular fashion so they have to individually count the stamps?

and if you havent seen this:


¤ ¤ credit: jon | 05.30.02 at 03:33 AM | link--this ¤ ¤

Actually it isn't anthrax, but 9/11 may have a little to do with it. Since 9/11 the airlines have refused to carry anything that weighs over one pound. Most Priority Mail falls into this catagory. The USPS has had to go back to using ground transportation. Next time you want to go somewhere, take a bus or a train and see if it takes longer than a plane.

¤ ¤ credit: Kevin's Postmaster Mom | 05.30.02 at 07:33 AM | link--this ¤ ¤

Thankfully, I haven't had to go to the post office for anything lately... :)

¤ ¤ credit: Mike | 05.30.02 at 10:57 AM | link--this ¤ ¤

What I want to know is how come it takes three days for a letter to go across town and two days for a letter to arrive at its destination in another state?

Another thing I would like to know is what happens to mail that gets delivered to the wrong mailbox and that wrong mailbox is at a house that has been unoccupied for more than two months? The reason I ask is that the mailbox for this house is real old and one slight bump, say by a dog pissing on it, causing it to come open and dump it's contents on the ground in my yard which I have to pick up or mow into little pieces?

¤ ¤ credit: mad hatter | 05.30.02 at 12:14 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Kevin's mom -- The MSNBC.com article quoted/linked specifically mentioned anthrax handling as a reason for the increased price. Please go back and read or reread it. Thanks! :-)

"The U.S. Postal Service says the rate increases are necessary to offset the recession’s toll and the cost of responding to the anthrax attacks."

¤ ¤ credit: robyn | 05.30.02 at 02:02 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

See the following editorial from the Chicago Tribune.

March 29, 2002

So what if the cost of a first-class stamp will be raised from 34
to 37 cents on June 30?

A first-class stamp remains one of the greatest bargains of the
world. For less than the cost of a four-minute phone call from
Chicago to San Diego, one can send a love letter there that takes
10 minutes to read and a lifetime to savor.

It's also cheaper than a Butterfinger bar, a pack of Juicy Fruit
gum, a Wall Street Journal or 30 minutes at a downtown parking
meter. If time is money, a stamp is a better deal than schlepping
to a currency exchange to pay the power bill.

If this were France, it would be hard to predict from one day to
the next whether letters and magazines would show up at all, given
our European cousins' penchant for postal strikes. If this were
Switzerland, with less than a hundredth of the ground to cover,
you'd pay 52 cents a letter. In similarly compact Japan, it's 74 cents.

The need for an increase is acute. The Great U.S. Postal Hemorrhage
started several years ago. Computer transactions, e-mail and the
rise of niche competitors all have contributed to the most
precipitous decline in mail volume since the Great Depression.

Take a look at the accompanying graphic. While Americans have been
complaining about the supposedly runaway rise of stamp prices, the
cost of a first-class stamp has, in fact, almost exactly tracked
inflation for several decades.

Nobody doubts this past year has been particularly rough on postal
workers and their beleaguered system. Some 12,000 jobs were
eliminated last year to cut costs, and another 10,000 to 15,000
people are to be laid off by the end of this year.

The Sept. 11 attacks and deadly anthrax scare poured vinegar into
the wound. With help from Congress, the postal service was forced
to deal with a $300 million anthrax cleanup, and has millions more
in unanticipated charges to pay for new equipment that detects and
kills anthrax spores. Mail volume took a steeper nose dive given
fears of possible contamination. And a good deal of mail once flown
commercial now, for security reasons, has to be shipped by more
expensive contract air freight.

The nation's postal potentates don't help themselves by basing
fiscal forecasts on assumptions of growth in mail volume. Time to
get real. And the U.S. Postal Service still has much faster
slogging ahead through snow, sleet and rain before it becomes a
productive, lean operation.

By law, the postal service has to break even--every year. So while
the independent agency is expected by Congress to act like a
business, it's also restricted by Congress from operating like one.
It may not, for instance, bank profits from a good year to carry
over into the next. That doesn't make sense, and it's time for
policymakers to rethink a 30-year-old law that has about 25 years of
dust on it.

Privatizing postal services is an option. But as shrill as we all
get about paying a few extra cents for a stamp, consider the
glass-breaking decibels that will echo across the land should mail
delivery become purely competitive.

First to take a hit would be Saturday delivery, followed possibly
by other days of the week, making mail delivery as occasional as
big-city garbage pickups. Many of those 138,000 often lonely postal
branches around the country? Goners.
Privatization would mean the anniversary card to Auntie Hattie and
Uncle Clem might not make it all the way to Chocowinity, N.C.(population
And the prom queens of Slapout, Okla., (population 8) might have
to drive an hour along Route 270 to the next biggest town to get
their mail-order WonderBras in time for the big dance.
These would not be calamities. They would be inconveniences.
But significant enough to be worth another 3 cents to avoid.

Copyright (c) 2002, Chicago Tribune

¤ ¤ credit: Postmaster Elaine | 05.30.02 at 06:58 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Before posting, please see this entry. Thank you!

¤ ¤ credit: robyn | 05.30.02 at 07:20 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

you really shouldn't take the things that are given to you for a small fee for granted. think about all the other countries in the world that still use things such as the pony express. i don't even want to know what you'd be saying about that method.

¤ ¤ credit: rachel | 05.30.02 at 10:27 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

If I don't have the right to question what goes on with my money after I've paid for a service, then I really don't know what the point of living in this country is... My husband has always wanted a pony, however.

I must say I'm growing increasingly frustrated at people that cannot distinguish the difference in questioning where the money is going with rate increase after rate increase, and why they are constantly needed when it is said they won't be again soon -- and in saying one isn't warranted or needed. Or even deserved. (Which I have not!) I haven't said any of those things. People are interpreting the way they see fit. Read my words people. Please. If something is leaking money, do you keep tossing it extra change -- or do you step back and figure out where the leak is coming from and fix the problem?

¤ ¤ credit: robyn | 05.30.02 at 10:41 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Robyn, our cousin, Elaine, is a postmaster in a very small town in OK. She says that at their last postmasters meeting they were talking strongly of either privatization or making the postal service government run. As a government worker at an airbase I can tell you now that is NOT the answer, you think there is waste now---wait till then. As for making it private, she said they would be closing most smaller post office branches (which they may do anyway), and the stamp we now pay for would be one cost in a large city and perhaps up to $5.00 per stamp if it is mailed from a rural address. This was an upper level postal meeting she attended. Also, she said anthrax IS the reason for most of the expenses incurred now (extra security). A piece of mail without a return address immediately is shipped to Washington, D.C. for inspection---every piece. The pipe bombings didn't help matters either, and neither did 9/11. Remember when they "fixed" the phone company, and now look at our bills and repair costs---those used to be free. Ok, that's my soap box ranting. NOW, it's time to write your mother a letter... been a long time. :P

¤ ¤ credit: Mama | 05.31.02 at 12:52 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

I'm jumping in way late on this (because I am your personal stalker and am catching up on your archives ;) but I totally agree with you.

Funny thing is, I know several postal workers who would also agree with you. They say their 'organization' is piss poorly managed, not enough people are hired to do the job, and big money is going to big guys (ala Verizon and Enron) while the grunts aren't making a whole hellavua lot.

Since this is a government 'company' of sorts, don't you think congress should hold it more accountable for all its mismanagement? Lord...

¤ ¤ credit: reese | 08.18.03 at 01:11 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

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