The US Postal Service, in an effort to attempt to close a budget gap, is considering radical changes to its delivery schedule. This is one option of a few on the table for the struggling government agency as they approached multiple consulting firms to try and get their collective shit together.
A proposed re-vamped postal schedule would put an end to Saturday delivery as well as, possibly, delivering every other day. This would mean three days of mail every week. Depending on how things turn out, there may be an in-office pick-up option for Tuesdays and special deliveries when packages are marked time-sensitive or perishable.
My question is, in this digital age, does this really mean anything for most of us?
With e-mail, online billpay, texting, tweeting, e-zines, and even the IRS allowing most people to file their taxes online, the Postal Service seems to have run its course.
There is obviously still a need for physical delivery of goods as well as people who want or need to see their bills and account statements in print and who want to make their payments through paper means. With the physical goods, most times the USPS alternatives are cheaper, faster, trackable, more reliable, and guaranteed. Sucks to be the Post Office.
I can understand the reluctance to let go of the institution of the check perpetually being in the mail. I can also understand the hesitance of the computer illiterate or the technophobic not trusting t3h intrernetz with their money. But, realistically, it’s time to nut up or shut up. It’s time to finally get on board the e-bandwagon (or the iWagon, depending on your affiliation) and go digital.
Even though I write this, I want it to be known that I mean no disrespect to the postal carriers or workers. I’m not just saying this to keep them from coming into my neighborhood with an assault rifle, either. Postal workers, especially the carriers, work hard doing a job that most people don’t envy, especially considering the need to work outside, walking, in all weather conditions.
I’ve seen carriers in their midget trucks with chains on their tires attempting to traverse snow-covered hills and failing only to keep trying because that’s their job. I hate driving in the snow and that scenario, to me, would be absolute hell. You could not pay me enough.
It is a sort of romanticized notion that the postal carriers are delivering more important things than bills. I mean, sure, birthday cards or Christmas cards, but there isn’t really any correspondence aside from those brightly colored pieces of paper. A handwritten letter can be from the heart, but, it’s faster and definitely more legible to send an e-mail or a Facebook message or whatever other means of internet communication you prefer.
Sure, you might not always be able to find the e-mail address for that person, but you can’t always track down a physical address, either. I suppose if all you have is a last known mailing address, then the Postal Service would be the way to go. Social networking being what it is right now, though, there isn’t much of a chance you won’t be able to find some shred about them or some point of contact (however unchecked it may go) for them online.
In these times of convenience where everything we need is a click away, it was only a matter of time before the Post Office had too many of its legs kicked out from under it. They were talking about the demise of the USPS way back in the mid-90s, when e-mail started to become more than just a bunch of nerds sending shareware to other nerds. I should know, I was one of those nerds.
I remember watching news reports as AOL was on the rise that made it seem as though the very introduction of e-mail (at a time when personal computers were not nearly as affordable or necessary) would cause the Postal Service to instantly topple to the ground. I suppose, fifteen years later, the domino slide is finally nearing its grand finale. It may yet take a few years to finish, but paper mail is totally going down.
The Postal Union, of course, is notably upset. Less hours, less work, possibility of massive lay-offs. What used to be considered one of the best jobs an average Joe could get, because it was a safe government job, may end up as another casualty of recession era budgeting in a digital world.
As strange as it would be to have the tradition of daily mail delivery broken, it may have to happen to keep the USPS afloat in these desperate times.
I’ve had bad experiences with the Postal Service and hate them with burning passion. That doesn’t stop me from feeling for the workers. Many jobs are going to be lost if something doesn’t come through soon. Postal workers are salt-of-the-earth type people who thought they had that safe job.
I feel for them, but at the same time, I understand why the Post Office is going down in flames.
Not hatin’, just sayin’.
Keep fighting the good fight.