According to CNN, the United States Postal Service will shortly be announcing their plan to cease Saturday mail delivery starting next year. In my opinion, it’s a combination of poor management, antiquated procedures, and recockulous amounts of red tape that have caused the USPS to end up in this position. Maybe by wiping the slate clean and treating it as a business, firing useless employees, rewarding performance, and keeping up with trends, they could have stayed ahead of the curve. As a part of my business, we have a bulk mailing permit. We have to bundle our mail in a specific way and drop it off at a special handling center to be processed. Three years ago, the centers were open until 9 PM, six days a week, and there was usually someone there answering phones until midnight if you had questions. Now? The hours are from 10 to 3, Monday through Friday. It’s unbelievable, and if I had another option for sending something via mail, I would use that instead. Unfortunately, I’m stuck with this shit until enough people complain that the USPS has to make changes, which will probably take 10 years.
To help the Post Office with their projected $238 billion shortfall by 2020 (yes, that’s a B), here is my Five Step Plan To Save the Post Office:
1. Do Employee Evaluations. Take the postal employees who can’t speak or read English and move them to a job where they don’t need to speak or read English. Do NOT put them in charge of customer service at the local post office or mail delivery. Take the postal employees who have physical disabilities and move them out of roles that require physical activity. Take the employees who have mental disabilities and fire them. They’ll be able to work at Wal Mart. Give your management incentives to improve efficiency in their district. It doesn’t have to be directly financial. Treat the top 50 districts in the country to a dinner at the White House and let them meet the President. Create a government rewards program that pays bonds for high performance. Do SOMETHING to get these fucking people to care about their jobs! The woman at the Bulk Mailing Center told me, in response to a question I asked, “Oh, honey, I don’t know. I’d ask my manager, but she really doesn’t care anymore. She’s never here and she doesn’t really do anything. She’s retiring soon.” Are you fucking serious?
2. Penalize people who visit the Post Office. Banks have managed to cut some of their costs by trying to limit customer overuse of simple tasks. Grocery stores and places like Home Depot have automated self-check out lines for people who aren’t completely stupid. Create an automated line for those people who just need to mail a few letters or Priority Mail envelopes. Set up 6-8 kiosks where people can place their document to get weight and stamped, and pay with a credit card or cash. Have one employee watch all 8 kiosks and help out. If people wait in the normal line to buy a stamp or mail a letter, instead of using the stamp machines and automated kiosks, charge a 50% convenience fee.
3. Listen to your employees. The best ideas that you’re going to have to improve your efficiency is going to come from within. The people who see customers every single day are going to see the holes and bottlenecks that management won’t. By rewarding ideas from the people who work for you, you’ll excite your employees and keep them personally and emotionally invested in your success. A happy, excited employee will get their job done much more efficiently than a dull, lifeless, zombie fucking employee like the ones I see every day at the Post Office.
4. Increase interest in stamps. Release a new series of stamps with photos of Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, and the Jonas Brothers, and “accidentally” release a sheet of them that have the word “cunt” printed across them. “Try” to keep this error under wraps until it gets “leaked”, and inflate the value of the erroneous stamps so that they’re worth several thousand dollars each. This will re-ignite the interest in philately that used to exist, and younger people who only use online bill pay will become interested in buying stamps again, just to see if something like that happens. Or, if you’re not willing to do that, create exclusive deals with celebrities and those idiots from Jersey Shore to appear on stamps and other Post Office merchandise that can only be purchased from the Post Office.
5. Advertise intelligently. TV commercials? Seriously? You’re the fucking Post Office – everyone knows who you are, and wasting the millions of dollars that it takes to create a poorly designed TV commercial reminding us that you exist or touting free pick-up or Priority Mail is a waste of our time. Let’s see – how could you market more effectively? HOW ABOUT THROUGH THE MAIL?!? You have the addresses of every person in the fucking United States. Use that information. Send out postcards, send out brochures, send out personalized fucking letters that say “Dear Adam, in 2009 you received over 18,000 pieces of mail from your loyal postal carrier. We wanted to thank you for your business and remind you that our friendly employees are available to help you with any questions. Here is a coupon for one free Priority Mail flat rate mailing, which you can send anywhere in the continental United States, just as our way of saying thank you. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sincerely, Bob Smith, Manager, Altamonte Springs Post Office.”