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Going postal apparently means not working on Saturdays anymore

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 Sincerely, Bob Smith, Manager, Altamonte Springs Post Office.”

The. End.

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38 Replies to “Going postal apparently means not working on Saturdays anymore”

  1. B.E. Earl

    I hardly ever use the mail anymore. Pay all my bills online, file taxes online, do my banking online. About the only thing I use it for anymore is for Netflix. Losing Saturdays is gonna suck, but I’ll deal.

  2. Blondefabulous

    I’m with you on the “Do employee Evaluations” part. I swear there are people there who just have no clue what’s going on and then make my question more confusing!! Get the fuck out!!!!!!!

    BTW, I did know a mail carrier up in Memphis who was one of the nicest guys you could meet. He came in to my restaurant for lunch on most days and he had a saying I have come to associate with the USPS because it was always so perfect. He used to say, “WE SAID THROUGH RAIN, SLEET, OR SHINE, BUT WE NEVER SAID ON TIME.” Ha, yeah… that describes the USPS to a T.

    • Blondefabulous

      @Blondefabulous, Oh and I tweeted this when it happened, but I had to go to the post office for stamps today and when I did the automated machine was OUT of them, then I had to wait 20 minutes in the LOOOOOOOOOONG line full of old, whiny people who did nothing but complain about their tax dollars being wasted by the two individual clerks working at opposite ends of the counter who spoke little to NO ENGLISH!!!!!!!! Yeah… it was that kind of day! Glad I at least got a $20 tip when I was working today!

    • avatgardener

      @avatgardener, Sadly, none of this will have any effect as your Post Office is run by your government, much like Social Security, Amtrack, Food Stamps, Medicare. And by “run by” I mean poorly. Good luck. When you are the only game in town, there is no need to make things better -faster -easier -more efficient. Until Postal deregulation (like the phone company), like it or not is our only option.
      However, be careful what you wish for – – – just over 100 years ago there was no mail delivery; you went to the post office to pick up your mail. I’m just saying.

  3. Zanthera

    Never had post office open on Saturdays. Besides I am taking they are unionized. I swear unions breed mindless zombies and cesspools of apathetic, lethargic baboons. Call me a bitch but I like my treats when I do a good job and more.

  4. Cissa Fireheart

    As the daughter of a 20+ year Postal Employee, I’ve heard a lot of complaints about how things in the USPS are going over the years. You’ve got some great ideas here, Adam, with perhaps the exception of #4, although since the USPS has no conscience, it would probably work.

    However, the rest of your ideas have been suggested by the employees who DO care (like my dad) for at least 10 years. But to have a “regular customer” point out that stuff is pretty sad, and my dad is glad he’s close to retirement. haha. He’s been threatening for about 5 years now, but I think it’ll be 2012 when he finally gives the USPS the finger.

    • muskrat

      @Cissa Fireheart, That’s awful. So, caring employees try to offer suggestions to improve things, and they’re ignored? At least the military (which used to waste lots of money, too) offers rewards to folks who suggest cost-saving procedure changes by giving them a % of the money saved. This has made some low-income enlisted folks a lot more money than their paychecks would otherwise give.

  5. Johnny

    Automatic kiosks do exist in some post offices. They work great… sometimes. Half the time, I get stuck behind a senior who gets confused by all the menu options and takes 5 minutes to get through 1 envelope. When they are finally done with that envelope, I anxiously start stepping towards the kiosk only to see that they have 8 more envelopes to mail. At that point, I curse and get back in line to deal with a human behind a counter.

  6. muskrat

    My wife runs a business from our home and, consequently, relies on regular trips to the USPS. She talks about how they talk down to her, are rude to her, ignore her, etc., despite her cheerful demeanor and regular patronage. I could speculate that it could have something to do with being the only white person there most times (to include employees and customers), but we all know only white people are capable of discrimination, so that can’t be a factor. Not operating on Saturdays will mean unhappy customers for her all over the world.

    As for me, I use and stay the hell away from actual post offices.

    I like that this post is both a rant and a source of actual, constructive suggestions. Not that it’ll be heeded.

  7. Grant

    The one drawback to NetFlix is that they’re married to the post office and have to rely on them as part of the service they provide. Definitely need more streaming movies.

    Also, the post office should fine employees for bringing a weapon to work – double if it’s fully automatic. Medieval hand-held weaponry should be allowed – it would be worth the disruption to witness a sword fight at the post office.

  8. Stefanie

    They should definitely pay you a bunch of their dumb commercial money for these ideas! My local usps has 2 of the vending style machines for single stamps…but they have been broken for over a year. So having to go inside the building makes me want to hurt myself.

  9. Jay

    I never go to the front counter if I have to go to the post office. I used the self-service kiosk. Just put your package (NOT THAT PACKAGE, the one you’re mailing) on the scale and follow the insultingly easy instructions on the screen. Hell, I even do that if I need to mail just one birthday card. It makes me buy three stamps, but I rarely need them, so I refuse to buy a whole book of ’em.

    Another idea for the post office would be to completely privatize it so they can charge $4.00 for a simple letter or greeting cards. That way everyone can sit around and talk about the good old days of how cheap the post office used to be.

  10. Stacey

    Great suggestions. Especially 4.
    We’ve got Automated Postal Centers here in many of our Post offices (Seattle area). However there is usually only one. Clearly they could all use more.

    That said. I can’t personally say that I care if they close on Saturdays. I can never get up and out of the house in time enough to get there. Besides the lines make me want to punch people. And much of the time I forget to check the mail on Saturday.

    But that’s me.

  11. BenSpark

    Good points. For over 20 years our house has had 4 mailboxes, Mail was delivered to 4 mailboxes. Then we lost a regular mailman and all our mail was either delivered to one or the wrong one or whatever. My wife complained and then we stopped getting mail. We got a handwritten note (my dad gave it back to the post office before I took a photo of it, DAMN!) that said that we had to have all the boxes in one place. Finally we put up the 4 boxes int he same place and still our mail goes int he wrong boxes, at elast it is easy to do our own sorting. Fuckers.

  12. Two Non Blondes

    I agree with the first comment, except I wouldn’t clean up the wording at all.

    I was at the post office recently, waiting in a 2 person deep line as we have no self-help kiosks, and a woman walked in to get a passport application. The man points, not says, points, to the sign on the wall that says “you should consider scheduling an appointment for passports in order to not delay other customers.” She laughed, looked at the line (which was now just me), and pointed to the word “consider.” The man didn’t get it, but the rest of us thought it was hilarious. I am thinking now that he probably couldn’t read English, so he pointed instead.

  13. Ren

    I’ve heard suggestions of charging (the recipient) if they want Saturday deliveries, or, taking it further, switching to every-other-day deliveries but offering a paid service for off-day deliveries. Other than for Netflix, most individuals would probably be fine with MWF deliveries. Netflix needs to work out a deal with a private delivery service, though for that to really be feasible, private delivery services need to be able to be licensed to deliver to your mailbox.

  14. Nancy

    Not that I am a huge fangirl of the USPS, I will say that it’s at least one thing that we do better than the Candadians. I have to mail Christmas cards by Nov. 1 if they have any hopes of traveling by moosback to my touque-wearing family and friends up north.

  15. cat

    Great picture, Adam! Our post office has a kiosk, and that helps a ton! Some post offices don’t even have a machine where you can buy stamps, which I find weird.

  16. Tiffany

    Someone at USPS is actually smart enough to have thought of the kiosk thing. The only problem is I’ve only ever seen one. However, the thing was awesome. You set your package/envelope on the scale and it gave you your shipping options. You select the postage, it asks “Do you need any stamps today?” and then pay by CC or Debit. It prints out the label and tells you exactly where to put the damn thing. Very user-friendly. I have no clue why they don’t put them up in every post office, aside from the initial cost. Oh… there was no employee to oversee it. For the idiots that couldn’t operate it, the kiosk referred them inside to the humans.

  17. Poppy

    I really, really like idea #2. Genius! Saturday is the only day I can reasonably go to my local post office to pick up packages sent to me. Really. All the times my PO is open otherwise I’m on the way to work or at work already.

  18. Coma Girl

    Ha! I have to deal with them for my job too. My favorite is when the bulk mail guy is out to lunch and none of the 42 other people working there can do his job when he’s out.

    Like it’s some huge secret privilege to handle the bulk mail.

  19. Elizabeth Kaylene

    I have a huge problem with self-checkouts: they take people’s jobs! I refuse to use them, and avoid stores who do have them. In this economy, they’re a slap in the face to those who are unemployed and would be more than willing to be a cashier, if that self-checkout were a human operated checkout instead.

    Soapboxing aside, I’d be astonished if any of my USPS had employees like that. I have a P.O. Box downtown and the guys there are always friendly and helpful, even when they’ve got an annoying customer. I thought the South had more hospitality? 😉

    I don’t like that they’ll be cutting out Saturdays. I mean, I guess most people won’t miss it, but if you’re waiting for a package, it’s always comforting to know that it just might come Saturday.

    USPS, you’re letting me down. 🙁

  20. ame i.

    In my town, not only have they shut down the handy stamp buying stand in the mall parking lot, they have removed the stamp machines from my local post office. I’m not standing in line for fucking stamps. I go to a small Hey, We Will Ship Your Shit & We Will Rent You A P.O. Box place. I’d rather buy stamps from Bob, the dude that retired from Chiquita Banana, than go to the stupid post office.

  21. miss zilch

    Since moving, I have gotten used to the short postal days and hours. No Saturday delivery and they close at 4. Then again, I haven’t seen a “real” post office. We collect packages that don’t fit in the door slot at the local grocery store. And to save money, the postal service guys an gals in the cities ride bikes. LOL I would love to see how that would go over in the States.

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