Friday, January 13, 2006

How a Civil Servant Fixes a Problem

"It's not my fault."
"95% of the public are satisfied with our service."
"The perception of the public is often inaccurate."
"....Forces beyond our control...."
"We're understaffed."
"We're underfunded."

You get the idea.

On January 3rd, 2006, the US Postal Service increased the cost of mailing a letter from 37 to 39 cents. The public has known this was coming for months. Apparently no one told the various postmasters.

I have a letter that I've been carrying in my bag for a couple of weeks now. I forgot to mail it right away, but that's ok. There's no urgency involved. The day after the New Year holiday, Tuesday the 3rd, I went to the Los Alamitos Post Office, near my office, to mail it. By this time, I was aware that I'd need to put two cents additional postage on it, which is why I didn't just drop it in the slot. I have several more 37-cent stamps that'll have to be augmented, as well.

I went in early, thinking I could buy the stamps from the machine. Dopey me. Inside the lobby, there's a big sign. "Out of Two-Cent Stamps." I looked at the stamp vending machine: Out of order.

Again, I wonder if anyone told the postmaster about the increase. You'd think that they'd have a big supply of two-cent stamps for the easily-anticipated demand. Well, then you have to recall that this is a government agency. I'm sorry, it's a government-owned private corporation. Operated by government drones according to government and civil employee rules.

Today, I went in again. Certainly they'd have two-cent stamps by now! No two-cent stamps and the stamp vending machine is still out of order.

In order to mail my letter, I'll have to go in when they're open and wait in a near-DMV-length line, in order to have the drone put a two-cent metered stamp on my letter.

The solution to this, as everyone outside the beltway knows, is to open first-class service to UPS and all others who wish to compete with USPS for the job of mailing my (and your) letters. Let the firms who can do the job best and cheapest, survive.

Like most of you, I do most of my correspondence by email now. Such a deal! I have to stand in the post office line far less often. I sure wish I could do this one by email!


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

1 comment:

? said...

to tell you the truth i havn't been to the post office in ages. I go right here to the market where i can buy stamps and usually i don't need any just because i pay all my bills at a "paying station" and just get it all done at once. Once in a while i need a stamp but not too often.

The price is getting pretty ridiculous for just a little square piece of sticky paper if you ask me, yes, Thank goodness for the "pay online" option.

Hope all is well sweet man.
take care of you.