"Please Mister Postman, look and see If there's a letter, a letter for me"

The Marvelettes are spinning in their graves, from the Associated Press:

Massive deficits could force the post office to cut out one day of mail delivery, the postmaster general told Congress on Wednesday, in asking lawmakers to lift the requirement that the agency deliver mail six days a week. If the change happens, that doesn't necessarily mean an end to Saturday mail delivery. Previous post office studies have looked at the possibility of skipping some other day when mail flow is light, such as Tuesday.

Faced with dwindling mail volume and rising costs, the post office was $2.8 billion in the red last year. "If current trends continue, we could experience a net loss of $6 billion or more this fiscal year," Postmaster General John E. Potter said in testimony for a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee.

Total mail volume was 202 billion items last year, over 9 billion less than the year before, the largest single volume drop in history.

And, despite annual rate increases, Potter said 2009 could be the first year since 1946 that the actual amount of money collected by the post office declines.

I can think of a few other groups that are probably breaking it down with glee.

Enjoy this updated version of "Please, Mr. Postman," which starts at about 20 seconds in:

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  • Naga Sadow||

    Does this mean more postal workers losing it or less postal workers losing it?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Dude, I would take the USPS over FedEx 9.9 out of 10 times. FedEx has a retarded way of doing business.

  • Mad Max||

    Perhaps we should take a hint from Article I, Section 8(7) of the Confederate Constitution: 'the expenses of the Post Office Department, after the Ist day of March in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and sixty-three, shall be paid out of its own revenues.'

    (Disclaimer: Slavery is bad, and since the major Confederate leaders were supporters of slavery, it could be said that the Confederacy was morally tainted from its inception)

  • SIV||

    I can't wait. Hope and Change will wipe out television for over 6 million people next month and they won't get any mail on Tuesdays!

    Tuesday is a Muslim Holy Day, no?

  • SIV||

    One of those rare occasions in which I wholly agree with TAOs raging statism.

  • Mad Max||

    The Confederate Constitution's Post Office clause is discussed in an 1865 veto message by President Jefferson Davis.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    'the expenses of the Post Office Department, after the Ist day of March in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and sixty-three, shall be paid out of its own revenues.'

    Color me confused. My understanding was that the Post Office does operate on its own revenues.

    Hope and Change will wipe out television for over 6 million people next month

    Barack Obama is backing a plan to wait until June to implement digital television, so you're being disingenuous.

    One of those rare occasions in which I wholly agree with TAOs raging statism.

    Usually I get called a "raging statist" by some airheaded anarchist. But, uhhh, thanks for agreeing with me? I think?

  • SIV||

    Somebody tell Radley we had another "wrong house raid" in Gwinnett county.Lead story on WSBTV. Not on their web site yet (at least the third in 2 months). No dogs shot. It did involve 12 GBI agents though.

  • SIV||

    Barack Obama is backing a plan to wait until June to implement digital television, so you're being disingenuous.

    Failed to pass congress today.TV goin' out for the clueless on schedule.I predict discontent.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Meh, well, it was still disingenuous to suggest that "Hope and Change is going to blank out television"...they've been planning this for five years.

    Anyway, how am I a statist again?

  • ||

    Uh Mike, hate to break it to you, but the USPS was able to stay profitable longer than DHL. Not bad considering they can't raise prices at or above the rate of inflation by law.

    Also, isn't the post office mandated by the Constitution? How is supporting it statist?

    Mad Max,
    In 2008, the USPS made $20B in revenue in Q1. Assuming their costs were $200M over revenue per month* and Q1 revenue is relatively evenly distributed, it means that over $13.5B of revenue would be covered by taxes using the CSA Constitution. That amount is more than double the $6B shortfall in 2009. The USPS has been reasonably profitable, historically, but is getting killed because of pension obligations due to stock market losses.

    * I'm making an assumption and spreading out their losses evenly throughout the year.

  • ||

    It's true that DHL is going out of business, and UPS/FedEx aren't very conveniently located. On the other hand, last Friday, I waited half an hour when there were only 8 people ahead of me in line. Since most of the customers only had one package (one only wanted one stamp), that's more than three minutes per package. And that's just the clerk's time. It boggles my mind that you could stay in business like that. Oh wait, they're not.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    three minutes per package? That sounds outrageous to you?

    And if that one guy only wanted one stamp, USPS provides stamp dispensing machines in the lobby. Waiting a half an hour with eight people ahead of you does not sound all that egregious of a wait time to me.

  • Jim Anderson||

    Netflix, once the Postal Service's savior, is moving toward an online-only delivery model... looks like junk--er, bulk mail is the USPS's last hope.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    we'll see...I seem to remember a time in the mid-90s when every office was going to be paperless, too.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    I was talking to Lisa the Mail Lady the other day and she said the boss lady called all of the carriers into a meeting where she asked:

    Boss Lady: How many of you do bill paying on line?

    There was a show of hands.

    Boss Lady: You do that and you are eliminating your own jobs.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Angry, my office is entirely paperless.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Also, isn't the post office mandated by the Constitution? How is supporting it statist?

    Because it is a government mandated monopoly. At one point the USPS demanded control over email because it is, in essence, first class mail.

    God Dam good think CONgress didn't agree.

  • Naga Sadow||

    TWC,

    Really? I'm gonna need a link sir. Hold the rick rolls, please.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    I don't care for FedEx, Angry, but compared to the USPS, screw that noise.

    Try this one on: In ten years (that is an entire decade) the USPS never once delivered an overnight package to ME overnight. Not One Time!

    That's because if they call your office and get voicemail it counts as a delivery attempt.

    You cannot do business like that.

    I also got tired of all my Priority Packages being returned to me with stickers on them that showed an airplane with a circle and a slash.

    They won't deliver them to my clients because they might have a fucking bomb inside but they'll risk the carrier's life to return a clients work to me.

    See, they know there isn't a god dam bomb inside, they're just bureaucratic sons of bitches that don't give a crap about customers or delivery schedules.

    So guess what happened. I switched to UPS for everything I send about two years ago. The post office has lost all that revenue. I get an email when UPS delivers the package telling me that it got there. As a rule, anything I send in So Cal gets there the next day (not three days later), and they haven't screwed up a single delivery.

    I hate the post office and the faster they crash and burn the happier I'll be.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Naga, do you find it surprising that the USPS would lay claim to email as first class mail?

    Really?

    These are the same guys who have an entire cadre of cop types that sift through big company shipments to ensure that nobody sent something FedEx that didn't absolutely have to be there the next day before 10:30AM

    You do realize that it is illegal for me to ship client documents via UPS ground service?

    I don't have a link for you, this little song and dance dates to the early to mid 1990's, but I clearly remember reading about it in the newspaper. Then again, you know about eyewitness accounts.

  • Paul||

    Dude, I would take the USPS over FedEx 9.9 out of 10 times. FedEx has a retarded way of doing business

    *bite of sandwich falls out of mouth*

    You're fucking kidding, right? The USPS "tracking" system (which is a colossal insult to tracking systems) is one of the biggest jokes amongst everyone I know. I even wrote a letter to the post office suggesting they change the name to something that reflects what it actually does, which happens to be not tracking your package. Fed Ex gets my package there fast, and it actually has a system which...wait for it...tracks your package. As opposed to the Package Acceptance Indication System which the Post Orifice has laughably named a 'tracking system'.

  • Naga Sadow||

    TWC,

    LOL! A lot of venting tonight. Any special significance before I go and get my 4 hours of sleep?

  • PFJ||

    I think I understand the arguments for most government programs, even the ones I don't like, but has anyone ever heard a decent reason for the USPS being a protected monopoly?

  • Chrispy||

    Reducing delivery from six days to five per week seems like a good idea to me. Zero days per week would be even better.

  • SIV||

    Get UPS to deliver your "free" magazine subscription.Or Fed-Ex to send your car tags.
    Until we get to Libertopia the Post Office is the one government service, other than National Defense, I can support.

  • Naga Sadow||

    SIV,

    No mention of cock fighting?

    BURN!!!

  • The Angry Optimist||

    You're fucking kidding, right?

    No, I am not kidding you. FedEx won't *leave* a package at my door. They'll make a "delivery attempt" twice and then I have to go pick it up from their central office in the city before they return it to sender. So, to review, FedEx won't leave a package at my door during business hours...because I am not at home...because it's business hours you twats! People aren't home then!

    This is, of course, because FedEx deliverymen are paid per package delivered (as in, signed for), rather than to do their fucking job of delivering packages.

    I don't have a problem with UPS; I think they're great.

    Anyway, the Post Office is everybody's favorite whipping boy and libertarians are no exception, despite the fact that the USPS does a very good job. I mean, really, what do you think the error rate on first class mail and packages is? Probably .0001 percent, given the sheer volume that goes through USPS.

    But hey, you know, in this age of Bailout Mania, two foreign wars and the nationalization of the banking industry...yeah...the Post Office. Go get 'em, guys.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    See, they know there isn't a god dam bomb inside, they're just bureaucratic sons of bitches that don't give a crap about customers or delivery schedules.

    TWC, every air parcel carrier is like this. Ask anybody remotely familiar with the Military Postal System and they'll tell you what a gigantic pain in the ass DHL was about stuff. An example: a speed-loader is a thin piece of metal that depresses the part inside a weapons magazine and makes loading rounds in the magazine easier. DHL wouldn't ship those and constantly jumped down MY throat about those because speed loaders are considered a "weapons part".

    All parcel movers are stickling sons of bitches, trust me.

  • Syd||

    My understanding (from a postal worker) is that when the Postal Service threatens to run a profit, the Feds do a special tax it so that it doesn't.

    I have little complaint with the Postal Service, unless I have a package to mail, in which case they're expensive. They do a good job and even deliver during snow storms, like the last week.

  • Trevor||

    Die USPS, DIE!

    Great news. Go ahead and knock out the other 5 days as well, let a real business deliver mail.

  • Ed||

    USPS provides stamp dispensing machines in the lobby

    Oh ho, not anymore they don't. They're being phased out system wide. My PO's machine had a note explaining this taped to it, on which at least a dozen people had graffiti'd their angry discontent with the post office monopoly and the feds in general. It was quite heartening, actually.

  • Sir Meatgoggles||

    Any one else notice that their worst case scenario loss of $6 billion is like far less than 1/100th of the stimulus plan and about 1/1000th the potential cost of this whole fiasco we're getting raped with?

    And is it scary that I see that number and think "Oh, that's not so big of a deal. It's not really that much money" ???

  • robc||

    Waiting a half an hour with eight people ahead of you does not sound all that egregious of a wait time to me.

    My DMV has better turnover than that. And they do a lot more per customer than USPS does.

  • robc||

    The USPS "tracking" system

    On the other side, even more so than Fed-Ex, you have UPS, who is now a package tracking software company, that happens to deliver the packages as a sub-function of tracking the movement.

  • robc||

    TAO,

    I don't have a problem with UPS; I think they're great.


    I had the same problem with UPS at my old condo. Simple solution - have all packages delivered to you at work.

  • robc||

    Until we get to Libertopia the Post Office is the one government service, other than National Defense, I can support.

    I can support it too, but I cant support its monopoly position. Bring back American Letter Mail Company!

  • robc||

    They do a good job and even deliver during snow storms, like the last week.

    Hah. Didnt get mail yesterday. Yeah, the tree down across the street was an issue, but *my* mailbox was before the tree (the only one on the street unblocked). I saw the mail carrier go by on the cross street too, he didnt even try to go by the utility truck blocking the way. Utility truck was there guarding the mass of downed power lines all over the neighborhood.

  • Ken||

    I was ranting to my girlfriend this morning about the customized rugs the Post Office has, saying 'thanks for using the Post Office.' How much have they paid to advertise and plaster their logo on bikers' bodies?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    My DMV has better turnover than that. And they do a lot more per customer than USPS does.

    Ho ho, what? Your DMV gets through one customer every three minutes? I call shenanigans.

    Do the laws of bureaucracy cease to operate in your town? Is this a magic DMV? Is your DMV run by Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk?

    2m 15s is the ideal time for customer turnover in a Burger King drive-thru!

  • The Angry Optimist||

    How much have they paid to advertise and plaster their logo on bikers' bodies?

    How much does MLB pay to advertise, and why is USPS the only monopoly entity to catch shit?

  • Other Matt||

    Your DMV gets through one customer every three minutes? I call shenanigans.

    That's from the waiting line to get a number to be in the waiting line to determine which waiting line you'll have to wait in line for to have someone tell you that the last person that told you to bring Form A was wrong and you need to come back tomorrow with Form B and go to another waiting line. Three minutes isn't so bad when you look at it that way.

  • BakedPenguin||

    A few comments:

    The Post Office is much more efficient than they were in the 1980's or early 90's. Maybe they shouldn't exist in Libertopia, but we've got bigger fish to fry right now.

    IIRC, junk mail is subsidized by first class mail. Direct mail lobbies are rent seekers. Get rid of junk, and they wouldn't need so much money. Also, efficiency would improve as carriers and sorters didn't have to deal with this crap. I don't think the PO gets this, but their standing would rise with many people sick as hell of junk mail, too.

  • dhex||

    "Oh ho, not anymore they don't. They're being phased out system wide."

    what? why?

    that's tragic. it's the one thing that made shipping packages not completely painful.

  • dhex||

    oh wait wait...google informs me the stamp machines are going, not the automated package postage dispenser thingamabobs.

    those are totally ok.

  • robc||

    Ho ho, what? Your DMV gets through one customer every three minutes? I call shenanigans.

    If you go at the right time, they seem to have way too high a clerk/customer ratio, to be honest. Typical for me seems to be, get there, grab a number, be about 3-5th in "line", wait 5-10 minutes, see clerk. Yeah, the time with the clerk is more than 3 minutes, but they always seem to have 4-5 there.

    I have screwed up in the past and gone when there were 15 customers and 2 clerks and that sucks.

  • ||

    IIRC, junk mail is subsidized by first class mail. Direct mail lobbies are rent seekers. Get rid of junk, and they wouldn't need so much money.

    Actually, it's the other way around. Bulk mailers are cheaper to handle (because they're 100% automated in sorting) and mail in much higher volumes than regular old first class. The people that are truly subsidized are rural residents, Hawaiians and Alaskans.

  • robc||

    Oh, and about a decade ago, a republican won the county clerk's job for the first in anyone's lifetime. She ran on streamlining the system and reducing wait time. If she hadnt followed thru, she wouldnt have won reelection and got to move on to bigger and better things (which she eventually lost, but that isnt the point).

    Im sure it was achieved by spending way too much money.

  • robc||

    Im old, "a decade ago" should read "two decades ago".

  • ||

    If you go at the right time, they seem to have way too high a clerk/customer ratio, to be honest. Typical for me seems to be, get there, grab a number, be about 3-5th in "line", wait 5-10 minutes, see clerk. Yeah, the time with the clerk is more than 3 minutes, but they always seem to have 4-5 there.

    Then your DMV doesn't really have better turnover than that. Having a lot of clerks to customers isn't more efficient because more clerks cost more money.

    The Post Office is much more efficient than they were in the 1980's or early 90's. Maybe they shouldn't exist in Libertopia, but we've got bigger fish to fry right now.

    Gee, you think? With better technology a business is more efficient. Imagine that. Name one industry that isn't far more efficient today than they were 20 years ago (even the auto industry is more productive than they were before).

  • robc||

    Having a lot of clerks to customers isn't more efficient because more clerks cost more money.

    Depends how much **MY** time is worth. :)

  • ||

    Depends how much **MY** time is worth. :)

    If your time was worth that much, you wouldn't be such a cheap bastard and would go to Mailboxes Etc., UPS or FedEx and pay extra for it.

  • robc||

    If your time was worth that much

    I cant outsource the DMV. I dont wait in line at the PO. I do all my PO related business thru the machines.

  • ||

    Whats all this UPS DHL Fedex jibber jabber?

    The post office is getting killed by the internet, not those guys. Tons of business that would have gone their way in the past is getting .pdf'd and zipped over the intertubes.

  • Egosumabbas||

    Even though I left Chicago because it was turning into a fascist hellhole, King Daley managed to get the DMV to run very smoothly, kinda like how Mussolini got the trains to run on time. He made it a point to have the DMV's run faster. Though I suppose with a 10% sales tax it wasn't a hard feat to accomplish.

    USPS in Chicago is notoriously slow though. Deliveries would routinely get delayed into the evening, and a letter might take a couple days to cross the city.

  • Zombie John Ritter||

    Is it just me, or do most people these days not even bother to check their mailboxes everyday?

    I only check once maybe twice a month to get the few remaining bills that I do not receive via e-mail.

    So my position is "who gives a shit? they can deliver it 1 day a week and I'll be just fine"

  • robc||

    ZJR,

    I check 2 or 3 days a week, often depending on the weather. I would be fine with USPS cutting down to 1 day a week, however, that would be a lot of mail, I think it would still involve multiple days of delivery, everyone's day just wouldnt be the same.

  • ||

    How much of that $6B deficit is due to the 2008 high gas prices? Is the current stamp price reasonable to cover their expenses when fuel is half what it was? In any event, they could just raise the stamp proce a penny and charge more for package shipping.

    While I don't agree with their monopoly I can honestly say I have never had a negative USPS experience other than a longer wait than exected on a busy day. I can't say the same for UPS and FedEx. I hate that they won't leave a package and I have to go out of my way to get it. That's not good customer service at all.

  • Egosumabbas||

    "While I don't agree with their monopoly I can honestly say I have never had a negative USPS experience other than a longer wait than exected on a busy day. I can't say the same for UPS and FedEx. I hate that they won't leave a package and I have to go out of my way to get it. That's not good customer service at all."

    I wish they would actually give you a choice for them to drop it off or hand-deliver it. As it is, I just ship everything to work. This of course can be a pain if it's super-heavy and needs lugging back home. Strapping it on a bicycle makes the experience extra surreal.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    I can't say the same for UPS and FedEx. I hate that they won't leave a package and I have to go out of my way to get it.

    QFT.

  • Jordan||

    As opposed to the Package Acceptance Indication System which the Post Orifice has laughably named a 'tracking system'.



    QFT. My most recent package was delivered an entire week after the tracking system said it was delivered. This was a package that was supposed to take 4 days to reach me. It took 11.

    Get UPS to deliver your "free" magazine subscription.Or Fed-Ex to send your car tags.
    Until we get to Libertopia the Post Office is the one government service, other than National Defense, I can support.



    Isn't that illegal?

    How much does MLB pay to advertise, and why is USPS the only monopoly entity to catch shit?



    I don't pay for MLB's advertisements.

  • ||

    King Daley managed to get the DMV to run very smoothly

    Ego, how did Daley get the DMV to run smoother? I ask this because the DMV is run by the Secretary of State.

  • Kolohe||

    Color me confused. My understanding was that the Post Office does operate on its own revenues.

    It does, but there's fudging of the numbers. For instance iirc, they basically have full access to the treasury for debt financing. (I not certain of this however). Also, my father, who worked for the post office for thirty-five some odd years, and started when they were a full cabinet department, gets his defined bennefit pension fully funded by the goverment (much like a military pension). If GM could do this, they would be instantly profitable.

  • Xanthippas||

    Yes, if there's one agency that's emblematic of failure, it's the U.S. Post Office.

  • ||

    If there is one government agency that has not been TOTALLY useless it is the USPS.

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