The Postal Service uses its aging fleet as an object of pity. Why not deploy it as a revenue-generating media vehicle instead?
Surely you’ve seen those dog rescue ads on TV with the mangy Shit Tzus and the war-scarred pit bulls peering longingly out of crates with faces sadder than giftless children on Christmas morning. The spots seem to go on interminably, and even though you have a house full of kids and cats and gerbils and Labrador Retrievers, those pitiful canine eyes beseech you to run out and rescue a pooch while scouring your contact list for someone who might put you in touch with a hit man to visit the last owners of those dogs.
In my world, the entity longingly and interminably asking to be rescued is the U.S. Postal Service, and the Post Office’s beat-up pit bull in the crate is the U.S. mail truck. Everyone from the Postmaster General to the COO to the Senators looking to provide USPS with legislative relief use the rickety mail truck as the poster boy for pity. Whenever people aren’t fully appreciating their plight, they point to the truck fleet and wail: “They cost a billion bucks a year to maintain.” “The truck that delivered your new Samsung Galaxy phone was the very same truck that delivered grandma her Atwater-Kent radio set in 1927.” “It’s gonna cost us $6 billion to replace them and we’re already into the Treasury for $15 billion.”
But it doesn’t have to cost you $6 billion to replace the fleet, Mr. PMG. I have a plan: Stop thinking about trucks as mail delivery vehicles and start thinking about them as media vehicles!