I had a conversation with an acquaintance who was talking about how government could afford to trim the fat, “as proven by the shutdown”. The guy went on using the USPS as an example by saying that a Post Office is open 8 hours during the week and only 4 on Saturday… proof! LOL… yes, I could have railed and said stuff that might have made me feel better but would have definitely solidified his general opinion…. but why do that???
As I told him in the pasted statement of mine posted below, until I went to work for the USPS, I had zero idea or concern about the mail, save for what I put in my mailbox leaving and new stuff coming into it. This is the case with most all of our customers that we proudly serve.
Here is my take and my message given to him:
The USPS is a different animal all together.
- The USPS is not taxpayer-funded; it is a self-sustaining business model when Congress isn’t crippling its functional operations at the bequest of lobbyists who would like to see a pay-as-you-go public service chopped up and parceled out to private firms. This was done in the UK with the end result being a taxpayer subsidized, low-service, high cost product and service model that sucks more tax revenue every year.
You’d be amazed at the amount of technology, manpower, coordination and work that goes into getting a handwritten/typed mail-piece from one mail box/pick-up point to another. It is truly amazing. I have been in the industry for over 20 years and it still fascinates me. Before I hired in my understanding of how our mail system worked stopped at I put stuff in my mailbox, it disappeared and I got stuff out that replaced it. The technology and manpower that goes on behind the scenes is truly a marvel. As stated, I have been doing this going on 25 years and it still amazes me. At the heart of it all, you have a dedicated, professional workforce in the mail processing industry who keep things going… despite the hurdles and obstacles piled in their way.
I began my career on the mail processing side of the business in 1998 and moved to the retail side going on 6 years ago. I personally begin my day at 4am and end my shift at 1pm. My day begins with sorting letters and parcels to help with the monumental task of getting the mail to the carriers and onto the street. We are always short-handed and usually overwhelmed but we get it done… with pride. Once that part is done, I go to my Post Office and deliver PO Box customers’ mail and work the sales and services window.
The reason why our retail units close at noon on Saturday is basically because of two things:
- A lot of folks are off on Saturday and can make it in before noon to get any of their business done that can’t wait until Monday.
- The mail NEVER stops… lol. Mail transportation and processing continues 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; it is constantly coming in and going out. All those 8:30-5:30 folks you see at your post office window are still working 8 hours or more… they just join me at 2am or 4am to help process and move the mail to where it needs to go.
Many folks do not know (I did not) that unless you have a UPS or FEDEX driver who has your home or business on his normal, set route; the USPS delivers your packages that are coming to you through UPS and FEDEX. That’s right… WE deliver to EVERY address in these United States and military/Diplomatic address world-wide! Yes, we deliver packages for UPS and FEDEX, hundreds of thousands of them, every day and the numbers grow daily. If you look at your small packages that say either SmartPost or Parcel Select, those are UPS and FEDEX packages that we are delivering for them at a very low, reasonable cost. You’d think that UPS , FEDEX and DHL would be the ones lobbying for us to be privatized, right? Nope; we keep their costs down… ironically… we subsidize them in a big way. The goal of privatization is to parcel out the business to private government contractors who are paid by who?? Yep, our tax dollars… we all know how that breeds fiscal responsibility and accountability. So when you hear of privatization of the USPS… please, remember these things.
As with most things that lobbyists and Congress have their greasy paws in, the crises you hear about with the USPS are manufactured ones. On one side, employees and functional operations are crushed between a constant barrage of incoming hurdles and walls designed to cause a planned failure of the system. On the other, competent, experienced managers have been replaced with zombie yes-men who blindly follow the lemming line set up by the politicians and lobbyists who put aforementioned in place. You cannot very well justify shuttering a pay-as-you-go, non-taxpayer funded public service that is successful… so, you sabotage it from within.
Until the lobbyists in the banking industry got their way, the US Postal Service provided banking services to American households who were either low-income, just starting out in building their credit bonafide status, or just didn’t want to deal with a bank. Now, you have check-cashing joints, title-loan rip-off joints and any number of other crappy options for those folks we would still be taking care of today for a reasonable and affordable cost, if allowed to do so.
Sorry, I could go all day on this one. I love talking about what we do for the American public. Many of us are veterans and many, like myself, are disabled vets who see our jobs as our opportunity to continue to serve this great country in our own way.
Bottom line, for more than 200 years, the USPS has been a trusted, stable, self-sustaining, and now non-taxpayer funded public service that should be and could be a shining example for most all public customer service-based entities in government… if only it would be allowed to thrive.
First Name: Vern
Last Name: Davidson Jr
Union/Local: Cape Girardeau Area Local 4088