Author Topic: Should the USPS keep operating?  (Read 3875 times)

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Offline Alexandre

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Should the USPS keep operating?
« on: March 06, 2012, 01:56:49 pm »
I worked for the USPS in 2007 as a backroom clerk.  There was a lot of work to do back then, but as the years have passed, I know the USPS has continually needed to close down facilities, lay off employees, and reduce operations.  People have even talked about the possibility of having the USPS completely shut down in the near future.

I want to know: do you think the USPS should continue operations or shut down to leave that work to other businesses?
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Offline Alsek

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Re: Should the USPS keep operating?
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2012, 02:06:47 pm »
The only business that can be offered a monopoly and still manage to go bankrupt.


Edit:  Also,  i'm sure someone else could find a perfectly profitable way to pump corporate consumerism type propaganda from sears and best buy onto my doorstep...   Though, I might press charges for illegal dumping on my property.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2012, 02:13:07 pm by Alsek »

Offline Ziel

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Re: Should the USPS keep operating?
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2012, 02:28:12 pm »
The only business that can be offered a monopoly and still manage to go bankrupt.


Edit:  Also,  i'm sure someone else could find a perfectly profitable way to pump corporate consumerism type propaganda from sears and best buy onto my doorstep...   Though, I might press charges for illegal dumping on my property.


But is it really a monopoly? The USPS competes with companies like UPS and FedEx for package shipments. But the real killer is that it has a beast of a competitor called the internet. You may have heard of it :P . Sure, the USPS did pretty much have a monopoly (unless you were to box up and FedEx that birthday card to your grandmother every year). But then the internet came in, and email offered, essentially, the same service for free. Well, a similar service. Digital rather than analog, but still a means of communication and sending letters.

So really, it's just in the middle of a massive re-structuring now that it isn't the only option available. I don't think it can completely shut down. At least not yet. There are still plenty of situations that just require you to mail in a check (my rent, for one). And then there's Christmas/birthday/whatever cards that get sent through the mail as well.

Maybe if they would cut down to, oh, once a week service. Kind of like trash pick-up already is. I think that is frequent enough that time-sensitive mail won't wind up late due to slow mail service (billing companies may need to be a little more lenient on payments that are a couple days late, or change due dates to account for the modified delivery schedule). But it also would cut down on costs tremendously.

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Offline Alsek

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Re: Should the USPS keep operating?
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2012, 02:51:03 pm »
But is it really a monopoly?

 Yes.  Packages are different from regular mail.  Just because they also deliver packages does not mean they don't hold the monopoly on standard mail service.


Zeil,  the thing is if people actually signed up to be on a delivery service,  or if they actually charged enough to cover their costs,  people WOULD resort to using the internet because it would no-longer be cost effective.  There will always be a need for physically delivering parcels and packages but right now the mass majority of things sent through the postal service is just advertisement.  Those that /really/ need it can figure out how to pay for it (it's going to cost a LOT more to send Christmas cards),  and the rest of us can move to electronic systems.

Offline Narei Mooncatt

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Re: Should the USPS keep operating?
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2012, 03:05:16 am »
Oh my, how I hate the USPS with a passion. :goldbloody:

Ok, let me clarify a bit. I hate the service in my area with a passion at the very least.  We've had a lot of mail, both incoming and outgoing, that was lost. Often enough that several times we've had to re-write and mail off half a month's worth of bills for places that don't have online payments. They don't pick up mail at my place, so we either drop the mail in a public USPS box or hand them over to a clerk at the post office desk. Mail has been lost in both cases, never to surface again. And this really sucks with incoming mail because it could mean not getting a bill notice  you weren't already expecting and the next thing you know, you're getting hassled about being late on something you didn't even know existed. Heck, it's even been part (but not all) of the reason my mate had a debt (that she doesn't believe is legit in the first place) that not only went to a collection agency, but went all the way to a small claims court trial against her without her ever receiving one notification. Not from the original creditor, the collection agency, or the court itself. Needless to say, there is a default judgement against her that we're now having to try and sort out after discovering this happening when having a credit report ran. Another time, I had something shipped to me with a tracking number that I checked in on daily. It got to the local P.O., and the next update said it was headed to a dead mail sorting facility. There was never an attempt to deliver notice or anything. Going by the tracking number, it's like it got to our local post office and they didn't feel like delivering and just sent straight to dead mail. I called up the P.O. and they didn't have any explanation or a way to really verify whether or not the tracking info was actually correct. He basically told me to give it 30 days for the dead mail facility to process it (meaning opening it up if the outter label couldn't be read, in which case I would have loved to see the face of the person doing that considering what was in there. :D ). The next day, the package was delivered to my door, safe and sound, with no signs of abnormal wear on the packaging. And while the tracking info said it magically went from our city, several hundered miles to a dead mail facility, straight back to our house and bypassing the local P.O. all together in less than 24 hours, I'm sure it was at the P.O. the whole time and someone just didn't know how to update the tracking info properly.

So yes, I think the USPS needs to shrivel up and die. Or at the very least, allow some competition. True, you can ship a letter in a small'ish *package* envelope through FedEx, DHL, UPS, etc, but A) you can't simply mail a letter in a normal small envelope and is expensive as heck to use that kind of overkill service, and B) They can't deliver to P.O. Boxes, which is where a large number of businesses still take mail, especially bills. I wouldn't even mind the price hikes and minor service changes, so long as service was reliable and not like playing Russian Roulette any time you mail or expect to receive something via the USPS.

*takes a deep breath* Ok, I think I'm done with my rant for now. Oh, and Alesk's monopoly quip is so perfect. :D

*EDIT* Also just found out they lost a 1099 form from my bank that I have to have to do my taxes. Had I not thought to ask my bank about it, I never would have known and could have been screwed in an audit. Alexandre, do you know if there's a way to go about filing a complaint on this stuff since I can't pin point it to one location or person causing all this mail to be lost?
« Last Edit: March 08, 2012, 05:27:00 pm by Narei Mooncatt »
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Offline Shim

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Re: Should the USPS keep operating?
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2012, 06:54:02 pm »
USPS lost a bunch of magic cards in the mail a few months back and the issue STILL hasn't been resolved >:(!

I've been talking to the owner of the store I ordered it from, and we're working it out x_x

Offline Slifer

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Re: Should the USPS keep operating?
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2012, 12:07:10 am »
In my opinion the USPS should remain operational. For one my uncle is a delivery man and that's how his family pays most of their bills. Another reason is that our delivery man is so cool. I mean I don't know him on a personal level but still. I order a lot of my packages to be delivered by USPS since the timing is so perfect. FedEx gave me heck when I ordered my iPod and I couldn't catch the UPS man. He always arrived after I was gone to work or not at all when I was off.

Again, these are just my experiences with USPS. If I lost several items my views might be different.

Offline Kael

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Re: Should the USPS keep operating?
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2012, 12:16:17 am »
USPS should stay, since it is a good service to have. Apart from thousands of bills, flyers, etc... I love every now and then having an actually adressed and hand-written letter. E-mail is too impersonal, and FedEx/UPS are big on horrid timing, but USPS is reliable, and cheap too, I might add...
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Offline Slifer

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Re: Should the USPS keep operating?
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2012, 12:21:26 am »
USPS should stay, since it is a good service to have. Apart from thousands of bills, flyers, etc... I love every now and then having an actually adressed and hand-written letter. E-mail is too impersonal, and FedEx/UPS are big on horrid timing, but USPS is reliable, and cheap too, I might add...
Right? But I don't get hand written letters. :'(

Offline Acton

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Re: Should the USPS keep operating?
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2012, 12:08:38 pm »
The only business that can be offered a monopoly and still manage to go bankrupt.


Edit:  Also,  i'm sure someone else could find a perfectly profitable way to pump corporate consumerism type propaganda from sears and best buy onto my doorstep...   Though, I might press charges for illegal dumping on my property.


But is it really a monopoly? The USPS competes with companies like UPS and FedEx for package shipments. But the real killer is that it has a beast of a competitor called the internet. You may have heard of it :P . Sure, the USPS did pretty much have a monopoly (unless you were to box up and FedEx that birthday card to your grandmother every year). But then the internet came in, and email offered, essentially, the same service for free. Well, a similar service. Digital rather than analog, but still a means of communication and sending letters.

So really, it's just in the middle of a massive re-structuring now that it isn't the only option available. I don't think it can completely shut down. At least not yet. There are still plenty of situations that just require you to mail in a check (my rent, for one). And then there's Christmas/birthday/whatever cards that get sent through the mail as well.

Maybe if they would cut down to, oh, once a week service. Kind of like trash pick-up already is. I think that is frequent enough that time-sensitive mail won't wind up late due to slow mail service (billing companies may need to be a little more lenient on payments that are a couple days late, or change due dates to account for the modified delivery schedule). But it also would cut down on costs tremendously.
USPS is a statutory monopoly. The law was up held by the Supreme Court  and unlike other private corporations can the USPS cannot be sued under the Sherman  Act. Only the USPS can deliver mail 1st and 3rd class to boxes stamped US Mail.
I think there are three reasons for USPS decline:  as one First the most obvious is the Internet,  which cuts down on the need to send advertizing and 1st class mail.  Second problem is higher energy cost including air freight. I am an Ebay sell and The Post office is giving away the store in respect to International, and domestic priority and express mail.  In order to break even the USPS need to charge more on the line of Fed Ex and UPS.  I have a hard time believe USP is cover cost on fixed rate Priority mail. Finally like any monopoly there is no incentive to improve service.   Some time for me  UPS offer a more completive service, with its Ebay discount than US Postal service. I would never think of shipping heavy of expensive items via USPS if I can avoid it.
I do believe its time to privatize the USPS because the current model is unsustainable in the long run.

Offline Ziel

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Re: Should the USPS keep operating?
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2012, 07:27:42 pm »
USPS is a statutory monopoly. The law was up held by the Supreme Court  and unlike other private corporations can the USPS cannot be sued under the Sherman  Act. Only the USPS can deliver mail 1st and 3rd class to boxes stamped US Mail.
I think there are three reasons for USPS decline:  as one First the most obvious is the Internet,  which cuts down on the need to send advertizing and 1st class mail.  Second problem is higher energy cost including air freight. I am an Ebay sell and The Post office is giving away the store in respect to International, and domestic priority and express mail.  In order to break even the USPS need to charge more on the line of Fed Ex and UPS.  I have a hard time believe USP is cover cost on fixed rate Priority mail. Finally like any monopoly there is no incentive to improve service.   Some time for me  UPS offer a more completive service, with its Ebay discount than US Postal service. I would never think of shipping heavy of expensive items via USPS if I can avoid it.
I do believe its time to privatize the USPS because the current model is unsustainable in the long run.


The USPS is in a very unique situation. It used to be a government agency, but is now this awkward hybrid of a somewhat-independent government agency and a private company. In a lot of ways, it already is privatized.

And while yes, technically, the USPS is still a monopoly by certain legal terms (they are the only company legally allowed to use your mailbox). But looking at it just by the definition of a monopoly itself, I would argue that internet communication (emails) serve the same function as the USPS (delivery of written communications between one party and another). That would mean that, in some sense, the monopoly no longer exists.

The whole reason I asked that question was to illustrate the reason the USPS is failing. Sure, they could legally be considered a monopoly, but frankly, internet communication has been a major role in why the USPS started falling behind, and can't catch back up. The monopoly found some major competition, and can't really price down to what the competition offers (free email service with faster delivery).

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Offline Alsek

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Re: Should the USPS keep operating?
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2012, 07:38:46 pm »
It is definitely still a monopoly.  There is some overlap with email (which is free). yet people still choose to use it which means there is definitely some reason that mail has not been entirely invalidated yet.  Personally i feel it's always best to let the market handle it's own problems.   Privatize USPS.  Without government support it will have to raise it's fees.   Then,   either corperations and indeviduals will decide it's still a worthwhile service and continue to use it,  or they'll innovate and replace their old methods with more cost effective solutions.  (online banking is the perfect example;   yet,   they still have to send out credit cards to customers somehow.)

Offline furtopia02

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Re: Should the USPS keep operating?
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2012, 08:17:39 pm »
I hate the USPS. It's trash. Well, the SERVICE is fine, its the horrible employees we have here that do everything from steal out mail, rip magazines in half and stick in in our lock box, "lose" nearly everything sent out or to us. I've lost hundreds of dollars worth of stuff including irreplaceable items just in the past half year or so. My wife even had her SS card and my daughters placed in the wrong mailbox and "lost". They even leave my packages in unlocked, open to the weather public boxes here instead of locking it with the key and putting the key in my lock box. It's just ridiculous. Its been this way in every place I've lived too, not JUST this recent one but the most recent location ticks me off the most of them. Close it. Either way I'm not using it unless I absolutely have to. I pay everything online, by phone, or in person now (except my money orders I have to send to Michigan to pay rent). I'll stick to UPS and Fedex for packages since they will actually take responsibility for items.

Offline Chiscringle

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Re: Should the USPS keep operating?
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2012, 07:45:08 am »
Wow.  Apart from things sometimes taking longer than with a private carrier, I've never had these problems at the PO.  One of ours is also where we get our passports and the other is in a drug/gifts store, so in both cases we get more than one service when we go in.  Considering the Federal budget, I have no problem with keeping it around.  They've already closed branches around me which is a pain in the butt at my college because there isn't another PO nearby and I need stamps.
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Offline Drake Blackpaw

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Re: Should the USPS keep operating?
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2012, 11:18:21 am »
It is definitely still a monopoly.  There is some overlap with email (which is free). yet people still choose to use it which means there is definitely some reason that mail has not been entirely invalidated yet.  Personally i feel it's always best to let the market handle it's own problems.   Privatize USPS.  Without government support it will have to raise it's fees.   Then,   either corperations and indeviduals will decide it's still a worthwhile service and continue to use it,  or they'll innovate and replace their old methods with more cost effective solutions.  (online banking is the perfect example;   yet,   they still have to send out credit cards to customers somehow.)

The biggest problem USPS has is that it is required by law to pay for itself (i.e.  not use any taxpayer money), but it is also not allowed to raise rates, close offices or make any significant delivery service changes without approval from congress. The USPS wants to drop Saturday delivery and close a bunch of post offices so they can move back in the black revenue wise, but congress hasn't allowed it.

I do believe there still is a need for the post office.  There are many who are not connected to the Internet and rely on the post office for bills, receiving checks, and other things.  However, I also think congress should step out of the way and let the USPS make some reasonable changes like dropping Saturday delivery so they can make their numbers as well.

Offline Alsek

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Re: Should the USPS keep operating?
« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2012, 11:23:34 am »
The problem isn't that it has to pay for itself.  They have really poor buisness practices which is why they are failing.  There is no logical reason to dump their bad choices on the taxpayer.  I'm not really sure it's a great idea to have a taxpayer funded system that ships advertisement from corporations to our doors.  If they want to pay to send us this crap they can do it with their own money.

The problem is simply that they are required by law to exist.  Privatize it entirely and let it either sink or swim.  If it's worth it to anyone for them to still exist,  those people can figure out how to pay for it.

Offline Alexandre

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Re: Should the USPS keep operating?
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2012, 02:54:29 pm »
I hate the USPS. It's trash. Well, the SERVICE is fine, its the horrible employees we have here that do everything from steal out mail, rip magazines in half and stick in in our lock box, "lose" nearly everything sent out or to us. I've lost hundreds of dollars worth of stuff including irreplaceable items just in the past half year or so. My wife even had her SS card and my daughters placed in the wrong mailbox and "lost". They even leave my packages in unlocked, open to the weather public boxes here instead of locking it with the key and putting the key in my lock box. It's just ridiculous.
Heh.  I was a postal worker.  It's a federal crime to do what you've said, and they have hours and hours of training against stealing stuff.  I think your problems might be more of a location issue -- if you report what's happening, it's likely to stop.  Doesn't mean it's right, and I think it'd be wise to go through FedEx or UPS because of those issues.

Honestly, after reading all this, I think it's a good idea for the USPS to be around, at least for now.  Unless that mandated monopoly were repealed, we would lose a lot by having them disappear.  I would be perfectly okay having that work go to other businesses, though.  Let the business with the best customer service handle my mail ;)
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Offline Rocket T. Coyote

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Re: Should the USPS keep operating?
« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2012, 11:36:39 pm »
I had a PO Box for many years at the main post office downtown as a privacy thing and for my monthly newsletter address. Box rent kept increasing until it was about $35/yr. Then I closed it and got one at a small town PO, as my Ebay address, for $24/yr. I like the free packaging stuff with priority mail. I rely heavily on the USPS when my Ebay sales spike during the Holidays.
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Offline Shim

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Re: Should the USPS keep operating?
« Reply #18 on: July 05, 2012, 12:22:52 am »
I'm looking at shipping options for a website's online store and the choices are 3 UPS methods and the USPS.

In bold, red text, it says "Please note that WeLoveFine will not be responsible for any lost packages shipped with USPS delivery method."

Made me lol.

Offline Narei Mooncatt

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Re: Should the USPS keep operating?
« Reply #19 on: July 05, 2012, 12:43:02 am »
Nice. XD
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