Tag Archives: United States Postal Service

Let’s Fix the Post Office

It's Mr. Zip! He'll fix it!

It’s Mr. Zip! He’ll fix it!


We really need to do something about the United States Postal Service (USPS).

1. Their business plan has been to focus on junk mail because it is more profitable in the short run. Never mind that the junk mail goes immediately from the mailbox to the trash or recycling 99% of the time, and eliminating it might be the single largest contribution to solving global warming. Think of all the carbon released making paper, delivering paper to the printer, printing the junk mail, delivering it to the post office, forwarding it from there to the receiving post office and delivering it. Oh, and don’t forget the exhaust from garbage or recycling truck that then takes it away.

How many big businesses went under because to focusing on the short term?

2. The Postal Service is closing facilities in the name of efficiency while sacrificing effectiveness. A birthday card from my house to a neighbor no longer goes 6 miles to downtown Norfolk and back in one day. All that mail now goes 105 miles to Richmond and back in two days. Did I mention how all this transportation by the USPS contributes to global warming?

Plus it takes longer to deliver.

3. The latest brainstorm for the USPS is to compete with FedEx, UPS, and the other successful package delivery systems. So how’s that going?

  • I ordered an item from Mumbai, India on August 15. The Indian postal system showed the item dropped off at the Mumbai Airport Sorting Office on August 17 and arrived in New York (7809 miles) on August 18, at which point it:
    • was handed off to the USPS
    • status on its progress is no longer available
  • I ordered another item from Ames, Iowa, USA on August 13. This item was put into the mail on August 14 and sent to the USPS sorting facility in Des Moines, IA the same day (distance, 34 miles). This morning (August 21) it departed the Des Moines, IA sorting facility after a fun-filled, all expense paid week there.

Mind you, when I ship something, I use the USPS whenever possible. If I sell something on eBay, I send it Priority Mail (2-3 days) in a “if it fits, it ships” box. I purchase the postage on-line and print out an official USPS barcoded label. I’m trying to do my part.

So, c’mon guys. Dump the junk mail and compete like you want to win.

My Turn to Fume

I try to be positive and upbeat, but every once in a while I just have to engage in a temper tantrum because things just don’t make sense.

Right now there’s a lot of discussion about “Obamacare” or whatever you want to call it. First, let me say that after 30 years in healthcare, I have huge problems with the current medical industry business model. No one can tell you the price of anything in advance. Prices are set exorbitantly high so that insurance companies can get huge discounts. There is a disconnect among who decides what services will be used, who is the “customer” for those services and the third party that pays. Many can’t get primary care and basic prescriptions so their only option is to wait until things go from bad to worse and show up at the Emergency Department, after which there is no follow up.

Etc., etc., etc.

However, I also have concerns about the government running these programs.

(Before I continue, let me say to the business community – you blew it by putting your own short term profit interests ahead of the big picture. You could have proven yourself a better choice but you elected not to. If you had come up with something better, that’s what we’d be using. Know what value added is? Didn’t think so.)

The government has been involved with various service industries either directly or through quasi-corporations in the past. Let’s review a few of them.

There’s the United States Postal Service, whose primary customer is junk mail producers.

There’s Fannie-Mae and Freddie Mac who helped usher in the housing crisis.

There are the student loan programs that are making for-profit college owners rich while not actually leading to people (especially service members and veterans) getting degrees that will help them earn a living.

There’s AMTRAK which sells hamburgers for $9.50 (!) even though it costs AMTRAK $16.00 (!!!) to make each one.

I use the official prescription plan for military retirees. They don’t send me the prescriptions that my doctor has ordered but they do send me the ones that he has discontinued, even when I specifically request them not to.

Frustrated, I sent a note to the mail-order pharmacy through my user ID and password protected access to their site and they send me a response that required me to set up another separate user ID and password (yes, separate from the one I have) just to read their reply.

What ultra-secret words of wisdom did they have to share with me?

"Dear Mr. Nowak, 

Thank you for using XXXXXXX Pharmacy Program. We appreciate the opportunity to serve you.

Thank you for your feedback. XXXXXXX Scripts appreciates suggestions made by XXXXXXX beneficiaries as it allows us to improve our processes. Your feedback has been forwarded to the appropriate department for review.

If you have any further questions please email or contact us at 1-877-XXX-XXXX.

We apologize for any inconvenience you have experienced. Thank you for continuing to use XXXXXXX Pharmacy Program.


Shawn G.

I’m not sure how you read this, but to me it says, “Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Go away!”

Now I’ll bet you’re all excited about how the new healthcare system is going to make your life better, too.