Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Postal chief says post office running out of money

"Lawmakers also raised questions regarding recent news reports that Potter is paid as much as $800,000 a year. That is not correct, Potter said. He said his salary, set by Congress, is $263,575. He said the news reports were counting his retirement fund, the cost of his security detail and a $135,000 bonus that would be paid over 10 years after he retires."

Security detail?!!!!
For a "failing company"?!!!!!

Tax it at 90% !!!!!

Anyway, I'm posting here not to further bash the postal service. But I'm not here to praise them either.

Here is a recent personal experience:

I work with a group that recently set about to mail out a book to interested parties in my local area.

We sent out a post card to 20,000 people or so. If they returned the post card with their mailing address we would send them the book for free.

The post office sends out the card to "resident" and distributes them to everyone on certain mailing routes. I get them all the time, you do too, and the senders don't have to be bothered to know your name or address to get those advertisements to you. Now we couldn't afford to send the book to all 20,000 people, but a few hundred is doable, and that's about the number we expected to respond, and that's about what we got.

The book costs us about $2. Postage cost us another $2. The padded envelope was around $1.50 I think an I'm sure we could have done better on that price with better planning.

The surprise was when we got several "postage due" notices back in our P.O. box. Since the postage was applied at the post office and not as a result of us licking stamps, I couldn't understand how we could owe any postage.

Turns out though that some people gave us bad addresses, or we wrote them poorly, or the people have moved. Whatever.

We have to pay postage on having these books returned to us. The postage, also around $2.

I asked the clerk what would happen if I just ignored these postage due things. He had to ask someone else, but the answer was that they would simply throw the packages away.

Since the replacement value of the book is actually a bit less than the return postage (about 50 cents less as I've rounded the numbers above) and the envelope is not re-usable, it's cheaper for us to allow the books to be thrown away than to get them back.

That's just one example of the things I've learned about the way the post office works in the past few years. With regard to getting a P.O. Box, having mailboxes installed at a building, dealing with lost keys, or mailing things out, they have a lot of policies that are just not "customer oriented". The people at the counter are friendly, often shaking their heads along with me at some of the seemingly arbitrary policies.

But consider that the postal service is probably the most "customer friendly" part of the Federal government. Try getting the same sympathetic reaction from the IRS, the Social Security administration, or try even speaking to someone in any other part of the Federal government about anything and you will realize that it is a big uncaring "black box" over which you have no control, other than voting for more of it, or less of it.

No matter what your special hot-button issues are, growth of government is the thing most likely to affect you and your progeny. If you are watching the man move the cups around and not keeping your eye on that ball, you will surely lose.

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