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Tech Experts Look To Help Save the Postal Service

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the ice-delivery-men-feeling-left-out dept.

Government 398

An anonymous reader writes "Some of the folks responsible for developing and promoting e-mail, e-commerce and social media are banding together in an attempt to save the US Postal Service, the institution arguably most threatened by the technological developments of the past few years. As mail volume continues to plummet and more Americans use the Internet to pay bills and keep in touch, Google executives, social media experts and some of the most passionate tech evangelists are planning to meet in Crystal City in mid-June to sort out how to save and remake the nation's mail delivery service. The conference, PostalVision 2020, is designed to bring together the people who understand what this technology has done, is doing and will do to digital commerce and communication in America. USPS anticipates losing about $7 billion during the fiscal year that ends in September and is in the process of eliminating 7,500 postmaster and administrative positions to save money."

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why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046872)

guess i'm not sure why it should be saved. just because it's been around awhile?

Re:why? (4, Insightful)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046908)

Because it performs a valuable service that there still isn't any combination of complete substittues for. (Anyone who thinks UPS or FedEx could just step in on the mail or stuff-delivery end doesn't know shit about the shipping industry and should be treated as such.)

For example: Do you like Amazon or Netflix? They wouldn't exist without the USPS.

Re:why? (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046944)

If they're losing $7 billion/year, it doesn't look like the USPS can handle the job either.

Re:why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046976)

USPS could get away with shipping netflix and amazon crap at a lower price because they had tons of overpriced 1st class mail to deliver to subsidize the more expensive (but higher single-provider volume) shippers.

I used to work for a very large print-and-mail company, who at the time sent only 1st class mail and was the single largest mailer in the United States. At the time, a 1st class retail stamp cost about $0.37. Do you want to know what our customers paid? $0.079

The reality is that as Average Joe figures out there are good substitutes to USPS the public subsidy is drying up, leaving only the larger mailers who will have to pick up more of the actual cost of operations. Bummer for them, but USPS has become marginalized, and that's just how it goes.

Re:why? (2)

dammy (131759) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047002)

I have news for you, USPS has been subcontracting out mail delivery to private companies in many areas. I think it's called (been 3 years since I was a carrier) Highway contracts. USPS is a disaster. It will take an act of Congress to completely revamp USPS regulations and policies into something that can make money for the long term. That will never happen as there are too many different unions involved that would allow such a thing to happen and impact their union payments.

Re:why? (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047056)

I always choose UPS or FedEx for Amazon, and stream Netflix.
I only ever use the USPS when I don't have a choice, and I loath it every time. Their idea of package tracking is "we'll let you know around the time it may or may not have arrived".

Re:why? (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047130)

Anything you don't care about, can probably be sent electronically just as easily.

Anything you DO care about should never ever be sent by USPS.

I've had nothing but bad experiences with sending stuff via USPS. nothing. Tracking numbers that still read "waiting for pickup" at the origin point days after they've been delivered (i.e. tracking is useless). packages that mysteriously disappear for months at time with nothing but a shrug from the postal service. packages that take days to show up even though they're coming from about 50 miles away. mail that shows up shredded in a plastic bag with a note saying "oops, our bad, enjoy the 8% of this letter you actually received!"

Every single time I try to give them the benefit of the doubt and say "maybe the previous couple experiences have all been flukes, let me give them one more try", they do their best to disappoint me and prove my previous experiences were not flukes.

May they crash and burn like any other business. propping up a business just because we're used to it being there is WRONG. if there is business that USPS handles that UPS, Fedex, DHL, etc don't... well when USPS shuts down those services can and will step in to fill a need, and I trust each one of those WAY more than USPS.

And hey, maybe if the 0.079 cent taxpayer subsidized mailings are no longer available to large mailing houses through the USPS, perhaps I'll be able to stop digging out the hard copy spam that constitutes roughly 50% of the mail that shows up in my mailbox.

Re:why? (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047308)

like delivering junk mail

if i don't check my mail every day in a few days my mailbox is overflowing with catalogs that i usually dump straight into the recycling bin. the USPS makes a lot of money from these and won't stop delivering them and legally the postman can't just dump them in the trash at my request

Re:why? (2)

ep32g79 (538056) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047340)

Because it performs a valuable service that there still isn't any combination of complete substittues for.

You mean a service that cannot legally be substituted for? [worldsstrangest.com]

Armed USPS inspectors raided the company’s Atlanta headquarters to determine whether or not the letters the company had been sending via FedEx were indeed “extremely urgent” as required by the Private Express Statutes. The letters didn’t pass the test, and Equifax ended up having to pay a $30,000 fine.

Re:why? (5, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046998)

A postal service that serves all Americans equally, even if they live at the end of a dirt road a few hundred miles from civilization, is a founding value of our republic. The founding fathers knew that the free market could do mail, but they didn't trust it and thus they gave the fledgling nation a public (now quasi-public) postal system. Private companies, concerned with profits, cannot guarantee that rural residents will receive mail with the same prices and service as people in the heart of downtown. The USPS can.

Re:why? (1, Insightful)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047042)

No, the USPS can't. It just has to, so it eats the cost and ends up with huge deficits. Hence the story about which we are posting.

Re:why? (0)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047172)

And when "dirt road in the middle of nowhere" meant "homesteader" instead of "backward anti-social extremist", and "receive mail" meant "the only way to give someone a message" instead of "archaic form of communication insisted upon by idiotic lawyers and technologically-illiterate local governments", that was relevant.

Re:why? (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047286)

Of course, if you live in the middle of nowhere, "receive mail" is only an "archaic form of communication"; because newer ones are also subsidized for you. Rural telecommunications and electrification are also projects that weren't exactly undertaken because the ROI was enticing to Wall Street.

If the objective is efficiency, you might as well tell any rural areas that aren't totally loaded to shove off and learn to enjoy natural solitude, and let any impecunious urban areas enjoy the newfound feeling of community that comes with being cut off.

I'm not sure that that would be such a popular move; but it definitely would decrease the per-capital cost of infrastructure.

Re:why? (2)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047252)

Private companies, concerned with profits, cannot guarantee that rural residents will receive mail with the same prices and service as people in the heart of downtown. The USPS can.

This is exactly the problem with the USPS. To deliver to my house takes a heck of a lot less effort than to that guy living in the middle of nowhere above the Arctic circle. Why subsidize the rural population? What is it about living from civilization is so great and important that we must pay for it? This isn't 1800, the requirement for vast segments of our population to work the land for food is gone.

Re:why? (2)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047402)

Countries have a hard time holding on to large amounts of land if there's not some minimum level of habitation. Just look at what's happening to the Russian Far East: in 50 years time, that will probably all be lost to China, along with its water and mineral resources. Encouraging some level of rural habitation and land use is a longterm strategic interest.

Re:why? (2)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047272)

USPS actually did a poorer job than Lysander Spooner's company, the American Letter Mail Company. ALMC provided better service to more people, for cheaper prices than the USPS. Then the government shut him down, and gave the USPS a monopoly. Thus there have been rising prices for over a century for mail.

UPS and Fedex and others don't break the monopoly because they can't - they're forced to pay whatever shipping cost the USPS would have charged the customer to USPS, and then add their own overhead on top of that.

Re:why? (1)

johnlcallaway (165670) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047376)

So .. what is your point?? Where is it written that every American has the right to get daily mail?? And at what price??? I throw away almost every piece of mail I get, the USPS isn't delivering mail, it's delivering paper to be recycled in the form of ads. Every magazine I get I could get at the post office or electronically. In fact, I get so little mail I only check it once a week. So deliver it once a week.

Those that live on the end of dirt roads don't stay there, once a week they could go into town and get their mail. It's their choice to live out there, they can deal with the consequences. Why should I pay for their choice????

Eliminate junk mail and only deliver once a week. That should just about do it. Then charge accordingly.

Oh .. the US government didn't create postal delivery. It was created long before the US became a country.....

Re:why? (2)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047452)

Yeah, government can guarantee any and every single thing it wants - it doesn't have to make money. All this is good until it crashes the economy with its weight and then the guarantees will mean nothing. Who cares that you'll get your check and your paper money if they buy nothing?

Let's see how the government 'guarantee' is working out for the housing market and price stability and SS and minimum wage and Medicare/Medicaid and safety and the value of the dollar itself.

What did Ben say when asked by Ron Paul about the definition of the dollar? Oooh, yeah, he said:

My definition of the dollar is what it can buy. Consumers donâ(TM)t want to buy gold; they want to buy food, and gasoline, and clothes and all the other things that are in the consumer basket. It is the buying power of the dollar in terms of those goods and services that is what is important, and thatâ(TM)s what I call price stability.

Right. So the dollar "is what it buys".

However there is an action definition of the dollar, as it was stated by the Coinage Act of 1792 [wikipedia.org] , and it's not some hand waiving.

The dollar is supposed to be a unit of weight of gold or silver defined like this:

371 4/16 grain (24.1 g) pure or 416 grain (27.0 g) standard silver.

$10 is 247 4/8 grain (16.0 g) pure or 270 grain (17.5 g) standard gold.

--

So excuse me if I do not believe in any government guarantees.

If you take your dollar to the Federal reserve bank you are NOT going to get 27g of pure silver, and for your 10 dollars you will not get 17.5g standard gold.

Government that prints money and guarantees stuff ends up destroying its economy and society.

Re:why? (3, Insightful)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047424)

"The USPS's first incarnation was established by Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia in 1775, by decree of the Second Continental Congress. The Post Office Department was created from Franklin's operation in 1792, as part of the United States Cabinet, then was transformed into its current form in 1971, under the Postal Reorganization Act."

It was so important, that the Postmaster General used to be in line for succession to the President. Even in 1775, it was acknowledged that information was one of the most critical functions of a nation. It affects security, commerce, and national unity.

Why does this matter now? Because while paper mail may not seem important, the United States government must ensure information flow. That's why we regulate telephone, radio, television, and the Internet. Rain, sleet, snow or hail, information is arguably the make or break of a nation.

SOS !! SOS !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046886)

Just make FCS an even dollar and get on with things !! Mail is cheap here - too cheap !!

Re:SOS !! SOS !! (2)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046924)

Even in countries where first class mail costs twice as much as in the US, postal systems have a hard time staying profitable only from mail. In Finland, where I live, post offices have to sell candy, kitsch gifts, and office supplies just to stay in business. In many communities, the post office is just a corner rented in another store (a change I understand has begun in the US too) instead of a separate location.

Re:SOS !! SOS !! (1)

woodchip (611770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047048)

For Real. These days, I bet, anyone who is willing to pay $0.45 to mail something, would also be willing to pay $1 or two.. The only people that would be hurt by a dramatic increase in postage prices would be the bulk-junk mailers. And they can go to hell. Disclaimer: I worked for a junk mail company once.

Re:SOS !! SOS !! (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047314)

Well, I am not willing to even pay $0.45, but that is the lowest cost alternative, so that is what I do. FedEx or UPS is not willing to deliver a letter for me for $0.45.

USPS (1, Troll)

SpaceCadetTrav (641261) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046890)

Government is shrinking. Please don't interrupt the process.

Re:USPS (3, Insightful)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047150)

If it were solely a Government agency, it'd be doing "okay". Unfortunately, like AAFES, it's a Government owned business. It operates off of it's income and typically doesn't get any pork on it's own. Government is shrinking, yes...this, however, isn't going to shrink it in the right places.

Re:USPS (4, Interesting)

Creosote (33182) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047168)

I'm guessing you don't live in a rural community.

"Big government" aka the local post office in my central Virginia hamlet consists of a 400 square foot post office built by sectioning off the local country store. Along with the country store, it's the primary place to go to learn or pass along news, or to meet your neighbors. Of course it's kind of insane from a purely economic standpoint to maintain it, with a full-time postmistress, when there is a medium-sized PO five miles away in the next big town and a full-service PO a dozen miles away. But when that branch closes, and I suppose it will, it will mean one less point of human contact for folks around here, and some not insignificant additional burdens for people without a lot of money or with health problems for whom a trip to retrieve a package at a distance is not trivial.

Re:USPS (1)

AJH16 (940784) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047254)

While I understand that, you'll still have your country store and if you really want social contact, then perhaps living in the middle of nowhere isn't ideal (or you can just hang out at the country store.) Putting more resources in a community than the community can or will eventually be able to sustain is not good for the country. If the long term goal of a government system is to provide more resources to a group than the group puts out, then something needs to be reconsidered about that program. I'm not saying that in short runs, programs can't provide for groups or people that can't support the program, but the end goal should always be to re-establish self-reliance or you end up with trillions of dollars of debt to provide services to everyone that nobody can pay for.

Re:USPS (2)

tftp (111690) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047456)

if you really want social contact, then perhaps living in the middle of nowhere isn't ideal

Great advice! Farmers and ranchers better be sociophobes, or they must give up on their businesses and move to cities. Since there are no farms in cities they will be collecting some social security and buying food in grocery stores, where it is made, instead of growing it in fields. After all, benefits of civilization should be available only to city folks, not to some useless rednecks, isn't it so?

Re:USPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36047296)

Why can't those rural people just move to the city? Geez, it's not enough that delivery to scattered rural communities generates enormous carbon, but now we're supposed to subsidize their socializing too.

Re:USPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36047196)

Revoke the USPS' legislated monopoly on first-class and third-class mail and open up the market to UPS, Fed Ex, DHL, etc. - competition will drive down prices for consumers.

It's dying? (2)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046892)

Every time I've been to the post office, there's been 15+ people in line. I have a hard time believing the mail system is on the way out any time soon. Telegraphs didn't kill it, telephones didn't kill it, why would email kill it?

Re:It's dying? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046956)

There are 15 people in line and one person behind the counter. You see people walk by and look at the line and quickly disappear. The one person that is behind the counter usually has to go in back for 5 minutes leaving the desk unattended. The point? Technology didn't kill nor can it save the post office. The people that work there and their attitudes can.

Re:It's dying? (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046990)

Every time I've been to the post office, there's been 15+ people in line. I have a hard time believing the mail system is on the way out any time soon. Telegraphs didn't kill it, telephones didn't kill it, why would email kill it?

Telegraphs aren't secure, but my email client has encryption features built in. Or do I still have to get it through an add-on? Either way it's there.

The USPS is only becoming more incompetent all the time. I just got a letter to a former resident who has been gone for years so I wrote "NOT AT THIS ADDRESS RETURN TO SENDER" with the only writing implement I could find at the time, a pencil, and took it back to the post office and handed it to them across the counter, saying "this is not for me, I don't really need this." They redelivered it to me the next day. The USPS is fucking incompetent at best and they should be left to die.

HAHAHA (3, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047226)

I just went to report this incident since it occurred to me they probably have a form to do so...

Thanks for your email.

A US Postal Services® representative will reply to your email within 2 to 3 business days.

The case number for request is: Problem processing ticket service request

Stay classy, USPS. They don't even listen to their own automated systems, they're not going to listen to a bunch of eggheads.

Re:It's dying? (2)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047342)

They also have a monopoly on letter mail (save for super urgent mail), to the point that it's a crime for anyone else to use the mailbox IIRC. That's why you see newspapers put up those stupid boxes right next to yours.

Re:It's dying? (2)

Trailer Trash (60756) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047024)

The people in line don't do enough business to sustain the post office. Their bread and butter has always been mass mail, and it's dying as the internet takes over.

Re:It's dying? (1)

woodchip (611770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047108)

Yeah? But how much are each of those 15 people spending? If they are only sending letters. I bet not very much. And if they are sending packages, who cares. UPS and Fed Ex are more than willing to fill that void.

Re:It's dying? (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047160)

The main problem with the Post Office is that it is a quasi-government operation, much like Freddie and Fanny were.

These never work.

In the case of the Post Office this manifests itself in vast overcapacity in inefficient operation. The management of the Post Office has a pretty good idea that what they need to do is cut down on branch offices and layoff people. But anytime they announce a branch office closing the people in the town that is served by the branch conduct a letter writing campaign to their Congresspeople who then pressure the Post Office to reverse their decision.

This is being played out all up and down the Federal Budget. One of two things will happen - they will fix it and the US won't go bankrupt, or it will go bankrupt.

I'm betting on the latter.

Re:It's dying? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36047476)

all for the better! i cant even get any packages from the postman because according to them, my drive is unsafe to drive up..... UPS and FedEX have bigger trucks and have no issues getting my package from them....

One question: Why? (1)

Alaska Jack (679307) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046906)

In other news, an alliance of the nation's best and brightest thinkers have come together in an attempt to save the buggy-whip industry.

    - Alaska Jack

here in Italy.. (3, Informative)

gadget junkie (618542) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046926)

Here they solved the issue in an elegant way: The Post office has been granted a banking license, [poste.it] and the banking activity is subsidizing the postal activity. Mind you, in the central post office where I live (Turin, pop. 1,000,000 more or less), there are about 20 booths, 15 for banking, two for receiving mail and two for outgoing mail, so the service is mediocre, but banking has effectively stemmed the flow of post office closures.

Mind you, I cannot but wonder....what would have happened if they auctioned off the post service altogether with the general delivery obligations? maybe large banks would have been interested? and think of the multiple conflicts of interest, since the Post is state owned.... no banking licences in the sticks where a post office is present? is there a ban on opening more post offices in rich neighborhoods? After all, banks are after assets, not post traffic...

Re:here in Italy.. (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047050)

The Italian Post Office? I've heard stories about that. Let's say as evidence of their ineptitude that there are a lot of sellers on EBay that refuse to ship to Italy. There was one story where a guy did a test shipment of 4 bricks in a package to Rome, and the bricks arrived completely smashed into powder.

Re:here in Italy.. (1)

kokojie (915449) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047298)

Yep, NEVER ship to Italy. You'll ALWAYS get burned

Re:here in Italy.. (2)

TarPitt (217247) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047062)

For decades there were low-interest postal savings accounts offered in the USA, meant for rural areas not served by banks:

The United States Postal Savings System was a postal savings system operated by the United States Postal Service from January 1, 1911 until July 1, 1967. The system paid depositors 2 percent annual interest. Depositors in the system were initially limited to hold a balance of $500, but this was raised to $1,000 in 1916 and to $2,500 in 1918. At its peak in 1947, the system held almost $3.4 billion in deposits. The system originally had a natural advantage over deposit-taking private banks because the deposits were always backed by "the full faith and credit of the United States Government." However, because the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation gave the same guarantee to depositors in private banks, the Postal Savings System lost its natural advantage in trust.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Postal_Savings_System [wikipedia.org]

Re:here in Italy.. (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047278)

There's no way in hell that would work in the USA. Nobody here trusts bankers to begin with. If bankers took over the post office, mailboxes would be eliminated. In order to send a letter, you'd have to go to an ATM; and if it wasn't your own bank's ATM, they've charge you a $5 "service fee" on top of postage for mailing your letter. For the poor, or those without bank accounts, you'd have to go to a check-cashing store to mail your letter and pay a $100 "processing fee" on top of a 300% postage rate. Plus, it wouldn't really save us money anyways, since we'd just have to bail out the post office next, since they would become, "too big to fail."

Cannot resist shameless pun... (1)

LordStormes (1749242) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047290)

If you get a letter from the italian post office, is it a poste.it note?

*ducks incoming tomatoes*

The problem with USPS is ... (5, Insightful)

mochan_s (536939) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046938)

As someone who shipped a lot of packages through USPS, the solution is very simple. Get a real time tracking system in par with UPS and FedEx (not bullshit overnight updates) and make the insurance for package claims less of a joke than UPS and FedEx.

As bills and correspondence mails have gone down, online buying and selling has taken it's place. But, most people are uncomfortable sending their packages through USPS. The tracking is only delivery confirmation and that costs extra at the post office. With cell phone technology, it should be trivial to implement real time updates.

If a package is lost, the insurance system is a joke. It takes forever and you can only correspond by mail. The insurance is ridiculously expensive and when you need it, it's a massive headache.

If they just fix those above issues, then lots of business would come swarming to them from online shippers.

Another thing, their rates are kinda screwed up. For heavy packages, the rates are much much higher than UPS and FedEx. It comes down to only making sense to send packages by USPS for under 4-5 lbs. They probably should also do the sweetheart deals with big companies that UPS and FedEx do - like shipping for pennies on the dollar for large volume shippers.

And, there are some sink holes like in Bell, CA that if packages get there, they come out weeks later (famous for losing Oscar votes). There are a few of them across the country.

I think USPS should move towards being more geared towards packages. But, that's just my end of the pond where I shipped packages through USPS. Maybe junk mail is the cash cow, or certified mail.

Re:The problem with USPS is ... (1)

dammy (131759) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047126)

Packages are a good source of profit for USPS. Business Bulk Mail (Junk Mail) has been way too profitable and way too cheap at the same time. Say full coverage with BBM flats generates $0.19 @ flat delivered. 700 address (I've been on rural routes with 767 unique addresses) x $0.19 = $133. That's almost 2/3rd of the cost of carrier's pay for the day. Yes, mail handlers and clerks had to touch the bundles, that has to be figured in but when you get multiple full coverages in a single delivery, USPS is making very good profit on it. It was too cheap and it use to be a tidal wave of BBM every morning and USPS year budget had that figured into it. Economy went into the crapper, USPS is now high and dry without that volume of BBM and first class is dropping as well. Perfect storm.

Re:The problem with USPS is ... (1)

Rie Beam (632299) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047132)

The problem with those ideas is that they're basically already being covered by two strong competitors who have garnered people's trust. The USPS is redundant and perhaps, as the weaker candidate with little to offer the general public, it should be eliminated.

Re:The problem with USPS is ... (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047322)

But, who will deliver all my meatspace spam then?

Re:The problem with USPS is ... (1)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047194)

So they have to upgrade their infrastructure? Mail trucks are not the size of UPS or FedEx trucks. They are designed for letters, so it makes sense to have pricing biased toward smaller items. But hey maybe you're right - that's the problem.

Re:The problem with USPS is ... (2)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047426)

Get a real time tracking system in par with UPS and FedEx (not bullshit overnight updates)
Last package I got, the UPS tracking system explicitly told me that I should not expect any updates until 10 PM PST. FedEx seems to be on top of things, but UPS seems to be about the same as the post office as far as updates.

New Business Plan (2)

omems (1869410) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046958)

Google should just buy the USPS. Then they'd have everyone's name and address, could mount cameras on the carrier's heads for mapping and insert advertising into each batch of mail.

Actually, that's what the USPS should do to raise some cash: sell us out to advertisers. It's not like I don't just throw away 95% of whats in the box anyway. Sifting past a few more dead trees wouldn't really be hard.

Re:New Business Plan (1)

arkenian (1560563) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047232)

Google should just buy the USPS. Then they'd have everyone's name and address, could mount cameras on the carrier's heads for mapping and insert advertising into each batch of mail. Actually, that's what the USPS should do to raise some cash: sell us out to advertisers. It's not like I don't just throw away 95% of whats in the box anyway. Sifting past a few more dead trees wouldn't really be hard.

That's what they should do? They already have. Junk mail pays for the postal system. Including all that lovely mail to "Current Resident", which is the snail-mail equivalent of a banner ad.

Re:New Business Plan (1)

LordStormes (1749242) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047326)

Not a bad idea at all, actually. They've already discussed the possibility of using postal delivery trucks as Street View cameras.. they would get everyone's address, and they could do a lot of mail digitization for us (especially since they're already set up to give anyone who wants one a free email address).

And FedEx and UPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046960)

Chug along in the black, year over year, without any government $$$.

Not surprising, when you consider what a miserable experience it is to go to the post office. Lines, attitudes, incomprehensible forms, and shlockly-looking people.

It's like the DMV meets Walmart.

Re:And FedEx and UPS (2)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047142)

Chug along in the black, year over year, without any government $$$.

Not surprising, when you consider what a miserable experience it is to go to the post office. Lines, attitudes, incomprehensible forms, and shlockly-looking people.

It's like the DMV meets Walmart.

Parent's notion is so flat out wrong that it should probably be flagged as "troll".
to virtually every address in the neighborhood. Every day. The UPS guy might stop at one or two houses within eye-shot every day, dropping off large boxes of stuff, for which the sender has paid many, many times what the sender of all those USPS first class letters paid. The USPS could be profitable without losing business to the private carriers. They are tooled up to handle first class and bulk (junk) mail like no one else. They just need to charge a realistic amount for what they do. The problem is that everyone, including Congress, remembers "when it only cost a dime to send a letter to grandma...", so there are extraordinary barriers to them raising rates to a realistic level; barriers that clearly don't exist for FedEx et al.

Re:And FedEx and UPS (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047158)

The question of interest, I think, is whether the postal service is in the red because they suck, or in the red because their mandate has(with the decline of the letter as a medium) largely shrunk to cover the unprofitable shit work of shipping(Picking up a letter, at your post box, in fucking nowhere, and delivering it to somebody else's postbox in a different fucking nowhere on the other side of the country, for the price of a stamp, is not exactly a lucrative niche...) while FedEx and UPS are free to ignore the low value segments and focus on carrying packages, with an emphasis on larger shippers and aggregated pickups.

In a sense, the real question facing us about the postal service is approximately similar to the real questions behind rural electrification, or telcom access: There are places in the country where providing infrastructure is, per capita, cheap. There are others where providing it is really, really, really expensive. There are areas where the infrastructure customers are relatively wealthy, and ones where they definitely aren't.

We can definitely trust the private sector(as long as they don't gain monopolies or oligopolies) to serve areas where customer willingness to pay is sufficiently high and cost per capita sufficiently low. We then come to the question of what to do about the ones where that isn't the case.

Obviously, this doesn't imply that the postal system is well managed, or that it couldn't do better(and, if improvement is available, it should definitely be undertaken); but, like rural telco and electrification, the fundamental question is not one of wringing out small operational efficiencies; but of whether or not we, as a society, wish to provide a baseline infrastructure to areas where it is not strictly economically justified. Depending on exactly how efficient you are, these areas may be somewhat smaller or somewhat larger; but it will almost always be the case that you could improve financial performance by just writing off your lossy service areas and letting them suck it up.The question is, is that what we want?

Re:And FedEx and UPS (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047428)

I would much rather go to the DMV than walmart. Less yelling children, cleaner floors and probably faster service.

Why not Railroads? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046966)

>> arguably most threatened by the technological developments of the past few years

I disagree! They are most threatened by gas prices! US Postal was originally transported on trains and hand sorted while the train was going to its' destination. Hand sorting on a train meant that everything was ready to be delivered on arrival rather than sorting at the destination postal facility. Airlines under bid railroads to get mail service but now they are having trouble competing. I see no reason why we shouldn't support our railroads and go back to delivering mail from the rails.

So what if it's losing money? (4, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046968)

Unlike, say, UPS, the US Postal Service is not and has never been a for-profit corporation. It's an agency of the US Government, required by law to exist, serve all citizens, and is granted a special monopoly status. If it's in the public interest, it can run at a deficit, take up unprofitable jobs like serving the people that live in the middle of nowhere (which many private competitors refuse to ship to), or keep prices lower than they would be in a pure market-driven system.

At worst, if the mail volume drops dramatically, they could move to having fewer delivery days in areas that don't get a lot of mail. And they may well be able to use technology to improve their sorting and delivery system, but as it stands they have processes that put FedEx to shame.

Re:So what if it's losing money? (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047022)

What he said. The Postal Service should not be treated like a private business. It serves a basic public need for everyone.

If you want to let something die, let GM or American Airlines die. Quit propping up entities that are actually supposed to be private companies.

Re:So what if it's losing money? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047332)

What he said. The Postal Service should not be treated like a private business. It serves a basic public need for everyone.

What is this basic public need? Today we have light-speed communications. We have distributed shopping and shipping. USPS is more expensive than UPS or FedEx for shipping stuff which must be shipped, you know, "stuff". (Defined as having mass and taking up space.) The others also seem to be capable of learning and responding to stimulus, for example I have them trained to deliver my packages to my gate and just leave them behind a bush so I can still have them if my gate is locked. USPS can't manage this, if it doesn't fit in the mailbox then WE WILL FOLLOW OUR PROCEDURE. Well, guess what? When you have a hiring process that is designed to screen out anyone who is personally cool, you're going to get a bunch of douchebags driving mail trucks.

Re:So what if it's losing money? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047458)

If your cost information is true why does fedex offer smartpost as their cheapest option? Smartpost means fedex takes it to the local sorting center then USPS does final delivery. I can't imagine fedex is trying to lose money.

Re:So what if it's losing money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36047114)

it's hard to not treat it like a private corporation when you have to *pay* to use it. it can't be a "service" provided by our wonderful government when it's often LESS expensive to ship something via fedex or ups instead.

i already pay my taxes. if the governments wants to charge me for their "service", i will treat it just like i treat private companies whose products and services i pay for -- such as ups.

Re:So what if it's losing money? (1)

arkenian (1560563) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047260)

it's hard to not treat it like a private corporation when you have to *pay* to use it. it can't be a "service" provided by our wonderful government when it's often LESS expensive to ship something via fedex or ups instead.

i already pay my taxes. if the governments wants to charge me for their "service", i will treat it just like i treat private companies whose products and services i pay for -- such as ups.

The USPS doesn't use a dime of your tax money. (Except, IIRC, to pay the regulatory board)

Re:So what if it's losing money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36047440)

So what if it's losing money?
It's an antiquated technology and the cash injection that won't save it but merely delay the inevitable will come out of my pockets, privatize it and cut our losses. Let those who want to use said service pay for it and allow those of us who don't want to use it to have more money in our pockets.

Eggheads vs. entrenched bureacracy (3, Interesting)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046978)

Ha, this is a laugh. Google and the other Ph.Ds are going to sit down and dream up some (what seems to them to be) good ideas. Then those ideas will die in a hail of lawsuits when they encounter hard, cold reality. The Ph.Ds write a paper about how people like us are too smart to have our ideas understood, and move on to the next conference, hopefully in Aspen this time (Crystal City, ugh if it were in the midwest it'd be flyover territory).

Re:Eggheads vs. entrenched bureacracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36047128)

It's humorous seeing people from the "outside" give their prescriptions for a remedy at USPS.

When an IT worker can tell her supervisor "No YOU do it!" and not be fired
or an IT worked can email a supervisor saying something is "Bull Shite" (yes mispelled too)
[we laugh and laugh about this one] and not get fired do to the union entrenchment
perhaps you all can get a clue as to what USPS really faces..

Unfortunately it's a quasi (we say "queasy") Federal Agency that overpaid some retirement obligations
by about 75B that US doesn't want to give back,
is told to make a profit, but then has regulations preventing it from doing the things like "acting like a business"
like closing down grossly unprofitable processing centers and offices.

Prehaps.. (2)

woodchip (611770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046980)

Perhaps they could climate Saturday delivery for letter mail. Do I really need junk mail and bills six days a week?

be more like UPS and Fexed they are doing good (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046986)

be more like UPS and Fexed they are doing good and that is with UPS union drivers.

Re:be more like UPS and Fexed they are doing good (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047380)

UPS has union drivers? That explains a lot. One of my drivers is great. The other one can't make it gracefully up and down my driveway and instead of leaving packages off to the side where only I can see them he leaves them right under the chain in the middle of my driveway where I just want to slap the dumb bastard. He lost his truck off the side of my driveway one day turning around where I told him not to and spent three hours waiting and getting fished out by a tow truck because he is a big idiot. I have been wondering why they didn't fire him, now I know.

Here's a suggestion for them (4, Interesting)

lazlo (15906) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046988)

Here's my suggestion to make the post office more useful. Let everyone register a postal address that is dissociated from a physical address. Then when I move, instead of filing a change of address form and hoping that everyone who wants to send mail to me ever again sends it in the next year, I can just tell the post office "Yeah, that postal address should now be delivered to this *new* physical address"

The biggest problem is the fundamental issue that individual residents make the flawed assumption that they are the post office's customers, when in fact they are the post office's product. They are a product being sold, and if you want to know who's buying you, just look at the ton of spam in your mailbox. Any demands for better service aren't heard as dissatisfied customers, but as disgruntled products.

Postman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046996)

Now it seems that this is the time to contact Kevin Costner.

Make it more like UPS/FedEX (1)

DeAxes (522822) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047014)

Just make it more like FedEx and UPS - Instant Tracking where you can see what city its in, at every point of the way (updated every few hours). Then get every mail-order company to offer it (amazon, newegg, etc) Other options include having a new class of mail cost for companies like Netflix and GameFly, where they charge a laddering fee per amount of mail (1000 letter, 3000 letters, etc) - may already be in place as I dk much about these things. Force those companies (netflix/gamefly) to redesign the mailers for their machines/redesign the machines for their mailers. (reduce overhead while charging fees in the meantime) They need to either reduce overhead or increase revenue. They've been focused on reducing overhead, I think they need to focus more on increasing revenue - branch out into other areas in the mail services field.

Postal service is just spamware (1)

cultiv8 (1660093) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047030)

Wish I had a spam box for all the junk mail I receive.

Re:Postal service is just spamware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36047264)

In Canada you can just put a sticker on your mailbox that says "No Junk Mail" or anything to that effect and they actually stop putting that crap in your box. Do they have this kind of thing in other countries?

Re:Postal service is just spamware (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047368)

In Canada you can just put a sticker on your mailbox that says "No Junk Mail" or anything to that effect and they actually stop putting that crap in your box. Do they have this kind of thing in other countries?

In Santa Cruz, CA they told us we could put a sticker on the mailbox that says who you accept mail for and they will keep all the rest. They lied. My plan is to move to the boonies and then I won't accept any postal mail. I'll pay a minimal fee to someone to round file anything non-official for me and send me the rest. There must be someone out there who will do that for me; there are certainly mail forwarding services. I don't need the spam, and neither do they.

Seems like if you're going cold in the winter the best thing to do would be to start a mail forwarding service that drops spam. Free fuel!

Re:Postal service is just spamware (1)

LordStormes (1749242) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047370)

Not here in the USA, sadly ;( Largely because the postal service here subsidizes itself with all the ads that it then delivers - offering an opt-out would cost them money. I fail to understand why companies must comply with CAN-SPAM for email, where there is virtually no cost to dealing with spam messages, but there is no such restriction on a consumer's right to have pounds of garbage dropped in their lawn every day and a very real cost is incurred to do it.

It's probably unfixable (1)

Trailer Trash (60756) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047038)

Government bureaucracy + unionized workers. I highly doubt it can be "fixed".

how to lower costs in any enterprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36047088)

1. dissolve the corporation/entity (nullifying all existing union contracts and pension obligations)
2. re-hire all the actually useful employees at a reasonable or greater wage because you can get rid of the dead weight the union forced you to keep
3. switch from defined benefit plans to defined contribution retirement plans

I bet the postal service would be solvent if they just did that.

Why are they losing money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36047104)

If they're losing money because of the fixed cost of collecting less mail from blue USPS mailboxes daily, and the fixed cost of delivering less mail to people's homes daily, then they should just decrease the collection rate and the delivery rate proportional to the decline in mail level.

junk mail (1)

7213 (122294) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047170)

Honestly I don't care what they do except for eliminating junk mail. I'm lucky if I get ONE piece of valid mail a month, yet my mabox is full every day.... and yes iv opted out at every opportunity I can find. I loath the uspo because all they seem to do is deliver trash to my door and in it hide my water bill n occasional government notices.

Business experts needed, not tech experts. (1)

ATOMISCHE (1249922) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047182)

The solution is to close the brick-and-mortar post offices -- which the government has no clue how to run effectively -- and offer cheap franchising packages. We'll see new "Mailbox Etc." outlets open on every corner. Then the USPS can focus on what they do brilliantly -- door to door delivery.

Re:Business experts needed, not tech experts. (1)

kokojie (915449) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047352)

The problem isn't the B&M offices. The problem is they offer incredible low rates to mass mailers, and then try to use the retail customers to subsidize the mass mailers. But now retail business is plummeting due to internet/email. They continue to offer low rates to mass mailers, but can't find new source of income to subsidize them, thus the $7 Billion a year deficit.

Let mail delivery die. (1)

LordStormes (1749242) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047214)

FedEx and UPS could EASILY pick up this traffic. Yes, they'd have to hire a bunch of people. Good thing there will be lots of postal workers becoming unemployed! I'd be perfectly OK with my mail carrier only showing up once a week for regular mail and dropping it off in a big bundle in order to save money, and only make a special trip for packages if the sender pays normal FedUps rates to get it there within X days. They only pick up my trash twice a week, and I'm OK with that.

Hell, for regular mail (non-packages), UPS/FedEx could charge a small monthly fee to deliver to people's houses at all - if you don't want to pay, pick your mail up at the office. These companies could also sell a mail-digitization service like Earth Class Mail - let them scan all my dead-tree-spam and send me PDF's via email.

I'm also perfectly OK with hiking the crap out of the cost to mail a letter. People are bitching that it's gone up to 40-some cents. Make it $3. Why? All the people who chop down forests to tell me I can save money on breast implants and Bright House cable will knock it off, and the people I actually do business with (credit card companies, the power company, etc.) will be incentivized to make it easier to get electronic billing.

The postal service was a great idea, and we should all thank Ben Franklin for it. Used to be that milk delivery was a good idea too, and it got outmoded. Society moves on. This service has long outlived its usefulness and consumers have been telling it to go away loud and clear for over a decade. Get the hint. Government and government-backed agencies (yes, I know USPS is self-funded now) should NOT be competing with private industry. Where private industry can do it, and do it better, we should let them.

Re:Let mail delivery die. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36047304)

These companies could also sell a mail-digitization service like Earth Class Mail - let them scan all my dead-tree-spam and send me PDF's via email.
All the people who chop down forests to tell me I can save money on breast implants and Bright House cable will knock it off, and the people I actually do business with (credit card companies, the power company, etc.) will be incentivized to make it easier to get electronic billing.

I agree with 99.5% of your post, however most paper is derived from trees grown on tree farms that were purpose planted, not struck down from a forest.

Re:Let mail delivery die. (1)

LordStormes (1749242) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047354)

Sure, but then it all gets thrown away, to rot in a landfill forever... Either way, it's bad for the environment.

Re:Let mail delivery die. (1)

IronWilliamCash (1078065) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047432)

They only pick up my trash twice a week, and I'm OK with that.

: Wow, twice a week? Seems like overkill.... the trash get's picked up once every three weeks starting this month in my city. Recycling every 2 weeks and compost every 2 weeks. Twice a week seems like lots of costs could be cut from the local garbage collector. Even with all 3 combined (trash, recycling and compost), it amounts to an average of 1 and 1/3 collection per week, but most people don't put out their compost bin everytime they come by to collect.

End the government monopoly (1)

Taylor123456789 (1354177) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047256)

The USPS is a government monopoly. End the monopoly and let free enterprise competition enter the equation. This proven method will increase the efficiency of letter delivery more than any central committee.

Suggestions for the USPS (1)

LyingDown (836007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047280)

I have two suggestions for mail.

1. I have no need to have mail picked up and delivered to my house 6, or even 5 days a week. I would be willing to drive to the post office a couple of times a week. Perhaps most people would. I am sure there are people for whom that isn't practical: they should pay a premium for home pickup/delivery.

2. Stamps should be RFID tags. Businesses who create large volumes of mail would associate the address information with the tag ID at the time the mail is created. For people who hand address envelopes, the address would be keyed & associated at the post office, once. From that point on the mail could be handled - sorted & routed - automatically.

Re:Suggestions for the USPS (1)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047414)

I don't like the first suggestion. I am not about to go to the post office and stand in line for a hour just to get a lot of junk mail, and maybe one letter that matters. If the number of delivery days were cut down to only a couple, and the routes staggered, we could eliminate about half the carriers and other postal staff. This would be a better way to rein in costs and still have mail delivered to your door.

Re:Suggestions for the USPS (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047442)

I have no need to have mail picked up and delivered to my house 6, or even 5 days a week. I would be willing to drive to the post office a couple of times a week. Perhaps most people would. I am sure there are people for whom that isn't practical: they should pay a premium for home pickup/delivery.

Yeah, I would love to wait in line behind the 50,000 people in my county who want their mail today. Fucking brilliant.

Stamps should be RFID tags. Businesses who create large volumes of mail would associate the address information with the tag ID at the time the mail is created. For people who hand address envelopes, the address would be keyed & associated at the post office, once. From that point on the mail could be handled - sorted & routed - automatically.

Letters, magazines, etc already gave bar codes on them. They're run through machines and automatically sorted this way. Hand-written letters have barcodes printed on them when they're first handed in. Have been for decades. It's simple, cheap, and effective. Thanks for trying.

Easy. (1)

Rie Beam (632299) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047372)

Raise the damned rates! And I do mean by a substantial amount.

If your customer base has shrunken, you've lost out to a competitor. If it's essentially vanished, you offer nothing they don't. Despite what may be said, the Post Office isn't dead -- it's just broke. You want to mail a letter? You want to make sure it gets there?

Five bucks to mail a personal letter. You may hate it, but when it comes time to mail a letter to your girlfriend in California, five bucks won't seem like such a burden after all. And that's the key -- capturing that novelty market that uses it from time to time for the physical sentiment of having an object sent by one person in their hands.

We need a postal service, but... (1)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047374)

We still need a postal system, because we still sometimes need to send physical documents, packages, etc. What we DON'T need is mail delivery six days a week. Mail delivery could be cut down to only four days a week. Carriers could have larger routes, but two or more days in which to run them. The changes which need to be made are not complicated, but the bottom line is that we need fewer postal employees, and that's where it's going to get tough.

 

USPS Costs (0)

scotts13 (1371443) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047392)

Downsizing an operation is slow and painful. Downsizing employee benefits more so. I have a good friend who is a rural letter carrier. Her job is to drive up to your mailbox and put stuff in it. No offense to anyone, but this is not rocket science. She makes more money than I do in IT, and has vastly better benefits. She also has a no-layoff clause in her contract that basically means, as long as she has a couple of years seniority and doesn't shoot up the place, she can't be fired. There are also redundant (and expensive) levels of management like you wouldn't believe. This (somehow) needs to be moved closer to reality for a private business, which the post office employees all claim to work for.

I have no problem with 44 cents to deliver a letter. I have no problem with 88 cents - it's still a bargain, and an essential service. My opinion, the bulk mailers get too good a deal; if they can't afford to send me junk for almost nothing, so be it. And I do realize this will downsize the printing and bulk mailing businesses, too. Better that than lose mail service entirely.

Worst kind of government "agency" (4, Insightful)

csnydermvpsoft (596111) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047420)

The United States Postal Service, while operated by the United States government, is required to be self-sustaining. Yet, it is not allowed to be autonomous. It seems like every time they try to cut costs - closing redundant retail locations, eliminating Saturday delivery, etc. - they face extreme opposition from Congress (often saving because the waste benefits their districts). In addition, they are prevented by law from raising postage rates above the rate of inflation - no matter what their costs do. I'd hate to try to operate a business under those conditions.

That being said, there are some areas where efficiency could be improved. I recently started doing mass mailings for my business, and was appalled by some aspects of their processes - the user interface of their employee-facing software was terrible, for instance (and, perhaps more surprisingly, veteran employees seemed unaware of its quirks).

I think that we (as a country) need to realize that delivering small mailpieces to every household and business in the United States will never be a profitable venture, and be willing to ensure its financial viability through subsidies while also enabling and encouraging efforts to improve efficiency. UPS and Fedex are profitable because they skim off the lucrative parts of the business - large package and express delivery - leaving the rest for the USPS. The USPS serves a very valuable role in this regard, especially for certain less-advantaged populations. We can't expect it to operate like a for-profit business while simultaneously demanding that it fulfill these money-losing - yet necessary - responsibilities.

3 deliveries/week, or less (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047454)

In Victorian London, where postage was the only way to communicate, there were 3 mail deliveries per day. You could toss a letter in the box in the morning, and good odds your recipient would have it in-hand by the evening.

Now, in the age of email and massive abilities to communicate with each other, mail is only useful where the actual physical delivery of something is needed - we have better ways to communicate information.

I'd say that we could easily now drop to 3 or even 2 mail deliveries per week and be completely ok. (Personally, I could go to 1/week or even lower, but I'd imagine most people need it more than me.)

No (0)

jimmerz28 (1928616) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047470)

Adapt or die. I'm not bailing out another failing business.

6 Days a week is overkill (2)

alta (1263) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047484)

Mail is down to a trickle. Every time I see the mail lady drive down my street of about 20 houses, she stops at oh, 5 of them, unless it's a day we all get some junkmail.

So, lets back it down to 3 days a week. Mon, Wed Fri? Mon, Wed, Sat?

And for rural areas, lets limit pickup. I used to live down a 1/2 mile dirt road. We rarely got any mail, however, every day the mail lady drove to the end of the road to see if our flag was up. What a waste. How about we make some community drop boxes that can be checked without getting out, going behind it, and dumping a bag.

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