So, the Post Office is going broke. No surprise since it is run by the government. The buffoons in Washington, DC, couldn’t run a lemonade stand and turn a profit - even if the lemons were donated! It seems the idea of generating a profit - or just breaking even, for that matter - is a foreign concept to our government.
On the surface, it appears they are bursting with great ideas; ideas that should produce, or at least contribute to a healthy profit margin. But whatever they try, troubles seem to plague the once efficient Postal Service. (Well, if you go back to the Benjamin Franklin days).
They routinely and frequently raise the cost of postage. Before the ink dries on Congress’ stamp of approval, they’re petitioning for yet another rate hike. They print commemorative and collector edition stamps in hopes that people will buy, but never use them. And many folks do, including me when they issued the Johnny Cash stamp last June. And still, they’re going broke.
They offer a vast number of special services, most of them useless, to maximize revenue, things like: insurance, certified mail, registered mail, priority mail, and next day delivery just to name a few. For these services, for which there is little or no additional cost, they charge a premium price. Yet, they’re still going broke.
They’ve purchased new fuel-efficient vehicles, streamlined and automated sorting and delivery. They’ve shortened routes by discontinuing home delivery in many areas and consolidated mailboxes in a lot of others. In recent years, they have ventured into the packaging business as well, selling boxes, bubble wrap, and tape among other things - at a fairly hefty markup too. Despite all this, they’re going broke.
In order to give the Postal Service an advantage, there’s long been a ban on UPS, FedEx, or any other private company delivering letters, flyers, or other mailings. By law, these companies may only deliver packages. And even with this unfair advantage, the Post Office is going broke.
And lately, we’ve been hearing a lot about eliminating Saturday delivery. Cutting back to a five-day delivery format would save millions they claim. The idea isn’t new, I remember hearing it as a kid - in the seventies. For now, Congress has nixed the idea. And, the Post Office is still going broke.
For the last twenty years or so, the money woes have been blamed on technology, starting with the fax machine, and now email, texting, and FTP (File Transfer Protocol). Yet, the amount of mail, by volume, has steadily increased. The reason? Junk mail. Companies, through advertisers or direct mailings are willing to pay big bucks to get their offers to potential consumers. In fact, junk mail has been directly credited with keeping the Postal Service from going completely under. (That’s typical - the government run entity can only stay in business by delivering millions of pieces of mail that nobody wants or needs. Most of this “mail” is instantly discarded, having never been opened. Yet, this junk mail just may be useful.
You see, I might have a solution for the whole problem. My plan will immediately increase the revenue stream for the floundering Postal Service - dramatically. At the same time, it will decrease the amount of junk mail we throw away.
It’s simple really. All we need to do is open a few pieces of the junk mail, find one of those pre-addressed postage-paid envelopes and stuff as much other junk mail as possible inside. (You may want to remove your name from it first). Then, drop the bulging envelope into one of those big blue boxes. All those companies who love to flood our mailbox with junk mail will be paying the Postal Service to have it shipped back. Then, the companies can throw it all away - it’s a win all the way around!
Of course, as soon as these businesses realize what’s happening, they’ll either raise prices or cut the amount of junk mail they’re sending out, maybe both. And then the Post Office will be right back in the same boat - and sinking.
But, we could still give it a try. It might work. I say we go for broke!