The United States Postal Service is one quasi-governmental agency that works. You may not like what you get in the mail, but you get it.
USPS has been able to implement some changes that make it more efficient and still deliver the mail through rain, sleet or snow. It’s something you are aware of and is there in the background of your life.
One recent innovation is an Informed Delivery service where you can receive emails in the morning letting you know what you have coming in the mail to your house. You have to sign up for the service, but it basically sends you an email with scanned photos of the mail you will be receiving that day.
It is kind of ironic that USPS is using email to send you the notice after considering that the creation of email was once predicted to end the need for traditional mail delivery. USPS now has all kind of links on the web and ways to do things without even visiting the post office. (All of the FBI’s Most Wanted posters are on display at other places.)
Informed Delivery is a nice service, but one improvement that they should consider would be the ability to delete some of your actual mail before it arrives at your house. Most people already know what they will open just by looking at the envelope. Informed Delivery 2.0 could provide the ability to move certain pieces of mail right to an electronic wastebasket. No muss, no fuss.
I’m sure the tinfoil hat crew will say the government is already using an X-ray machine that looks at the contents of your mail, puts it in another computer, all for the purpose of fighting terrorism. Of course, a case could be made that junk mail and Publishers Clearing House is a particular brand of terrorism. Appeals from companies wanting you to change your utility companies sometimes feel like a terroristic threat.
One lifeline for USPS in the last five years or so is all of the business from Amazon. With a prime membership you receive whatever you ordered within two days and no additional charges. It’s all a nice service, but there is some buyer’s remorse when looking at how Amazon has wrecked the retail businesses. People should support their local stores when possible.
People are happy to receive the packages, but I would guess that some delivery people are not overly excited. Still, it is business and USPS has managed to provide the service at less cost than FedEx or UPS.
A lot of slimmer Christmas catalogs have also arrived in the last few weeks, marking the season for an increase of packages in the mail.
Speaking of USPS looking for new services, one possibility for the post office was proposed many years ago by Woody Guthrie. USPS has even used a new version of the song by John McCutcheon. Let’s all sing along:
Mail Myself To You
Words and Music
by Woody Guthrie
I’m a-going to wrap myself in paper, I’m gonna daub myself with glue, Stick some stamps on top of my head; I’m gonna mail myself to you.
I’m a gonna tie me up in a red string, I’m gonna tie blue ribbons too, I’m a-gonna climb up in my mail box; I’m gonna mail myself to you.
When you see me in your mailbox, Cut the string and let me out; Wash the glue off my fingers, Stick some bubble gum in my mouth.
Take me out of my wrapping paper, Wash the stamps off my head; Pour me full of ice cream goodies, Put me in my nice warm bed.