What has happened to our tried and true, trusty US mail? It appears to be in terrible shape and getting worse by the day!
It's a well-know fact that the USPS is losing money, reporting a net loss of $8.5 billion for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and there is consistent buzz about plans to do away with Saturday mail service. Postage rates are also set to rise again as soon as Congress approves the new rate. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, in March, the US Postal Service will begin closing as many as 2000 post offices, with reviews underway for another 16,000 possible closings.
Standing in line at my local post office, I hear complaints about letter carriers caught hording junk mail rather than delivering it, about opening the post office at 10:00 or 10:15 a.m. when the stated hours are 9:30 a.m. I hear about surly responses by overworked and understaffed postal workers, and about wrong mail deliveries and checks being stolen from roadside mailboxes. The postal service has not kept up with the times and their public image has suffered drastically. No-one has a good word to say about the service, the attitude or the public perception of the USPS.
Rising Postal rates affect many businesses that are struggling to balance rising costs with decreased earnings, including Realtors. Major companies, like Netflix, one of USPS's largest corporate customers, are faced with significant increased costs. Although Netflix continues to develop online streaming , the majority of movies are still delivered by mail.
The new Postmaster General, Pat Donahoe, has his work cut out for him, attempting to reduce spending for this ungainly organization, and improving their staid public image.
Here's an interesting concept on how the USPS could "rebrand" itself, suggested by Rick Barrack in a clever blog. Temporary shops are popping up in malls and major department stores during the holiday season. He proposes designing a hip, fun "temporary "Post Office to drop into a corner of Macy's or in the food court of a mall during the holidays, naming it the USPS Holiday Express! What a great idea and one that might improve their fusty, old image and bring it roaring into 2011!