October 14, 2010

I Heart the Post Office!

Close-up of "Save our Saturday Service" by me
 Recently my friend Beth sent me a very interesting e-mail forward, full of predicted soon-to-be obsolete items or places in our everyday lives.  One of those was the post office.

I've talked about how much I love the post office in my other blog, Ephemeraology, from a collecting and art point of view.  But I love it for other reasons too.

When it worked well, pre-Internet and other delivery services, the post office was one of the best examples of our government at work.  I mean, did you ever stop to think about how amazing it is?

I write a letter, send a gift, write a check, etc. and that item will reach its destination in a week or less.  And nearly the whole world's in on it!  Isn't that incredible?!  Truly stop to think about this.  And don't say, "Well, the Internet does the same thing, only faster."  Yes, the Interwebs is also amazing, but we are yet to teleport packages.  Until then, we will need a mail service.

You might say, "Why do we need a privatized mail service when we've got UPS and its ilk?"  Well, because they're publicly traded companies, they have to answer to shareholders.  They need to make a profit and the last time I checked, it was impossible to mail a letter via UPS for 44 cents.

And I've always marveled at how people would complain about the price of stamps going up.  Really?  What else can you do these days for 44 cents?!  You can't get coffee, a newspaper, bus fare, or any other cheap item for less than 50 cents anymore.  Most cost a buck, at least.  But we (for a little while longer, anyway) are still able to mail something under an ounce ANYWHERE IN OUR COUNTRY for such a little cost.  You say you don't write letters anymore?  Last time I checked we're still getting cards for our birthdays and the holidays.  And they're much nicer than a text.

Here in Fond du Lac they're discussing doing away with our Saturday service and/or consolidating our post office with the one in Oshkosh or Green Bay (both too far away to be convenient).  Besides all of the jobs lost, it would force people to use satellite post offices in businesses like grocery stores.  This doesn't sound bad in theory, but there will be service fees tacked onto your errands, mark my words.

If we do keep our post offices, and I sincerely hope we do, there will be price increases.  It's worth it to keep efficient, safe mail handling available for ALL.

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