September 22, 2011

THE HILL: Bickering over rescue of Post Office escalates.

UPDATE: Reader Michael Becker writes:

Last July I bought a returnable thingy from an infomercial company. It was delivered, I didn’t like it and I shipped it back for a refund. As with all returnables, when I shipped it USPS, I requested a “return receipt”. The company followed up on my return and within a week of my sending the item back my debit card was credited for the purchase amount.

The return receipt from USPS showed up last week. It’s one of those green card things. It was signed for by the company I returned the product to on August 4, 2010. It was delivered to my mailbox one week ago yesterday nearly 14 months after the return was processed. Thankfully, the infomercial company is more productive than USPS.

Ouch. But on the bright side, the USPS employs a lot of unionized workers who provide reliable votes for the Democrats.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Jack Hoysted suggests an Australian example:

In 1992 I had a conversation a senior exec with Australia Post, our equivalent of your postal service.

Auspost was a sponsor of the Aussie team at the Barcelona Olympics and he was just back from there, which is how I can date this conversation to late 1992.

He said, “We are looking at a future where no-one much will be sending letters, apart from bills and circulars and the occasional postcard, and that has been our core business for a hundred odd years, and we are planning for a future pretty much without letters. It will all be electronic, so we have to adjust.”

In 1992 I was a tad gob-smacked, it had never occured to me that people would stop sending letters.

His business did adjust and they are still are a successful government run business.

Of course they changed, they now run an instant bill paying by cheque or cash service, sell stationary, franchise Aussiepost stores, have privatized individual post offices, they sold off prime real estate they don’t need, many changes to staff levels etc, etc.

All pretty painless, and Auspost remains a pretty treasured institution.

It can be done.

Yes, we can!

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