WootBot


quality posts: 14 Private Messages WootBot

Staff

I don't know if you've read the news, but the United States Postal Service is hurting. A lot. Like, "we can't stay open without emergency Congressional intervention" hurting. As more and more people go digital to replace letters and packages with emails and file sharing and teleconferences, the USPS is having a hell of a time digging itself out of a $9 billion deficit while its competitors like UPS and FedEx streamline their costs (and in some cases save on expenses like union salaries and benefits) and continue to carve ever-widening slices from the Post Office's pie.

It's enough to make you want to consider closing Post Offices for four days out of the week since more and more mail is nonessential and the essential stuff (government assistance, bills, pharmaceuticals) could be required to arrive on specific dates and make everyone's lives easier. But this is no time for logic! Which is why the Post Office is very happy to announce their plan to spam the ever-lovin' hell out of you with Every Door Direct!

 

Junk Mail Mess
Because everyone should know this joy.

 

Think about it: you're a business looking to break into a neighborhood and establish a footprint. You could buy a mailing list, but they're expensive and not always reliable, since the more tech-savvy among us are getting better at keeping themselves off marketing lists. No, you want to be able to carpet bomb the entire zip code, hitting every single person with a mailbox. Congratulations! The USPS will happily sell out their customers, even those who have taken time to put themselves on stuff like the Do Not Mail List

See, there are a lot of lists offering to stop junk mail forever, but they're mostly run by marketing firms; the same people who send you that junk. I'm not doubting their motives; I assume it's in their best interest to stop bugging people who are already hostile towards their ads, but if a company doesn't belong to that particular organization of marketers or decides they don't want to abide by the rule, there's nothing stopping them from hitting up the Post Office and burying you in an avalanche of carpet cleaning ads or fliers for teeth whitening.

Is this fair? I mean, this is a government office basically selling your information and access to marketers to make a buck. I won't pretend to have a better option to save the Postal Service, but this solution really isn't my first choice.

What do you think about the Postal Service making it easier for you to get junk mail? Do you even send letters any more? Are we headed towards a life without post offices? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

Flickr photo Junk Mail Mess by Michael Coghlan used under a Creative Commons License.

rickseiden


quality posts: 2 Private Messages rickseiden

I don't think they'll be selling our information. I think it will be more like selling our street names at worst. Companies will probably be able to pick cities, zip codes, neighborhoods, or individual streets, but they wouldn't get a list of people they've mailed to.

I hope.

Gatzby


quality posts: 43 Private Messages Gatzby
rickseiden wrote:I don't think they'll be selling our information. I think it will be more like selling our street names at worst. Companies will probably be able to pick cities, zip codes, neighborhoods, or individual streets, but they wouldn't get a list of people they've mailed to.

I hope.



I'm still sort of bummed out by the idea that the government is flailing around and wasting paper by dumping crap I don't want in my mailbox. I no longer get phone books for the same reason: it's a waste of resources for something that's not ever going to be relevant to me. I get about two pieces of mail every other week that don't immediately go into the recycling bin. I mean, seriously: respectable advertisers should know, just buy an ad between massage services and medicinal herb clinics on any page of the local alt-weekly!

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Anorion


quality posts: 35 Private Messages Anorion

I still think they should raise postage to ~$1 per letter and go to 3 day per week delivery. The delivers-every-day thing has only been around for the last century. Think of all the books from and before the civil war era that talk about the mail coming once or twice a month!

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bogus


quality posts: 11 Private Messages bogus

The Post Office still ships a ton of stuff, they're just horribly inefficient about it and--as usual for a government agency--are blaming everyone else instead of owning up to the fact that times change. Yes, the Internet means far less mail but it also means far more people are buying stuff that must be shipped. Last I checked SmartPost was doing really well; why isn't USPS cutting deals with big shippers? Why hasn't media mail been taken to its logical conclusion?

CalcMonkey


quality posts: 5 Private Messages CalcMonkey

The reason FedEx and UPS is doing so well above the Postal Service is because the Postal Service sucks at tracking packages and monitoring employees. I have had many friends who have had valuable packages stolen from USPS employees and then been denied their claims because the employees who stole it marked it as being delivered. I will not ship through USPS because of this!

RWoodward


quality posts: 58 Private Messages RWoodward
Gatzby wrote: I no longer get phone books for the same reason: it's a waste of resources for something that's not ever going to be relevant to me.



The only time I use the phone book is to look up the cable company's number when my Internet goes down.

llandar


quality posts: 32 Private Messages llandar
rickseiden wrote:I don't think they'll be selling our information.



Not yet, but they're a government office. What's to stop them from compiling addresses against IRS tax records to narrow down the demographics they can offer advertisers?

yougotiger


quality posts: 0 Private Messages yougotiger

My proposals:
-Cut out sat. delivery, who cares about mail on a weekend! (1/6 cut in costs right off the bat - ok, probably less, but now we don't have to pay people 1/6 of the time).
-Stop giving discounts to spammers. Currently mass mailers can get discounts that are BELOW the USPS cost to send stuff on mailing. This means that YOU and I are paying extra when we mail things to make up the difference. You get to help pay for the spam you get!

My responses:
-Any goverment entity that requires information from you to do for for you should NEVER be allowed to give out any of the information. Where's their privacy policy?
-I had a friend who worked at the post office. When he sent checks in the mail, the envelopes were taped all over the place, he said HE didn't trust people at the post office.
-Same friend also said it's nearly impossible to fire people at the PO as well. There was a guy at his office that would take an entire day to do what should have taken an hour and they couldn't get rid of him... Union.

wvtechguru


quality posts: 1 Private Messages wvtechguru

I am all for a reduced schedule in the Post Office. Leave the Post Office open daily so mail can be sent and recieved via PO Box daily. Just limit the delivery service to 3 days a week, maybe an excpetion for holidays etc.

Anything of real value and priority is shipped via UPS or Fedex as they are much better at handling package and delivery services. USPS should contract with the UPS or Fedex to have services for packages route through them, much like Smart Post in reverse. They could handle them at low priority and still deliver faster than USPS.

This would make the entire USPS system more efficient with reduced costs.

I say this with no expertise in the shipping industry, just with my knowledge of how I prefer packages delivered.

inkycatz


quality posts: 105 Private Messages inkycatz
wvtechguru wrote:I am all for a reduced schedule in the Post Office. Leave the Post Office open daily so mail can be sent and recieved via PO Box daily. Just limit the delivery service to 3 days a week, maybe an excpetion for holidays etc.



Given how my postman is, I'm pretty sure he's already adopted the three day workweek. :D

I'm just hanging out, really.

Ed3rd


quality posts: 9 Private Messages Ed3rd

Bring it on! More points for my Recyclebank account.



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malkav11


quality posts: 9 Private Messages malkav11
yougotiger wrote:My proposals:
-Cut out sat. delivery, who cares about mail on a weekend! (1/6 cut in costs right off the bat - ok, probably less, but now we don't have to pay people 1/6 of the time).
-Stop giving discounts to spammers. Currently mass mailers can get discounts that are BELOW the USPS cost to send stuff on mailing. This means that YOU and I are paying extra when we mail things to make up the difference. You get to help pay for the spam you get!



Who cares? I do. I hate hate hate that UPS and FedEx either won't deliver on Saturdays or charge extra and have a special shipping track specifically for Saturday delivery. I'd like delivery on Sundays, too. And while most major shippers (like Amazon) that I do business with don't ship with USPS even though the Saturday delivery, lower prices, and vastly more convenient pickup locations if for some reason an item can't be delivered all make me wish they would, I still want my Netflix and Gamefly discs as soon as possible, weekend or no weekend.

Also:
My postal driver has never decided that I've moved out of an apartment I was still living in and refused to deliver my package. UPS drivers have done this three times, once after I'd called the UPS office and confirmed that YES, I still lived there, thank you very much.
USPS has never spontaneously decided to stop delivering my packages to my apartment "because of company policy". UPS did this just a couple weeks ago.
USPS has offices just down the street from where I live, on the next block from where I work, and over the bridge from where I work. UPS has one shipping facility out in the northern suburbs where I cannot reasonably go by bus.
USPS has never delayed packages because they took less time to ship than the shipping speed paid for. UPS and FedEx have done this all the time.