The Current Volume of Mail only Warrants a Postal Service that is in Large Part Part-Time

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 11th, 2011

Week in Review

Looks like the digital age is not causing problem just for the United States Postal Service (see Two thousand post offices to close and re-open with substandard service by Christopher Hope posted 12/11/2011 on The Telegraph).

Under plans that will be rolled out from June, one fifth of the branch network will be converted into new “PO Locals”, which offer a downgraded service within other commercial premises.

Customers will not be able to apply for driving licences, send post bulky mail overseas, pay car tax or make cash withdrawals using passbooks.

The changes will affect one in five of the 11,500 post offices across the country.

The profit in mail was in the mail.  But if people are talking, texting and emailing more than they are mailing, that’s a huge hit in the revenue stream.  And a cause for change.

Andy Burrowes, a postal expert at Consumer Focus, told The Daily Telegraph: “These are subtle but quite fundamental changes for customers concerned.”

He said the trials had found that often postal services were treated as a “secondary offer” by the shop or garage owner in PO Locals.

Instead of a dedicated counter for postal transactions longstanding post office customers would be expected to queue up behind other people buying milk and crisps in order to receive their weekly pensions…

Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director of Age UK, said: “Post offices are a real lifeline for many older people who use them as a ‘one-stop’ shop to access their pension, benefits, pay their bills, get advice and even in some cases socialise with others.

Ever see Green Acres?  An American sitcom from that aired from 1965 to 1971?  Sam Drucker ran the general store in Hooterville.  If you needed to buy anything you went to Sam.  And you went to Sam if you needed to mail a letter.  Because Sam was also the postmaster for Hooterville.  The little post office inside the general store was a secondary offering.  And it was like that through much of Rural America.

So the PO Locals is not a new concept.  And it may be the best way to fix the problem with ailing postal services everywhere.  Make them a secondary offering with part-time postmasters.  Because the current volume of mail only warrants a postal service that is in large part part-time.

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