The Cruel March of Technology now has the USPS in its Crosshairs

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 3rd, 2013

Week in Review

The United States is not the only country trying to figure out what to do with a dated institution long past its prime that few people use these days.  Something that was a large part of our parents’ lives.  But becoming more and more meaningless to the younger generations.   The Postal Service (see Canada Post needs to reduce home delivery by Daniel Fontaine posted 7/31/2013 on Vancouver 24 hrs).

The reality today is tech-savvy Canadians are no longer enamoured with their postal service, nor do they rely upon it to operate their daily lives. Thanks to online banking, e-mail, scanners and texting, Canada Post and its costly, outdated service look ancient by comparison…

Today, door-to-door mail service in many rural or even less-populated urban areas is no longer an option. Canada Post abandoned the front-door policy in new subdivisions, instead favouring group mailboxes…

… would it really impact those getting home delivery if they received their mail only twice a week? I doubt it would make a whit of difference — except perhaps to the bottom line of Canada Post. Reducing home delivery means paying fewer postal workers and a more efficient operation…

But don’t expect the public-sector unions and a majority of home-delivery recipients to let daily mail service go without a fight, even if the business case no longer exists to maintain this costly level of service.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has been on life-support for a long time.  First it was email.  Then ecommerce.  Then online bill paying.  Then texting.  With FedEx and UPS delivering the things we buy on line with our tablets and smartphones what’s left for the USPS?  Besides junk mail?  Even the Social Security Administration uses e-banking.  The volume of mail has fallen so far that they cannot raise stamp prices high enough to cover their operating costs and fund their pension plan.  Unless they can get people to mail a postcard for $57.  Or more.

There used to be video stores all over the place.  As renting videotapes was a booming business at one time.  But the same reasons that have made the USPS obsolete have made the video store obsolete.  There are still a few around.  But it is hard to compete with vending machines renting movies at the grocery store.  And watching them over the Internet.  Where they can charge less as they don’t have the costs of a brick and mortar store to pay for.  And this is the problem the USPS has.  There are less costly and faster alternatives available.  Why pay to mail a letter that will take days to travel to the recipient when you can email something for free that arrives seconds after sending?  Even the video stores don’t have competition that bad.

Remember receiving a telegram?  Probably not.  Something else that has long since fallen by the wayside.  The telephone put that to rest.  Today people can call with bad news.  They don’t have to send a telegram.  Putting a lot of telegram deliverers out of a job.  But life went on.

So perhaps it’s time to pull the plug on the USPS.  Or greatly reduce the service.  Maybe twice a week.  For let’s face it, nothing good comes in the mail these days anyway.  Bills, junk mail and jury duty summons.  Things we just won’t mind waiting an extra week to get.

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