No More Mail on Saturdays, says USPS

NPR told me this morning that soon the United States Post Office, the famous government-run business staffed by the rudest people imaginable, won’t be delivering normal mail on Saturdays. Apparently the majority of Americans, according to the report, support this decision. A few don’t. They’re likely the same ones who think government-run health care is equivalent to socialism.

I could care less. As someone who travels (quite a bit), I haven’t had mail delivered to my house in ages. I always use the post office, and only go about once a week or less. I think real mail is pointless in an age of email and txt messages, and face it, no one is writing me a nice letter on paper these days anyway; the mail is all bills and junk mail killing trees and wasting my time.

The bigger question here is, what the hell is the US Government doing running a mail service anyway? Perhaps it made sense at one point, especially since mail can be kind of a big deal (mail regularly contains your social security number, various other types of account numbers, checks, and other things of value). Today, though, I’m pretty sure UPS and FedEx can handle delivery of our mail. Delivering the mail is still a profitable business: technically the United States Post Office made about $1billion in profits from 2006 – 2011. Except that they didn’t, because though they are under the oversite of the government and simultaneously a somewhat independent business, they are being forced to pay into a pension fund that is probably outdated but government-mandated…which ends up putting them at a loss. FedEx and USPS would not be required to work under such a mandate, nor do they likely provide the same benefits a government worker receives, making them an ideal candidate (capitalism-wise anyway) to run our mail system.

The biggest kicker? It isn’t even bills or personal letters that make the USPS profitable. It’s junk mail. That’s right, the real world equivalent of SPAM (which is actually illegal online, FYI) is the only thing that’s keeping the USPS alive. I once questioned my post office worker in Manzanita, Oregon as to whether or not I could “opt out” of getting all of this garbage in my PO Box. “No,” and a slammed door in my face was the reply.

In a world where we cry socialism at the thought of allowing the government to make sure we don’t get screwed over by health insurance companies when we wind up with cancer, does the USPS make any sense at all? Why, when I can send an email for free or get a smile from the guy at the FedEx store, would I want to confront the employees of the Postal Service when a prerequisite for the gig apparently is, “must be able to act like an asshole anytime a customer asks a question”?

As for Saturday mail, I won’t miss it one bit. If the whole system shut down, the sentiment, on my part, would remain true.

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