a tale of tails, tenacity, and tedium, as told by me, usually barefoot and bellowing

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Death of The Postal Service...opinion

Salcha, Alaska 99714...post office

The Times They Are Achangin',  Bob Dylan so wisely sang years ago.  In the postal service, these have become drastic.

What many people do not know, there are no tax dollars supporting the postal service, yet many business solutions must be approved by Congress.  Up until the general population turned to electronic communication, it was no problem.  The USPS was able to support itself.  Now, many people pay bills on line and instead of writing letters, quickly email friends and family.  This has caused a severe drop in the volume of mail and developed a dire need to restructure the postal system.

People retire and they do not fill the positions.  Nation wide, the postal service is working short-handed as they scramble to realign this national system.  Presently, 3700 offices are being "looked at" for possible closure...and this is just the first round. Talk of a five day delivery week is in the works and will result in the loss of many jobs.

The closure of small offices is the next solution.  Just this week in my area, a post office received one call and that evening, the office was closed.

I have worked thirty-seven years for the postal service.  I have witnessed many improvements and severe decline.

I can only hope the job lasts and when I do retire, if I have a job to retire from, there are retirement benefits left.

Yes, Mr Dylan, the times they are achangin'.  Letter writing is a lost art...and with that loss, so may the postal service be lost, too.


Country Gal said...

With all the schools here now changing to computers in the classes the art of pen to paper will be something in the past as well . I feel humans in the future will not know what a pen and paper is and wont know how to hand write, it is a dieing art now. I still like to put pen to paper as I have kept a journal for 30 years, I find writing by hand theroputic to bad the population doesnt feel the same for the art of writing would never die if that were so and neither would the postal service ! Hope your job and retirement is safe ! Have a good day !

MamaTea said...

It's amazing how people rely on electronic communication. I LOVE to write and receive handwritten letters, and my homeschooled children will STILL learn handwriting (something I hear some public schools are considering phasing out because "no one uses it anymore".)

I have a friend who works in the postal system and although their small town office hasn't closed yet, the "re-structuring" within the office has been simply ridiculous as people struggle to keep their jobs and the post office struggles to pay them. It's a tough situation all the way around.

I hope your job holds out for retirement! Fingers crossed for you!

the canned quilter said...

We got word last week that the post office in the little town next to ours will be closing. So sad that these little towns that are fighting for survival are the first to lose this service and the jobs they provide : (

Journaling Woman said...

I talked about this the other day, how I still pay my bills (except for one) through the mail for this very reason. As you know my mother was a PM for 30 years and the PO means so much to me. When my mother retired they did not replace her, but instead closed the office.

This bums me.

Bums me bad!

Linda in New Mexico said...

I am as guilty as the next person in using the internet for "convience". But I go to the post office every week to mail letters, packages and I just can't imagine our lives without the smiling and caring (and the grumpy ones too) folks I know that work at and for the Post Office. My mailman is the sweetest and kindest and he is very worried...has been for some time now. It is just insane. Linda

Tamara said...

You are right Gail and it's getting a little scary. I can't imagine a world without the postal service. Many are already losing their jobs. Personally, I love to write letters which is why I started the penpal thing, but it is easier to just pop out an email and pay a bill online. I didn't know you worked for USPS, so did i! I was a rural carrier up in Minnesota. Good post and I'm glad you brought this very worrisome subject to light.

Milah said...

I'm a former rural mail carrier and the post office I worked out of will be one of the first to close. It is a sign of the times that's for sure. Also, my BFF's family closed their small town grocery after a Walmart was built nearby. It also forced our local Marsh store out of business. I'm afraid more will follow. :(

Michaele said...

I used to work for USPS at a rural post office on an Indian reservation in New Mexico. Not everyone uses computers. Congratulations on 37 years!! You may be able to retire early.

ellen abbott said...

the carriage industry and work horse industry declined when cars became popular. its the way of progress and invention. I know many will lose their jobs and I hope you manage to keep yours as long as you need it. it seems to me that 3 days a week for mail delivery would be sufficient. most of what I get in the mail is trash anyway although we do still pay our bills via the postal service.

LindaG said...

I use the mail for some things, the email for others. My mom does not get out much, so email (and phone) are easier for her.

I would think with 37 years, you will get your retirement. I should hope so. You have earned it.

Don't know what more to say, other than *hugs* ♥
We know how you feel.

Wisewebwoman said...

I think the interwebz in conjunction with the PO could make a happy marriage.
We've had many strikes in Canada which contributed to the great decline of the PO as people sought alternative carriers.
I feel sad for the small POs,the life blood of my community in Newfoundland.

Debi@7Gates said...

In small town USA where I live we have a very tiny post office that serves our. Its the type where the chicks come through the and big chickens go out. Petticoat Junction type postal service. We get so worried for our friends who work there. I stay pay my bills through the mail for that reason. I send everything through the postal service. My oldest daughter still handwrites sweet letters and its adorable. We support our small postal service.

Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage said...

Times ARE a changin' EVERYWHERE, Gail...and not for the better in most cases! After all your many years of service and dedication, I hope you DO have a retirement in the wings. ;)

Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage

Farm Girl said...

I do hope that you get to retire with your full benefits. I don't know enough about the issue to really offer a comment other than to feel very alarmed at the so called conveniences. What happens to our ability to communicate in the event that the grid should ever go down?
What happens when the thing things like the Post Office we have relied on isn't there anymore?
It is kind of how little bit by bit we loose our self reliance and become to look to computers to save us.
I was forced into not using the post office because of the theft from my mail box. I was forced to go paperless as a way of protection.
So I know it is not a pretty picture.
I am glad you wrote your opinion because it puts a face on this very hard problem that will have long lasting consequences I am afraid.
I do hope that will be some kind of workable solution.

Rudee said...

We see these changes in every industry. As our society gets more automated, less human input is required. It's even happening in medicine. For years, a hospital nursing unit could not operate without a HUC (unit secretary). Wherever I worked, I made it a point to always befriend and be kind to the huc--they're priceless. With electronic medical records becoming prevalent, the work of the HUC is going away. Doctors enter their own orders (not a bad thing because it bypasses their notoriously bad handwriting and reduces error), so the HUC doesn't do this anymore. Where each unit had a huc, now one huc may cover many floors.

It's sad.

I didn't mean to hijack your post here, but merely wanted to point out that in every line of work, we humans are becoming more and more obsolete. We should all proceed with caution before we find ourselves out of work.

However, I dare a robot, computer or automated telephone line to deliver human compassion the way I and my colleagues do, or in the way you do in all of your human interactions.

Mary Aalgaard, Play off the Page said...

I understand how technology has taken over, but it feels like a step backwards rather than forwards. And, won't people still need to send real, physical things to each other?

Nancy @ A Rural Journal said...

I was going to ask you about this situation some time ago, but I figured you would weigh in at some point. I actually pay the majority of my bills by mail as I don't trust a computer to get it right.

Hopefully, your PO will be spared and you will be able to retire when you choose to.

EmptyNester said...

Do you know that I never knew, until the other day, that the USPS does not receive tax dollars? I must live under a rock.

I really think it would be so sad to lose the USPS- the lovelies LOVE to get mail and so do I. We are a family that- although we do use facebook, email, Twitter and texting- still write letters to one another!

DesertHen said...

The USPS is a vital, much needed service in this country! The rural towns, farms and ranches rely heavily on it! I know in our area there are three post offices that are on the "to be closed" list. One area held a town meeting and invited USPS to be a part of it. They sent reps that listened to the concerns of the local folks and that particular office will stay open...for now. So very sad what is happening all around us! Hugs to you my friend! I know how heavy worry can weigh on ones mind!

Jeannelle said...

I'm thinking I could easily live without Saturday mail delivery, but certainly hope the small post offices in our area won't be forced to close.

Chickadee said...

I have watched the decline via the news over the years and this makes me sad. I love sending cards, postcards and the like. Writing indeed is a lost art.

Let's hope the Post Office can overcome this hurdle with a little help.

Judy said...

Hate to see this happen...wish the higher paid folks would take a cut so that the lower paid ones could keep their jobs longer...some how, solutions are not usually found that help everyone...deep sigh...

Nora said...

I have to admit that I use the post office rarely and find it really inconvenient to go there. I pay all my bills on line and only send birthday and Christmas cards and the occasional package. My post office is only a counter in a corner of the supermarket. I don't have a special bond with it, but I think it won't be closed because it does provide a community service and there's always a line. Major cutbacks and reorganization have already taken place here. We now have a postal deliverer who's as bad as the original postman, but he gets paid less.

Sue said...

It makes me sad. I'm a letter writer. And I think emails are not the same.


VioletSky said...

I often wonder about the people who make such decision (closing down postal outlets). Once our strike was over, it took weeks to get the backed-up mail delivered (they refused to work overtime) so people were obviously still mailing stuff even though they knew there was a strike! And at my two local outlets there is always a line. Always. Yet, still the perception persists that no-one is using the mail service.

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