Who Will Bail the Iron Out? (But More Importantly, The Post Office?)

It’s official: The iron has gone to jail, and the cat is the new Monopoly token.

The more important news of the morning is that USPS is ending its Saturday mail service, which saddens me greatly. If you haven’t read this Esquire story about what’s going on, take the time, or at least watch the two-minute video at the top, which provides a nice summary.

Update: I wanted to include this relevant bit from the Esquire story:

In terms of growth, the brown pony could be a number of things, but particularly the burgeoning package industry. The postal service’s parcel division was robust — last year, volume was up 7.5 percent over the previous year, despite the limping economy.

The brown pony is also the network itself — its size and scope. Just at this moment, when e-commerce is booming, weakening the network seems like a terrible idea to Bloom. This is why cutting Saturday service, which would mean no Amazon or eBay deliveries over the weekend, and slowing down the mail are, in his estimation, more likely to kill the postal service than make it stronger. “If you degrade the network and your customers leave and you get into the death spiral, you can’t have it back,” he says.

We’ve seen what austerity does, he says: It kills countries and companies.

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24 Comments / Post A Comment

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

I really question the judgement of a country that chooses cat when robot is an option. Between this an not getting my amazon deliveries on Saturday the future is looking grim.

DON (#706)

@EvanDeSimone We couldn’t go robot because we might get Roomba instead of Bender, which would have been the worst. :/

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

@DON I would gladly settle for DJ Roomba but the Internet was asked to choose and the Internet unsurprisingly chose cat.

AlliNYC (#1,725)

@EvanDeSimone And they didn’t even choose LOLCat! Seriously. What is wrong with kids these days.

nutmeg (#1,383)

I have pretty much never played regular Monopoly, since the version I grew up with was the French-Canadian version my parents picked up in Quebec on their honeymoon (in JANUARY, during a BLIZZARD- no wonder my dad doesn’t remember their wedding fondly). We tried to play a game TO THE END on New Year’s Eve one year, I remember, but after a few hours we gave up/got distracted by the Twilight Zone marathon.

I’m sure the Founding Fathers would be happy to see the postal service go. (They never really liked Ben Franklin.)

Megano! (#124)

@stuffisthings so what you are saying is that their ghosts are laughing and telling Franklin to suck it?

@Megano! Well what I was trying to say was “Tea party don’t tread on me Constitution birth certificate small government waka waka waka waka” but close enough.

Ed@twitter (#347)

Hey Mike, I think they are going to continue to deliver packages and Priority/Express packages on Saturday. Just not regular mail.

tiktaalik (#778)

Why is everyone freaking out about not getting packages on Saturday? The 2nd sentence of the linked Reuters article: “The cash-strapped mail agency will still deliver packages.”

Am I missing something? Both the Esquire article and this one appear to have it wrong.

Mike Dang (#2)

@tiktaalik The post says USPS is ending Saturday mail service, which is true. The Esquire article is in the current issue of the magazine and was written before today’s announcement, and is a very well-reported and thoughtful piece about continued downward spiral of the postal service and about whether or not we’d want to live without the service. All of the other carriers, including UPS and FedEx also rely on the postal service to complete deliveries—which include things like medication. Higher stamp prices and ending Saturday service could be just the beginning. As the Esquire piece says, “this isn’t a story about whether we could live without the post office. It’s about whether we want to.”

BCarlson (#3,206)

@Mike Dang I would rather live without Saturday service than an organization that lost $15.9 Billion in FY12, three times what it lost the previous year. Folksy articles don’t change the fact that it is a poorly run institution that is not implementing the reforms it needs to remain essential in the 21st century.

Mike Dang (#2)

@BCarlson The piece explained that the postal service posted its thirteenth-straight quarter of productivity gains, and that 70 percent of the losses were mandated by Congress. It can raise revenues if Congress changes the law to allow them to implement reforms, but the Postal Service is not allowed to lobby Congress—compared to UPS and FedEx, which has spent $100 million over the past five years to lobby Congress on their behalf.

@Mike Dang What article are you talking about? And why are some of the words in this post blue? I’m so confused.

tiktaalik (#778)

@Mike Dang Right, I get that – I was just asking specifically why people keep moaning that they can’t get their packages on Saturday. They still can. Packages will still be delivered on Saturday, just not regular mail. That’s all I was getting at. It’s right there in the section you quoted: “cutting Saturday service, which would mean no Amazon or eBay deliveries over the weekend.” It’s incorrect, and I feel it distracts from the actual story, which is that the USPO is in trouble.

BCarlson (#3,206)

@Mike Dang Please explain “productivity gains.” What does that even mean, in context? The author of the Esquire piece doesn’t explain it.

The link from the Atlantic does far more to educate on the USPS than the Esquire article. Even accounting for Congress’ mistakes, you can’t deny the fact that total mail volume has fallen by 25% since 2007. Also, when your expenses are more than your revenue WITHOUT taking into account the crippling retirement benefits, that is not a sustainable business model.

Austerity is not killing the USPS. Out of control spending and not changing with the times is.

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/02/this-graph-explains-why-the-us-postal-service-is-about-to-cut-saturday-mail-delivery/272912/

Megano! (#124)

You get to live like the rest of us with no mail delivery on the weekends!!

I’m bummed about how it will affect my Netflix deliveries–but this might be the impetus I need to just cancel it altogether, because I can certainly make do with my other options.

kellyography (#250)

@backstagebethy I switched to Instant-only last summer when my optical drive died, and I have no regrets.

BananaPeel (#1,555)

@backstagebethy ooh, I wonder if Netflix will get in on lobbying Congress to make changes necessary to keep the USPS running on Saturday.

@kellyography I do Amazon Instant bc my Prime account is paid for by work, and I really think I could get by with that, the (university) library, and the occasional Redbox rental. There are a bunnnch of things in my DVD queue that I hate to part with though.

MORE IMPORTANTLY: The shoe made it!

honey cowl (#1,510)

@stuffisthings I am REAL sad about the Iron, but REAL happy about the cat. #conundrum

TARDIStime (#1,633)

@Lauren FEEL YOU, GURL!
I’m really glad the scotty dog survived. I wonder why they didn’t put the cannon up to the vote? It always was the last to be picked in my experience…

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