10 Reasons the Post Office Should Die Already

by Staff Writer

You bought a birthday card way in advance that doesn't even hint at an apology for being late. Then you forgot to send it and now realize that the person's birthday is only a day or two away. No sweat; everyone does this. Just drop it in the mail. Well, those days of looking like you're on top of everything are over. The United States Postal Service announced recently that it will be shutting down more than half of its mail processing centers and won't even bother trying to deliver a letter in one day anymore. The agency's financial problems are really starting to catch up with it, and frankly, we all might be better off without the USPS. It's definitely on its last legs and there are plenty of reasons why that may be for the best.

  1. It's too slow

    In a world where we all want instant gratification, why are we still clinging to this emblem of the old way of life? A piece of mail, even if it's being sent locally, will take 2 to 5 days to be delivered under the new USPS services — about the same rate it took in the days of delivering letters by horseback. Most people pay as many bills as they can online, send emails to communicate, and use a private delivery service like FedEx or UPS for sending packages fast, so it doesn't seem unreasonable to stop the USPS service rather than just slowing it down. If you've got a horse with a broken leg that can't work anymore, you shoot it and put it out of its misery.

  2. Netflix might be convinced to put more movies on their streaming service

    The video rental company has made some major slip-ups in the past year, one of them being that customers had to choose between getting DVDs in the mail and streaming videos online or pay for both separately. Netflix lost almost 9 million DVD subscribers when it raised the price and split the two services, and 3/4 of new users choose the online version. If the postal service would go ahead and self-destruct, maybe Netflix would make more titles available online (or movie companies would allow them to) so we could all stop pretending that it's worth waiting a week to get a new DVD in your mailbox.

  3. The USPS isn't moving forward

    In fact, it's not even attempting to move forward. With capitalism in place, businesses are rewarded for being innovative, hiring motivated workers, and finding efficient methods. Companies that succeed in these areas earn more money and are able to keep doing business. But the postal service's spirit of innovation is suppressed on all sides. Workers don't feel the push to come up with new ideas because they don't feel the need for the business (or more accurately, government agency) to compete with others. Leaders who want to shake things up find they are seriously restricted by regulatory constraints. Other countries' post offices are coming up with ideas that make use of new technologies. Sweden, for example, is swapping out stamps for text message payments. Our nation would be better off with a business model that changes with the times and needs to get rid of any that are decades behind.

  4. People will have to be honest when they don't want you at their party

    If you've ever asked an acquaintance, co-worker, or long-ago friend where your invitation to their wedding/birthday party/son's bar mitzvah is, they probably used the good old stand-by, "Oh, it must've gotten lost in the mail." It's genius, really. They obviously don't want you at their event, but it's completely believable that the mail service could've thrown your invitation in the bin destined for some faraway land bearing no resemblance to your address. You're left to wonder whether they actually enjoy your company or not. With the USPS gone, hopefully the mysterious disappearance of letters will stop, too, and we will finally get to be told what others really think. "It got lost in the mail" will now become the refreshingly honest "Your breath stinks" or "You invade my personal space."

  5. It's burning money

    The U.S. Postal Service has been in the red for years now. The recent changes that have people questioning the importance of continuing the postal service were announced as a last-ditch effort to avoid bankruptcy. The slower delivery service and soon-to-be abandoned processing centers will save $2.1 billion, almost enough to keep the outdated carrier afloat but barely making a dent in the projected $14.1 billion budget deficit. The demand for the USPS' services has rapidly decreased in the past decade while the expense to keep it running has remained the same, a pattern that will probably lead to a needed bailout sometime in the next year or so. Let's just cut our losses right now.

  1. Stamps are a hassle

    Most of us can probably count on one hand the number of times we use a stamp each month. Some of us might only use a handful of stamps each year. So how is it that these little stickers can be so annoying? Besides the fact that we buy books full of them and then misplace them or don't have them when we need them, the price is constantly going up. Forever Stamps have eased the pain for some, but you've probably experienced the tricky situation at least once where the stamp price has jumped a couple cents but you only have the old stamps with you. The only solution is to suck it up, put two stamps on, and pay almost double. Slightly heavier or bulkier cards and letters are also confusing. And how much do postcards cost? We really don't need to be using our brain power on this.

  2. It has served its purpose

    The first post offices in the American colonies were set up in 1692 to collect and distribute packages and communication among colonists and between them and England. Benjamin Franklin became the first real Postmaster General of the U.S., because there wasn't an efficient and trusted way to deliver messages or goods. There weren't always roads to the letter's destination, so post roads were established. Telephones, cars, and the radio didn't exist. The postal service was an essential communications service and the government needed to ensure its success. Now, though, no one receives urgent messages in the mail. It's really only used for niceties, junk mail, and the occasional bill. Even for those, there are private businesses that can handle them more efficiently.

  3. No one else needs to go postal

    The term "going postal" didn't pop up out of nowhere. It came from the frightening and deadly outbursts from stressed-out USPS workers. In 1986, a postman in Oklahoma killed 14 workers at his post office and then shot himself. A Michigan postal worker was fired for getting into arguments with customers on his mail route and then killed five people in his local office in 1991. On a single day in May 1993, two postmen in Michigan and California killed coworkers. These are only a few of the dozens of examples. A job that causes this many people to snap seems like reason enough the postal service should be phased out. Even though it will mean cutting jobs, ultimately those employees could be better off.

  4. It would end paper junk mail

    At least your email has a semi-effective spam filter. The USPS, though, doesn't care what they shove in your mailbox as long as they get paid. It's hard to blame them since they are billions of dollars in the hole, but it doesn't make you any happier when you have a pile of coupons, catalogs, and cards waiting for you every day when you come home. Not only is it annoying, but it's an incredible waste of paper. The average U.S. household gets about 40 pounds of junk mail every year, and we of course throw most of it away almost immediately. Getting rid of the current system might discourage bulk mailings and unsolicited advertisements.

  5. You'd never have to have another post office experience

    No one at a post office is happy to be there, possibly excluding the toothless homeless man who is loitering outside. The workers are unhappy, the customers standing in the undoubtedly long line are unhappy, even the faces staring out from the special edition stamps seem unhappy. It's a strange phenomenon that going into a post office immediately changes your mood. Maybe it's because we always think (fine, hope) that our visit will be fast. Maybe it's because the people working at the desk always seem to give off the vibe that they really don't care if your package ever gets sent or if you ever get out of this wretched place. Either way, most people leave a post office in a much grumpier mood than when they entered. There are probably some good, friendly post offices out there, but for the most part, post office experiences are something the world can do without.

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