Volume 48, Issue 9- September 2013
Every so often (and fortunately for all concerned not that often at all) I feel compelled to get serious, put aside all silliness and go toe-to-toe with an important issue of the day. Those who have followed this column for any period of time may remember past efforts of mine along these lines. Arguably, I have had a positive influence when I have ventured forth to correct one of society’s ills or come to the aid of a misguided governmental agency or civic institution. Space and time prevent me from listing all of the good that I have accomplished over the years but suffice it to say, I have had an impact. So I have now decided to turn my attention to a problem of immense proportions and also a problem that is getting worse by the minute. I refer here to our nation’s postal operation, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).
First, some background. The USPS lost $1.9 billion in the last quarter. If you have a calculator and want to take the time to use it, you would quickly find that this works out to be a loss of $867,579.91 a minute!!! And who do you think is covering this loss my friends? Yes indeed, you and me. Okay, here’s a little more for ya … first class mailings continue to decline sharply as more people switch to the Internet for communication and things such as bill payment, but in spite of this, there are currently more than 35,000 post offices of one size or another. By the way, 10 percent of these generate less than $27,000 a year in revenue. Just think of what those are costing us! I think you get the picture. This is a mess, and a costly one at that.
So I set out to come up with a plan to fix it. I also appropriately named this plan … and you will see that I have assigned an acronym for this plan because governmental people always insist on these little things when they institute a program. Helps them remember them I guess. Anyhow, I have named this initial process my Post Office Organizational Plan or POOP for short. To develop this plan, I performed a comprehensive 60 day study of all mail that came to my house. I assume, of course, that my household is relatively typical of the average American household.
During the POOP stage, I determined that other than advertising and magazines, virtually all mail received was an invoice … electric bill, phone bill and stuff like that. Only three pieces of mail that came in first class were actually of a personal nature. One wedding invitation and two thank you cards for gifts sent to recent graduates. And believe it or not, my house took in 217 pieces of mail during the POOP study period.
Now a price increase would have a very small impact on the financial situation being faced. It’s kinda like the tax thing over all. You can raise the taxes a whole bunch but the gain is marginal unless significant cuts in spending also take place. So I spent hours looking at the facts and figures and I even tracked down a copy of the Congressional Research Service’s report which had been submitted to Congress for their review of the USPS. Then I locked myself in my basement furnace room pledging not to leave until I came up with a solution and behold and low, I did it! And I am herein sharing it with you. Don’t thank me yet. An opportunity for that will be made available shortly.
Yes, after several sleepless nights and an incredible amount of effort, I came up with a solution and I named it the Emergency National Effort for Meaningful Action …or ENEMA. Now to be honest, the driving force behind the ENEMA program is my idea to cut mail delivery to three days a week. No way do we need regular mail delivery every day. Some would get mail delivery Monday, Wednesday and Friday and the rest would get it on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Now let’s be honest here, you’re probably not paying your bills the day you receive them, the advertisements can wait a day and a good amount of the rest of the stuff you get is thrown out without it even being looked at, so I am convinced that once you get used to the “every other day” thing, you will be fine. And as for the ENEMA’s impact on business, much more gets scanned electronically than mailed and checks can now also be scanned for deposit purposes or simply wire transferred. Daily mail service is simly no longer needed! ENEMA cuts field labor costs in half, equipment costs almost in half and when coupled with my other plan for outsourcing all package deliveries (for a little percentage of course) to either UPS or FedEx, who already do the job much better than the U.S. Postal Service, we are talking some big-time improvement. If neither of them wants it, we outsource it to the lowest Chinese bidder. And as for those fine USPS union members, not one will be laid off. No, not a one. Through attrition, simply not replacing those who either retire or quit, we will drive costs down dramatically and to the outside observer, any change in worker pace would be imperceptible to the untrained eye. I am convinced that if we can fully understand POOP and embrace ENEMA, we can wipe out the problem in just a few years.
Okay, so you probably want to know what you can do to help, right? So here it is. Sit down right now and scan over a letter to your congressman and senator telling them that you have looked at the POOP and now you want the ENEMA to be used. Next, send me money (cash only please) to help me keep the drive alive for a fix to this national crisis. Please send those donations either by FedEx or UPS. And thank you very much!