Post Office May Go Way Of Pony Express

I went to the Post Office today to buy a book of stamps, and as I pulled into the parking lot, I was ominously forewarned of a long line inside, as I had to wait outside for an open parking stall.

As I walked in, sure enough, there were 15 people in line waiting for help from just one postal worker, because the other employee, at another window, was taking an excessively long time helping one hapless man with what appeared to be a complicated item.

Since I had loaded UPS trucks as a college student, I understood the work of the Post Office, and over the years, I defended them against those inclined to blame everything on mail carriers. Postal workers deliver countless items of mail, six days a week, and they make relatively few mistakes. Most mail generally gets through.

Today, however, I did not feel like defending the Post Office. I thought instead, the agency was on its death bed. The employee who spent such a long time with one clueless customer should have ordered him aside, where he could have figured out his own problem. Because she did not, a female customer holding a package bailed out of the line, and a young man, who had been pacing back and forth, got testy as he finally reached the window.

As I left the building, I chuckled because I saw a Fed Ex box just outside the door. Fed Ex, a private company in competition with the Post Office, was somehow able to convince someone in Congress, or at the Post Office, to let them place their boxes outside Post Office buildings. It was a brilliant move, certain to quicken the demise of the Post Office.

It reminded me of a story my friend told me. When she worked at the Social Security Administration, a federal agency, they were required to use Fed Ex to mail items, instead of the Post Office. It was unbelievable–one federal agency was harming another.

The massive shift to online communications has also hurt the Post Office. Their revenues are dropping, as more and more people now use the Internet. Eventually, pressure will mount to simply do away with the Post Office. It’s been around since the founding of the country, but the way things are going, the Post Office may soon be riding off into the past, along with the Pony Express.


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