Tonawanda News


March 1, 2012

OUR VIEW: ‘Mailing it in’ is not good enough

— — The U.S. Postal Service has been mailing it in for years.

It has stuck like an old postage stamp to a business model that was going nowhere fast, literally. Snail mail is still the USPS stock in trade, and it has increasingly earned its nickname. And for a poorly run operation, it certainly does cost a lot.

While email, instant messaging, texting, online banking and Internet options increased exponentially, the Postal Service has experienced a 25 percent decline in first-class mail volume since 2006. It’s not too hard to predict that trend will only intensify, unless USPS gets with the program and upgrades its service and marketing practices.

For now, consolidation looms, as part of a plan to reduce operating costs by $20 billion by 2015 and restore profitability. The plan, which could go into effect as early as mid-May, would close the Buffalo Mail Processing center at 1200 William St. — and 263 other such centers around the nation. Mail will be processed through Rochester, instead — a practice already under way in certain zip codes on weekends. And longer travel distance means even slower delivery. Mail across town will take two days, instead of one under the consolidated business model.

The impact here, we think will be negligible. USPS, we hardly knew you — you’re darned near irrelevant, if not R.I.P.

Businesses and residents already have moved away from snail mail when time is of the essence — hence the decline in volume. Personal letters? Rare these days, with the exceptions of thank you notes to Grandma and Grandpa and wedding invitations.

Meanwhile, Fedex and UPS all have married their services to the way business is done in 2012. People ordering goods on line are automatically guided toward shipping options that rarely include the postal service.

If you want to get a package somewhere via USPS, be prepared to cram it into a pre-sized envelope and hope it meets stringent specifications that might reduce your costs — and guaranteed overnight delivery? Prepare to pay through the nose.

Postal workers’ benefits are enviable — and costly to consumers. Twenty years in and you are set for life. Downsizing afoot? Not without the USPS offering jobs elsewhere to those whose mail processing centers are closing. Not so with competitors who’ve taken the ball and run with it. Lean and mean options abound, and customers respond by choosing them.

If the postal service wants to win our hearts and business back, it will need to do more than just downsize and offer worse service and lowered expectations. And brace yourselves: Next up for consideration, loss of Saturday delivery.

USPS must offer competitive shipping options, guaranteed faster delivery times and overall service enhancements — or the death spiral of an American institution will continue.

Text Only
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page
NDN Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success