Monday, April 16, 2012

What is going on with the postal service?

I don't use the Postal Service to mail a lot of packages. If I DO mail something, it tends to be a book, an ARC or something else I'm passing to a friend. Something I can slip into a manila envelope and sent media mail for a couple of dollars. But I have had a few experiences lately which left me scratching my head...

I mailed three smallish books (a hardcover Madeline, a paperback Fancy Nancy, and a hardcover of Hilary Martel's Giving Up the Ghost) to my friend in Wales. "Surface is fine," I told the postal clerk. No more surface, she tells me, air only. Three books to Wales by air = $21.

Then I went to mail a hot water bottle, a vintage copy of Valley of the Dolls, some origami paper and some plastic hair ornaments to my bestie in Portland and her girls. $17.00, USPS Freight NOT Priority. Again, does that strike you as a bit much?

Then I read about how our local mail will be trucked to Birmingham (200 miles round-trip). We will lose our postmark, and local mail will take 8-10 days? Insanity.

The post office seems to determined to price itself beyond reason (I will consider DHL next time I ship internationally and  UPS for domestic), and then slows service to something approaching the glacial. They could do ONE or the OTHER -- keep it reasonably but tortuous, or pricey but speedy, but choosing both seems like it is forfeiting the game. As does this PostSecret secret:

I'm wondering what libraries can take away from this previous public good being decimated by an attempt at profitability.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed. Digital downloads of books, email, and other web services have no doubt hurt the bottom line of the USPS, but pricing themselves out of competition with other carriers can only make things worse. The only time I use USPS anymore is to send certified mail, and that's very rare. At least we still have this Postal Service (, which is excellent!