Today’s news:

BIG SCREECHER - Why not call it ‘US Piss-Poor Service’?

Now, I’m not going to berate your favorite letter carrier because when he’s on, you get your mail. The problem starts immediately the day he’s not on.

Your regular letter carrier knows how to serve you. Too bad I can’t say that about the Postal Service, or should we name it the Piss-poor Service?

Is there anyone in Brooklyn getting proper mail service…or any mail service? It is inconceivable that the Post Office founded by Benjamin Franklin has gotten so totally unreliable. You would think that this 200-year-old government agency would have perfected the task of delivering mail.

Poor Franklin must be doing somersaults in his grave. The Pony Express Riders… remember their heroic images in the old westerns jumping from horse to horse so that “the mail must go through” being chased by Indians?

Arrows whizzing by their heads, well, they all died in vain, because the mail does not get through anymore…with or without stamps.

I sent out a Priority Mail Envelope and got it back a week later, because it needed 54 cents additional postage, not realizing that the rate had gone up to $4.80. I used a $3.85 Priority Mail Stamp and added a Forever Stamp which costs 41 cents before they raised the rates. Priority Mail sort of guarantees that it gets there within 2 days, and doesn’t go by weight but what can fit in its unique envelope. If I had sent the contents of that envelope first class, it would have required just a first class 42 cent stamp and it might have gotten there within a week. Notice I said MIGHT! Years ago, when I was a mailman, we were told to deliver mail that had postage due and collect the difference. The recipient had the option to pay the difference or refuse it!

It’s easier to win the lottery than to get your mail on time. And the credit card companies and banks and Department stores have discovered this mother lode of revenue, counting on the unreliability of the US Postal Service NOT to deliver the mail on time. They charge late fees up to $39 per bill. Why? Because their first class mail doesn’t have dated postmarks. So there’s no pressure for anyone at the Post Office to deliver the bill. There’s an Old Italian saying that says “…the fish stinks from the head.” And that was the way it was even when I put 30 years in the Post Office. Pressure from the postmaster in Washington goes to the regional manager and so on down to the station manager who pressures the mailman. The media has even coined a word for the mailmen who succumbs to the pressures and shoots everybody in sight… going “Postal.”

We are in the 21st century and the US Postal Service hasn’t caught up to the 20th century. It is unable to compete with UPS, FedEx and the other private delivery services who not only deliver but make money doing it. Do you remember when the fax machines were an obvious threat to the mail service? Now add e-mail as a more dangerous threat. Electronic banking now makes it possible to pay your bills instantly and doesn’t cost a stamp.

The Post Service has decreed that letters without apartment numbers are to be returned immediately. This is the stupidest ruling conceivable and actually delays mail from being delivered. It used to be if the mailman didn’t recognize the name, he would be duty bound to look up the name on the building’s directory. If he was off, the apartment-less letter would be there waiting for him on the route for him to check it out before he returned it to the sender. He would know who moved, who died, who went out of business and if he didn’t would check out the directory.

Screech at you next week!

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