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Sat Sept 10 2011 14:57:56

Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?

By: Ina Steiner

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Kenneth Corbin attended hearings in Washington DC this week on the USPS plans to close over 3,652 post offices (see the Newsflash article). In defending the plan, a USPS representative told the Postal Regulatory Commission it would be an exaggeration to say every customer would have increased cost or increased inconvenience due to the closures.

We asked on our Facebook page, "would you miss your post office if it closed?" and the first responses were an overwhelming "Yes!"  

"It is critical to my business" and "I couldn't run my business without USPS," one EcommerceBytes reader wrote.

In digging around for background for the story, we discovered an interesting report from the Congressional Research Service from 2 years ago. It shows how the number of post office locations has changed from 1970 to 2008 drawing from data from the USPS annual reports. The total number of "retail postal facilities" was down 16% over the past almost 40 years, and the composition of the facilities changed.



The chart shows that there are 45% fewer Community Post Office and Contract Postal Units and almost 15% fewer Post Offices, but 25% more "Post Office Branches and Post Office Stations."

This summer, the USPS came out with a new designation called the Village Post Office that would be operated by local businesses, such as pharmacies, grocery stores and other appropriate retailers, and would offer popular postal products and services such as stamps and flat-rate packaging. Sounds like a Contract Postal Unit to me. I'd be interested in learning why the USPS reduced Community and Contract postal units by almost half over the past 38 years (as of 2008), but now thinks "Village Post Offices" are a good idea.

Note that there is an important distinction between Contract Postal Units and Village Post Offices: the latter only sells stamps and flat-rate postage (Ed. 9/11).

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said recently, "Our customer's habits have made it clear that they no longer require a physical post office to conduct most of their postal business." Tell us if you agree.




Comments (53) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?   Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?

by: janis

Sat Sep 10 15:38:26 2011

absolutely...tell congress the post ofice is NOT A BUSINESS!  It is a government service, and does not need to make a profit...

Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?   Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?

by: JB

Sat Sep 10 15:47:02 2011

If it is anything like the school districts these companies will offer low ball bids, the lowest is who will be handling your  mail....

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said recently,    ''Our customer's habits have made it clear that they no longer require a physical post office to conduct most of their postal business.'' .....


Another donahoe said.....Shoppers on eBay are already changing their shopping habits, reports eBay CEO John Donahoe.....

Business needs to break it in order to make it.

Disruptive innovation has become a cancer in this country.

These two bums have to be related perhaps 2 of 95,.... jmo

Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?   Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?

by: Andrew
Web Site

Sat Sep 10 15:49:21 2011

USPS is my favorite shipper, but I don't see shutting down locations as a huge problem. Scheduling pickups or dropping things off at mailboxes has never been an issue for me.

Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?   Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?

by: me-262

Sat Sep 10 17:38:16 2011

It's won't be the physical post office building that is missed, but the anticipation of what is in my mail box.

Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?   Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?

by: another side of the coin

Sat Sep 10 17:40:33 2011

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said recently,    ''Our customer's habits have made it clear that they no longer require a physical post office to conduct most of their postal business.'' .....

Sounds to me like the ''you asked for it'' line of BS

Auctions are dead ...

Just because these clueless idiots say it, doesn't make it true. As usual any survey or marketing test group is slanted and worded in such a way to get their desired results.

Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?   Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?

by: Harriet This user has validated their user name.

Sat Sep 10 18:26:55 2011

I love my Post Office. I go there almost every day and I have friends there. They do a great job, are most helpful and are nice to everyone, even those who come in with wheeled carts filled to the top with packages (booksellers, not me, unfortunately). Everyone gets treated with respect.

Not only that, but they are efficient and give all kinds of hints about shipping.

I have thought for a long time that if the Post Office would just LOWER their prices, they might gain more business and make up for the difference. They keep raising the rates, and it isn't working.

I don't think Patrick Donahoe is a good manager or business man.

Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?   Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?

by: mojo

Sat Sep 10 18:47:32 2011

110,000 managements jobs at USPS and 465,000 clerk/carrier jobs. That is an insane ratio. And since the year 2000 about 200,000 jobs have been cut: 90% or more clerk/carrier.
Take a wild guess who really needs to be cut, rather than more small post office closures and/or clerk/carrier jobs.

Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?   Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?

by: Rich

Sun Sep 11 00:53:02 2011

Definitely need post office to stay open.  No post office=no ebay business.  If Mojo's numbers are correct about management versus clerk's numbers than the post office needs to reduce management.

Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?   Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?

This user has validated their user name. by: Bill

Sun Sep 11 01:33:26 2011

What Mojo said is absolutely correct on the manager to employee ratio. That is the BIG problem with the USPS. Until that get taken care of they will always be in the hole.
I can not live with out my post Office but I can live very well with out all of the Bureaucratic Idiots in Washington.

Bill

Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?   Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?

by: jim

Sun Sep 11 01:55:49 2011

No , I would not , there is another post office two blocks from my post office and I do not live in the city , there is another 2 miles down the road another 7 miles down the road. Close them up and stop bailing out bad businesses.

what usps needs to do is close a lot of post offices, raise their rates to match ups and fedex and offer better customer service , update their software to offer actual tracking numbers and support.  

they also need to add accountability for their workers and have metrics. there is none at the post office , they cant get even fired right now. there is no cashier metrics , no performance metrics, nothing.

Bad customer service, bad logistics, outdated software and programs = failure.  Until the USPS decides to run the business like a business it will continue to bleed hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

The system is broken. Close as many post offices as possible. We do not need one in every corner.  

the only thing keeping the post office alive today is bank statements. Once banks all decide to stop sending paper statements its over.

Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?   Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?

by: Miss Judy

Sun Sep 11 07:08:32 2011

what many seem to be missing, is the personal touch that comes with your regular carrier and there patrons. You can't put a price tag on that.  The post office is going to do what ever they please and nothing anyone says or does will make an impact.  Don't it always seem to go, you don't know what you've got till it's gone.

Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?   Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?

by: John

Sun Sep 11 10:22:42 2011

465,000 clerk/carrier jobs....How many hundreds of millions of people in the United States of America get mail delivered by these carriers/clerks. Do the math

Approx 500 + or - pieces of mail/boxes are handled/processed/delivered by each person per day. Considering we get only one piece of mail per day, which we do not.

In the end it boils down to cost. Thanks to oil companies.  To the people who say they should close post offices, and fire people, remember it will not solve the problem, only remove it to another area of difficulty.

Every piece of email is monitored by the United States Government, and big business....every piece....even what we write  here. If you think they do not see who writes what here you are sadly mistaken.

In the course of your everyday emails,

They will know who you write to, what you pay, what you have, what you don't have, what you would like to have, Who you like who you don't like.

They will know what your plans are, whether you like your job, when you will be skipping work, how you plan on paying your taxes, why you cannot pay your taxes.

They will know who you like and who you don't like, they will know your political views, who you plan on voting for and who not.
They will know if you have an illness you need to have looked at.

They will know all these things ahead of time.

You are shrinking government in one way but making it even bigger in others.....This is your trade off.....Man if you think it is not going to happen you are oh so naive


 

Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?   Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?

This user has validated their user name. by: Stockmiser

Sun Sep 11 10:26:54 2011

Haven't needed a post office in many years.

I weigh my packages and print my labels. When I need stamps, I buy stamps online. All of my office supplies, including USPS priority mail packaging, is ordered online. All of my packages are picked up directly from my home.

If every post office in my city (and there seems to be a LOT of them for a city with only 200K people) vanished tomorrow, I wouldn't even notice.

I'm not saying that everyone is like me, but since Ina asked "if I would miss them", the answer is NO.

Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?   Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?

by: me-262

Sun Sep 11 10:56:12 2011

miss judy, you are absolutely correct. Whatever the outcome of present congressional hearings, the decision has already been made. All the grandstanding, press leaks out of headquarters is just part of the game. It is unthinkable for an entity as large as the Postal Service, not to have at least a 10 year out plan. Phrases such as; debt, deficit, bankrupt, crisis, dire situation, collapse, instill a sense of urgency to achieve their,[ Postal mismanagement], evil, anti-worker objectives.

Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?   Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?

This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles
Web Site

Sun Sep 11 13:13:12 2011

Yes, I will miss it. It happened to my last semester.

I was in other city were the USPS have one in the University. For my surprise the USPS closed the post office in the campus. I needed to walk 25 minutes outside the campus to go the nearest office.

Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?   Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?

by: Cpt Marvel

Sun Sep 11 13:47:20 2011

Stockmiser:
Who delivers the boxes? Who picks them up? Who delivers them to the addressee? Who? Someone from the Post Office......

Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?   Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?

by: exdwh This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 11 15:12:46 2011

@Cpt Marvel,

The question was whether you'd miss YOUR local post office. The only thing I really care about is if there's a late drop-off available. I'm currently able to drop off my packages at 7:30 PM in the evening. I would miss that.

--David

Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?   Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?

by: Debi

Sun Sep 11 15:40:26 2011

No I always use the postage machine for everything... the workers at my office have been there for 20 plus years, I often have packages and mail in limbo in the back of the post office so I would prefer a full automated system rather than paying $83000 in salary and benefits to people who take ALOT of breaks.

Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?   Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sun Sep 11 18:12:55 2011

Fortunately I live in a city with more than one USPS owned Post Office building.

If the one I use everyday closed, however, I'd have to switch to alternate business day shipping because the next two closest ones are both a 20 mile round trip.

IMO, Ina is absolutely correct about "village Post Offices" being privately owned (aka probably big business) contract service.

It's an incredibly bad idea. I remember about 20 years ago when a locally owned pharmacy was a postal substation, and the service was AWFUL and the knowledge level about anything was even worse.

Today would even worse if possible. They probably couldn't track lost packages and certainly wouldn't be able a full range of postal services and options.

Privatizing the commons like fire, police, mail delivery is what USPS think will Republican muster.

What we don't need in this country is the likes of Goldman Sachs or Chase delivering the mail at exorbitant rates like they charge in credit card interest like Best Buy who wants an usurious 28% APR for their esteemed card.

Write (snail best is till the most effective) your US Congress person and two Senators and tell them to remove the pension fund overfunding requirement put there as a poison pil to destroy the Postal workers' union.

This one thing will solve most of USPS's financial problems just like making ALL workers pay into Social security regardless of income.

DO NOT FURTHER PRIVATIZE THE POSTAL SERVICE. Not now, not ever.


Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?   Would You Miss Your Post Office If It Closed?

by: MR ME

Sun Sep 11 18:56:45 2011

Yes !!!!
I ship all of my 1-4 lb items Priority Mail.
Love the boxes, the delivery confirmation, the speediness , tracking etc.
That is the one thing that USPS does right.
I go to the P.O. for international, and the postman picks up domestic. My local P.o. is slated for closure, but there is always a line of customers, they must be making some kind of money.

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