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Mon Jan 20 2014 20:17:47

Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons

By: Reader

Sponsored Link

Dear Ina,
With buyer expectations regarding delivery at all time highs, sellers may soon find themselves able to access US Postal services during retail hours at Staples stores.

This would provide sellers with access to full line Postal Services after their traditional Post Office has closed as well as on Sundays and many holidays.

Sellers would now be able to purchase postage, and have packages accepted for shipment during retail store hours. Sellers would also benefit from being able to ship packages on Sundays and Holidays when the US Postal Service is closed.

I wonder how sellers feel about expanded hours as well as being able to ship on Sundays and Holidays even though packages would not move through the USPS system any faster.

Would sellers have concerns that packages accepted by Staples would be less secure than packages handed over the counter at their local Post Office?

With Postal Service employees facing job losses, would there be a backlash in the form of intentional handling delays of packages left with Staples?
Regards,
Ric

Note from the Editor: We have more on the USPS - Staples deal in Tuesday's Newsflash email newsletter - link to story.




Comments (24) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons   Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Mon Jan 20 22:58:11 2014

I read the article posted by Ina, and after seeing the counters will be "staffed by non-USPS [Staples] employees," I don't think I'll be using this service. I've never been impressed with the employees at the Staples location I shop at, and can't imagine that they'd be all that concerned about whether my packages reached their destinations or not. Unless there were locked boxes that the packages were deposited into, that only USPS reps had access to, I'd be too afraid that the items would never get to the buyers.

Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons   Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Mon Jan 20 23:01:23 2014

Going back several years I've used contract USPS counters in tiny hardware stores and gift shops located close to me at the time. Until the gift store relocated, they handled all my eBay package drop offs.

Not one single problem or misplaced package.


One note: it is optimal to have a dedicated employee for the USPS stuff and also back-ups that are trained in the event the main employee gets sick or goes on vacation.

It is also not good if there is a LONG line at the postal counter and the only employee on duty that can run  it is out back helping customers choose lawn fertilizer.


Probably not a problem at Staples.

Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons   Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons

by: SparklyEyes7 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 20 23:17:06 2014

I can do all my mailing at the local grocery store, so this 3rd party stuff is not new.

At I had to LOL at the "dedicated USPS workers." Not in my area!  With the latest cutbacks, they reduced the hours they are open to make it less convenient, not more!  They are now open 9-1, close from 1-2 for lunch then close at 4pm.  Not exactly friendly hours!  And the employees are surly and the definition of inept gov't workers.

Thankfully for me, my postal carrier picks up all my  packages, even on those days when I ship 30 items!

Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons   Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons

by: Deltamaster This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 20 23:24:07 2014

One needs to remember that from the beginning the mail was handled by certified contract workers in country stores and shops all across the nation.  Many small town post offices shared space with a retail establishment.

I find it appalling that a USPS employee is paid as much as $25.00 per hour PLUS hard and fast benefits packages as well as some of the best retirement packages (aside from auto workers) in the country.

These workers, even though they work for the USPS, are no more or less reliable or dependable than anyone else as is noted almost every day somewhere online.



As to the comments on the article:

--Would packages posted at Staples counters be as secure as packages handed over the counter at the Post Office?

I say they would be if specific guidelines are followed and appropriate space is dedicated to the collection and storage of the parcels and letters.

Think about it this way, Mailboxes Etc. did it successfully for years and still does in a different incarnation to the point that one can even rent a mail box there.  There are also several mail forwarding services across the country that do this very thing on a big scale as well without any problems from customers or the USPS.


-- And, ''With Postal Service employees facing job losses, would there be a backlash in the form of intentional handling delays of packages left with Staples?''

Now this is a sticking point.  The reason Sears program failed was the direct result of pressure and threats from the Postal Workers Union.  The union hounded Sears until Sears finally gave up and decided they no longer wished to be involved in the middle of the issue.  

The Postal Workers Union is already running the same campaign on Staples and it is WRONG and deceptive and Congress should stop them.

As for Postal Workers sabotaging the program... ABSOLUTELY!  They have already done so with the downsizing and closing of unnecessary sorting centers.

A sorting facility closed in upstate New York.  The Union ''Warned'' that closing the facility would disrupt service.  Sure enough, service WAS conveniently disrupted.

Maybe if the postal workers were afforded a more applicable wage and maybe if the management were able to cull the dead wood out of the workforce and maybe if the real WORKING staff (the ones that actually DO their jobs) were rewarded with promotions and other benefits and maybe if ALL employees were required to actually DO their jobs and stop complaining and whining and treat customers with respect and dignity the entire USPS might become profitable again!

Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons   Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons

by: Deltamaster This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 20 23:30:23 2014

Sparkleyeyes wrote:
And the employees are surly and the definition of inept gov't workers.

That is precisely what I am talking about.  No other retail establishment that serves the public would allow that type of behavior from an employee and the employee would be fired for cause... PERIOD!

A lazy worker that does not do their job and sits around all day or shuffles around the lobby like it is a huge inconvenience for them to EARN that $25.00 per hour check would also not be tolerated in a retail establishment and would be fired for cause... PERIOD!

I call for Congress to put a stop to the Union sending those ''Letters'' and demanding the union allow management the ability to ''Cull'' the dead wood if that dead wood does not meet basic standards of work ethic!

Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons   Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons

This user has validated their user name. by: Puck

Mon Jan 20 23:32:53 2014

Think I'll stick to using Ike Godsey's store for all of my USPS dealings.

Very friendly & professional and always wears those green eyeshades like a blackjack dealer in a $2 game...

Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons   Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons

by: Deltamaster This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 20 23:38:03 2014

Oh, and as to this quote from the article:

A commentor on a Washington Post article about the USPS-Staples partnership wrote, "Do I want my precious mail handled by a minimum wage, "specially trained" Staples worker? Or do I want it protected by a Federal employee?"

I am certain that the Staples employee that is responsible for handling the mail will likely get paid extra for providing the service.  Most likely Staples will pay them the part of their salary that they would have already and then the USPS will pay both Staples AND the employee for providing the service as well.

So, No, it is likely that the employee handling the mail will not be some minimum wage, special trained person as suggested.  It is more than likely the special training involved would include whatever is required to make them a certified contract mail handler... or whatever they are called.  

Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons   Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons

by: Gina This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 20 23:59:29 2014

At least I'd get a receipt!  My closest USPS does not give receipts unless asked for...and then they are sad little tapes from a printing calculator with the day's postmark stamped onto the paper!  Canada Post, on the other hand ALWAYS gives a receipt, even for the smallest purchase!
All those forgotten receipts  which I now can't claim...
These proposed chain stores will be sure to give and keep receipts so they get their cut!

Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons   Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons

This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Tue Jan 21 00:45:04 2014

It's no different than handing over your UPS or Fedex packages at the UPS store or Kinko's. And don't forget all the contract and temporary help that those services bring on during the holidays. As long as the packages are properly secured and entered into the postal computer system, I see no problem with it. The benefits are enormous for us busy folks who can't always get to the PO during its limited hours. Not to mention, retail stores tend to have larger parking lots, as well.

My local PO personnel are great, but I know that's not the case everywhere. I'm disgusted at the kind of behavior these union thugs are threatening and would likely get away with. They have a sweet deal so of course they don't want any threats to it, which is what this is. When people see that you don't need overpaid and entitled government workers to get the job done, they'll demand change.

Admittedly, I am a bit biased against unions for a couple of reasons. My dad was forced to be in one and it did nothing for him but take money from his paycheck and ignore him when he needed the help that money was supposed to pay for. I was also smacked, shoved, and cursed at with extremely vulgar language by a union protester when I chose to cross a picket line to use a store. I was only 15 and find my opinion of the kind of people who can assault teenage girls has colored my opinion of unions.

All that aside, I feel the benefits of this far, far outweigh any negatives, especially the ones regarding the quality of the workers. It's not rocket science. With the proper training, it should be no problem for these workers to handle most packages. Besides, it sounds like a lot of the postal workers are already falling down on the job, given what people here are saying. Maybe this will be a kick in the pants to motivate them to better behavior.

Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons   Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 21 00:52:19 2014

AS long as ebay doesn't take it into their fool heads that just BECAUSE Staples is OPEN on Sunday we ALL have to go there and SHIP stuff or risk getting slapped for it---fine by me!  

the PO's out here in Cow Country are either staffed by people who are dedicated to their jobs and you see them everyday or they are clones who you never see again.  One here will SCREAM at you if you come thru the door with a package SHE feels is NOT MAILABLE!---

No lie::::: husband carried  a boxed pair of vintage skis in and was at the end of the line when she took one look and started SCREAMING.  Told him he could NOT mail them.  They were TOO BIG and TOO HEAVY---before any measurements were made.  Needless to say we did NOT mail them there and YES I did file a complaint which went exactly nowhere.  We mailed them at another larger PO.  Funny thing tho---I have been mailing the SAME kind of skis from that SAME rural PO for YEARS.  Never had an issue even before I had a source of official SKI MAILING BOXES.

The PO needs to be taken out and shaken over the rail to knock the dust out.  

Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons   Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons

by: Jeffery This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 21 02:13:34 2014

Is this really news? Office Depot as well as many drug stores and grocery stores have had Postal counters for years.

Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons   Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons

by: William This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 21 03:26:51 2014

Hardly ever write, yes read every issue...@iheartjacksparow is so right about Staples...I would never trust their employees to handle my mail...and I would be lucky to find one at the their postal counter if I did trust them...when they first started the printing business the first 6 months , someone was always there to take your order...now you go in and wait, and look around for someone to come over...most of the Staples employees could not care less about customers...in the Post office there is always a manager who you can call out...good luck at Staples

Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons   Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons

by: Mary P This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 21 07:22:05 2014

This is nothing new.  I have been using the USPS counter at my local Ace Hardware for several years.  The USPS trained Ace Hardware employees are awesome!  They are knowledgeable, friendly and there is rarely a line.  Unlike the FIVE USPS locations I could use in my area.

Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons   Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Tue Jan 21 07:25:55 2014

By earlier saying ''optimal to have a dedicated employee for the USPS stuff'' I meant that there be an employee whose primary responsibility is the mail counter - not another department that could take them away from the mail counter creating long lines but no mail counter employee.

And if we are really lucky there is a dedicated employee dedicated to the USPS stuff : )


The small business' I've used that have a postal counter did have regulations to abide by, were inspected, and got paid for doing it.

Several years ago a gift shop owner told me that although it was a hassle for a normally 2 employee  store to dedicate one employee to the USPS part, the extra money AND the magnet for business traffic more than made up for it. At times she said she felt it made the difference in whether they continued to be in business.

If I owned a small B&M business and had the space to dedicate I'd at least look into it.


This is just not a new thing as others have also pointed out. Only the Staples trial with USPS is new. I don't use Staples, but one would hope they would have someone who has a clue behind the USPS counter.

Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons   Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 21 09:01:31 2014

As previously mentioned. Not new.
I have used USPS out of other stores with no problems. I'm not referring to buying a book of stamps either.
The unions job is to b---tch as loud as they can. That is what they get paid to do.  What they are doing is called job security for themselves. What do you do if you no longer have your job at the union?? What does that training get you??  Maybe go into politics??

Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons   Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons

This user has validated their user name. by: Bijoux Dragon
Web Site

Tue Jan 21 10:09:27 2014

The USPS in my area is amazing and I do not want to see its services diluted and staff reduced.  Throughout the last ice storm, with nothing moving, trees down across the roads and no power throughout the area, the mail was delivered.  They knew it was Christmas time and they wanted to get it all out to folks.  As  to postal wages, they are out working in heat that most folks stay indoors with, monsoon rains, dangerous road/walking conditions and bitter cold.  They put up with very, very rude and abusive customers and repetitive motion causing permanent injury.  They earn their money!  And no, I have no friends or relatives who work for the USPS other than this being a small city in which we know the workers as people.

No, if I have a several hundred dollar package to go out I will not be handing it over to staples.  The closest Staples is 25 miles away, populated by rude and untrained employees and is just not trustworthy.  Plus, it is not a big selling point if the package that can be shipped Sunday won't go out until Monday evening.

Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons   Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons

by: Toledo Maude This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 21 11:52:58 2014

Having suffered in Chicago for many years with poor counter service at my local Post Office always with too few counter clerks to process a never ending line of customers, I am pleased with this latest move.  

Now living for a decade in a small community, where counter service at the local Post Office is always better than a large city Post Office.  My Chicago friend who stills bitterly complains of the continuing long waits and poor indifferent customer service at the neighborhood Post Office.

But even in my small community, there are days when I wish to quickly drop off one or more package(s) with preprinted labels, and I have to wait in a long line as one or more postal clerks are processing passport applications rather than processing mail and packages.  Having the option to avoid long Post Office lines and run over to Staples is a dream come true.

Living in south Florida and dropping off a package at the local UPS office, the experience was always a long wait ending with surly UPS clerks.  When Office Depot started accepting UPS packages, I never returned to the UPS office with never a package not delivered on time.

This move to have Staples process USPS mail and packages is most welcome and long over due.  At my local Staples store, they accept UPS packages seven days a week.  So adding mail acceptance service will not be any new to the staff.  

This is a win-win situation for the Post Office and postal customers.    

Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons   Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Tue Jan 21 12:01:27 2014

Like with online sellers - the experience can vary from very bad to excellent service. I've experienced both with USPS. From not getting mail delivery or pick-up for 3-4 days after a snow storm to tears when saying goodbye to our fantastic USPS mail-lady when we moved.  

Like online sellers & buyers, we just can't paint everyone at USPS with the same broad brush stroke. Same with Staples employees.


One bad story that has stuck with me:

A retired USPS employee once told about one period of USPS strife in the 1980's or 90's  when upset employees deliberately ''rough handled'' insured packages until they could hear glass or bits shaking around in the package. Non-insured packages were avoided so that the sender would not be out any money.

Said he did not approve of  this, but  did not report it either as he was afraid of payback.  

Every single time I slap a label with insurance on a ''fragile'' package I think of this story & hope the employees that handle the package are happy campers.

Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons   Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons

by: JackieBlue This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 21 12:31:51 2014

Why is anyone using the actual counter for postal purchases? I only drop off packages, all pre-paid, at my local post office. I ship on Sundays, Saturdays, late at night ,etc., and they don't move through the system unless the postal system is open.

Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons   Chain Stores Add Postal Services: Pros and Cons

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 21 16:35:09 2014

"I am certain that the Staples employee that is responsible for handling the mail will likely get paid extra for providing the service.  Most likely Staples will pay them the part of their salary that they would have already and then the USPS will pay both Staples AND the employee for providing the service as well."


most likely NOT.  corporate retail delights in paying it's employees as little as possible and cries every time the minimum wage is raised.  i am sure that any mone the USPS gives them will be reported as more profit to the stockholders and the actual people doing the work won't see a penny.

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