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Universal Health Care? Visit the Post Office

Home - by - February 7, 2013 - 09:30 America/New_York - 5 Comments


Located just a few blocks from my office, the main downtown Chicago post office provides a real-world example of the dangers when the profit motive is stripped from any productive enterprise.

Several months ago, the post office removed the mechanical vending machines used by many patrons to buy simple books of stamps. At the time, an employee explained to me it was getting too costly to constantly repair and restock the machines.

In its place, a single electronic Automatic Postal Machine, intended to print stamps and weigh packages was installed. While it boasted a rather clunky, Prodigy-like interface the machine could print postage, limiting the burden on many of those waiting in line to speak to an actual postal employee.

In theory it sounds ideal, but in reality, the machine has been broken for well over a month. Day after day, week after week, at the main post office in one of the biggest cities in the world, the machine sits completely dead, preventing customers from being able to quickly purchase postage. Now all patrons must wait in line, which, because of the inefficiency, can often stretch 20 or 30 persons deep.

Universal Access

Broken postal machine, Loop Station, Chicago

Line em Up

Give the nature of the times, you might consider griping about a poorly run post office to be immaterial or foolish. But just imagine it s not a stamp you are waiting in line for, but a kidney transplant or life-saving MRI. With the push now to provide

for all Americans, that s exactly the frightening direction in which we are headed.

more: http://www.smartmoney.com/invest/markets/what-the-post-office-says-about-universal-health-care/


  1. eternal cracker p

    February 7th, 2013

    The biggest problem with US Mail is it’s so damn inconsistent. Well, you can rely on poor service, anyways.

    Walk into a McDonalds in New York or in California and you’re for sure to not only have an identical experience, but identical tasting food, with predictable quantities.

    Visit a post office in your hometown or the next town over and customer experience is totally different.

    Send a letter today, it might get there in 2 days or 8 days, no one really knows for sure. Your mail delivery might happen at 10am or 5pm, no one really knows for sure.

    Success is driven in large part by consistency, and it simply doesn’t exist at USPS.

    Just 2 days ago, I went to fetch mail from my PO Box and there was an application for a PO Box inside with high-lighter all over it that looked like a monkey scribbled with it’s toes. I waited in line for 5 minutes to ask WTF I have an application in my box for. From 2 stations over, a snotty postal worker snapped, “It’s there because we don’t have information for your box.” I said, “I just provided it to you a little over a year ago, what did you do with it?” In a voice that partially resembled English, “We don’t have it.” I say, “You took my name, address, drivers license, phone, and second form of identity being my homeowners insurance policy, and did exactly what with it? It’s personal information!” The snotty reply, “We don’t have it and if you don’t supply it we be closin’ your box. Do you wanna be talkin to a supa-visor?” I responded with a F.U. stare and walked out without saying a word. Yes, the ebonics was more pronounced the more the conversation went on.

    Thumb up +3

  2. thirdtwin

    February 7th, 2013

    The PO drank deeply from the cup of Dear Leader’s wisdom:

    “Obama claims ATMs and kiosks at airports have eliminated some jobs.

    ‘if you see it when you go to a bank you use the ATM, you don’t go to a bank teller. Or you go to the airport and you use a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate’, he said.”

    Thumb up +2

  3. Stirrin the B.S.

    February 7th, 2013

    There has been a monopoly, non-profit culture ingrained in the USPS for decades.

    Efficiency does not matter because there are no stockholders to answer to and up until FedEx and UPS there was no competition to worry about. The USPS marginally responded to the competition from those two.

    But when e-mail, and then on-line banking bill pay came along, I can only imagine how much those technologies cut into the PO’s revenue. By that time the only response that the USPS could have and should have done was to implement massive employee cuts and other efficiency improving measures. But that mentality just doesn’t exist in a quasi-governmental non-profit organization.

    Maybe the stamp kiosk was an attempt at efficiency, but the other element of competitive business practices that quasi-governmental organizations lack is CUSTOMER SERVICE.

    Government controlled healthcare will be a nightmare.

    Thumb up +4

  4. Goldenfoxx

    February 7th, 2013

    22,000 will lose their jobs, that means 22,000 more on the welfare roll. The post office has become a dinosaur and I’m surprised they have lasted this long. I got rid of my mail box at my home years ago and only have a PO box to receive meds by mail. Like many companies in the past who failed to keep up with technology, so will the way of the post office go.

    Thumb up +2

  5. Stranded in Sonoma

    February 7th, 2013

    I’ll bet you that machine was sabotaged. Some union member probably broke something intentionally so there would be a reason to keep more employees, even just one more.

    The constitution gives congress the power to create a post office. It doesn’t say it must be gov’t run.

    Thumb up +2