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.
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.