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John Smith
05-29-2017, 06:19 AM
Danton Smith There is a large chunk of this country where UPS (and I guess FEDEX) will accept a package for, but they give it to the USPS to deliver, because extremely rural areas are not profitable.



Elizabeth Higdon Danton Smith I know. I live in one of them. Doesn't change the fact that UPS and FedEx are two of the biggest opponents of the mail service. All it means is that without the USPS, us rural folks won't get service except at extremely prohibitive prices. It's like medical care and justice, the poor can have all of it they can afford--none. Netflix used to be the biggest user of the USPS, which is why the earlier attacks on the USPS were shelved ; streaming has killed that. Now it's likely Amazon, and they are heavily used by rural areas. There is hope that Amazon might oppose any destruction of the US mails. BTW, the USPS was privatized decades ago (that's why it is USPS.*com*, not USPS.*gov*) If they are not paying their way, they are evidence that privatization does not work. Of course, that is only true if the standard is service to all. If the standard is service only to the well-off, then it's just fine.
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Danton Smith Elizabeth Higdon Not exactly true. The Postal Reorganization Act was signed into law by Nixon. It's a quasi-private thing. It is still a service provided by the government, but it is supported by rates and fees. Only tax payer money is to subsidize free matter for the blind and non profit mailings. I tried for years, obviously failing, to get the USPS to sell a "Post Office" game where people would have to figure out how to move a letter from a mailbox in Florida to an address in Wyoming, etc. I've also tried to get them to put out a documentary on how they handled mail after Katrina or Sandy. I can't think of anything that' given better service at a more reasonable price than the postal service. Most, I fear, take it for granted, and give it little thought. How many people, do you think, realize there was mail/packages on the planes that hit the trade center?

Reynard38
05-29-2017, 07:57 AM
Flying for a commercial airline as I do is still referred to as "hauling the mail". We still do, a lot of it.
Quite a few Amazon orders of mine arrive by USPS. It'd be ironic if Amazon kept the USPS alive.

Also I have experienced the "service" where UPS hands the package off to the USPS. It sucks! Unbelievably slow. Jamestown Distributors did this to me. Once. I called them and told the to NEVER ship to me that way again. They apologized and have not repeated that error.

Breakaway
05-29-2017, 08:18 AM
I don't get much by mail anymore. Nothing, really, except unasked for ads and offers. Packages come UPS or FEDEX. ( Amazon free two-day shipping for Prime members is a good deal) All bill paying and personal communications are via Internet and phone.

I should really take my mailbox down, because all it does is collect tinder and waste.

Kevin

Reynard38
05-29-2017, 08:19 AM
I should really take my mailbox down, because all it does is collect tinder and waste.

Kevin

Been swiping right? ;)

Jim Bow
05-29-2017, 12:01 PM
Imagine FEDEX dispatching a truck to come to your house and pick up an envelope and deliver it 2000 miles to someone's door for $0.47.

When my dad was a lad in pre 1920s small town Indiana, they receive mail at about 10 a.m., read it, write a response, and the mailman returned at 2 p.m. to pick it up.

John Smith
05-29-2017, 12:03 PM
Flying for a commercial airline as I do is still referred to as "hauling the mail". We still do, a lot of it.
Quite a few Amazon orders of mine arrive by USPS. It'd be ironic if Amazon kept the USPS alive.

Also I have experienced the "service" where UPS hands the package off to the USPS. It sucks! Unbelievably slow. Jamestown Distributors did this to me. Once. I called them and told the to NEVER ship to me that way again. They apologized and have not repeated that error.

The dilemma is that in the extremely rural places, of which we have many, they simply cannot make a profit delivering.

Canoeyawl
05-29-2017, 12:31 PM
Significant years in USPS history

https://about.usps.com/publications/pub100/pub100_076.htm

TomF
05-29-2017, 01:00 PM
The dilemma is that in the extremely rural places, of which we have many, they simply cannot make a profit delivering.Which is the argument for operating the mail as a public service - whether directly as a department of Government, or through some arms-length arrangement (up here, called a "Crown Corporation"). It serves the national interest to be able to have the whole population get mail or etc., even in sparsely enough populated or remote enough places where there isn't a profitability-type business case for a private company to operate there. Exactly the same logic makes it a public service obligation to build and maintain roads and bridges to those places, or arrange for the small number of kids who live there to get an education, or (in civilized countries :D) health care. To use the example of a broadly fashionable public service of the day, the same applies to the need to have good "border security," even where very few people ever try to cross, legally or otherwise. "Public interest" rather than "business case."

The problem with privatization is that it's driven by "business case" only, and won't willingly bid on the money-losing parts of an enterprise. So when the profitable bits are "creamed off," the revenue stream that used to support unprofitable bits vanishes ... partly into the pockets of the new owners. And the stranded customers who still require service in the unprofitable parts of the business might not get service anymore, or might pay much higher "user fees" ...

... Or, "public interest" being what it is, the taxpayer might still provide what continues to be essentially a nation-binding service. Except that the Government provision can now only operate that rump-service at a deficit, because the bits which used to offset structural losses don't exist anymore. Which reinforces the notion that Government can only operate things inefficiently ... :(

TomF
05-29-2017, 01:53 PM
I live in a 'town' of 111,000 thirty miles west of Chicago, and I get packages delivered by handoff to USPS. I wouldn't consider my locale 'rural' - it's just cheaper for the shipper.That's interesting - it turns the typical argument in favour of privatization on its head. At least where you live, a Government agency delivers performance and cost-efficiency exceeding what the private sector is willing to provide to their customers at that price point. It's more profitable for the private sector to sub-contract to the Government agency than to do the work itself.

Makes you wonder how much more cost-effective things might be if USPS just handled it all, eh? ;)

Steve McMahon
05-29-2017, 02:00 PM
I live in a small town of 150, a 2 hour drive from the nearest "city". Many private couriers won't deliver here, and the ones that do only service us once a week. Canada Post and Amazon (usually via Canada Post) are essential services for us.

jackster
05-29-2017, 02:28 PM
Another "Catch 22" for USPS is that any price increase must be approved by Congress. They have refused many requests by USPS but still insist they balance there budget.
Also, Congress has made USPS pre-fund their retirement plans out of all proportion with ANY existing government or private company structure, and have the ability to use those funds (like they do with Social Security fund accounts) to borrow for the US government General Fund!!
Typical, I guess!

Tom Montgomery
05-29-2017, 02:38 PM
I live in the City of Louisville, Kentucky and have received packages sent by UPS through the USPS over the past year or so.

And that puzzled me given that Louisville, Kentucky is UPS's hub. :confused:

John Smith
05-29-2017, 02:59 PM
Another "Catch 22" for USPS is that any price increase must be approved by Congress. They have refused many requests by USPS but still insist they balance there budget.
Also, Congress has made USPS pre-fund their retirement plans out of all proportion with ANY existing government or private company structure, and have the ability to use those funds (like they do with Social Security fund accounts) to borrow for the US government General Fund!!
Typical, I guess!

They are also, I understand, extending the USPS having to pay it's pension/healthcare out into the future. What is likely not widely known is they are prohibited from making a profit. Ponder that for a moment. They have to break even. If their predictions are off and they fall short, they ask the taxpayer to make up the difference. If they are over, the government takes the excess. That 2006 bill cost them $5 billion plus a year.

While everyone probably has a letter here and there that didn't get delivered in a timely manner, overall I suspect most would view the Postal Service as having been a pretty good value.

John Smith
05-29-2017, 03:02 PM
I live in the City of Louisville, Kentucky and have received packages sent by UPS through the USPS over the past year or so.

And that puzzled me given that Louisville, Kentucky is UPS's hub. :confused:

It's all about money. Postal service has to deliver everywhere. Private firms WANT to deliver where they can make money. That depends on density of population. "Steps are time, and time is money" is an old quote, but it applies here.

Rum_Pirate
05-29-2017, 03:09 PM
You might like to read this:


Friday, July 11, 2008The Bank That Was Sent Through the Post Office (http://www.stampsofdistinction.com/2008/07/bank-that-was-sent-through-post-office.html)

It's Fun Friday -- time for some fun for the weekend. Enjoy today's post and I'll see you back here on Monday with more philatelic news and notes.


http://bp0.blogger.com/_r7sReQYd6vU/SHaPm6eNC_I/AAAAAAAAAmg/GxDJDnlqomg/s400/parcel_post_bank.jpg
"The Parcel Post Bank"
Vernal, UtahThe U.S. Post Office allows its customers to mail many things besides the familiar letter. A customer can send plants, insects, some types of live animals and some dead ones, too. A direct marketing research company surreptitiously mailed a football, a claw hammer, and even a water ski, with nothing other than adequate postage and a delivery label attached to it, just to see what happened. All were delivered with some chastisement from the destination postal clerk about the items needing to be properly wrapped. But the strangest thing to be sent through the mail was a bank. And not a child's piggy bank, but a savings institution.

Of course, the entire bank couldn't be sent through the mail system, as there are the obvious logistics of moving the building. But the next best thing was mailed -- all of the bricks used to construct the bank, all 80,000 of them.

On January 1, 1913, Parcel Post Service was inaugurated in the United States. This service provides for the shipment of packages between two places. Parcel post service was ideal for rural Americans, who could now use the post office as a delivery method to get packages sent through the mail. Farmers and rural craftsmen especially loved the convenience that it afforded them to get their products to market. City dwellers also used the service at a phenomenal rate. It was one of the most popular services added to basic mail service.


"it is not the intent of the United States Postal Service that buildings be shipped through the mail."
Mr. W. H. Coltharp, a young businessman in the town of Vernal, Utah, wanted to build a building and dedicate it to the memory of his father. After consulting with the directors of the local lending institution in the city, Coltharp proceeded with plans to build a building in which the front corner would be used as a new bank.

The bricks which Coltharp selected were made by the Salt Lake Pressed Brick Company, located about 120 miles away from Vernal, Utah by straight line, and even longer on the trails that weaved through Utah. Coltharp's problem was that the freight costs to haul 80,000 bricks from Salt Lake City to Vernal was prohibitive. The freight charges to ship the bricks to Vernal were about 4 times more expensive than what the bricks cost. In a stroke of creative genius, Coltharp decided he would have the bricks mailed to the small town, taking advantage of the cheap parcel post rates.

In order to meet the postal regulations of the day, Coltharp had the bricks carefully packaged in crates weighing less than 50 pounds, the upper limit of what the post office would permit. News accounts indicate that 40 or so crates were shipped each time, meaning that each attempted shipment was equivalent to one ton.

The trek from Salt Lake City had to take a very circuitous route in order to get to Vernal. First, the bricks were sent to Mack, Colorado, using the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. From there, they went to Watson, Colorado by way of a narrow gauge railroad. Finally the bricks were hauled the final 65 miles to Vernal by freight wagon. The total length of this route was over 400 miles.

As the post offices began to get overwhelmed by the cartons of bricks, the postmasters began to get frantic. Ultimately the entire quota of bricks were delivered, but the post office changed their regulations. The new rules stipulated that the sender and receiver could only ship or receive a total of 200 pounds of goods in a single day. In a clarification of the rule, the postal administration indicated that "it is not the intent of the United States Postal Service that buildings be shipped through the mail."



The Bank of Vernal was completed and was nicknamed "The Parcel Post Bank" by some of the town's residents. The building still exists and is still used as a bank; it now serves as a branch office of Zion's Bank and is located on West Main Street in the city of Vernal.

Tom Montgomery
05-29-2017, 03:12 PM
So the USPS (i.e. the Federal Government) is subsidizing UPS?

TomF
05-29-2017, 03:13 PM
So the USPS (i.e. the Federal Government) is subsidizing UPS?Curious, ain't it. Clearly USPS is efficient enough that at least where Fred lives, UPS can sub-contract deliveries to them and still make a profit.

It does make you wonder why folks use UPS instead ...

JayInOz
05-29-2017, 03:45 PM
I've often wondered how the Americans calculate their freight charges. My friend Patsy used to send me slabs of heat treated rock of various types for knapping. One pound of rock was a flat rate of ten dollars. Now I look at things like large chisels- slicks- on Ebay. One person will want thirty dollars freight and another eighty dollars. I've never understood it. But last week I was looking at an American site called the Patchstop. I wanted a couple of small embroidered patches for my bike jacket- these things are about three inches by less than two- and the quote for postage was ninety three US dollars- each! That's about 120 or 30 Aussie for something that weighs maybe a fifth of an ounce. Can somebody explain it to me? I buy most of my stuff from Asia these days- postage is up to three or four dollars, but usually free. JayInOz

TomF
05-29-2017, 03:48 PM
I've always figured that some Ebay sellers just use "shipping and handling" costs to inflate profits. Fine print, and all that.

Too Little Time
05-29-2017, 05:51 PM
You might like to read this:
Then there are the stories of kids being shipped by mail.

Rock collectors in Alaska send 1 gallon gas cans filled with rocks to the lower 48.

We get a reasonable number of packages where the last mile is done by the post office.