Monday, December 15, 2008

No Stamps at the Post Office!

I walked to my local post office. I wanted the exercise and to walk one mile each way. Who these days considers a mile or two walk if an automobile is available? I did not want to spend on gasoline or a parking meter. Worst thing about this story is that I only needed two stamps.

I wrote an article about a previous visit to this local post office and I did not think that things could get worse but here goes.

The post office was out of stamps. I came armed with exact change to deal with the fickle stamp machine in the lobby. No stamp machine anymore. Sign in the Post Office window, presumably from Saturday, is that they were out of stamps and more would arrive on Monday. Hello! It’s Monday.

Hey, it is Christmas season. I can understand running out of Santa Claus and the Virgin Mary but no stamps at all?

In my entire life of over half a century I have never been in a U.S. Post Office that did not have stamps! This is Intolerable! This is a certain sign of the collapse of American Civilization!

Are the government printing presses only printing money these days and not something as valuable as a 42 cent stamp?

Alright I stand in line and the wait is unbelievable – only five minutes – the usual time is twenty minutes - of course the line is short – there are no stamps.

Other post offices have better service which is where I usually drive to but today I wanted to walk.

The clerk wanted to sell me some 55 cent stamps hanging around. Then I asked that she weigh my two envelopes and put a Pitney Bowes machine price and paid sticker on my envelopes. I had to tell the person with a government job what to do in this unusal situation. Unbelievable! This country has truly gone to hell!

Then I ask for a reason why no stamps? Are they going to close this post office? No reply. Typical modern say rudeness and inferior customer service. But I am not at the Mall and getting store clerks cracking gum in my face or staring a blank stare at me when I ask a simple question in my native English. I am asking a question of a supposed to be qualified quasi-government employee and I get no answer.

Whatever! I won’t write to the postmaster general. Why waste a valuable stamp to wake up one of the bureaucrats asleep at the switch like at every other agency in Washington D.C.!

Below my Ezine Article from February:

American Joe

I went to the post office. I expected to wait. I had a package that weighed over a pound and can no longer be put in a mail box. Another new rule to make the post office more efficient and profitable.

The man ahead of me was extremely upset. The line for service was out the door of the official post office and lining up in the outer lobby with the post office boxes and ready to spill over into the street.

The man stepped out of line and went to the window and demanded to see the supervisor.

He explained to me that he could hear the staff shooting the bull on the other side of the door in the outer lobby marked "staff use only". Finally the supervisor came out and communicated with this irate customer.

"We've got five clerks. Two called in sick. I have one on the customer window and the rest of us are sorting mail."

The irate customer decided to leave and take his very large package to another post office.

I stood in line and saw that most of the customers ahead of me were purchasing money orders and only enough stamps to mail bills.

Somewhere along the time line, the Post Office system has become the banker of last resorts for people off the grid. These people appear to be too poor to have a computer or an Internet hookup.

Most banks will not sell you a money order unless you have an account with them.
Myself, I avoid any interface with the great demon of this modern age, the Internet, when it comes to online banking or paying bills online etc.

No built in protection for the consumer in such a scenario. One company electronically debits your account a day before your direct deposit hit's the account and all of a sudden you have a thirty five dollar insufficient balance fee, the equivalent of a bounced check.

This whole age of electronic banking and Internet shopping has its convenience but it has many a pitfall and the consumer has no rights, just fees, fees, fees.

So back to the post office. You pay your fee for the money order and mail your bill. Such a waste of green resources such as paper and such an old fashioned reassurance that the bill gets paid and nobody is going to fee you to death.

I say this because banks these days are little more than boutiques or executive suites. The people you see in cubicles in a bank are free lancers selling loans, mortgages, annuities for a commission and or a fee. Banks as they used to be are old fashioned and obsolete in the corporate and academic management view of the world.

There was a time when banks only did banking and these freelancers, these fee generators in the cubicles had to follow strict regulations about who and how much you could lend to somebody in the form of a car loan or a mortgage.

You want to know why the American mortgage market is melting down. Let's go back to the holy grail of deregulation in the 1980's where the present crisis has its roots.

The Savings and Loan scandals of the late 1980s were a precursor and an ominous warning of things happening today. Didn't anybody listen or learn anything back then about the ills and flipside of deregulation? America's memory is quite short these days.

The rules of the game keep changing, kind of like trying to find the queen in a street game of three card monty. The playing field is quite unlevel. The golden rule stands.

"He who has the gold makes the rules".

I had to wonder standing there in line at the post office. When did we become such an inefficient nation that banks no longer did good banking and the Post Office had less to do with the mail?

I also had to wonder when we had become such a third world nation to put up with such retarded spreadsheet management techniques invented at Harvard, Brown and Wharton.

There are still little people down on the ground oh great masters of theoretical spreadsheet profits. There is money to be made there from the lesser income markets. But you pick and choose your marketing targets. How graceful and stupid. How MBA of you. Sounds a little like the refusal to make money from minorities back in the days of segregation. Doesn't sound like good business. Sounds more like laziness or the hardening of financial arteries.

I wondered if all this crap, inefficiency, and a belief in outsourcing mentality was why we lost, or remain losing the war in Iraq. Remember the term "mission accomplished" came from the lips of an Ivy League MBA. I mean if we didn't have expensive contractors there doing little or nothing, we could have used a draft based military to really win and get out etc. if it truly was in our strategic interests to do so.

Excuse my frustration; it took twenty minutes in line to mail my package. I guess I am stupid and was supposed to take it to the expressy mail shop or some other new fangled such way of doing things. I am not ahead of any new curve whatever that gimmick or spin currently is.

Stand on your head. Scream like a chicken. The average American Joe is discounted and not considered as valid on many real corporate or government spreadsheets these days.

No comments:

Post a Comment