By Mel Carriere
Sometimes there is just nothing cooking on the burner of my brain, especially when my head has been getting baked by the low winter sun all day. One bad thing about our sunny winters in Southern California is that very often there are no clouds to block the sun, and because the solar orb rides so low in the sky during this time of year a sun hat or pith helmet or even the sombrero I purchased in TJ on a bender one Friday night just isn't enough to block it. Yes, I know all of your letter carriers slogging through the snow out there want to strangle me and I would deserve it, but believe me if I could ship you some of this sunshine I would most certainly do so. Since I can't, just look at my sunny palm tree lined picture above for a little while and you might feel a little warmer.
Because I was lacking for inspiration, today I thought I would dig through the Postal News and give you my commentary on a few interesting items I found there.
- I suppose it's too early yet to know what the new House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz's new agenda will be from a postal perspective, but at least he had the good taste to take down his predecessor Darrell Issa's portrait from the committee's chambers. An encouraging bit of news is that in place of Darth Issa's ugly frowning mug casting an evil shadow on everything it touches, Chaffetz will hang pictures featuring "everyday America," including photos related to the Postal Service. Signs of the Issa personality cult that reigned previously are being purged, and I can't help but be hopeful that this is a step in the right direction for us.
- That's Washington postal news for you, but over in Moscow Russian postal workers will apparently be swinging their satchels down the street to the beat of the goose-step, as the Russian Postal Service has been issued what are being called "Nazi SS style" uniforms. No word on whether toothbrush mustaches will also be required by the grooming standards.
- Bridgeport, Illinois is being called a "postal desert" after two local post offices were closed down recently, and our corporate competitor UPS is moving in quickly to fill the void. This same thing is probably happening everywhere. The Constitution has been ripped up, the "Service" part of our name has been slashed, and now UPS comes charging in to bilk residents of this community and others with exorbitant mailbox and shipping fees. A sign of things to come? I certainly hope not.
- On a local note, my coworkers and I were thinking out loud today about how much money could be raked into postal coffers if the Postal Service actually required all of its customers to pay postage. Remember the days when there was a revenue protection unit that enforced the use of proper postage? Recently I took a photo of six packages going to one address that had copies of the same postal shipping label and bar code affixed to them. I emailed this photo to my supervisor, and was replied to with a resounding ho-hum. And what about those Chinese "registered" packages that are charged a laughable two to five dollars apiece, but require the letter carrier to go to the door for a signature? Maybe we could avoid a few processing plant and post office closures if we could just protect our existing revenue streams. I'm just sayin'.
Okay, I'm tired and they are going to chase me out of Starbucks any minute now, so I am going home. I hope you had a pleasant postal Thursday and I will talk to you soon. Think warm thoughts.
Here are the links to the articles I discussed today:
Featured photo is my own, for a change.