Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What Do You Want from your Next Generation Postal Vehicle?

By Mel Carriere

At long last we have received the new scanners in our office.  They came in Tuesday and beeped noisily and unrelentingly as a clerk put in the batteries and set them up for use.  A co-worker and I posited, only half jokingly, that this was a scheme by management to get us out of the office quicker.  It worked, because the noise was unbearable and everybody was hustling to get out to the street.

With the new scanners installed I guess the next step is the NGV, the so-called Next Generation Vehicle that will help us keep pace with the package-heavy delivery environment of the future.  Letter Carriers realize that more than anything else we need a vehicle that will allow us to load packages easier by letting us freely walk in and out of the back without having to double ourselves into a pretty postal blue colored L shape.  I suffered a double inguinal hernia in 1998 that I think was a direct result of this bending process.  Just so you know, the inguinal canals in which this hernia appears are the two rabbit holes that a man's family jewels burrow themselves into for safety when they are cold or they are scared.  I am 6 foot 3, so I have to do a lot of bending to arrange packages in the LLV, and I'm sure that's how my rabbit holes were ravaged.  I know other Letter Carriers that have had this same hernia.  I call it mailman's hernia, but I don't think that's the correct medical term.  I digress.

The USPS is now busily searching for a manufacturer for this Next Generation Vehicle, and they have a long laundry list of specifications that must be met by the winning bidder.  I am sure most of these rigid specifications can be ignored or worked around if a manufacturer is willing to shave a few bucks off the price. I am also pretty sure that input from Letter Carriers is being completely ignored in the design selection process, and that most of the requirements are being dreamed up by people who have either never delivered mail or haven't dropped a letter into a mailbox in anger since about the days of the Pony Express.

In light of this dearth of input by people who actually deliver mail, I thought I would create my own "laundry list" of specifications that I think would be helpful additions to any Postal NGV.  Let me know your own ideas in the comments section.  Together we can design the optimal Postal Vehicle of the future.

  • I want a built in "Panic Room," completely isolated from visual, auditory, or unpleasant olfactory signals coming from mentally unstable Postal Customers that I choose to hide from rather than confront.  When I am on my uncompensated lunch break and see a stupid question approaching on two legs I would like to press the Panic Room button and vanish from view entirely.
  • A party deck on the top of the vehicle that I could reach from a folding staircase inside the truck would be nice, if not essential.  There would also have to be a retractable lounge chair up there or I'm not signing off on it.  From this vantage point I could eat my lunch in style, being master of all I survey as I kick back sipping a beverage from one of those cool coconut cups with an umbrella straw stuck into it.  A wet bar and refrigerator would also be part of the deal, of course, but I'll consent in the interests of safety that it only be stocked with non alcoholic kiddie drinks.
  • A rotating machine gun turret capable of firing high velocity paint balls would be a must as a non lethal but excruciatingly painful and messy way to discourage annoying yapping Chihuahuas and equally annoying yapping customers trying to get their checks early on the first of the month.  Of course, this would require an extra seat for a Postal "tail gunner" who could quickly dispatch approaching threats like skateboarders trying to set up a vehicle collision for an easy payday. 
  • On a more serious note, I demand a black box flight recorder with cameras and audio recorders to back me up when a dog owner swears I straight on kicked their Cocker Spaniel but it was clearly a soccer style shot for extra distance.
What kind of exciting features would you like to see in your Postal Vehicle of the 21st century?  I look forward to seeing your interesting, unusual, and hopefully irreverent comments below.  You can be the first to do this by clicking on the link that says "No comments."

Read Mel's Latest CCA advice on Hub Pages - Have Satchel will Travel

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