I was raised on the belief that the United States Postal Service delivered your mail anytime and anywhere you needed it. Nothing could stop the delivery of the mail.
I was disappointed to learn the official motto of the Post Office…
Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.
…turns out to be more mantra than motto because the United States Postal Service has no motto — official or otherwise — and you can blame it all, of course, on New York City!
This inscription was supplied by William Mitchell Kendall of the firm of McKim, Mead & White, the architects who designed the New York General Post Office. Kendall said the sentence appears in the works of Herodotus and describes the expedition of the Greeks against the Persians under Cyrus, about 500 B.C. The Persians operated a system of mounted postal couriers, and the sentence describes the fidelity with which their work was done. Professor George H. Palmer of Harvard University supplied the translation, which he considered the most poetical of about seven translations from the Greek.
I mention this research because I’ve noticed lately how lousy the mail service has become.
In our neighborhood you can count on two things:
1. If it’s raining or snowing, you won’t get mail delivery.
2. If it’s a day before a holiday, you won’t get mail delivery.
I suppose the only comfort in those two harsh and lousy facts is that you quickly learn to anticipate them and they become the ordinary and the expected.
I also find it strange that when our regular mail carrier is out sick or on vacation, we get our mail at 9:30am in the morning instead of 3:30pm. What is our regular mail carrier doing that takes six hours longer than a replacement carrier running the same route?
It seems every couple of years the USPS threatens us with going out of business unless they raise rates. We’re quickly getting to the point where we don’t care.
The USPS also wants every single email we send to cost us a few pennies because email is hurting their hard mail business.
There has been some talk about having your local Post Office also serve as your community bank to help ease the current financial crisis. I’m not sure if that’s a good idea or not in light of the USPS charging more for less.
I grew up in the days when you’d get home mail delivery both in the morning and the afternoon instead of once a day.
Now there’s talk about removing Saturday delivery for our mail and I wonder how fast the USPS will move to a three-day-a-week schedule followed by “in person only” pickup for mail as it eventually becomes too expensive to bring your mail right to your front door.
Do we still need a United States Postal service? Or have email and ebilling changed the way we communicate and do business?