|Tim McElligott Blog|
Stamp This: No Bailout for the USPS
You can’t rule an empire without the ability to communicate with its far reaches. Twenty-four hundred years ago the Persian Empire spanned 8 million kilometers across Asia, Africa and Europe. And it was their heroic horsemen who first braved the snow, the rain and the gloom of night – to say nothing of angry Athenians – to execute the swift completion of their appointed rounds.
And it was for them that the words were written which we ultimately borrowed and turned into folklore as a non-existent Postal Creed. So let’s not get all sentimental and patriotic about the United States Postal Service falling on hard times.
And let’s especially not fall into that “too big to fail" trap. If the USPS has to close on Saturdays, so be it. If they have to lay off 100,000 workers, so be it. We do not need to prop up the Post Office. We need to encourage and support innovative alternatives to the post office and let the chips fall where they may.
CNBC said this week that the USPS is trying to prevent the need for a government bailout by evaluating these and other cost-cutting measures. They are even threatening to close 2,000 local Post Offices.
I think the Post Office has done an incredible job over the past 230-plus years. Theirs is a logistical high-wire act of immense scale for which they should be applauded for the most part rather than endure life at the butt end of a joke as they often do.
However, others have proved that they can perform this act as well and often better than the USPS. You know who they are. But there is a new group of innovators for the new age of message delivery who also are proving they deserve a chance. These are companies such as doxo and Zumbox who are pioneering the dawn of digital postal mail and the stalwarts of print & mail such as Pitney Bowes, DST, OSG Billing, Info Directions and others who are helping billers transition to the new digital format as e-billing takes greater hold.
You can hear these companies tell their stories at B/OSS Live!, June 15-17, in Washington, D.C. It really is a fascinating time of transition to electronic media. Digital postal mail has the opportunity to do for mail delivery what the Kindle and other electronic readers have done for the publishing industry and the reading public.
Postal carriers once inspired the likes of Rudyard Kipling to go gaga over their heroics as in this snippet here from “The Overland Mail":
Is the torrent in spate? He must ford it or swim.
Has the rain wrecked the road? He must climb by the cliff.
Does the tempest cry "Halt"? What are tempests to him?
The Service admits not a "but" or and "if."
While the breath's in his mouth, he must bear without fail,
In the Name of the Empress, the Overland Mail.
Yeah, OK. Maybe they deserved it. But maybe it was even more appropriate that he was writing about mail carriers in India, considering that India will likely be the source for much of the software code that ushers in this new age.
So here’s a new postal creed for the new reality that neither celebrates Kipling’s love of British imperialism nor the polluting, gas-guzzling, tree-killing machine that is the USPS.
Neither tree nor landfill nor CO2 level will be harmed by the swift electronic appointment of your mail delivery.
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