[ Editor’s Note: Our publisher, Pat Martin, ran a column in our April print edition about the delated U.S. Postal Service delivery of our March issue due to winter weather and other factors. Reaction was strong on both sides. Here’s a sample. ]
Your piece about the USPS was not exactly fair.
Because the USPS has to go to Congress to make many of its changes, the USPS is not a common business. It is subject to different rules that prevent it from being able to go forward on its own with any plans to generate more revenue and therefore have more funds to improve services, as another completely private businesses would be able to do.
The USPS does generate its own revenue and is not government funded as some people think. And as you may have heard, the post office has been forced to close some of its facilities that might have sped up the process because they are required by our congress to pre-fund 5.5 billion a year in health expenses for future retirees, which other private businesses are not required to do.
The USPS motto began in an era when mail was largely local, and transportation was different, but even then there could be weather conditions that prevented mail from being delivered to smaller towns from larger cities, and there probably were occasional icy conditions or storms that would have prevented safe postal delivery within a town. As my husband pointed out, the USPS is also liable if one of their vehicles is involved in an accident, so weather can and does impact service for many reasons.
This winter, we did not get mail only one day due to weather, despite the fact that our carrier has to commute to 75225 from DeSoto. During bad weather, there are some employees who actually sleep in the bigger facilities, I was told, but I doubt that all the carriers could bunk in local post offices even if all the mail made it there to be delivered and they could safely drive on the streets.
You also may not realize that the first-class mail always takes priority, which is why publications such as yours may have to wait in line.
You mentioned that there is no competition for mail service, but having a postal service is in the constitution, and there is little or no profit in delivering mail to rural areas like they do, so it’s a good thing that we have held on to this nationwide service. But if you could still go back to having someone throw your paper, put the papers out and about to be picked up like other free publications, then do, or you could pay more and mail it first class, which would bump it up in priority.
I can understand your frustration, but I certainly didn’t blame you for the delay in your newspaper’s reaching me, and, in fact, I didn’t even notice that it was late. Thank you for your hard work!
— Jane Hoffman
Don’t let up on the U.S. Post Office. Their performance is absolutely horrible and it doesn’t take a snowstorm for them to earn that reputation.
My zip code is 75220, and the main post office for our neighborhood is on Northwest Highway. It doesn’t take a snowstorm for us not to get mail. On several occasions this past summer, we went two or three days without mail. I personally visited the Postmaster and all he could say was, “Yeah, we’ve had some problems in that area.”
I even asked for his logic — why if the last part of a route had to be cancelled for whatever reason, why they didn’t start the next day where they left off rather than start from the beginning of the route, therefore leaving some of us without mail for two or three days at a time. He tilted his head as if this were rocket-science thinking, and said something like, “Oh yeah, I guess we could try that, but it would really be confusing for our delivery force.”
As for the snowstorm, it’s interesting that the Midwest and cities like Boston and elsewhere never suffered a day without a mail delivery. Yes, they have more snow-removal equipment, but let’s be honest. We didn’t get that much snow, and most of it melted later that same day, leaving plenty of time to complete most routes.
As a side note, did you happen to notice the number of banks and schools and businesses that closed, but right near my house La Madeleine, Starbucks and The Original Pancake House were packed for breakfast and lunch! It seems people can’t drive to their offices but sure can make it out to get something to eat or to get coffee. And the manager at Albertsons (now Minyard) brought in breakfast for his morning staff that showed up in full force. Most arrived by city bus.
So Pat, please don’t let up on the U.S. Post Office. This is not a budget cutback issue. It’s a management issue and seems to lie right here in our backyard, the Preston Hollow area.
— Robert Schuetz