Some good people work at the Post Orifice. I know several. One of my dad’s best friends and WWII paratrooper retired from the Post Orifice. He was a great guy and good friend to my parents.
On the other hand, the United States Postal Service is among the incompetent, bureaucratic, broken down, 19th century, poorly managed excuses for an organization since the Soviet Union went out of business.
Case Study: Christmas Gift
My wife ordered a handbag for my stepdaughter for Christmas. She ordered it on December 16. The seller shipped it Priority Mail from Overland Park, Kansas, the same day. On the USPS web site, the tracking information indicated it should arrive in Ballwin, Missouri, on 12/19.
On 12/19, my wife logged on to see if it was in town. It was in the town of Warrendale, Pennsylvania. For those of you who failed geographic (and for Postal workers who didn’t attend high school), here’s a map showing the relationships between Kansas, Missouri, and Pennsylvania:
As you can see, the purse started out (left pin) much closer to Ballwin, MO (middle pin), than it was 2 days later (right pin). Warrnendale, PA, is pretty close to the Atlantic Ocean. Overland Park, KS, is pretty darn close to Ballwin, MO. In fact, I could drive to Overland Park, get the purse, and drive back to Ballwin in a day without really exerting myself. A trip to Warrendale, PA, on the other hand, would require a night in a hotel.
The geniuses at the Post Orifice had to carry the purse through Ballwin, MO, to get it to Pennsylvania. But rain or snow or dark of night, these couriers loose our Christmas presents like the professionals they are.
My wife called the USPS on December 19, of course. She was curious as to why they took the package 642 miles out of the way. The postal worker said that Priority Mail can take up to 10 days. Apparently, they intended to use all 10. Still, the postal worker assured my wife the package would arrive by Christmas morning.
On December 22, the package was still in Warrendale.
On December 24, the package left Warrendale.
On December 26, the package returned to Warrendale.
On December 27, the package left Warrendale.
This pattern continues to today, January 3, 2009. One day it leaves Warrendale; the next day it returns.
Today our local Post Orifice called my wife to read to her exactly what my wife can see on their web site: the package is "looping," the clerk told her.
"Yes, I can see that," she said. "When will you stop looping it and send it to Ballwin, Missouri, which is just 250 miles east of Overland Park, Kansas?"
"Well, we can’t say," the postal clerk told her. "There might be something wrong with the address on the package . . . a torn label or something. Hard to tell from here."
"Then why are you calling me instead of someone at the Warrendale Post Office?"
"Because this is your post office," the clerk answered, as if "Duh!"
"Well," my wife asked, "will it ever get here?"
"Eventually, they’ll just return it to the sender in Kansas," the clerk said.
"When is ‘eventually?’"
"Hard to say from here."
Just Wait ‘Til They Start Building Cars
The reason the Post Orifice sucks golf balls through 200 feet of garden hose is because it is a government-owned corporation, like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Everything the government does sucks. Why should carrying a package a couple hundred miles be any different?
The government will apply the same standards of excellence to the cars it builds. Anyone, therefore, who buys a Chevy or Chrysler after the bailout deserves the waste of steel he gets. The last time a government tried to build a car and sell it in the USA, it became the gold standard of things that suck: Yugo. As in, "The Post Orifice is the Yugo of delivery services," or "Fannie Mae is the Yugo of financial institutions." Shortly, the Cadillac will be the Yugo of Cadillacs.
Another the reason the Post Orifice sucks will be a natural fit at GM and Chrysler: unions that bar managers from firing drunk, drugged, lazy, entitlement-minded, and incompetent workers. (Yeah, I know, "workers" is an exaggeration.) Imagine the guy who loops my stepdaughter’s purse every morning at 2:00 a.m. adjusting the brakes on your Escalade.
Oppose Government Action
If you make one resolution for this new year, make it this: I will oppose government action of any kind because everything the government does sucks golf balls through 200 feet of cheap garden hose.
And if you buy online, make them ship it FedEx or UPS. Never trust the Post Orifice.