Sometimes there are so many things humorous about a news item that you don’t know where to begin to make fun of it. But with others — like the US Postal Service deciding to stop service on Saturdays – is so funny it borders on being heartbreaking. Like one of those well meaning but painfully bad cable access shows that air at 3:30 am on a channel you didn’t even knew existed. To make fun of the USPS at this point would be tantamount to beating a dead horse… with a baby seal…at an orphanage.
The situation is so pathetic, that the USPS, which loses about $25 million a day now, is being championed by the chief cause of its demise, the Internet. On Facebook they started a save snail mail campaign. Will social media help save the Postal Service and Saturday delivery? On Saturday they had a “Buy a stamp and mail a letter or a postcard on Saturday. That’s what one Facebook event, titled “Because we love snail mail,” asked its participants to do. More than 900 people had signed up though who knows if they actually went through with it. What I will make fun of though (regular readers saw that coming) is the double standard that exists between the two.
Recently, my apartment building added a recycle bin near the mailboxes. Then another. It’s up to four. Supermarket flyers, car dealership direct mail, political campaign pieces, etc. – all true junk mail. If I leave town for a week, it’s a fire hazard. Yet, they continue to send them and the Postal service continues to stuff my box with them. So maybe once a month I receive a piece of mail that does not go right into the recycle bin.
Stopping Saturday postal service is great news –unless you’re a kid. And anything with your name sent to you is welcome. My daughter is being inundated with college recruitment and loves it. She’s upset about the stopping of Saturday service. But then again she’s a teenager – she gets upset about everything. (Don’t tell her I said that).
Email junk filters however have become so sophisticated that its statistics are the inverse of snail mail. An unwanted piece of mail gets into my inbox maybe once a month. And when it does, more times than not it has an unsubscribe button. And poof! It’s spam no more. It also learns my preferences, and if I am getting unsolicited mail, it’s often quite targeted to my likes.
Technology could save the US Post Office if Uncle Sam is willing to take a lesson from my Gmail spam filter. Deliver less things we don’t want and more surprise things we do and you may start making rather than losing millions a day. Maybe they can come up with a way for me to opt out of Piggly Wiggly fliers or menus from that pizza place, or the ValPak of nonsense. And start sending me coupons for In-N-Out Burgers and marriage proposals from Eastern European supermodels.