Monday, June 30, 2008

Making them happy

I love newspapers. I was a publisher myself. And I love the mail.

When someone writes in to a newspaper that they love their Post Office, I get warm benny-fuzzies.

The Decorah Journal had a letter from a customer who moved to Norway, yet still comes back to the Iowa town of Decorah for visits.

He said this:"Just to see the sign of the Post Mary Weiss, Sharon Gerleman, Linda RaglandOffice gives me a profound feeling of being at home, and safe. At the Post Office, you still feel the joyful ritual of mailing an old-fashioned letter. It is a place of welcome – whether it’s in the freezing cold, in summer heat, or even in times of flood. Even waiting in line is a good experience. You meet people, hear news, and many times I have seen people come out with a happier look than when they went in. Thank you for such splendid service over the years."
-- Oyvind Gulliksen

What do your customers like best?

Decorah Retail Associates Mary Weiss, Sharon Gerleman and Linda Ragland have a reputation for putting smiles on customer's faces.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Dicey mail

Reader "Jim" wrote me with this tale of strange mail.

"More than 20 years ago, when I was a distribution clerk, I happened to catch something out of the corner of my eye in the crease along the bottom edge of an 'empty' spring loaded hamper. To my surprise, it was a regular-sized dice, with a stamp folded around the edges. It had "To" and "From" addresses written in the tiniest print on different sides of the dice.

Even more amazing, was that the dice had made it all the way through its mail processing journey from Las Vegas origin to its Bellevue, WA, destination, arriving in a hamper containing regular sized parcels and larger SPRs."

Back in my day, before the DMM, I saw it all. The things that came through the mail! An ale mug, a quill pen, and a horseshoe. Some joker sent some knickerbockers to me directly and someone else sent some of Dr. Tom's mystical magical health potion with the cap loose and it spilled all over my hands. I must admit, my hands are much softer and more supple now.

What's the weirdest thing you've ever seen in the mail? Click to tell me.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Not everyone agrees with me

It's a truth of human interaction. We will disagree.

Back in my day, when I disagreed with people, I would hide behind a pen names like Mrs. Silence Dogood, Anthony Afterwit, and Richard Saunders. To publicly humuliate those I didn't like, I published "Poor Richard's Almanak" and took over the The Pennsylvania Gazette, which you know as The Saturday Evening Post.

But enough about me. How should we agree to disagree in today's workplace?
So, how would like your boss to disagree with you? How do you disagree with those who work for you? Add your constructive comment here:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Does this tunic make me look fat?

What do you think?

Can anyone suggest a different outfit that isn't so....dated?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

One way to save on gas

Alaskans are known for their ... ingenuity.

According to Eagle River, AK, Postmaster David Lynch, rising gas prices "compel us to seek out alternative methods of delivery."

The photo is of Letter Carrier Karen Maskarinec.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Holding on

This community church mailbox is from Burns, WY. While this is indeed, a unique mailbox, take a look at the concrete blocks hanging from the box. This is to brace against the strong Wyoming wind gusts.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Why wait? Give now.

Petersburg, NE, Postmaster Ginni Fangman is a living donor.

Earlier this year she donated a kidney to her brother-in-law, who was in need of a transplant.

The two had compatible blood types and enough matching antibodies.

Her only regret is that she can't give another!

"A rewarding experience," Ginni said. "It isn't everyday that you get the chance to save someone's life."

She wants to get the word out -- "be an organ donor."

"Who knows," she said, "maybe someday the person who needs an organ may be your child, spouse or a good friend."

What do you think?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

"Do you need help?"

A big Benny salute to all the postal employees in Iowa and those along the Mississippi River who are under plenty of water. Many towns of all sizes have been flooded and more than a few Post Offices impacted. Several dozen postal employees have been personally flooded out. Our thoughts are with you!

One young customer had a great question that he posed in this letter:

What do you think about the committment of the P.O. to slosh on through sleet, snow and flood waters? Click here to tell me.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Monumental moment

With Mount Rushmore as a stunning backdrop, a special cancellation ceremony marked the first day of sale for a new stamp honoring the presidential memorial.

The $4.80 Priority Mail stamp is the fourth to depict Mount Rushmore.

Collector envelopes are available for $15 framed and $10 unframed from:

Postmaster, 111 Winter St., Keystone, SD, 57751-9998.

Keystone, SD, Postmaster Ardeen Nalls, Dakota District Manager Clem Felchle and Lincoln impersonator Fritz Klein.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Can someone build me a table?

I guess our Postal Service is putting the Eames and their new-fangled furniture designs on stamps. Well, as an inventor myself, who took a fancy to wood and carpentry, I appreciate their creativity.

I wish I had the Eames around back in the day when my wife wanted me to build a new table. I spent hours crafting, cutting and sanding that thing and ended up looking less than square. I actually got it to stand on three legs, but it wasn't much good for holding the chicken dinner.

Today, you would call it "art." Back then, we called it "firewood."

Monday, June 16, 2008


Today, the Postal Service will use 1.5 million gallons of gasoline.

With gas near $4 a gallon, tell me, what should we do?

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Found in Reeder, ND

Photo courtesy of V.R. Honeyman

Friday, June 13, 2008

Rally around the flags (stamps)!

Tomorrow is Flag Day. It's an important day to remember our Union. A lot of us sacrificed our livelihoods, even our lives so that future generations could freely gather around flags of our states and our union.

That's why I'm proud that the Postal Service will begin issuing the first set of 60 "Flags of Our Nation" stamps.

The stamps will salute the flags of the U.S., every state in the union, the five territories and the District of Columbia.

The first 10 of these U.S. flag stamps will come out tomorrow and include the Stars and Stripes, plus stamps depicting the state or territorial flags of Alabama, Arkansas, American Samoa, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut and Delaware.

They will be followed in alphabetical order by 10 more this fall. (District of Columbia through Kansas.) The Flags of Our Nation series will continue in 2009 and 2010, with four of the six groups of 10 to include a Stars and Stripes stamp.

What do you think? My favorite is the New Hampshire flag. “Live Free or Die,” baby! That was our rallying cry!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Marvelous engineering

The dam stamps are finally available!

The 2008 Express Mail and Priority Mail stamps, featuring the Hoover Dam and Mount Rushmore go on sale today.

The Hoover Dam, subject of the new Express Mail stamp, is the nation’s tallest concrete dam and was the tallest dam ever built when completed in the mid-1930s.

The Priority Mail stamp features an illustration of Mount Rushmore National Memorial, located in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Completed in 1941, the monument features large-scale sculptures of four American presidents — George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. (Have I ever told you that I, ahem, personally knew two of these rock heads?)
As the story goes, Doane Robinson, the secretary of the South Dakota State Historical Society, developed the idea for the sculpture during the 1920s. Robinson contacted sculptor John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum, who selected Mount Rushmore. Borglum died before he was able to finish the monument, which was later completed by his son.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Mail service -- down under

We were sent this photo of "Joey," a mail carrier from Melbourne, Australia.

A visiting USPS city carrier, Janice McCarthy, took the photo, and gave him a USPS patch.

After snapping his picture, Janice was told that he doesn't deliver on Saturday, doesn't pick up outgoing mail and doesn't deliver anything but First Class Mail. But he does get to scoot around in a Honda!

What do you think about mail delivery service around the world? Drop me a note by clicking here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Waiting for his birthday present

Ethan waits (im)patiently for his birthday card from Grandma.

Do you still send birthday, graduation, anniversary cards? Or are you all electronic? Tell me why.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Poll results - favorite postal character

The results are in -- "Who is your favorite fictional postal character?"

Cliff Claven, "Cheers"................................................31 %
Kevin Costner character, "The Postman".............25 %

Aliens embedded on earth, "Men In Black"..........19 %
Newman, "Seinfeld" .................................................7 %
Mr. McFeely - "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" ..8 %
Sinbad's character - "Jingle All the Way"..............4 %
Mr. Beasley, "Blondie" .............................................4 %
Pat - "Postman Pat".................................................1 %
Mr. Wilson, "Dennis the Menace" ......................... 0 %

Cliff Claven, sitting in his postal uniform at the neighborhood bar was not quite the best public image. And no one voted for Mr. Wilson, Dennis the Menace's friend. Wilson was a retired letter carrier, but apparently not a "beloved" character. The Aliens in "Men in Black" were famously portrayed as faithful postal workers. Tommy Lee Jones said this, "Just about everybody who works in a Post Office is an alien." And Mr. McFeeley had a certain "creep" factor about him, so no surprises about his votes. Seinfeld's Newman was a slacker with a bad attidude. Kevin Costner's character was faithful and saw the value of mail communication. Of course, he also led a revolution -- off the clock, of course.

Who was your favorite, and why? Send me a note here.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Ship the chips

A Tampa television station decided to engage in a ship-off, pitting FedEx, UPS and our USPS to the test. The stations shipped tortilla chips, bananas and glassware in three separate boxes using each of the three services to a TV station in Baltimore, MD.

All arrived when promised. But one company (guess who?) was by far the best value.

FedEx cost an average of $37.78 per box for two day delivery. UPS came in at $33.94. The Postal Service? --- Just $8.90 each.

The reporter gushed, "It was the Postal Service that gave us the best deal."

Read the report here:

These fuel surcharges are getting ridiculous. In my day, if we had to raise prices everytime oats when up, nobody would have used us!

The Postal Service is a predictable organization in prices. No one likes surprises when they pull out their wallet!

This report really struts our stuff...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

You write the caption - Dog awareness week WINNERS

I have a confession to make. I was delivering mail to me mum's house in Boston once and her old hound dog rose up and nipped me right in the hindquarter. I never told anyone, until now. Just think of the scandal! The Postmaster General getting bit would have given my opposition a field day.

What kind of dog stories will you tell? Send me an email here and I'll make sure your story gets told!

Lots of you responded to the "write a caption contest" related to the photo at the right. I really laughed at some of these...even though I'm not supposed to. Dog bites are serious business, but we can still enjoy a good line. Here are the finalists:

  • "Not yet, Puppy. Wait for it. Wait for it."
  • "BEWARE! Quiet dogs may bite!!"
  • "Repeat after me 'This is National Dog Bite Prevention Week.'"
  • "Let him go -- he knows its our week!"
  • "Hey Ralph look, lunch is being delivered."
  • "We're gettin' old, Pete."
  • "Do you know what's in your dogs mind?"

And the winner is............

"Oh Boy! Letters 'n' Bits, Letters 'n' Bits, Letters 'n'....." -- submitted by PM Jerry

Thanks to all for playing along!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Talking turkey

Well, so far, it's not looking good for my idea of a postal turkey.

Sarah wrote me and said this:

"Benny,I don’t think having the turkey as our National symbol is quite as noble as our fierce eagle. I can foresee a lot of late night jokes via Jay Leno, David Letterman, and Jimmy Kimball. I take pride in my 38 ½ years of service, and I would love to keep it that way!!I vote no on the turkey……………….sorry Benny."

But Brook said this, " I personally like the postal turkey idea. It's kind of a double entendre but in a fun way. The turkey represents a lot in our history and has the backing of Ben Franklin no less. What more legitimacy does he need?"

Maybe there is another symbol we could use? Like the jaguar? Or the dove? Or a dolphin?

What do you think? Send a note to me here:

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Eagle envy

Mail carriers in a Madison, WI, neighborhood are facing off against wild turkeys who are pestering carriers out on the route.

Customer Services Manager Mara Wilhite said carriers have been attacked by as many as ten different birds, including one that blitzed through an open door of an LLV with talons raised.

Eric Lobner from the State Department of Natural Resources speculates that the mating birds are attracted by the trucks red, white and blue coloring.
I believe these attacks have nothing to do with mating habits. Rather, they are all about "eagle envy," and no other organization better symbolizes the eagle than the U.S. Postal Service.

All of this could have been avoided if somebody would have just listened to me when I proposed that the national symbol be a turkey instead of an eagle. I wrote to my daughter about this very subject in 1784.

"For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him....

"I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America . . . He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on."

How about it? Perhaps we could change the postal eagle to the postal turkey! Click here and drop me a note. Tell me what you think!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Food Drive tally breaks record

The nation's Food Banks are now breathing easier thanks to the efforts of 1,300 Post Offices and employees thanks to the 2008 NALC Food Drive.

A Record 73.1 Million Pounds of food were collected from customers who were more generous than ever. It breaks last year's record by a whopping 2 million pounds.

The food was delivered to local food banks, pantries and shelters to help needy families in all 50 states and U.S. jurisdictions

NALC President William H. Young thanked the millions of American families who left food by their mailboxes and the thousands of letter carriers, rural carriers, and other postal employees and volunteers who collected, processed, and delivered the donations to local food banks and pantries.

"It is heartwarming that in these difficult times, when all families are feeling the effects of high food and gasoline prices, that so many Americans put aside their own financial concerns to help others facing hard times,” Young said. "They should be applauded for their generosity toward millions of needy Americans – including many working families, children and the elderly.”

Benny adds his applause to all who were involved.

Photo courtesy of Mesa, AZ, Retail Associate Dave Reynolds.