Friday, November 28, 2008

Do you hear what I hear?

National Public Radio is calling the Friday after Thanksgiving the “National Day of Listening”. During this holiday season, NPR is encouraging people to ask someone in their lives; a grandparent, a friend, a neighbor, to tell their story. “By listening to their stories, you’re telling them that they matter and won’t ever be forgotten,” reads a statement on NPR’s website.

We might all benefit from a little “recreational listening” as the holidays draw near. Our conversations at work are dominated by the latest news about our business. Talk at home might not be any less stressful as we squeeze quick chats in between shopping trips, decorating, preparing for family gatherings, all added to the hustle of our regular lives.

Everyone has a story, so try to make some time for someone. Sit down with your child. Call your Mom, your Dad or that crazy uncle. Reach out to a co-worker during a break or look up one of those retirees you promised to stay in touch with but never seem to have the time for.

And then listen. You might be amazed at what you learn.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Snowmobile

This is an advertisement for a conversion item that the postal service tried using at one time.
The Smithsonian National Postal Museum in Washington, DC, has one on display.

No word on how successful they were, but we can guess since they didn't stick around long.

Maybe there's some kind of conversion or adaption USPS can use in other areas to help save some money.

Give us your best idea.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Smart Investing

While the financial markets may be down, the market for rare stamps seems to be red hot. For it's weight and size this stamp could be one of the most valuable commodities in the world.

No, that's not me, Benny, but George Washington pictured on the front. It has grills that consist of small square pyramids in parallel rows, impressed or embossed on the stamp. The object of the process is to break the fibers of the paper so that the ink from the cancellation would soak into the paper and make washing for reuse impossible. There were several stamps that look similar to this but had different grill patterns. Only the "B" grill are so valued - there are only four known copies of it still in existance.

Issued in 1868, the 3 cent stamp recently sold for $1,035,000 at an auction to an anonymous buyer who bid over the telephone.

With a current book value of only $250,000 this was a good inflationary hedge for the previous owner!

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Real Downer - Or A Way Up

It looks like we ended last year with 9.5 billion less pieces of mail. That's a lot of mail.

How can we generate those lost pieces of mail? These Everett, WA, Letter Carriers - Will Marcoux, Cindie Sieverson and Drew Dunnett -show they are ready to dig for some mail revenue.
What's your idea on how to turn this around?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Baghdad Bait & Tackle Shop

Scio, OR, Postmaster Pam Bush and radio station KRKT morning host Scott Schuler are shown with some of the donations that were collected to send to Camp Liberty in Iraq.

Several community members contribute to this cause including postal employees, firefighters, city council, Lions Club members, and memers of Vietnam Veterans of America.

Everything from fishing poles to frisbees are sent so that service members can find what they need to enjoy a get away for a few hours at a nearby lake.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

All That Jazz

A celebration of Latino culture and vibrant, colorful works of art was held in Denver, CO, in October. Unveiling the Latin Jazz Stamp were young performers from the Ballet Folklorico Internacional and Colorado/Wyoming District Hispanic Program Specialist Roger Ramirez. Dance performances were also given by the Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts.

Museo Director Patty Ortiz commented that great stamp images emerge from great works of art. What do you think of commemorative stamps? What would you like to see depicted on one?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's becoming a virtual world


Now, you can rent and renew PO Boxes online -- without even going to the Post Office. Just go to this website to locate and reserve PO Boxes with a click of a mouse.

It even has a waitlist option for full Post Offices.

It's getting so I don't see any of my customers any more!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Every piece, every day

I said this a long time ago, but it is still applicable: “Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.” I’m glad the modern Postal Service believes in this.

The mail is cleared every day. It makes sense. Every day is fresh and clean and new. No regrets. I think postal customers like it – and deep down, so do we.

What do you think about every piece, every day?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Consider the Mailbox

This is a photo of some of the mail boxes that were submitted to the Postal Service when they first gave official approval to a design.

It's been a long time and the basic mail box still seems to suit America pretty well. People have often expressed themselves in a folk art way with their mail boxes.

Do you have any ideas for updating mail boxes?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mail Icons

Mail box, mail truck, mail man....these have become iconic expressions in our culture. But today there are so many variations it renders the icons out of date.

The mail "man" might actually be female. The mail "box" has taken on all sorts of shapes. And the mail "truck" is now a van, SUV, bicycle, boat, even a donkey!

But icons live on. The mail is such a part of every one's life that they can all relate to it. There is such a basic understanding of the overall purpose and meaning of the service that the public gets it no matter what forms it takes.

A more accurate description of what we do might be, "A mail person arrives by some form of transportation and delivers to some form of dedicated receptacle."

Kind of dry, but the mission is still simple.

Can we continue? Can we fulfill my centuries old dream of a united postal delivery?

Weigh in here and let me know!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Spirit Team

The USPS team of 850 volunteers and family members including 51 Breast Cancer survivors participated in the Mile High City Race for the Cure Oct. 5th, 2008.

There were more than 60,000 participants in the race and the USPS team won the "Spirit Trophy" for having the most organizational team participants." It was a record seventh time USPS has earned the award.

There have been 835,202,000 Breast Cancer stamps sold since July 1998, and 63.9 million dollars have been raised for research.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Council Grove, KS

Blogs are not usually posted on holidays, but this is a chance to update the previous blog on 11/6 about the Oak Tree Post Office. One reader wanted to know where it was located.

*** UPDATE ***The Post Office Oak stump on the Santa Fe Trail in Council Grove, Kansas, a National Historic Landmark, was cut down on Tuesday, September 9, 2008, at nine am, because it was rotten in the center and was in danger of falling. This is one of the most historic trees in Council Grove. The stump is 20 feet tall and 13 feet in diameter. The Post Office Oak, about 270 years old when it died in 1999, had a cache (hole) near the base where travelers going west or east on the Santa Fe Trail left messages for other travelers. This was a common practice for 20 years. The messages might be about water, dangers or opportunities.

http://www.councilgrove.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=95:pooak&catid=36:historictour&Itemid=66

Monday, November 10, 2008

Once a Marine, Always a Marine

On Oct. 10, 2004, Kyle Anderson was about two months into his deployment in Iraq with the Marines when his life changed forever.

An improvised explosive device shattered his skull. The contents of the "dirty bomb" creted a massive infection.
But last Friday, Kyle stopped in to the Eagan Branch Post Office in suburban St. Paul, MN. He's pictured here with fellow Marine Bob MClean. He handed out Veteran's Day recognition pins to employee veterans and shared hugs, good cheer and an ever-present smile.
He walks with a cane, has little use of his right arm and is deaf in his right ear. Speaking is a chore because the inside of much of his mouth is paralyzed. So his mom, Eagan Branch Manager Mary Kylander, speaks for him. "He never gets mad, always keeps his spirits up and raises the spirits of everyone around him," she said. "He's fought like a hound to get where he is and he'd do it all over again if he had the chance."
Thank a veteran today.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Forwards or Backwards?

This row of drop boxes seem a little confused. Are they going forward or backward?

That's what it sometimes feels like with the Postal Service in general right now. We achieve record high service, but customer use drops off.

We cut costs to make gains, but then the price of gas goes sky high and wipes out the savings.

But there are 3 going forward and only 2 going back! We can keep moving forward. Even with setbacks, let's keep persevering and move the line forward.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Oak Tree Post Office

According to historical records, this tree used to stand in a campground area used by Santa Fe Trail travelers. It was used as a "post office" from the 1820's to 1840's.

Travelers going out west would leave messages about such things as water sources, and Plains Indians unrest, in a cavity at the foot of the tree.

The tree died in 1990, and was removed September 9th, 2008.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What is a Post Office?

This row of rural mailboxes is what people in Lonerock, OR, have labeled as a post office.

Lonerock is located at the bottom of the 1,000-foot-deep Lonerock Canyon, on the north slope of a spur of the Blue Mountains. The town is named for a huge boulder right next to the Lonerock Community Church. A very small, rural community actually served by a post office 25 miles away.

But this shows the urge that communities have to identify themselves, and a big part of that is their local post office.

Which makes me wonder, just what is a post office? Is it just another retail/service outlet like any other? Or do they still have a part of that original intent to "bind the nation together?" Is there something unique, special, and worth saving about My Post Office?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Runaway LLV

This is an amazing video from a security camera. The carrier stops at a gas station, goes inside with the mail,and meanwhile his vehicle slips into reverse and loops around the gas station, out onto the highway, and back again. The carrier stops the vehicle just inches away from the gas pumps.

We were lucky this unmanned LLV didnt turn into an unmanned space flight from an explosion.

Think how many people could have been injured.

Stop the engine.

Set the park brake.

Easy.

(NOTE: IF YOU ARE AT A USPS COMPUTER, THE EMBEDDED VIDEO MAY NOT WORK. CLICK HERE INSTEAD.)

video

Monday, November 3, 2008

Blowin in the Wind

This windmill mailbox near Grover, CO, is pushing hard to keep up with the large turbine windmills in the background.

The hard scrabble years of trying to farm in such remote places are being rejuvenated with new technology that makes them part of the solution to today's problems.

Are you struggling to keep up? Or embracing the new technology and it's promise of helping to solve problems?