Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"Going postal." What do you think about the expression?

"Going postal" has been a part of the American slang vernacular for a number of years. It cropped up after several incidents of postal workplace violence incidents that occurred in the late 80s and early 90s.

Though the Califano Report called the term a myth which gave the Postal Service "a bad rap," the term persisted as a general reference to violence in or outside any workplace. It has been thrown about in a number of cultural references, including movies, books, video games and music.

For many postal employees, the term is the ultimate insult.

But, these days, I’m also seeing the words crop up in other, non-demeaning uses. A chain of mailing centers calls themselves, "Goin' Postal." When we sponsored the U.S. Postal Service bicycle team with Lance Armstrong on the pedals, media and postal communicators used the term as a source of pride.

Some employees are intent on "taking the phrase back," turning it into something positive. "Going Postal" to these people means that the customer has made a choice to use USPS.

The Fredricksburg Star ran an op-ed called, "Going Postal, the right way, every day," that extolled the Postal Service and praised our operation.

So, what do you think about the term? Should USPS adopt it as its own? Fill out the poll on the upper-right corner and click here to leave a comment.


Anonymous said...

"Going Postal" is a great marketing tool, if used with taste and respect. We should use it and market it for all its worth.

Anonymous said...

I agree...let's take a negative and make it positive. When someone I know uses that phrase I like to reply...Yes I'm going postal......are you? Buy more stamps!

Anonymous said...

I agree ... use it with taste and respect, and turn the term that some deem negative into a positive/asset for USPS.

Anonymous said...

I think another round is coming... the more micromanagement, and the less outlet for the frustration, I just don't see it getting better soon. When management is allowed to do whatever it wants without accountability or punishment, what do you expect? GOIN POSTAL... the term doesn't bother me, but the cause does. If ya don't screw with people, they "WON"T GO POSTAL"

PostMuse said...

Terry Pratchett wrote a wonderful novel called "Going Postal." It is part of his huge Discworld series, but it can stand alone (with some patience from the reader in understanding Discworld is sort of like our world, but flat... and on the back of four elephants... who are standing on a tortoise). It's a fun story about the running of the Discworld postal system.

I would love to see USPS take that expression and turn it around to mean something really positive. I'd be their biggest cheerleader!

Anonymous said...

When I got my first job with the post office my daughter said with a big smile "It's the perfect job for you, Mom. You've been going postal on us for years".

Anonymous said...

Going Postal:
Now is used in humor.
I like it!
Beware or we can change your day :)
Good news/Bad news.
Your choice.
Your view on things.
Bad news can always be used to make positive changes;
Like working on a problem area.
Resolving issues. RR 17 D.Carey Hudson Station Modesto,Ca.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't really bother me, people call others names or whatever and I just ignore it or, since I have sardonic sense of humor, run with it and make a joke, like "and we know where you live." But I think it would be great if we could use if in some positive marketing - why not use the term in some commercials? We may be the brunt of jokes by Leno or Letterman then, but people know those are just jokes. I also agree with the commentor who aluded to these very tense, changing times possibly causing a lot of stress that some employees may react to in a bad way. It's so important that every employee be given the violence awareness training and that management learn how to handle problems in a caring manner. Don't forget we have an EAP program that can really help when things at work or home are stressful - I've used it and am grateful for the program.

Anonymous said...

I love the "Goin Postal" it's a joke in my office, my customers may come in and say well she's "Goin Postal" this morning. You know sometimes we just take things TOO serious.

Anonymous said...

adopt the phrase as our own? marketing tool? use it with taste and respect? take things too seriously? does anybody remember how this phrase came about? how do you think friends and family of employees that were killed or injured in these incidents feel every time they hear going postal. think they take it to seriously? I think it would be disrespectful to adopt a phrase that came out of so much grief for so many.

Anonymous said...

I am not offended by "going postal" nearly as much as I am by hearing or seeing "snail mail"!!

Letter Carrier, Salem, Oregon