Friday, May 29, 2009

Another Coeur d’Alene carrier saves another life

The Coeur d’Alene Post Office might want to consider renaming its Post Office "the Savior d’Alene Post Office."

Its letter carriers are making a habit of performing life saving rescues of customers. This time it was City Carrier Deb Allred who recently came to the rescue of an elderly customer who had fallen and was immobilized for several days.

Allred noticed that the mail and newspapers had not been picked up by this 79-year-old customer for two days. At first Allred heard dogs barking in the customer’s home and thought everything might be alright. But then, trusting her instincts, Allred decided to check on the woman as her door was open. She found the elderly woman on her bathroom floor in a severely dehydrated and disoriented condition. The customer had been lying there for several days.

Allred comforted her and immediately called for an ambulance. The customer was taken to a nearby hospital and is now receiving proper medical care.

Said Allred, "I’ve helped people before on my route, such as people who’ve slipped and fallen on sidewalks, but nothing like this. I’m just happy I trusted my instincts and was able to help. It gives me great comfort to know that she will be alright."

Allred is the second Coeur d’Alene letter carrier this year to be put in for the PMG Hero Letter honors and one of several over the last few years.

Coeur d’Alene Postmaster David Hoover isn't surprised that his carriers are doing these deeds.

"We have a great group of carriers and employees here. They really care about the safety and welfare of their customers and what goes on in our community," he said.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Howdy partner!

Mailbox near Wykoff, MN
Photo courtesy of Wendy Reck.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

It’s a big world out there

The Postal Service's ZIP Code lookup is one of the most popular destinations on the Internet. But for those who want to mail something to an international location have to rely on confusing addressing systems employed by a variety of postal administrations.

The Address Doctor provides the ultimate solution: a free online international Postal Code Lookup tool. It not only complete missing postal codes and address elements, it also corrects misspelled addresses from more than 240 countries. And it’s available in 13 languages.

It’s unique tool to help customers send International Mail more accurately. Check it out here. What’s the most unique international addressing system you’ve encountered?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Wild Turkey almost gets served at retail window

Do you remember the stories about wild turkeys harassing letter carriers?

Well, the retail window may be next. This regal bird was spotted lurking in front of the Minneapolis Main Post Office the other day.

The turkey trotted across the street, hung out in front of an apartment building for a few minutes and then disappeared into a nearby parking ramp.

I have a theory about turkeys and their affinity with anything associated with the U.S. Government. As you recall, I wanted the turkey to be established as our national symbol. Here is what I wrote:

"For truth, the Turkey is in comparison a much more respectable bird (than the eagle,) 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."

See my previous discusson on my vain attempt to replace the postal eagle with a turkey here.

It seems that no one listened to me ...except the turkeys. And they are still sore about losing out to the bald eage.

And the Postal Service continues to have run-ins with the birds. Read about attempted postal coups by turkeys here, here and here.

How about we call a truce, and replace our current logo with a much-deserved Turkey logo?

(Photo courtesy Pete Nowacki)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Move it!

According to the Census Bureau, 38.7 million people moved in the United States between 2006 and 2007.

25.2 million stayed in the same county, 7.4 million moved to a different county within the same state, 4.9 million moved to a different state and 1.2 million moved to the U.S. from abroad.

And of course, the Postal Service moves right with them.

We handle plenty of change of address orders. I think we do a pretty efficient job of forwarding mail -- all built into the price of a 44-cent stamp.

What do you think about free forwarding? Comment here.

(thanks to Carla DeKalb for the picture)

Your Postal Podcast, #12

The 12th Edition of Your Postal Podcast is ready for your listening pleasure. Just click here:.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"Deer John" -- Caption Contest

Waiting on your letter!

Got a caption for this photo? Leave it here.

Photo Courtesy, Carla DeKalb

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Reuse and recycle -- Postmaster needs your old uniforms

Let it never said that Mary Mikula can’t find a way to squeeze extra value out of something. The Sand Creek, WI, Postmaster is well known for her “frugal” ways.

She started recycling postal uniforms, matching unused uniforms to employees who are in need. It makes perfect sense, as uniformed employees often find their situations changing. They retire, get promoted, transfer or change crafts. They gain weight and they lose it. (I know, ahem, I changed sizes several times thanks to Mrs. Franklin's proficient baking prowess!)

When those changes happen, uniform items aren’t allowed to be discarded or given away unless all emblems, buttons, or other identifying insignia are removed (see ELM 934.6.)

Mikula's “Postal Clothing Closet” is now a raging success. But she has a problem. Not enough clothing. She needs postal clothing that's in good shape that's too small, too big or no
longer needed.

She'll take shoes, boots, hats, gloves, coats shirts and pants. The rules are few and simple. If you have an item that is clean and in good shape, send it. If you need an item, ask for it. The clothing items are available at no charge.

The list of available clothing is located here, accessible from any postal computer. Send your items directly to: Postmaster Mary Mikula, PO Box 9998, Sand Creek, WI, 54765-9998.

I know I have pants in size 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, and 44 that I'll be sending. How about you? What do you think about this idea? Tell me here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A simpler way to ship

Priority Mail is getting an advertising makeover. The new campaign will be all over the television airwaves
for the next couple of months.
Click here to see the advertisements
The campaign will also appear in print magazines and newspapers, as well as online ads and Direct Mail.

It’s one of our biggest marketing splashes in a long time.
What do you think about advertising Priority Mail? Important? Do more of it? Do less of it because of our finances? What are your thoughts? Click here.
A scene from one of the Priority Mail advertisements
scheduled for national distribution beginning this week.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Birthday in a box

Plummer, ID, Postmaster Cheri Thaut was inspired by a column she read about remembering deployed troops on their birthday. She purchased materials from a local dollar store and placed them in a large Flat-Rate Priority Box with the words, “Happy Birthday.”

She was able to fit into the box a pound cake (shelf life of two months), a table cloth, noise makers, plates, silverware, napkins, frosting, balloons, bows and candles, complete with instructions. Her customers soon adopted the idea.

“Can you imagine being far away from home on your birthday and getting one of these boxes?” said Thaut.

The idea has been expanded by the Spokane District to include Thanksgiving in a box, Christmas in a box and a host of other creative ideas for customers."

“It’s a great way to tell someone they are loved,” said Customer Relations Coordinator Lisa Nystuen.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Carrier delivers -- saves life of former CO Congressman

Benny loves these kinds of stories! Postal people making us proud.

Here's the story: Loveland, CO, City Carrier Greg Sykes was enjoying a Friday night meal off-duty at a local restaurant recently when he made the special delivery of his postal career.

Sitting at a nearby table was retired 4th District U.S. Rep. Jim Johnson and his family. Suddenly, Congressman Johnson keeled over and became unconscious while experiencing a major heart attack. While most of the patrons of the restaurant looked on in surprise and in shock, Sykes calmly and immediately went to the Congressman's aid.

For the next 20 minutes, Sykes diligently and persistently performed CPR on Johnson. He wasn't going to give up. Sykes provided critical life-saving support until an emergency response medical team arrived on the scene. Paramedics then provided emergency care and transported Congressman Johnson to a nearby hospital for extensive follow up intensive care and heart surgery.

Congressman Johnson is now in full recovery and rehab.

The emergency medical response team, and the Johnson family, give complete credit to Greg Sykes for saving Jim Johnson's life. The family has expressed their major gratitude to Sykes by sending a letter of appreciation to postal management and planning to recognize him in a future get-together. Sykes' Loveland postal management has submitted him to be considered for a PMG Hero Letter.

Said the humble Sykes on his life-saving act, "I saw a situation that I could help with and I did what I knew had to be done to give Jim Johnson a chance to survive."

Acting Loveland Valentine Station Mgr. of Customer Services Jim Dunlap had some great things to say as well.

"The Johnson family has embraced Greg in their tremendous appreciation for his extra special heroic actions," said Dunlap. "He is very deserving of any recognition. Greg is just the kind of person who would jump in anywhere and anytime to do what he could to help in just about any situation."

Your Postal Podcast, #11

The 11th Edition of Your Postal Podcast is ready for your listening pleasure. Just click here:.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Showing your love

Last week was my first anniversary blogging and so many of you sent wonderful notes. I proudly shared all of them with Mrs. Franklin. In her own unique way, she brought me back to earth and told me to take out the trash and clean out the barn -- again!

You can help me out here...spread the word! Forward this post -- or link -- to three of your closest postal friends. They will thank you for it!

Anyone can subscribe to the blog by clicking here. It's perfectly fine to have this sent to either your postal or personal e-mail account.

Here are few of your kind notes:

  • "I'm set up to receive Your Postal Blog every day and it's one of the first messages I read in the morning. It sure is nice knowing my first wake up "call" isn't going to put me in a bad mood for the rest of the day, unlike most of the others!"
  • "I LOVE this blog and commend you for the variety of topics. Some are serious and informative and some are light and funny. But they are all unique to us. Just what all Postal Workers need in this day and age."
  • "Happy Anniversary, Mr. Franklin! I love the way I start my day, with the minute or two,I spend with you."
  • "Very enjoyable nice to read positive blogs."
  • "love you Benny Happy May Day!"
  • "Happy Anniversary!I enjoy reading each article with it's comments and can not wait to see what is coming in the future."
  • "A positive note in a sometimes hectic and harrassed world. Thank you for all you do."
  • "Happy Anniversary! Can't believe it has been a year! I enjoy the blog and look forward to it every day! Keep up the good work!"
  • "I like this blog and lot of innovative and creative pictures to emphasizemost current themes. It is a good minute or two break or fresh start in the morning like a morning coffee. Also it could be a forum to get quick ideas and opinions. Thanks a lot for keeping it on and Happy Anniversary and hope this would be as active with lots of participation that will make it go for ever."
  • "Your Blog is one of the few things...memories aside..that I will take with me when I retire in 2 months.."
  • "I love this blog! It allows every voice to be heard on topics that need to be discussed..."

Want to give more love? -- not that I need any more -- but every little bit helps. Click here to comment.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Big Business

The Postal Service is the core of the trillion dollar mailing industry that employs more than 8 million people.*

In 2008, these classes of mail brought in most of the $75 billion in revenue:

  • First-Class Mail -- $38.2 billion
  • Advertising Mail -- $20.6 billion
  • Shipping Services -- $8.4 billion
  • International Mail -- $2.4 billion
  • Periodicals -- $2.3 billion
  • Package Services -- $1.8 billion

If it were a private sector company, the U.S. Postal Service would rank 26th in the 2008 Fortune 500. First-Class Mail, Advertising Mail and Shipping Services would each make the list as individual businesses — ranking 61st, 119th, and 310th respectively.

What do you think about the Postal Service's impact on business, commerce and culture? Leave a comment here.

*The Envelope Manufacturers Association reported in the "2008 Economic Jobs Study for the Mailing Industry" that there are 8.4 million jobs and over $1 trillion in revenue attributed to the mailing industry.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The new prices. Better or worse?

Back in the day, price increases were often pretty difficult. Selling stamps, a penny at a time, took lots of effort and led to plenty of frustration.

But things seem to be a little tamer this year. Why is that? Comment here.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Price change reflections

So, do I need a two-cent stamp with this Forever Stamp?"
"How much are ten, one-cent stamps?"
"Didn't prices just go up?"
"Did you get a raise?"
"How long are these Forever Stamps good for?"

There were many, many questions yesterday and today. They will probably continue all week. Price changes are never easy, but hopefully this year the Forever Stamp helped a little.

What will you remember about this week? Got any funny stories? Send me a comment here.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, May 8, 2009

New prices effective May 11

Our prices are going up in a couple of days -- but no need to despair. There are lots of resources and tools found at

There are many helpful materials, including the updated Price List with new prices for First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, Periodicals, Package Services, and Special Services. You can also look over the Federal Register notices, downloadable price files, new postage statements, links to Postal Explorer, and more.

These stamps are available now with the new prices:

Polar Bear – 28-cent – post card price
Koi – 28-cent – stamped card
Purple Heart – 44-cent
Tiffany Lamp – 1-cent
U.S. Flag – 44-cent (coil of 3,000)
Wedding Rings – 44-cent
Wedding Cake – 61-cent
The Simpsons – 44-cent – (pre-order now, shipped May 7)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

2009 NALC Food Drive

On May 9, carriers in more than 10,000 cities and towns across America will deliver much more than mail when they walk and drive along their postal routes.

They also will collect the goodness and compassion of their postal customers participating in the 17th annual NALC Stamp Out Hunger National Food Drive – the largest one-day food drive in the nation and probably the world.

The effort resulted in delivery of nearly one billion pounds of donations to community food banks and pantries over the past 16 years.

In 2008, the drive collected 73,113,915 pounds of food for the needy from postal customers. That brought the total for the first 16 years to 909 million pounds.

(All photos, courtesy, Dave Reynolds, Mesa, AZ)

Seattle mayor supports Food Drive

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels visited Seattle’s Wallingford Station yesterday and held a press conference to help kick-off and promote the Stamp Out Hunger Letter Carrier’s Food Drive being held this Saturday, May 9.

Acting Seattle Postmaster Terry Freeman is at the podium, flanked by carrier representatives and the Mayor Nickels.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

No road, no problem for rural carrier, customer

When rising flood waters washed out roads near Jamestown, ND, at least one farm family crafted a creative solution to keep their mail delivery.

The Van Dyke family hooked a temporary mailbox on the end of a long grain auger. They backed the auger up to one edge of the washout, so that Jamestown Rural Carrier Doug Beckman could continue to deliver from the other edge. After Beckman’s visit, they would tow the auger away, empty the box and set it back in place.

The road leading to the Van Dyke family’s
mailbox was washed out. No problem for the innovative farmers.
They simply brought the mailbox to the carrier.

Benny loves innovation.

What interesting measures have you seen customers take to get their mail? Drop me a note here.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Goose is loose!

Major League Baseball Hall of Fame relief pitcher Rich "Goose" Gossage made a special appearance at the Colorado Springs Cheyenne Mountain Station.

Gossage, a popular hometown Colorado Springs here, was elected to the Hall of Fame last year.

He is also a regular customer at the station.

Letter carriers Peggy Johnson and Frank Fiore, and Customer Relations Coordinator Ron Perry coordinated the event.

Cheyenne Mountain Distribution Clerk Earl Keller shows off

his signed baseball by Hall-of-Famer Goose Goosage.

Postal representatives presented "Goose" with two beautiful framed art pieces, one being "The History of Baseball" signed by all Cheyenne Mountain employees; and the other featuring the "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" stamp/artwork with an engraving noting Gossage's Hall of Fame achievement.

Gossage in turn autographed many baseball stamp sheets, baseball memorabilia and souvenirs for employees. Said Gossage, "I am a big fan of the Colorado Springs Post Office. The service you provide me is unbelieveable. I'm very humbled and honored to be here today, and to pay tribute to all of you also."

But there is one thing ol' Benny doesn't quite understand. While I love the modern sport of baseball, when I hear the word "goose," I immediately think of Christmas dinner. But I digress! Go team!

Baseball Hall of Famer Rich "Goose" Gossage (in center holding up baseball framed art piece) had high praise for employees of the Colorado Springs Post Office. (Photo by Tom Mcmenanin)

Summer sale is a go

The USPS board of governors has given the go ahead for a "summer sale," allowing a reduction of Standard Mail rates for both letter and flat rates.

The sale runs from July 1 to Sept 30 of this year and will offer a a 30 percent rebate to eligible mailers who mail above certain volumes.

The governors said, "The Standard Mail Volume Incentive Pricing program offers an incentive to mailers to improve above their expected performance during the summer months, which is typically a low-volume period for the Postal Service and its customers.”

Full details of the sale can be found here. Deputy PMG and Chief Operating Officer Pat Donahoe has a video where he talks about the sale here.

Many of you already commented when this was first proposed. Now that it's a reality, what do you think? Will this help us out? Will it spur more volume? And even more importantly, bring in more long-term revenue? Leave a comment here.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Benny weighs in on the Forever Stamp

The Forever Stamp.

I like that idea. It’s kind of timeless – like me.

No one likes changes to prices, but it’s a part of life. I was buying feed for my horse the other day and spent almost $4 a bucket!

But this Forever Stamp is something I should have thought of back in the day. Let’s see – postage in my day went for 2 pence, which is worth about $640 in today’s prices.
So that would have been a great deal. I’ll buy a whole bunch and in another 300 years, who knows what they’ll be worth.
What do you think about the Forever Stamp?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Two million miles of safe driving. And that's just the beginning.

Now this is some kind of story. I'll be telling Mrs. Benny about this tonight when she complains about how I drive the buggy.

Dwayne Raskey started his postal career in Brainard, NE, on Mar. 27, 1959 after two years of serving his country in the Marines. He was a rural carrier associate on the route from 1959 to 1980.

In 1980, after 21 long years, he finally got his own route -- a 92 mile doosey.

But catch this. He's never had an accident in his 50 years of service and recently received the 2 million mile award from the National Safety council.

On top of that, Dwayne hasn't used even a single day of sick leave -- that's going back 50 years!

He walks to work everyday and often rides his bicycle on the trail from Brainard to Valparaiso in the summer which is at least 9 miles.

This is one SUPER CARRIER.. !!! Want to send him a good word? Click here.