Wednesday, September 30, 2009

USPS.COM comes to mobile devices

In my day, a "mobile device" was a horse and buggy, which used to be a great way to get to the Post Office. Today, a mobile device is a cell phone, PDA or other hand-held communications gizmo. Turns out, today's mobile devices can get to USPS even faster than Bessie, thanks to a new mobile application for

Starting this week, mobile users who go to will automatically be sent to a special mobile website, where they can easily track and confirm a package, find a USPS location, or look up a ZIP Code. There will also be a "click to call" function, as well as a link back to the full site.

Now, I'll admit I haven't fully entered the mobile device era. Frankly, all that texting and tweeting is beyond me. Heck, just choosing a ring tone is enough to drive one mad. (Me? I just picked The Star Spangled Banner and Benny and the Jets and called it a day.)

But even I can see how helpful it is to be able to conduct postal business without stepping foot into a Post Office or sitting down at a computer.

What about you? Do you think you -- or our customers -- will enjoy this new mobile functionality? Comment here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Heroes in blue

Our employees perform thousands of good deeds a day. Out and about we give directions, help the aged, and watch out for the young.

Some of those good deeds are down-right heroic. The National Association of Letter Carriers recently cited some of those with several national awards this month.

  • Timothy Foote, of Harrisburg, Pa., rushed to a neighbor's blazing home and rescued a 78-year-old man who was lying unconscious on the living room floor.
    James Patrick, of Johnstown, PA., helped evacuate a Roman Catholic priest and his secretary after flames spread through a church.
  • Matthew Polnow, of Rockford, Ill., helped free a woman in a wheelchair from a smoked-filled van that was on fire after being involved in a vehicle accident.
  • Victoria Wells, of Seattle, WA, helped evacuate 10 children and others from a burning day care facility along her postal route.
  • James Brown, Jr., of Virginia Beach, VA., rescued an elderly women who had fallen inside her home.

  • A National Humanitarian Award was given to Emmanuel Anim-Sackey of West Orange, NJ, who sends used clothes, shoes and school supplies to a village in his native Ghana.

    Benny salutes all of you!

    Monday, September 28, 2009

    Have you heard? Postal podcast helps employees stay informed, engaged

    Your Postal Podcast is a monthly audio news magazine you can listen to through your computer or download to your mp3 player.

    In less than 10 minutes, you’ll hear interesting segments about your job, our customers and the future of the Postal Service. Each edition features a variety of interviews with postal newsmakers.

    You can go directly to from any computer and listen to the latest edition and all the archives.

    You may also subscribe to it in iTunes by going to the Store, searching for “Your Postal Podcast,” and clicking on the “subscribe” button.

    Got a story idea? Send it to

    Benny thinks you should give it a listen, and then comment on what you think.

    Miss Priority

    "Miss Priority" is the creation of Wauchula, FL, Retail Associates Debbie Cruz, Amy Davis, Linda Grugan and Mary Holley created Miss Priority in response to the "If It Fits It Ships" campaign.

    What creative way have you promoted Priority Mail? You like this? Comment here.

    (Thanks to the Suncoast Scoop for the photo and story.)

    Friday, September 25, 2009

    Thursday, September 24, 2009

    Robo-Priority Man

    Logan, IA, OIC Dan Chambers is getting plenty of questions with his eye-catching display in his lobby.

    What do you think about Robo-Priority Man? Comment here.

    Wednesday, September 23, 2009

    Keeping Posted

    Did you know that in the last five years, 185,000 employees have retired from the Postal Service?

    Many haven't lost interest in what’s happening in the Postal Service. Look at me. I'm still at it, even though I've been retired for a couple of centuries!

    The Postal Service has a website dedicated to "sunset" employees like myself --

    The site features plenty of news and items of interest. They also feature accomplishments of a retired employee. Check out the spotlight on postal retiree, Marylou Krest, who was chosen by baseball fans, Major League Baseball and People magazine for her community service.

    They are looking for other retirees to highlight -- send your fav retiree's stuff to

    All nominations for the Keeping Posted Spotlight must include the following:

    · Contact information for nominee including an email address and telephone number
    · Photo (head shot) of the nominee in a jpeg format
    · Photo of the nominee while they are performing their hobby, community service, or volunteer work
    · Narrative about what the employee is doing after retirement
    · Any publication that features the retiree
    · Position held with the Postal Service before retirement

    Retirees can self nominate, so you can look for a very flattering piece on Benny in the future.

    Tuesday, September 22, 2009

    Deadline draws near for Incentive Offer for some

    DON’T MISS THIS DEADLINE for full-time APWU and NPMHU employees!

    If you want to leave under the 2009 One-Time Incentive Offer by taking optional retirement, or the VER early out, or a voluntary separation, Sept., is your last day to submit your election.

    VER-eligible employees “opt in” by signing and mailing the irrevocability statement. The incentive is available to eligible employees represented by APWU and NPMHU who are optionally eligible for retirement; who are eligible for voluntary early retirement (VER), or those who want to voluntarily separate from the Postal Service as of Oct. 31, 2009.

    With a few exceptions, the offer extends to full-time, part-time regular and part-time flexible employees from the APWU and NPMHU.The $15,000 incentive for full-time employees will be paid in two installments, depending on retirement or separation date. Most employees will receive $10,000 in November 2009 and $5,000 approximately a year later.

    The incentive for part-time employees will be prorated based on an agreed upon payment plan that factors in the number of hours an employee has worked.

    Got questions? Check out the Q/A section on LiteBlue.

    Monday, September 21, 2009

    The mailbox is for the mail -- and nothing else?

    One of the current advantages we enjoy is a monopoly on the mailbox. No other courier may use the mailbox for delivery, nor can any other matter without proper postage be put in mailboxes.

    Yet, every day, carriers encounter pizza coupons, garage sales, community picnic announcements, newspapers, thank-you notes and many other items deposited in mailboxes.

    It's actually federal law that allows us this monopoly. The U.S. Code 1725 sets the fine as $300 for each offense. And the DMM 508 tells us as a minimum, we should collect the postage that the item would have been charged.

    What's the most interesting thing you've seen in a mailbox? And what do you do with items without postage you find in boxes? Comment here.

    Friday, September 18, 2009

    Electronic bill paying -- are you guilty?

    In September cellular provider T-Mobile began charging $1.50 a month for a basic printed bill.

    To me, that stinks. Mail is cheap, quick, convenient and trustworthy.

    Javelin Strategy and Research, a research and consulting company for the financial services industry, says that 70 percent of households that have computers pay bills online each month, up from 64 percent last year.
    Shawn Love over at the Facebook Group "Save USPS" has named October as National Pay Your Bills by Mail month.

    What do you think about electronic bill-paying. Do you do it?
    And what do you think about companies who charge for their bills?
    Click here and tell Benny all about it.

    Sign posted on a Reno, NV, P&DC bulletin board

    Thursday, September 17, 2009

    Safe and sound

    A mother robin apparently thought the best place to build her nest nest was between these two mailboxes in Byers, CO.

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009

    Postal Customer Council day

    Today is National Postal Customer Council Day. PCC's are vital components to USPS partnership with mailers. Listening to customers, we can refine our products and improve our service.

    Speaking to a national simulcast audience, Postmaster Jack Potter addressed 10,000 PCC members assembled in nearly 200 PCC’s locations around the country.

    The Greater Portland, OR, PCC won the PCC of the year award. Their theme of "Bridging the Future... Together” was more than a catchy slogan. They maintained strong connections within the postal community through direct mail, e-mail blasts, a dynamic web page and monthly phone conferences.

    They provide ongoing education through workshops, meetings, tours and seminars.

    Northland's Tony Williams was cited as the district manager of the year, for his involvement and leadership with mailers.

    This PCC is a great example of Post Offices working well with customers. You may not have a formal PCC in your town, but what do you do to educate, inform and involve your customers?
    Let me know here.

    Tuesday, September 15, 2009

    Easy revenue, less work

    Want to add to the bottom line and still maintain your productivity?

    The Stamp Fulfillment Services (SFS) offers three stamp options that can help you achieve that goal. And, in case you’re wondering, all the revenue generated from each service is reallocated to the ship-to ZIP Code on a daily basis, so your office gets the credit.

    Stamps By Mail (SBM) – Allow SFS to fulfill your SBM orders, saving you time and money.

    Personalized Stamped Envelopes (PSE) is a convenient and easy product for businesses of all sizes. SFS offers a selection of fonts, ink colors, envelope sizes and formats. Soon, PSE ordering will be available online.

    STAMPS Now is a convenient way for businesses to order the stamps of their choice in various denominations and formats.

    Call SFS at (816) 545-1282 or click here and ask how your office can take advantage of these great opportunities at no cost to you.

    Have you ever used SFS? What do you think?

    Monday, September 14, 2009

    Everyone loves a parade

    Big Piney, WY, Postmaster Paula Scott arranged for a grand USPS float in a local parade, which took second prize.

    The float was themed around the recent Simpsons stamp release. Each Simpsons character had something to say about the Postal Service.

    Lisa said “These flat rate boxes are great for books” while Moe the bartender carried a beer box stating “This may be good, but not for shipping.” Homer declared “Doh, I don’t want this for my passport photo” while Marge told all to “Lighten there load with Click N Ship.” Bart informed parade goers to “Ship Razor fast with Express mail.” Finally Crusty the clown showed off some of the ready post packaging supplies stating “Make gift wrapping fast & easy.

    The Post Office made a big impression on this little town.

    Friday, September 11, 2009

    Vote by mail - a good thing for America?

    More and more elections are turning toward mail in options. Supporters contend that it is convenient, cheap, and popular.

    The state of Oregon first adopted the system in 1998 and now has some of the highest voter turnout rates in the U.S. The state of Washington has now followed suit with 38 of 39 counties now exclusively mail-in.

    With proven results over the years of increased voter turn-out, and other states seriously trending towards changing to this system could indeed prove also to be a boon for the Postal Service in increased mail volume and revenue.

    What do you think? Good for democracy? Good for the Postal Service? Comment here.

    Thursday, September 10, 2009

    The lost art of letter writing

    The Rural Farmgirl Blog has an interesting post on letter writing.

    René wrote this, "Of all the skills of 'days gone by,' I think the lost art of letter writing has to be the hardest to see go. I remember being a young girl, spraying the paper with my favorite perfume and signing it with Xs and Os. And I remember how special I felt when a letter came in the mail, how I would run up to my room and tear it open, anticipating a note just for my eyes..."

    What do you think? Do you still write letters? Let me know here.

    Wednesday, September 9, 2009

    Picture this

    Benny here. You know I love postal history. Heck, I am postal history.

    Thankfully, our Postal Service has been keeping a real treasure trove of art, photography and murals.

    Now, prints of some of these pieces are available at The Postal Store on The American Postal Collection traces the development of the Postal Service from the Pony Express to Air Mail and beyond.

    Click here for more information or to order prints.

    Tuesday, September 8, 2009

    Thanks for the "help"

    I was putting together my newspaper in the print shop and came across this headline. "GSA Delivers Federal Shipping Contract to UPS."

    The story says that the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) awarded a five-year contract to a competitor for express and ground parcel shipping.

    The GSA is a major administrative arm of the federal government, controlling big chunks of federal properties and vehicles.

    What do you think about the federal government's choice to not use the Postal Service? Click here and tell me.

    Friday, September 4, 2009

    Retiree is one super human

    When I retired from the Postal Service, I did a little travel, worked on my garden and flew kites.

    Your retirement plans may involve family, sleeping in and fishing.

    But Arthur Webb, who retired as a electronics technician from the Santa Rosa, CA, Post Office a few years ago, gives a whole different meaning to the golden years.

    He was recently featured in Sport Illustrated for his ironman performance in the Badwater Ultramarathan, a grueling 135-mile running race through Death Valley.

    He’s 67 and has run the race the past 12 years.

    The temperature can be as hot as 130 degrees, so conditioning takes on a whole new meaning. Read about his training regime here. His bio is here -- just look at all the races he has run.

    He’s not one sympthatic to excuses. He said this in the article: “Whatever you do, you're morally obligated to follow that commitment. If you don't, what's the purpose?"


    What do you plan to do in retirement? Tell me here.

    By the way, there's an official postal webpage for retirees --

    Thursday, September 3, 2009

    Powell Butte, OR, celebrates 100 years of postal delivery.

    Seventy-year-old Rural Carrier Associate Rachel McIntosh recently harnessed Shakespeare, one of her Belgian Draft horses, and delivered a portion of her route from a recreated mail delivery wagon. It was all to help commemorate the 100th year of delivery in Powell Butte, OR.

    Wednesday, September 2, 2009

    New Deal Art

    The Depression era fine arts inventory owned and controlled by the United States Postal Service was commissioned during the 1930s and 1940s under Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal.

    We first talked about it here.

    This image is from Hayward, WI, and was painted by Stella Harbos.

    Your office might have one of these murals and I would love a photo of it.

    E-mail it here along with any details you can gather.

    Did you know there is a registry for new deal art? Go to and register your artwork and read about this fascinating bit of American history.

    The Postal Service maintains a site here.

    Tuesday, September 1, 2009

    Early retirement -- what do your friends think?

    Last week I asked for your opinion on the $15,000 the Postal Service is offering to employees covered by APWU and NPMHU agreements to retire or quit outright. You might have answered, but I'm interested in what your friends say. Please forward this message on to them.

    There is a poll on the upper-right corner that asks how you feel. The choices are:
    • I'm going. Thanks for the dough!
    • I'll take the cash, but I was going to retire anyway
    • I'm eligible, but I'm not ready
    • I'm not eligible, but I'd jump if I could
    • I'm not eligible, but I still wouldn't take it

    Maybe you have another possiblity. If so, click here.

    Please pass this on...let's see how people really feel.