Thursday, December 31, 2009

Packages that care

The nephew of Operations Support Specialist Dan Couper, serving his second tour in Iraq with the MN National Guard, reported that some of his fellow soldiers, also on second tours, had never received a single package from home. Couper and his wife Cat concluded “that’s just not acceptable.”

Donations from friends, family and Cat’s co-workers at Sun Country Airlines filled 47 boxes. Sun Country paid for the postage, brightening the holiday season for a lot of soldiers far from home.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

USPS 2010 Stamp Program announced

Noble Peace Prize honoree Mother Teresa, legendary actress Katharine Hepburn, Negro Leagues Baseball and Cowboys of the Silver Screen are among the subjects headlining the 2010 stamp program, the U.S. Postal Service announced today.

Expected to be among the most collected stamps are The Sunday Funnies stamp pane which honors Archie, Beetle Bailey, Dennis the Menace, Garfield and Calvin and Hobbes.  This goes on sale in July. Another highlight is the Scouting stamp, also on sale in July.

Click on the stamp image below for a full description. Which do you think will sell the best? What's your personal favorite?  Drop me a note here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

After the storm

So, we survived the storm!

What are your observations? Good Christmas mail season? Bad? Let us know how things are in your world. Click here to comment.

(photo courtesy, Dave Reynolds, Mesa, AZ)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Rural delivery -- on a motorcycle

This photo was sent by a reader, which came from her grandmother's possessions.

The postcard is dated 9/28/1913 and the back says that the rural carrier is strapping his mail sack prior to delivery using an Eagle motorcycle.

Many of our rural routes are a hundred miles or more. Can you imagine delivering them on motorcycle? I delivered on a horse, and let me tell you, after a few miles, it's no fun.

What do you think?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Mysterious postal customer foots the bill

The Commercial Appeal of Memphis, TN, tells the story of a mysterious postal customer who paid the postage for another customer.

A woman wanted to send some things to Australia for Christmas, but the 32 pounds added up to a whopping $190 bill.

The woman couldn't pay, but left the box on the counter while she went outside to a pay phone to try to wrangle up the necessary funds.

But while she was gone, a customer in line decided to foot the tab -- anonymously.
"I want to pay for it," he said.

Read the whole story here.

It's a great time of year for great stories ... even in the Post Office.

Do you have a holiday miracle story? Tell me about it. Send your story by clicking here.

Thanks to our friends over at the Suncoast Scoop for reporting this story.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Fewer Americans using USPS this holiday season

Rasmussen Rports took a national telephone survey and found that 28 percent of  Americans are using USPS less this year.

Only 12 percent are using us more this holiday season. But most Americans (60%) say they are mailing about the same amount as always.

Men are slightly more likely than women to use USPS more this holiday season. And surprisingly, younger adults also are more likely to send items through the mail than their elders this year.

Read the full report here.

What do you think about these numbers? Does it reflect what you are seeing? Comment here.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Just what we need: More competition

United Parcel Service has launched a service called “Direct to Door,” a new product that delivers small boxes of advertising, at a price below Standard Mail. UPS delivers these boxes of advertising only to addresses that already have a delivery for the day.

Initial customers include Men’s Warehouse, Finish Lin, Williams Sonoma, Potter Barn, and Zappos.

What do you think? Does this pose a problem for USPS? Comment here.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Greeting cards - How many have you received? Take the poll.

Can you believe, I'm the first Postmaster General and I actually got three greeting cards BY E-MAIL this year. The nerve!

I got one from my brother Josiah, who is running his farm in Pennsylvania. He said he was "going green," this year. I deleted it. Another came in from Ye Old Print Shoppe Suppliers LTD. I don't think I'll buy my ink from them. And I got another from a jokester calling himself "King George."

What is it with this trend? I sent out print greeting cards this year (custom made, I might add) and even added a few names to my distribution list. (Alexander Hamilton still will not get one until he takes back that comment he made about my weight!)

But I haven't got as many back -- and I'm wondering why. Overall, postmarks are down about 11 percent this year -- and many of those may be Christmas, holiday and greeting card declines.

Have you received many cards?

Comment here and take a second to fill out the poll on the upper right-hand corner of this page.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Department of Labor predictions for the Postal Service

The Department of Labor issued a report that pointed to ten struggling industries that it says are likely to lose the most jobs over the next decade.

And yes, the Postal Service was right up there.

Here's the list by industry, with the number of jobs expected, and the percentage decline

Department stores, 159,000, 10%
Semiconductor manufacturing, 146,000, 33%
Motor vehicle parts manufacturing, 101,000, 18%
Postal Service, 98,000, 13%
Printing and support, 95,000 16%
Apparel manufacturing, 89,000, 57%
Newspapers, 81,000, 24%
Mining support, 76,000, 23%
Gasoline stations, 75,000, 8%
Wired Telecommunications, 73,000, 11%

What do you think? Is the Department of Labor correct? Too high? Too low? Do they know something?  Comment here.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Your Postal Podcast #19, now online

Now playing at!
This special holiday edition of the podcast produced especially for U.S. Postal Service employees includes a visit with syndicated radio host Kim Komando. Kim talks about her campaign to help listeners from around the country send holiday military care packages via Priority Mail.

You'll also learn how two postmasters have been bitten by the craze surrounding the Twilight series of books and movies because they serve the towns where the stories are set.

Finally, a grateful customer shares her heartfelt letter of thanks to the Postal Service for a special holiday delivery.

YPP#19, like all previous editions, can be downloaded free from the iTunes story or through any other RSS feeder. Or, simply listen directly form the website.

For a transcript of this podcast, click here. Also, check out for daily news and information about all things Postal.

Your Postal Podcast is always seeking your feedback or story ideas. To reach us, please click here. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from everyone at!

'Tis the season for shipping

Poem courtesy of Deborah Polhill, Sales Contract Analyst, NY Metro

‘Twas the holiday season
And across our great nation,
Was a flurry of parcels
With countless destinations!

UPS, Fed Ex or . . .
US Postal Service?
With all of these choices,
The masses get nervous!

Priority Mail
Through the USPS,
Why that’s just the ticket
To holiday success!

If it fits, It will ship,
That’s our handy saying.
You can send what you like,
There’s no need for weighing!

With flat-rate boxes
There’s just one price.
Now that’s how you make
Your Holidays nice!

Two or three days
Is all it will take.
Your packages will be there
For goodness sake.
No need to leave the house
So sit down and rest,
Our carriers will come,
They’re simply the best!

They’ll come right to your door
They do everyday,
They’ll pick up your parcels
And be on their way.

You will hear them exclaim
As they go out of sight,
Happy Holidays to all
You shipped it just right!

Comment on this poem here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Well done or well said?

Several hundred years ago (it seems like yesterday!), I said, "Well done is better than well said."

What do you think about this and how it relates to the Postal Service? Click here to comment.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas in Afghanistan

Check out this video showing postal packages arriving in Afghanistan for distribution to the troops!

The link shows footage of service members volunteering at a Post Office in Afghanistan to sort through more than 200,000 pounds of holiday mail destined for the troops.

Note all the Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes! This video was produced by Marine Staff Sgt. Clinton Firstbrook for the Military News Network.

On a side note, this is a reminder to properly package all boxes. They need to be "tough."
For additional information on shipping packages to military personnel stationed at APO/FPO addresses anywhere in the world, go to
Have you seen an increase in mail for troops coming through your Post Office? Comment here.
Thanks to our friends over at the Suncoast Scoop for first publishing this.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The end of catalogs?

An article recently analyzed the presumption that Gen X and Gen Y consumers are less  influenced by print catalogs.  Given the ability to shop 24/7 on the Internet and search for items from a variety of sources, some may question the viability of print.

The author, John Lenser, believes that "catalogs will remain an important component of marketing."  He sees catalogs becoming more of an educational platform, informing consumers about options who then turn to a brick-and-mortars store or the Internet to make a purchase.

He encourages marketers to "stop thinking of your company as a 'catalog company.' A truer description is that you are an e-commerce company that uses a catalog as an important advertising medium to drive traffic to your 'store.'"

Read the entire article here.

What do you think about the future of catalogs? Comment here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Priority Mail sets sail

This Naples, FL, Main Post Office display captures customer's attention with a creation by Customer Service Manager Mary Uhlhorn and Customer Service Supervisor Cheryl Quick.

What do you think?
Courtesy of The Suncoast Scoop.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What's the craziest thing you've ever mailed?

I recently read about a customer who sent his parents a pacificer in the mail.

It was his way of saying that a new grandbaby was coming.
Close-up of a child's pacifier with a blurred pacifier in the background
I once mailed a $100 bill to Alexander Hamilton to taunt him -- and the crank signed it and sent it back to me! 

I mailed a lock of my hair to John Adams, who had a growing circle on the top of his dome. He didn't appreciate me wasting resources on such pranks.

I also sent Jefferson a menu from his favorite pub, with the ale selection lined out.

I'm curious, what's the craziest thing you've ever mailed? Send me a note here.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Big goals for energy use established. Realistic?

The 2008 Sustainability Report tells us about USPS' goals concerning future energy use.

They are ambitious:
  • Reduce energy use in facilities 30% by 2015
  • Reduce vehicle petroleum use by 20% by 2015
  • Increase alternative fuel vehicle use by 10% by 2015
  • Reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions 20% by the year 2020.

What do you think? Can we meet these goals? What will it take? Comment here.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Postal extreme makover: Business leaders give their tips

It seems that everyone these days has an opinion on the Postal Service.

And many business leaders have their ideas on how we could improve. The magazine,,  asked five top entrepreneurial leaders on how to makeover the Postal Service. Here are their responses:

Digital mail system
"The USPS needs a digital mail system. Your physical address could become your username, with the post office allowing you to turn off physical delivery of mail, like banks have done with bank statements. Recipients could choose to have their physical mail delivered to their home mailboxes for archiving once a month. By creating and owning the digital postal service market, the USPS could greatly reduce costs and become profitable, useful, and relevant for the next 100 years.

Aaron Houghton, Chairman and co-founder, iContact

Charge for pickup

"The mail carrier could do pickups and charge a monthly pickup fee, just like FedEx and UPS, while keeping the letterbox as a free service. Simply adding a $25 monthly fee for businesses that want a daily mail pickup would be something that many businesses would jump on. If you had even 20 percent of the small-business market, you could generate an extra $60 million a year. If the USPS also cut retiree benefits by 40 percent and operating costs by 10 percent, along with raising rates by 5 percent, it could turn a $7 billion loss into a $4 billion profit."

Sandeep Walia. CEO, Ignify,Cerritos, California

Raise rates

"Raise the rates on first-class mail. It is the postal service's core, and it has a monopoly to deliver it. This system actually works and is the most profitable part of the USPS. When the USPS's first-class rates are compared with those in other industrialized countries, though, they are grossly underpriced. A similar-size letter mailed in the U.K. costs 65 cents versus 44 cents with the USPS; in Germany, it costs 78 cents. Using 2008 statistics, each one-penny increase in the first-class mail rate would add over $900 million in revenue. If you raise it by 5 cents, you add another $4.5 billion."

Harry Geller. CEO, SoDel Concepts, Bethany Beach, Delaware

Better tracking

"When it comes to shipping small packages, the USPS is cheaper than its competitors and offers comparable and sometimes even faster delivery times. However, since it doesn't offer reliable tracking, we pay a premium to ship most of our packages with UPS. If the USPS tracked packages as well as UPS, it could capture a lot of business."

Sean Harper. Co-founder, TSS-Radio


Sell it off
"The USPS is an out-of-date concept. I don't think my 18-year-old son has ever written a letter. For him, the post office is about as relevant as cassette tapes, rotary phones, and broadcast television. The USPS doesn't need to be fixed -- it needs to be sold off."

Tony Paquin, CEO, Paquin Healthcare Companies, Celebration, Florida

Read the whole article here.

What's your opinion on their observations? Click here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

New flat-rate envelope for gift giving

The Postal Service has introduced its latest in the line of Priority Mail flat-rate products. The Priority Mail Flat Rate Gift Envelope is making a test run at POS ONE Post Offices around the country.

Each $4.95 flat-rate envelope includes a convenient slot inside for securing gift cards. Included with the envelopes is a retail counter display decorated with a holiday-themed bow.

This new product targets customers mailing greeting cards with a gift card enclosed or sending oversized greeting cards.

Does anyone have these yet? What do customers say about them? Selling many? Let me know here.

USPS Hurricane Katrina Evacuee Retires After 52 Years of Service

Salt Lake City P&DC Registry Clerk Robert Ladmirault will retire from the Postal Service this week after 52 years with the Postal Service. A retirement party was held on the workroom floor to celebrate his career.

Ladmirault was one of many postal employees whose lives were turned upside down in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina. At the time he was a Registry Clerk at the New Orleans P&DC.

He survived Katrina’s floodwaters by climbing into the attic and roof of his house where he was rescued 24 hours later by a Sheriff in a boat. The Sheriff dropped Ladmirault off on an Interstate 10 overpass where he spent two days before being taken to the New Orleans Convention Center for four days. He then boarded a plane and was evacuated from New Orleans. To his surprise the plane landed in Salt Lake City where he stayed at a local Army Camp.

He eventually found an apartment and employment at the Salt Lake P&DC. The Louisiana native liked living in Salt Lake City so much he decided to stay. “What I like best are the people,” said Ladmirault. “I can’t believe what a great bunch of guys I work with. They are dedicated and work as a team.

At his retirement celebration, Ladmirault talked about how much the Postal Service has changed during his career and what great memories he will take with him. He plans on buying a house in Utah and beginning a new chapter in his life, which will include traveling.

Salt Lake City P&DC employees gather to honor Robert Ladmirault and his 52 years of service.
Pictured from left is Salt Lake City District Manager Ken McArthur, next to Ken is Robert Ladmirault.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The history of Hanukkah, Kwaanza and EID stamps

(courtesy of

In 1996 the Postal Service issued its first Hanukkah stamp, with artwork by Hannah Smotrich. Israel loved the stamp design so much that Israeli postal officials decided to reproduce it themselves — a surprise joint issue.

Usually, joint issuances are joint decisions: The two groups reach agreements before the stamps are designed. But in this case, the U.S. stamp was reproduced almost exactly, except for the country designation under the denomination.

Since this first stamp design, the Hanukkah stamp has been redesigned twice: in 2004 and then, most recently, in October 2009.
After receiving letters from both the public and the creator of Kwanzaa, Dr. Maulana Karenga, the Postal Service issued its first Kwanzaa stamp in 1997. Creating the artwork was artist Synthia St. James, whose book The Gifts of Kwanzaa was also released in 1997. New Kwanzaa stamps were issued in 2004 and then again in October 2009.

The Eid stamp was first issued Sept. 1, 2001. The stamp, which features the work of calligrapher Mohamed Zakariya, honors the two most important festivals in the Islamic calendar.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

No mail. No Money. No Jobs.

This poster is being distributed in the Southwest Area. What you think about it?