Friday, April 30, 2010

Adopt me!

Today the “Animal Rescue: Adopt a Shelter Pet” stamp series goes on sale.

There are about 4-6 million animals euthanized by U.S. animal shelters each year because homes are not available. That works out to about 13,600 pets a day.

What do you think about adoption of pets from shelters? Do any of you have pound puppies? Comment here.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

New "Your Postal Podcast" now online

There's a new Your Postal Podcast ready for your listening pleasure.

An exclusive talk with USPS Chief Financial Officer Joseph Corbett about the Postal Service’s long-term prospects leads off the 23rd edition of Your Postal Podcast. Also featured is news about the May 8th Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, and some new stamps that raise awareness about shelter pet adoptions.

For a transcript of this, the 23rd edition of the podcast produced by USPS Corporate Communications, please click here.

Like all previous editions, YPP #23 can be downloaded free from the iTunes store or through any other RSS feeder. Or simply listen directly from the website.

Please click here to share your comments or story ideas.

Ferocious feline torments British posties

Postal carriers are boycotting deliveries to a house in Leeds England because they are afraid of an old cat they say lies in wait ready to attack them.
The 19-year-old black and white cat, named Tiger, has attacked three carriers over the last few weeks.

Apparently, the cat thinks he's in the jungle and the carriers are prey. He bides his time, hiding in the bushes, and then pounces.

Have you ever had a cat attack you or one of your fellow employees on the route?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Man who help invent the ZIP Code dies at 84

The man who was instumental in the creation of the  “ZIP code” in 1962, died last week.

D. Jamison Cain was named deputy special assistant to the Postmaster General for public affairs in 1961. Along with others, he helped conceive the ZIP Code as a simpler way to sort mail.

Today other businesses use the code for insurance, municipality identification, marketing and demographics. Even our competitors use it.

Can you imagine what kind of world we would have without it? 

I've often wondered if we shouldn't have licensed the ZIP Code back then. Just think.

Comment here.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Get ready to stamp out hunger

Preparing for “Stamp Out Hunger,” the nation’s largest annual one-day food drive, just became much easier with the launch of a new website. gives quick, easy access to the latest news regarding the food drive and increase awareness about the event. The website also has downloads, such as a countdown widget, flyers, information and statistics about hunger in America, and links to sign up for e-mail or text reminders.

The Food Drive is May 8, 2010. Donations this year are expected to push the overall total since the annual drive began 18 years ago to more than 1 billion pounds

How will you be involved with the Food Drive this year?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Do your kids know what a postage stamp is?

One television station survey suggests that four out of five children under the age of 18 have never touched a postage stamp.

Scary thought!

Is it true?

Comment here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

More, or less?

One item for discussion lately has been the number of postal outlets. Some say we need fewer, since people can buy postage from grocery stores and at Other say we need more, to increase our presence.

There has been a change in our facility mix.

Since 1970, the number of traditional "Post Offices" has declined 15 percent, from 32,002 to 27,161. During the same time frame, the number of Post Office Branches and Stations has gone from 3,869 to 4,828. That's an increase of 25 percent.

Community Post Offices and Contract Postal Units have dropped from 7,241 to 3,834. That's a decrease of 45 percent.

What do you think? Do we more facilities, or less and why?

Comment here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Green on Blue: Happy Earth Day from USPS

Today is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.

USPS has been a proponent of recycling. Maybe you have it in your office.

And there are many other USPS green initiatives. Take the USPS eco-quiz here to learn more.

What do you think about USPS sustainability efforts? Comment here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The most diverse ZIP Code in the U.S.

98118, Columbia City, WA has recently been acknowledged as one of the nation's most diverse ZIP Codes.

According to the Census Bureau, 59 different languages are spoken throughout the ZIP area which officially has 40,000 residents in it's six square miles.

How diverse is your neighborhood, route or town?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Finish postal workers use electric bikes

About 1,500 Finnish postal carriers use a bicycle to make their appointed rounds.

About one third of them have switched to electric bikes, which helps with terrain and saves on the knees.

What do you think? Viable for U.S. deliveries?

Comment here.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Internet isn't everywhere. We are.

John Nichols of The Nation magazine has a keen observation on the viability of the mail.

"Americans do not often talk about the Postal Service as a crucial underpinning of the democratic infrastructure, but we should.

"At a time when 35 percent of all Americans and 50 percent of rural residents have no broadband Internet access at home, USPS is universal. It goes to extraordinary ends to assure that no citizen or community is neglected.”

Yes, the Internet is faster, but it's not really everywhere. We are.

What do you see in your town? On your route? Comment here.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Predators met procastinators

There’s something fishy about Las Vegas tax night promotion.

The Mandalay Bay Casino asked the Postal Service to park their two mobile van units near the entrance to the casino on April 15th. And for every tax return that was deposited in one of the snorkel collection boxes, the casino also provided a free ticket to their Shark Reef Aquarium.

One observer said, "this is where procrastinators meets predators."

Did your office do anything unique for Tax Day?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tax day: Not what it used to be.

Today is tax day. It used to be enough make most postal employees break into a cold sweat. Lobby lines would stretch to the door. Racks of tax forms and instructions stood ready to be picked over by last-minute filers. Anxious customers peppered window clerks with a barrage of questions and, in some cases, we even brought volunteer tax preparers into our lobbies to provide assistance.

Outside was a dog-and-pony show of its own, as TV crews lined up to shoot footage of some of the estimated 23 percent of all American taxpayers who wait until the last day to file their return or request an extension. Extra collection runs were a necessity to keep boxes from being stuffed to overflowing.

How times have changed. Electronic filing has taken away a substantial chunk of our tax season business and tax day has become symbolic of the effect electronic diversion has had on our business. How big is the effect?

According to the Internal Revenue Service, in 1997 118 million federal tax returns were filed, with 85 percent, or 100 million, sent by mail. By 2002 the number of returns filed had climbed to 132 million but mailed returns had fallen to 87 million. This year the IRS anticipates receiving 141 million returns, but only 42 million of them will arrive in the mail.

Even at 44 cents per return (many are higher postage), this represents a loss of more than $25 million in revenue that is not coming back. So how do we recover? What is it like in your Post Office or on your route?

Comment here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

He's proud of what he does

Seattle  Mailhandler Nick Reeves is proud of his job -- and he's willing to show his pride in a very public manner.
When he went to his barber last week, he asked for a special message to be buzzed into his haircut. Check it out below.
"I've had many people comment on it," he said. "I was in my car last week, when someone saw it through the window and gave me a thumbs up."

When asked why he did it, he said, "It's for the mail."
Benny likes. How about you? Comment here.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cow puts mark on marketing tool

The Priority Mail Flat-Rate Box t-shirt is not only a great advertisement for the Postal Service, it’s also tough as iron.

Just ask Dennis Loch.

Loch is a rural carrier at the Watkins, MN Post Office. One evening he went to his second job hauling livestock to market without changing out of his “A simpler way to ship” t-shirt. That night a belligerent cow decided she was happier on the farm and bolted back down the loading ramp. Loch tried to stop her without much success. The cow knocked him over and stomped on his chest, square in the middle of the Priority Mail box.

Loch suffered two broken ribs and his heart and lungs were bruised. When the paramedic tried to cut his t-shirt off, Loch protested “No way. I can’t replace this shirt.” In spite of the pain, he got up and gently peeled the t-shirt off.

As it turns out, the shirt could be replaced, courtesy of Northland District customer relations manager Jennie Clark. Loch’s original t-shirt is enjoying a well-deserved retirement.

But what about the cow? “She was too big to fit so she did not ship,” Loch says.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pricing market dominant mailing products – hurting the bottom line?

One of the six stated objectives for a viable postal future is to “ensure pricing of Market Dominant mailing products is based on demand for each individual product and its costs, rather than capping prices for every class at the rate of inflation.”

As you may know, First-Class Mail can only rise to the cost of the Consumer Price Index. Other products like Priority Mail and Express Mail can adjust to whatever the market will bear.

Since First-Class is still our bread-and-butter, snagging a big percentage of our revenue and volume. Is it self-defeating to keep us from adjusting these prices higher than the CPI. After all, the CPI excludes volatile food, health care and energy prices. What do we use a lot of? Fuel for our vehicles and our buildings.

What do you think about this? Click here.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Curbside delivery

Photo taken in Plummer, ID, by Mike Moravec
Comment on this photo here.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Identity theft and the mail: Another myth?

According to the Federal Trade Commission, as little as 2 percent of identity crimes occur through the mail.

Theft of a wallet or purse is responsible for 5 percent -- meaning your documents are safer in the mail then they are in your pocket.

The problem is that too many people have the perception that is a primary venue for identity theft. It just isn't so.

How many people do you know have this perception? How can we change it?
Comment here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Approach with caution!

This mailbox is found in Oklahoma.
It may be the most unique -- and scariest -- mailbox in America.

Comment here.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Podcast 22 now online

Our friends over at Your Postal Podcast have just posted their latest edition.

The March edition of Your Postal Podcast features an interview with a Postal Inspector who went to Haiti in hopes of helping the earthquake-ravaged country reestablish postal services.

In addition, they travel to New York City to hear about the Morgan Processing and Distribution Center’s unique “Green roof.”

Also, an English professor from Texas Tech University discusses the origins of the term “snail mail” and whether people mean any harm when they say it.

Finally, they take a look at the latest national news involving the Postal Service, including comments from U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves as he kicked off the 2010 Census forms’ national mailing.

You can listen here or you can read the transcript here. Don't forget to tell a friend! 
Got an opinion on the podcast? Comment here.

Friday, April 2, 2010

It’s our business to create more business!

A reader sent me a note with a pretty interesting handout she created for her employees:

"We ALL are stakeholders in this wonderful company we work for called USPS. With this being said, we can generate some excitement and form partnerships among our employees by using a fun and informative postcard, promoting the Submit-a-Lead Program. Getting back to basics with building and promoting what we do is what we need to start doing for the betterment of USPS."

And check out this flyer. It's got my image on it with a catchy little phrase, "Mind Your Business"

Idea and concept courtesy of the Gulfport, MS, Plant Manager

What do you think? Comment here.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

No fooling. The Post Office is fun!

The Post Office is a place to laugh. Just ask 3 year-old Isaac, who gets his mail at the Halsey, OR, Post Office.