Tuesday, November 30, 2010

On line presence

We encourage many of our customers to use usps.com -- and for good reason. You can order supplies, buy stamps and even ask for a carrier to come to your house. And this Christmas season, we'll be pushing this option even more as a way to avoid a trip to the Post office.

But what do you think could be improved? As there some things on usps.com that we should start doing? What do your customers ask for? Do you use usps.com yourself?

Comment here

Monday, November 29, 2010

$8.5 billion loss -- but there's more to the story

Last week, the Postal Service announced that the year-end loss was, gulp, $8.5 billion.

But there's more to the story:

If we didn't to have to pay $5.5 billion to prefund Retiree Health Benefits and we were not impacted by changing interest rates for Worker's Compensation, our controllable, operating loss would have been only $500 million.

That puts things in perspective, don't you think?

The Wisconsin State Journal wrote a story on the loss and said this:

"It's time for Congress to get serious about stabilizing the service — without jacking up the price of stamps yet again.

        "Congress should:
• Let the Postal Service reduce payments of retirees' health insurance premiums.
• Grant the Postal Service authority to reduce delivery from six days a week to five.
• Let the Postal Service close more of its offices and outlets.
• Lift the Postal Service monopoly on letters and mailbox deliveries to allow competition.
• Allow the service to develop more competitive products."

So, what do you think? Comment here.

Friday, November 26, 2010

ZIP Code envy

Benny here.

In a post last week we talked about the most expensive ZIP Codes.

That got me to thinking.

Is there ZIP Code envy? Do you think people actually move based on the perceived value of a certain ZIP Code?

Who are the carriers who deliver to these prestigious ZIP Codes? Do they even know?

What do you think?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Your Postal Podcast: A beautiful mind for ZIP Codes

Mr Zip Code Man, David Rossteider

The latest edition of Your Postal Podcast, available online now at www.YourPostalPodcast.com, gets inside the head of a Colorado man who has memorized every ZIP Code location in the country and found a way to make a living showing off this unusual talent.

The new podcast also tells the story of how you can mail handwritten "Thank You" notes with a keyboard and mouse, thanks to a new service created by two Texas entrepreneurs.
To read a transcript of this, the 30th edition of our audio magazine, please click here.
While at the website, you can also catch up on any of the 29 previous editions of the audio show.  All of the podcasts may also be downloaded free at the iTunes store or via any RSS feeder. Please provide feedback, ideas or comments for Your Postal Podcast by clicking here.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Calling out all doodlers, cartoonists and illustrators

Does anyone out there have illustrating skills? We would sure like to have someone who could shake things up with humorous drawings and cartoons depicting this postal life.

Send a sample to Benny here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The most expensive ZIP Codes

Location, location, location. For the well-to-do, it's all about having the right ZIP Code.

Although the Postal Service uses ZIP Codes for mail transportation, sortation and delivery, their are plenty of other uses.

Forbes magazine recently sorted the nation's wealthy by ZIP Codes, using median home price as a gauge on wealth. California, despite the recent real estate plunge, is still a wealth leader.

The most expensive? Duarte, California, ZIP 91008. The median cost of a home there is $4.7 million.

Here's the rest of the list:
2. 94027, Atherton, CA, $4 million
3. 90274, Rolling Hills, CA, $3.8 million
4. 07620, Alpine, NJ, $3.8 million
5. 10014, New York, NY,  $3.7 million
6. 90210, Beverly Hills, CA, $3.6 million
7. 10065, New York, NY, $3.6 million
8. 94920, Belvedere/Tiburon, CA, $3.2 million
9. 10012, New York, NY, $3.2 million.
10. 93108, Santa Barbara/Montecito, CA, $3.1 million

Check out the data in your ZIP here.

Have you ever lived near one of these ZIP Codes? Know anyone who does? Comment here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Letters to Santa

Kids are starting to write letter to Santa. What do you think they'll be asking for?
More importantly, what are YOU  asking for?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cold weather just around the corner

How do you prepare yourself for the coming cold weather months?
Do you get flu shots? Buy new boots?
Do you read up on hypothermia or frostbite?
Or do you work in Arizona and really don't care?

Comment here.

Photo courtesy, Doug Short

Monday, November 15, 2010

Would greeting cards, postage included, sell?

According to the Washington Post, the Postal Service is flirting with the idea of letting greeting card companies preprint postage on the envelopes they include with their cards.

This would eliminate the need to make another trip to buy stamps.

It's an innovative idea that might just revive both the greeting card and Postal Service.

What do you think? Good idea? Or do you have another suggestion? Comment here.

Friday, November 12, 2010

In the beginning: Postal postcards

In 1869, Austria became the first country to issue cards imprinted with stamps. Other European countries soon did the same and the public response was overwhelming.

 A year later, the U.S>  Postmaster General recommended that Post Office Department follow the same route. It took nearly two years to get congressional approval, however, because of concerns about the privacy of messages.

The Post Office Dept. issued its first penny postal card in May of 1873.

US Postal Department-issued penny postcard
It was immediately a smash success. More than 200,000 cards were sold in 2½ hours in New York City. Nationwide more than 64 million were sold in the first five months, or roughly two for every man, woman and child, long before the advent of direct marketing.

Except during WWI, postal cards were 1 cent until 1952, hence the name “penny postcard”

In 1994 the first postal card sets featuring collectible artwork were introduced. These are sold in packets or booklets of 10 or 20 and the postage matches the design.

Do you use postal-issued postcards?
Comment here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veteran's Day!

Post your Veteran's Day thoughts here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Flat tubs for sale

Our flat tubs are hot items. You see them in garages, at flea markets, in hospitals and even in the backs of our competitor's vehicles. (see this post from last month for the evidence.)

But here's an idea that's been suggested by others. Why not offer our flat tubs for sale?  They are well-made, perfect for not only mail but also for car parts, books and garden supplies, and could sport a little USPS advertising.

The ones for sale would be colored or stamped differently than the workroom variety so they could be easily distinguished.

Good idea? If so, how much should they sell for? Comment here.

(By the way, in case you missed it. If you see large amounts of equipment, you can call the special phone number 866-330-3404 or email hqmte@usps.gov.)

Veteran's Day tomorrow. Salute!

Photo courtesy Marcy Earley

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Stamps and coffee - Do the two mix?

For years, we've been encouraging people to use alternate access to buy postal products and services.

Grocery stores, usps.com, Click-N-Ship, and contract stations have seen dramatic increases in the percentage of postage business. They've taken our product to where it's most convenient. 

But what do you think impact would be if we attracted people to our lobbies, renting out space to coffee vendors or bakeries? Besides the rental revenue, what do you think our customers would think?

Comment here.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tubs across America

Mail Processing, Retail and Delivery Operations use mail transportation equipment (MTE), to sort and deliver mail nationwide on a daily basis. 
Our equipment is costly to replace and we spend millions each year. Not all of the replacements are due to normal wear and tear. Tubs and trays regularly find their way into garages, trunks and garages.
In 2009, U.S Postal Inspectors recovered $2.1 million worth of MTE that had either been stolen or was being misused.
If you see large amounts of equipment, you can call the special phone number 866-330-3404 or email hqmte@usps.gov
With the holidays approaching, we need every piece of equipment in our system.
Do you see a misuse of MTE? What do you do if you see it? Comment here.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Postcards: When did they get their start?

In 1861, John Charlton of Philadelphia obtained the first copyright on privately produced postcards which he transferred to HL Lipman. The first “Lipman Postal card” was postmarked October 28, 1870 and required letter-rate postage.

In 1898 – congress passed an act approving a special rate for postcards, one cent, which was the same rate as used for cards issued by the Post Office Department.
A Lippman private postcard

Originally, the picture and a space for a message appeared on the same side of the card, with the entire flip side used for the address. This changed in 1907 with the first card issued with a picture on one side, with sections for the message and address on the other. That is the design that is still used today.

As early as 1900,  businesses began using postcards to advertise products and services.

Do you still use postcards?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Reduce collection boxes in front of Post Offices

We all know mail volume is down and probably will continue for years to come. So, do you think it's time to reduce the number of collection boxes we have in front of our Post Offices. We could reduce clutter like the picture below.

And just what are we doing with all those excess collection boxes? Can we make money off them? What kind of creative uses could people use them for?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

This mummy can't go in the mail

A Bolivian woman was arresting as she tried to send a mummified body dating back to the Incan times through the mail.

The parcel, addressed to a French town,  was discovered during a routine check

So, that's pretty strange. But I bet you have seen stranger things than that.

Comment here and tell the world!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Going to Postal U

This clever display in the Hugo, MN, Post Office helps educate customers, schooling them as to postal options.

The display was conceived and constructed by Retail Associate Kerry Westman.