Thursday, December 30, 2010

Charging for Saturday deliveries

A reader in the USA Today newspaper suggested the Postal Service charge customers $10 a week for Saturday delivery.

Do you think this idea would work? Would you have customer's who would pay for such a service? Leave your comment here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mobile Post Offices - a simple answer?

Many Districts and large citiies have Mobile Post Offices that they use for major outdoor events, nursing homes, or regular stops in neighborhoods.

They area cheap to operate, offer nearly all postal supplies and services, and help boost our brand.

So what if we used them more? What if we bought a fleet of 500 and deployed them around the country. They could serve clusters of rural areas, metro centers and other places.

What do you think? How could we use mobile Post Offices to increase our revenue, reduce costs and improve service?

Comments welcomed here!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A brand you can trust

If I were to ask you to name the brands you like best, what would you answer?

In a 2010 survey — conducted by marketing research firm NewMediaMetrics — consumers say USPS, unranked in 2009, is 15th among brands they find the most attractive.

The survey asked 3,500 Americans between the ages of 13 and 54 to rank on a scale of 0-10 the companies they liked based on their “emotional attachment.”

The survey shows which brands people are least willing to give up. The iPod brand tops the list, followed by iPhone, Disney Parks, XBox and Microsoft Office Suite.

The United States Postal Service follows Google, Apple, and Blackberry and beats out Microsoft Windows, Victoria's Secret, Verizon Wireless, and Visa.

Take a look at Market Research Facts to see the Top 60 brands.
What do you think about this? What does this say about the Postal Service?

Monday, December 27, 2010

"Postal Customer" -- Making it easier to mail

If you work in an office with city delivery, you know that saturation mail has to be addressed. It's not easy for mailers -- especially small business owners, who must purchase mailing lists and print individual address labels.

Wouldn't it be cheaper for mailers and easier for us just to put "one in every box?"

According to PR Newswire, USPS will change the rules on January 2, allowing for simplified addressing on saturation flat-size mailpieces and irregular parcels in order to reach target customers in specific neighborhoods.

It is expected to help small businesses like pizza joints, barbers and restaurants who want to target the customers in their neighborhood.

The move is projected to bring in between $100-500 million per year in new revenue.

What do you think? Do you like the idea? Will it help grow business? Will it increase carrier hours? Will your customers like it? Comment here.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Deer Whisperer saves Rudolph's cousin

Salt Lake City letter carrier Jana Halliday added “deer whisperer” to the list of things she’s good at.

Halliday, who works out of the Holladay Branch, was walking up a driveway to deliver a package when she saw a small deer stuck in a wrought iron fence. The deer had made it part of the way through, but its hind quarters were caught and the deer was “flailing and losing hair,” said Halliday, who’s worked for the Postal Service for 24 years.

Halliday decided she couldn’t leave the deer like that, so she walked up to it and started talking in a soft voice. “He mellowed out and looked at me with big brown eyes,” she said. “I even petted him.”

 With the deer standing still, Jana pulled on the fence and the deer bounded away. “ she's efficient in her duties, but her ability to care about people and even a helpless little deer makes her very special,” said a customer who witnessed the event.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Handling the holidays

It is estimated that we will process and deliver about 152 million packages this Christmas Season. Top that with billions of cards and letters.

And thanks to all our efforts, our customers know we'll get the job done no matter what.

But still, it can be hard. So, how are you handling the challenges at work?

Cookies?  Christmas music on your MP3 player? Talking with family? EAP?

If you have a tip, please share it. Someone might need your idea!
Comment here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Twin Cities coalition sends 700 packages to deployed military memebers

For troops overseas, a package from home is a real morale booster. Twin Cities Post Offices joined with the 4th and 5th District American Legion, 30 schools and others for the 3rd annual Shop, Ship, & Share (SSS) event at Rosedale Center. SSS provides boxes of needed supplies, treats and messages from home to Minnesota soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Students and the Legion posts solicited donated items for the care packages and wrote letters of thanks and encouragement. They did much of the preparation of the boxes, which were finished by volunteers at the Rosedale event. Postage on the boxes was paid through donations gathered by Legion posts throughout the Twin Cities, and by the generosity of shoppers who stopped at Shop, Ship & Share to add their support.

In all, more than 680 boxes are now on their way to provide holiday cheer. “This is spectacular,” said 4th District Legion Commander Teresa Ash, who headed up the effort. “It’s difficult to put into words how much this support means.”

Letters to Santa: What are kids asking for?

In the Dec. 15 USA Today, a story appeared on the front page quoting postal employees who had witnessed some heartbreaking letters to Santa.

Many kids were simply asking for coats, socks and shoes. 

The article said this, "Santa Claus and his elves are seeing more heartbreaking letters this year as children cite their parents' economic troubles in their wish lists."

Was this surprising to you? Also, have you read any letters to Santa that were heartbreaking? If so, please share them here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Snow man delivers

Postmaster Bonnie Bunch and Retail Associate Betti Knoll created this Priority Snow Man display for their Rose Hill, KS, Post Office lobby.

Shake, Rattle and Roll: Handling Packages With Care

Popular Mechanics recently conducted a test not of speed, but of handling in their article, "Which Shipping Company is Kindest to Your Packages?"

The magazine installed monitors inside packages and shipped them through UPS, FedEx, and the Postal Service. The monitors recorded acceleration, orientation and temperatures while the parcels made their way across the country.

According to the magazine, the Postal Service has the most tender-loving care, with the least measured amount of drops from any height. However, among the three shippers, USPS turned over packages the most.

The devices also recorded temperature and all three carriers had a relatively stable swing in temperature, with FedEx's average change of 26 degrees versus USPS 32 degree swing.

When an item was marked "Fragile" or "This Side Up," the packages actually were handled more roughly.

What's your opinion? Although we are the best, can we do better?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Darkness and might

Journey to Alaska and Kuwait

With this month's Your Postal Podcast features a day -- a very cold, dark day -- in the life of a Fairbanks letter carrier. Hear what it's like to deliver mail in Alaska's extreme winter weather by listening to the 31st edition of the podcast here. 

In addition, you'll hear about Priority Mail care packages being received by soldiers stationed in Kuwait, and you’ll get a roundup of the latest postal news.

The podcasts can also be accessed free at the iTunes store or via any RSS feeder.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Santa, a sleigh and Priority Mail

Our friends over at the Suncoast Scoop unearthed this gem.

Empty Priority Mail boxes are already assembled around the sleigh, ready for customers to grab and go. The sleigh was constructed by Tampa FL,  Customer Services Supervisor Wendy Bivona.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Woman crashes into Post Office, but still mails parcel

A 90-year old woman in Oliver, PA, crashed into the local Post Office.
All she wanted to do was mail a package.

According to the Cincinatti Inquirer, she wouldn't get out of the car unless the Postmaster assured her that her mail would be sent.
The driver was okay. And yes, we delivered as promised.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

If you had to choose just one stamp to represent the U.S. Postal Service, what would it be?

The Smithsonian National Postal Museum is conducting a poll to see which U.S. postage stamp should represent the United States in the new International Collections Exhibit of the new William H. Gross Stamp Gallery, scheduled to open in the fall of 2012.

The International Collections Exhibit will explore geography, ancestry, history, culture, the environment, and other global topics and themes through interpretive displays of stamps and other philatelic items from around the world.

Additionally, the gallery will feature one stamp from each country, including the United States. Which of these stamps do you think best represents America?

Statue of Liberty
Capitol Dome
Liberty Bell
Shield, Eagle and Flags
Moon Landing
Freedom Statue
Flag and Fireworks

Voting will be open until midnight, January 20, 2011.

Click here to cast your ballot.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Caption Contest: If trucks could talk

Here's mine: "Hey little buddy? You still around? It's been, what, 25 years?"

If these trucks could talk, what would they be saying to each other?

Packaging and mailing tips

Here are some familiar, but helpful packaging tips:
· Make sure packages can withstand processing without the contents or box breaking.
· Cushion items with bubble wrap and foam peanuts so they do not shift during transit.
· Wrap each item separately when packing more than one item in the same box.
· Remove batteries from electronic devices and wrap separately.
· Use new boxes when possible. When reusing a box make sure previous labels and markings are covered before mailing.
· Place an extra address label with the delivery and return address inside the package. This ensures the safe return of an item that could not be delivered should the outside label become damaged or fall off.
· Always use tape designed for sealing shipping boxes. Do not use string, cellophane or masking tape to seal packages.
· Packages can weigh up to 70 lbs. and measure up to 130 inches in combined length and width. Make sure the width is measured around the largest point of the package.

Guidelines for addressing envelopes and packages:

Print complete address clearly.

A complete address includes:
  • the recipient’s name
  • Post Office Box or street number
  • street name
  • suffix (AVE., ST, LN, etc.)
  • directional (N, E, S, W)
  • secondary address (apartment or suite number)
  • city, state and 5-digit ZIP Code
Use the proper ZIP Code. ZIP Codes can be found at or by calling 1-800-ASK-USPS. Never guess at the ZIP Code. No ZIP Code is better than a wrong ZIP Code.

Print the delivery and return addresses on the same side of the envelope or package.

Always use a return address. It tells the Postal Service where to return mail if it cannot be delivered.

Friday, December 10, 2010

"They're like family." Carrier puts out flames in apartment complex

 Cedar Rapids Letter Carrier Angie Martin is a woman of action.
Cedar Rapids Fire Chief Stephen Reid presents
 Letter Carrier Angie Martin with a
certificate for extinguishing a fire on her route.

She was recently honored for extinguishing a fire before it got out of control inside an apartment building last month.

Martin has training as a volunteer firefighter, but never got the chance to help put out a fire before now.

When she was delivering mail to the 20th Street apartment complex, she saw three-foot flames shooting up from a sink inside one of the units. She then grabbed a fire extinugisher and was able to put out the flames before firefighters arrived on the scene.

Why did she do it?

She told the Cedar Rapids Gazette that it was because of her protective nature.

"They are like an extended family," Martin said.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Frosty the Snowman makes a big impression

You can find this magnificent Priority Mail snowman in Wichita, KS.
It was created by River City Station Associate Gregory Boyd.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Carrier saves life

Superior WI TE Gloria Sramek
Superior WI Letter Carrier, Gloria Sramek, saved a life of a baby while out on her route for the day.

A young couple were outside their home, calling for help and claiming that their baby had died.

Sramek observed the baby was blue in color and not breathing. She initiated CPR and emergency crews took over a few minutes later.

First responders credited Sramek with saving the baby's life.

What do you think about this? Comment here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

New Postmaster General: Day One!

Pat Donohoe officially takes over as Postmaster General this week.

He'll have his hands full, with the challenge of declining demand, revenue and volumes that all put stress on our massive infrastructure. With every decision, he'll have to balance customer concerns, political challenges and the needs of  560,000 employees.

He wrote a letter to those employees. You can read it here and here.

What do you think about the letter? Got any advice? Encouragement? Words of wisdom? Share them here.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer comes to Post Offices

DVDs of Classic Media’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the longest-running TV holiday special of all time, are being made available this holiday season at will be available at more than 5,000 Post Offices nationwide.
If you buy the DVD and ship using Priority Mail, you get a $2 discount.

What do you think about this? What about your customers? Do you plan on buying one? Comment here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Kids can color their Post Office this season

Here's a great image from Nevada, OH, Postmaster Earl Musick that you can use as a coloring contest for local schoolchildren. Feel free to print off and make sure you drop Earl a note of thanks!

To use, you can click below and print the image. Or you can click below, then right click and "copy." Then paste the image into a PowerPoint so it prints vertically.

Illustration by Earl Musick