Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dog Walks Eight-Mile Route with Arkansas Carrier

Carriers in Gurdon, Arkansas, have a four-legged escort that is now a visible part of the city's mail delivery. KTHV ran a great story on "Suzy the mail dog." The TV station told the story about the dog, who is owned by a customer four blocks away.

Suzy just just shows up every morning to go for her long eight-mile walk with City Carrier Sally Tarpley.

"It just adds something a little more special to my day having her with me," Tarpley said.

The customers love the dog and it enhances Postal Service visiblity.

What do you think?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Forever, pre-paid Priority Mail envelopes and boxes proposed

According to Post and Parcel, we may offer “Forever” postage for our Priority Mail Flat Rate packaging.

The move would allow us to offer bundles of pre-paid Priority Mail flat-rate packaging, including various types of envelope and boxes. This packaging would incorporate labels with the Forever postage affixed.

According to Post and Parcel, the packaging will be available in packs of three, five, 10 and 25 items. The packs will be available online before they are available through retail partners.

Do you think there is a market for this? Good idea? Comment here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Do we all need to drive to work?

Postal employees work at more than 30,000 locations across the country. And not all of them drive. Many take public transportion, walk, carpool or bike to work.

Do you take alternate means to work? If so, please share your thoughts here.

Western Area Operations Support Manager Shawn
Mossman and wife Jude bike to work one day a week.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Text message postage

The Swedish postal service unveiled a text message payment system for postage.

After mobile users send a text, they will receive a reply that includes a code to be written on a piece of mail that will represent paid postage. 

Denmark will unveil a similar system on April 1.

Do you think something like this would work in the U.S.? 

Comment here.

Friday, March 25, 2011

USPS Redesign continues

As part of the ongoing redesign of the Postal Service, PMG Pat Donahoe yesterday announced USPS will close seven of its 74 district offices. This reflects continuing alignments within the organization to achieve core business strategies and, when fully implemented, will help realize approximately $750 million of annual cost savings .
The district offices scheduled for closure — Columbus, OH, (Eastern Area); Southeast Michigan, in Troy, MI, and Northern Illinois in Carol Stream, IL (Great Lakes Area); Southeast New England in Providence, RI (Northeast Area); South Georgia in Macon, GA, and Albuquerque in Albuquerque, NM (Southwest Area); and Big Sky in Billings, MT (Western Area) — house only administrative functions that will be assumed by surrounding district offices. The closures will not affect customer service, mail delivery, Post Office operations or ZIP codes.

“I am confident we have developed a strong plan that takes a key step toward a leaner and less bureaucratic structure. One that is fair to our employees and one that will meet the future needs of our customers and the mailing industry,” said Donahoe.

This organizational redesign builds on previous PMG announcements that included a 16 percent reduction in officer ranks, realigning revenue-generating business units, closing the Southeast Area Office, and further reducing the employee complement by about 7,500 positions.
While yesterday’s announcement focused on the administrative and executive corps, additional staff reductions will occur as the Postal Service makes necessary changes to its network and retail operations. The full scope and financial impact of these personnel actions should be realized in one calendar year — by March 2012.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Mailbox As Art

Gettysburg, SD, Postmaster Lois Raecke used this old mailbox to decorate her back yard.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Shredding in Seattle

A steady stream of vehicles lined up for the free paper shredding event held at Seattle’s Riverton Station on a rainy Saturday, March 12, to conclude National Consumer Protection Week 2011.

The event was sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service and the Postal Inspection Service. Postal representatives and individuals from the FTC and AARP distributed literature on various aspects of consumer protection and answered questions. Sea-Dru-Nar Recycling of Seattle provided the free shredding equipment.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What's your favorite postal song?

Here are a few songs with a postal theme. What's your favorite? What did we miss?

"Please Mr. Postman" – The Marvelettes
"Strawberry Letter #23" – The Brothers Johnson
"The Letters" – The Boxtops
"Return to Sender" – Elvis Presley
“Please Read the Letter” -- Robert Plant and Alison Krause
"Why Don't You Write Me" -- Simon & Garfunkel

"Mail Myself To You" --  Pete Seeger
"Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)" -- Stevie Wonder
"Postman's Groovy, He'll Make Those Blues go Away" -- Captain Beefheart
"Box Full of Letters" – Wilco

"The Letters" – Leonard Cohen

Monday, March 21, 2011

Migratory Bird Stamps -- Works of Art

The Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, often known as “Ducks Stamps,” are pictorial stamps produced by the Postal Service for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. You can't use them for postage, but must be affixed to a Duck Hunting license.

First created in 1934, the stamps serve as federal licenses that accompany state licenses for hunting migratory waterfowl.
The stamps serve a practical purpose, but are also works of art. The 2011 stamp was created by Chaska, MN, artist James Hautman. His painting (below) will serve as the background for this year's stamp.

James Hautman's painting was chosen as the 2011 "Duck Stamp" image
What makes a good stamp image? All the details are found here.
A visual history of migratory bird stamps can be found here.

Got an opinion? Do you have a favorite? Click here.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Not easy to do business with us?

One customer complaint is that it isn't always easy to do business with us. We have to follow old rules and business practices that are often seen as hinderances by customers.

Our new Postmaster General, Pat Donahoe, has a stated goal of making it easier for our customers.

So, what are your ideas? How can we make it easier?

Take an informal poll of  your friends and family or trusted customers and ask them for honest feedback. How can we be more approachable and customer-friendly?

Comment here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick’s Day statement

Topeka, KS, City Carrier Bill Barkemeyer celebrates St. Patrick's Day.

Photo Credit, Rudranath Rarncharan

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Women and the Postal Service

March is National Women's History Month.

Women have played an important role in Postal History. We've come a long way.

In 1960, 104 just female letter carriers worked for the Postal Service. By 1983, the number had grown to 8,000 — four percent of the total number of letter carriers employed by USPS. By 2007, 59,700 women were working as letter carriers and 36,600 as rural carriers, representing 40 percent of the carrier workforce.

The percentage of women in the postal workforce has grown steadily over the years. The Postal Service’s workforce today includes more than 234,000 women. Today’s Postal Service also parallels the national growth of women in management roles. Approximately 30 percent of the Postal Service’s executives are women.
Jeannette Lee was Chicago's first female letter carrier in 1944.
Photo courtesy, Smithsonian Institute.

For information on women in the Postal Service, including the first  female Postmaster and letter carrier, click  here.
You can comment here.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Your Postal Podcast - Tumbling tumbleweeds and winds of change

What can tumbling tumbleweeds do that wind, nor rain nor heat can't? Listen to this month's edition of Your Postal Podcast  to find out.

Available at, this month's audio program also follows a posse of Pony Express riders on a mission to deliver the mail, and you'll hear the latest news on changes on the horizon for the U.S. Postal Service.

For a transcript of this month's show, please click here. 

While at, you can catch up on all 33 previous editions. All of the podcasts can also be downloaded free at the iTunes store or via any other RSS feeder. Comments, questions and story ideas are always appreciated -- click here to share yours.

Monday, March 14, 2011

More with less

The Postal Service saw its highest career employee complement — 797,795 employees — in 1999. Since that time, through attrition, the complement level has decreased to 583,000 employees (as of Dec. 31, 2010) and delivery points have increased by 17 million nationwide, from 134 million to 151 million in the same timeframe.

What do you think about this? Is this story told enough?
Comment here.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Daylight Savings Time

Daylight savings times starts this Sunday, March 13. Be sure to turn your clocks ahead by one-hour. From a postal standpoint, this gives us an extra hour of daylight for those of us who deliver the mail.
Here's a little history lesson. Daylight Savings Time was standarized on a national basis 1966, with the passage of the Uniform Time Act.

The act created uniform dates for the beginning and end of DST, but allowed individual states to "opt out." According to National Geographic, it was the Department of Transportation who was charged by Congress to "foster and promote widespread and uniform adoption and observance of the same standard of time within and throughout each such standard time zone."

Prior to the Uniform Time Act, it was often left to local jurisdictions and led to a great deal of confusion. It was however practiced nationwide during World War II, but was dropped at the end of the war.
Daylight Savings Time was
What do you think about Daylight Savings Time? Comment here.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Get them while they're young!

Kremin, MT, Postmaster Lynn Melby had this delightful Priority Mail Flat Rate Box story to tell recently as related to her by nephew Jake Stuart who lives in nearby Malta, MT. Both Jake and his wife, Ashley are the proud parents of nearly three-year-old Embree and younger brother Regan.

“Jake recently called me with this cute story,” said Melby. “Jake said that their family recently had one of our Priority Mail Small Flat-Rate Boxes sitting on the counter at home. Apparently Emree was playing nearby with her big stuffed cat and soon was trying to stuff it in the Flat-Rate box. After Emree was trying to do this for a while, her Dad said to her, “”Emree that is not going to fit in the box, you are going to wreck it. To which Emree innocently but emphatically replied, "Dad, if it fits, it ships!"’

Along with showing her awareness of the popular Priority Mail Flat-Rate Box commercials, Emree comes from a postal family. Besides Kremlin Postmaster Lynn Melby, she has two other great aunts currently serving as postmasters - Patty Young, in Whitewater, MT and Karla Davison in Highwood, MT.

Photo caption: Toddler Emree Stuart of Malta, MT tried to fit her stuffed cat in this Priority Mail Small Flat-Rate Box and told her Dad, “If it fits, it ships.”

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Full time letter carrier. Part time animal rescuer.

Full time letter carrier. Part time animal rescuer.

That’s a pretty accurate job description for Marsing, ID, Rural Letter Carrier Mara Ralls who gets high praise from two-legged and four-legged customers alike.

Rural Letter Carrier Mara Ralls
and a grateful Jewel.
Photo credit Bodie Clapier
During the nine years Ralls has worked for the Postal Service she also been the salvation of dozens of animals.

Her latest rescue was last month when she drove by a ranch and thought “Why is that horse leaning against a wire fence?” A glance in her rear view mirror told Ralls something was very wrong. She investigated and found a horse so severely tangled in fence wire – both smooth and barbed – that the wire was wrapped around the animal’s neck, chest, belly and upper legs.

She ran to the customer’s door but no one was home. She looked for a wire cutter, but had second thoughts about cutting a customer’s fence. So Ralls called for information, got the phone number for the customer’s mother five minutes later help arrived.

"There was a cavalry of four pickup trucks that roared up,” she said.

The wire was so tight around the horse that when the owner cut it, it snapped and cut his hand. The horse, which turned out to be a rodeo roping animal named Jewel, was unscathed with the exception of hair rubbed away by the wire.

This isn't her first go-round with helping animals. On another occasion, she heard a weak bleat coming from a customer’s yard and discovered a goat wearing a dog collar attached to a chain – and the chain was tightly twisted around the animal’s neck.

“The goat was choking to death, said Mara. “I got my scissors and cut off the collar. The goat ran into the back yard and I shut the gate.” Another time Mara roped a loose colt and “put it back in its pen with its mama.”

She’s told dog owners their pets were loose, a rancher that his cow was having a tough calving, and generally watched out for all the animals on her route.

“Animals only get what we humans give them,” said Ralls, explaining that she doesn’t mind being a second set of eyes for her customers, many of whom have jobs in addition to ranching and farming. She also keeps an eye out for her two-legged customers, especially the elderly.
Postmaster Don Cassity has good things to say. “Mara is very observant, which is a great quality for a carrier, and she obviously loves animals. She’s a very good letter carrier with many appreciative customers.”

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Five-day delivery. What do our customers think?

The Postal Service is seeking permission to curtail delivery from six to five days, in order to cut costs. The proposed five-day delivery plan cannot be implemented unless Congress first allows it.

Last month, Rasmussen Reports conducted a national telephone survey of 1,000 adults.

One of the questions was: “The United States Postal Service now delivers mail six days a week but is hoping to cut back to five days a week as a way to reduce its budget losses. Do you favor or oppose the Postal Service’s plan to cut mail delivery to five days a week.

The survey revealed that 14 percent of respondents were undecided about cutting mail delivery to five days a week. Respondents wanting to keep Saturday delivery weighed in at 34 percent.

The majority of respondents, 52 percent, favored the move from six to five days. But the desire for six-day delivery has cooled. A poll last March showed 58 percent wanted five-day delivery.

Only 31 percent of people wanted to privatize the Postal Service. The poll also concluded that 77 percent of respondents thought there would be a need for a Postal Service in 10 years.

The survey is found here. What do you think about the results? Comment here.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sizing it Up

Originally uploaded by rupzip
Bar Mills, ME, Post Office Postmaster Peggy Bisco needed a way to display the different sizes of Priority Mail boxes AND get attention.

She did it with this Priority Snowman, built out of a variety of boxes.

She even had customers coming into the window asking for the "tummy-size" boxes or the "head" flat-rate boxes.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Where's Buddy?

Abigail has the good fortune of having a city carrier for a father and a rural carrier for a mother, both who work out of Faribault, MN.

As a kindergartner, one of the fun things her class does is chronicle the life of Buddy Bear. Buddy is sent home each day with one lucky student who keeps track of his life through a digital camera and journal.

When it was Abigail's turn, Buddy spent the day with Mom and Dad.

Her Mom was happy to help. "These children are all future postal customers and I think sometimes we forget how we are not only the face of the US Postal Service today, but an integral part of the US Postal Service
future as seen through the eyes of a child...and a teddy bear," she said.

Here's Buddy's big day at the Post Office!

What do you think?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Click and ship her away!

Thanks to Earl Musick, Postmaster, Nevada, OH

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Carrier Alert

The Carrier Alert program started in the early 80's. Its purpose was to keep an eye on our postal customers who are home bound, the elderly and the handicapped. The customer signs up, telling the carrier to "keep an eye on them." If there is an accumulation of mail, help would be summoned.

Want to know more about Carrier Alert? Click  

Do your customers know about this? Think it's a good program? Have you ever known someone who's life was saved by it?

Comment here.