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Are Postal Customers Preparing for the Trumpocalypse?
The Postal Tsunami Asks - Is It Retail Therapy, or Is Scared America in Nut Burying Mode?
Last Saturday, I pulled up in front of a house to deliver a Christmas sized stack of parcels. It was a beautiful day, what they call "mailman weather," just enough of an arctic nip in the air to keep you from sweating, but not enough to make you put on a jacket. The sky was brilliant blue, there were no ominous clouds threatening to drown out my mailman's parade, and it seemed like the very Earth had achieved the pinnacle of happiness. What could ruin it? What could put a bummer on my full tour time and a half day off, other than it was my day off and I was working?
As I stood there against the bumper of my LLV, scanning packages with the sunshine on my shoulders making me happy, a customer came storming out of the house, not so much to wash out my parade, but to give it a temporary rain delay.
"I want to get those packages from you before my husband sees them," she said. "He's been getting after me for spending so much lately."
She then went on to tell me a woeful tale about how the election of Donald Trump has sent her off on an Internet spending jag. "I don't know what your political opinions are..." she started, then went on to relate how drowning her sorrows in stuff is her only solace in the Trump hangover, a condition that has a lot of us wondering what the hell we did last night and how many we drank that made us wake up with this flabby, annoyingly chatty blonde in bed next to us, with some fairly nose-turning blonde-stained sheets to boot.
"Retail therapy," I said. She agreed, and carried her packages inside before hubby could catch her.
As I watched her depart to squirrel away the merchandise in some spouse-proof hidden cache, I had to wonder if this buying frenzy was really to soothe her sadness about the election of that querulous quarreler, quasi quisling from Queens, or if she is fulfilling the desires of some hidden function of our reptilian brain that we hurry up and bury all the acorns we can tuck away before some environmental calamity befalls us?
In other words, is America getting busy hedging its bets, stocking up the pantry and preparing for the worst, in the event that the worst-case scenario of this ultimate X-factor of Presidents turns into reality?
Mexican Mayhem Spills Into San Diego
I don't want to get overly political in this forum. People don't read the Tsunami because they want to hear stump speeches. Every time I try a stump speech here I get stumped trying to figure out why nobody read it. I'm not going to take a side on this particular issue of Trump vs. non-Trump. I'm just wondering if subconscious stockpiling for the great post January 20th unknown is one reason why parcel volume is not significantly declining post Christmas. If so, what if it's not just Trump that triggers our caching instincts? Maybe America goes into hoarding mode every time the butt in the oval office chair changes.
There is certainly no data to prove or disprove this, no national surveys that say Americans are buying stuff online in droves because they are afraid the country is going down the toilet and they want to salvage whatever cyber-turds are available before it flushes. But I do have some admittedly anecdotal, unscientific data that demonstrates, though does not prove the trend that the parcels keep cranking out even though Santa has long since gone packing to the North Pole.
Between October 15 and December 24, 2016, the daily parcel volume on my route was 124. After Christmas, this number has decreased to only 115. In spite of my loving supervisor's maternal assurances that there is nothing to worry about, that Christmas is over and the mail is back to normal, I am still going home exhausted every day. Christmas came and went, but the back of my LLV is still stretched to the limits of its rusted metal seams every day.
Granted, this could be for several reasons. Here in San Diego, for instance, the revolution in Mexico over Pena Nieto's misguided policies is spilling across the border. My wife sent me out for tortillas the other night. I went to three stores, and I only saw three or four packets of those mini tortillas that look like 80s vintage floppy disks pressed out of corn. The next night, she sent me out for a roasted chicken. I went to three stores, but I could not find so much as a single anorexic Cornish hen in any store.
Here in the South Bay region of San Diego County, tortillas grow on trees for the picking, and we roost with roasted chickens. Since the economic turmoil in Mexico, however, Mexican people have been crossing the border in droves to buy gasoline and foodstuffs. Fancy this, but such is the bad state of affairs in Mexico that our lousy machine-made gringo tortillas are preferable to the delicious, hand tossed, homemade Mexican variety. It is cheaper for Mexican people with the wherewithal to sit for hours in their cars at the International border, with the sole objective of crossing over to buy these wafers of machined maize so insipid a self-respecting hog would turn its snout at them. That's what it has come to.
Here in southern San Diego, the reason why our parcel volume is regularly high, even though our neighborhoods teeter on the brink of ghetto, is because these Mexican neighbors of ours use relatives in the US to order stuff online. The Mexican mail system is not too reliable, to say the least. Therefore, perhaps another reason why our parcels have not declined, have not meekly surrendered to their post-Xmas destiny, is because people in Tijuana have been stocking up, out of fear of having to go off the grid in the aftermath of economic upheaval.
Or it could be a combination of several factors, including this, and also fears of the impending Trumpocalypse. Then again, maybe folks are just getting a late start on spending their Xmas gift cards. Nobody knows, it's just interesting food for thought, much more tasty than those American made, mass produced tortillas that are so heavily rationed here now.
What are your thoughts? Are the post-Christmas parcels holding steady in your neck of the woods? Please share in the comments below.
Other Troubling Tsunami Surges
- By the time you read this, Donald Trump will just barely be sworn in. Even so, anti-postal forces have already sprung into action, taking his election as a sign to resume their suspended attacks on Postal workers. Anti-postal legislation, probably drafted and held in cryogenic stasis for a more favorable legislative environment, is now eagerly being defrosted. One of these measures is a bill that will eliminate union representation for new postal workers.
- Representative Jason Chaffetz, the Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform who took the position vacated by the evil Darrell Issa and then spent his first few days in the post trying to reassure us by hanging folksy photos of letter carriers in the committee chambers, is now revealing himself to be just another Issa-incarnation, making dangerous and disturbing proclamations about Postal reform. Trump seems to have emboldened these postal-dismembering wolves who were sent skulking into the shadows after they lost the battle over Saturday delivery and Staples. Is their ravenous and slobbering reemergence wishful thinking, or will Trump truly release these anti-postal hounds after he takes the oath?
- On a positive note, postal sheep trembling in their fold from the howling shadows on the fringes of the meadow have a champion. Congresswoman Susan Davis of San Diego has introduced a resolution to protect door delivery of mail.
- Ominous signs on the horizon indeed, but not without hope of happy weather ahead. Is it time to hoard, hide, or sing Hail to the Chief? Happy Postal tidings from the Tsunami, anchored off the coast of soggy San Diego, always ready to scour the shoreline of falsehoods and injustice.