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Don't give up on your mail
It's referred to as 'snail mail' because it rhymes and people love a good joke at the expense of the USPS. Don't give up on a good letter in the mailbox.
Our electronic mail arrives instantaneously, unless you are an AOL subscriber. Our analog mail requires just a little longer. Once a day, at least 5 days a week, little trucks trundle through every neighborhood from Berkley to Braintree. Dedicated deliverers hand-deliver every manner of catalog and all the much-needed items won on eBay. Without our postal service we'd never receive our Vogue or our Field and Stream.
A daily joy it is, to wander out of house for a few moments to check the mail. Our mailbox is a destination. Hopefully we can get there before identity thieves or Homeland Security sneak a peak at our income tax refund check. We never know what's waiting for us behind that little door. We might find a notice from the electric company announcing lower rates on kilowatts for low-income families. Perhaps the current edition of TV Guide lurks. Perchance the local Boy Scout troop desires to sell us mulch and has thoughtfully placed an unaddressed flyer in the box, thereby committing a felony by invading the privacy of our official mail receptacle. We can never be sure until we complete the trek from the TV to the curb.
Is mail too expensive? Verily, few organizations or individuals might propose to pick up and transport physical paper across town for 45 cents. Obviously, the USPS profits from the high volume of customers craving their unique service. Evidently, no one else can complete in their niche. Certainly, FedEx and UPS would file bankruptcy were they obligated to visit every address on every route on every business day. Sending a payment to the gas company would cost 15 dollars.
Whither the future of our postal service? Will electronic mail eclipse physical mail? Probably not, unless Star Trek matter transporters appear in the close-out bin at Best Buy. Someone somewhere will always need to ship a real thing to a real person. Real things don't fit into your Outbox, even if you are using Outlook. Costs will continue to rise and services will shrink, but the basic functionality of the Post Office cannot be supplanted. Don't think twice about purchasing books of forever stamps.
Can it be enhanced?
What's wrong with the mail?
Shall market forces banish it to the 3rd class recycling heap of history, or will Congress legislate it forward into the 22nd century along with free health care and solar power? Ubiquitous Internet availability coupled with free electronic mail seems to indicate the former, but labor unions and voting blocks could always nudge us toward a USPS that refuses to go away.
Who wants to stand in line to post a letter?
Dwelling in that queue makes for a miserable afternoon. Often we must miss Dr. Phill or Dr Oz for the thrill of selecting a stamp and electing delivery confirmation. Many of our best and brightest industrial engineering minds struggle to make post office line-waiting at least as satisfying as a Republican Presidential Candidate campaign speech at the Iowa State Fair.