October 13, 2017
Dear Fellow Frequent Mailer & Postage Purchasers,
I am so done with having my heart strings yanked with "Save the USPS" campaigns. Stick me with a fork, take me out of the oven, and serve me up, 'cause I'm done. We have done our fair share of buying postage and letter writing in repeated attempts to “help save the USPS.” What a truck load of hockey pucks! What a pasture full of cow patties. Enough, too much, no more! None of us can save the USPS from itself.
Why do you think we are so easily duped? I believe my nostalgia for the old days when mail meant so much is what sucked me in. Remembering how lonely I was growing up across the States as an army brat—which is a term I hate—since we were the better behaved children in America—and how letters and notes, and cards made me feel more connected and closer to family and friends we always left behind. What’s your
Yeah, we drank the Kool-Aid with our bleeding heart selves. With or without a straw? What was your favorite flavor? What's Kool-Aid: Artificial flavors and colors, water, lots of sugar, a little ice, and some other stuff. But save the mail, right? Save the mail. Why? Save it from what?
We the people pay more for a stamp than businesses/companies/charities and organizations that can well afford to pay full price—even more. We are the “we, the people" who keep the USPS in operation. Oh, give us a break! What are they gonna do if they’re asked to pay their fair share? Stop sending mail and unwanted junk? Cut back on business? Do you really think charities are gonna pull back their money grubbing grabbers because they must pay a few coins more? Companies will go under because they have to pay more to send thousands of useless letters? Oh, what will I do without letters from insurance companies that want to sell me insurance so those I leave behind won’t be stuck with the costs of burying my sorry ass? And what will the credit card companies do if they can’t send me another letter because they’ll have to pay as much as I do for a postage stamp? And don’t you think they’re throwing good money after bad, since their unsolicited mail offers go straight to the shredder? Oh, please don’t tell me you bite the bait.
My poor aunt who is afflicted with Alzheimers has been taken to the cleaners with a solicitation to take advantage of "free money." When I tried to convince her that she knew better, she said, “Oh, I didn’t need it, you know that, but it was free money.” Poor old thing. Her sister took over control of her finances. These are some of the people we're striving to save the mail for, because of junk mailers who get discounted postage rates.
Boy did we ever drink the Kool-Aid. All eighteen flavors we did! And we saved the USPS all that money just so they can play at being George Jetson. Driverless mail trucks? Why not buy clever mail drones instead? After all, how many mail box owners actually buy stamps and write letters?
I have a neighbor who checks her mail box once a month, and she’s the only one in her family who has a mail box key. She tells me loud and clear, from across the street, how she knows the only things in her box are bills, bills, and more bills. And she wants to know why we check for mail six days out of seven. You know I grin when I show her my handful of letters from my pen friends. No, I don’t smirk! I grin. *grin*
Driverless mail trucks my ass. Our carrier parks in front of our cluster boxes, opens the side face, and tosses or crams in pre-sorted bundles or singles of mail, takes what’s in the out box, closes and locks up, and they’re off to the next cluster. Why would they need a driverless mail truck? “Hmm. Let me see, said the blind man.”
I quote: One reason the postal service wants robocars? They could help solve its money problems. The agency lost $5.6 billion last year, mostly because Congress demands it shell out prefunded retiree health care benefits. (The idea here is that all employees’ health care will be completely paid for by the time they retire. No other agency operates this way.)
Why do we let Congress get away with such highway robbery??? They take the high way without even asking, while we take the low road and pay a higher toll! So, again . . .
I quote: If the USPS sticks with this plan, the jobs of the nation's 310,000 mail carriers could change, for better or worse. Once the vehicles do all the driving, the humans will be left with the sorting and the intricacies of the delivery process. Unless, of course, a robot can figure out how to do those too. And whatever the report says about protecting jobs, it's clear that the best way to cut down on employee health care costs is to cut down on employees. The Postal Service says it plans to sit down with unions to discuss the implications of this tech after the University of Michigan delivers its prototype in December. (Those unions, the National Association of Letter Carriers and the National Rural Letter Carriers Association did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)
Again I ask. WHY? Congress, can you hear me now? Yeah? Why why the hell won’t you answer?
Oh. Wait. I hear something.
I quote: But maybe the best reason for USPS to experiment with autonomous vehicles is to keep up with the Joneses. FedEx is investing in small autonomous vehicles that could make deliveries without the aid of human drivers. Amazon has an entire team dedicated to researching how autonomous vehicles (and drones) could transport its goods directly to customers. Google holds patents on unmanned truck delivery. DHL has posited driverless vehicles could be endlessly useful in warehousing operations, last-mile deliveries, and logistics operations. UPS has a test truck that shoots drones.
Shaking my head so hard my eyes roll.
I quote one more time: Which gets us back to one final idea floated by the USPS Office of the Inspector General in the report. Mail carriers drive the same exact routes almost every day. If the service kits out its vans with the right sorts of sensors, those vans could build and constantly update the incredibly detailed 3-D maps that help self-driving cars navigate—for a price, of course. Yeah, other startups and companies have been built expressly to collect and mine mapping data—but don’t count out the letter carriers. If rain and hail can't stop them, why should the future?
Oh, how very clever is this Aarian Marshall. Hmm. Wonder who named him? Her? No matter. Wired was smart enough to hire them.
I sent double a-Arian Marshall a thank-you for the piece. Writing for Wired has to be one of the coolest things a human can do. Right?
Be well. Don’t linger in hell.
P. S. Pardon me for peeing in the Kool-Aid. Or not. I need no pardon if I have committed no crime and not been sentenced for it. I'll drink water from now on. So stop with the faux "save the mail" bait. Let's write because we want to. Let's send mail art and postcards and stuff . . . just because we want to. Unless of course your retirement must be paid for in advance, and is dependent upon our buying postage too.