The best hope for the Postal Service is that it exists


The package arrived a day or so ago. Opened it. Contents werenít right. Completed the form, repackaged it, drove to the post office with the prepaid label in place to send it back.

Thatís story number one, generically told.

Different year. Different package. Same idea. Sort of. This time, the prepaid option involved having to find one of the nearby drop off locations. Iíd say convenient drop off locations, but none of possibilities were convenient. Nearest one was fifteen miles and almost a half-hour of driving away.

And so goes story number two, generically told.

A thought occurred to me as I drove to the local post office with my return the other day. And it was this: as the U.S. Postal Service tries to overcome challenges and struggles, the very best reason for them to continue might come from an understanding that they already exist.

Have you been paying attention as companies with a national presence attempt to set up distribution centers? The most celebrated and widely discussed is usually Amazon. But Iíve watched as home improvement companies and other groups look to operate from buildings in more places that will assist with speed and shipping costs.

There arenít a lot of groups that manage to visit almost every address in the country six days a week. First one youíd think of is the U.S. mail delivery. The second one is, well, there isnít a second.

Anyone that has seen a post office truck drive up on a Sunday with a package delivery will understand that increasing their involvement is certainly not a completely original idea. In fact, you may have also noticed that with some package deliveries, the final leg of the journey involves the item being handed off to the post office to get it to the door.

Crazy thing. Deliveries.

Have you noticed theyíve got an app for that? I donít mean a UPS app. Donít mean any app at all. I mean when it comes to getting packages from one place to another, theyíve swept in and overhauled the system with a new method. And itís becoming more and more evident.

Consider ride sharing services. We all view them as taxi replacements, but you know the groups I mean. Now expanded on those into a delivery service for food, which given room and reason over the past two years, has grown incredibly. And now, your packages from Best Buy and Amazon and more may wind up on your doorstep with what has every appearance of a private vehicle out front when it does arrive.

I have no clue what this honestly means. I donít know the vetting process, insurance requirements or anything else that goes into placing a package, a pizza or even me into a car. But one thing I can tell you is that when the U.S. Postal Service is claiming to be in need of additional revenue (and even ways of generating that revenue), all possibilities of package delivery should be on the table.

If nothing else, with so many stations across the United States, they are five steps above any other suggested option as a return center possibility.

A UPS drop off for most? Not that close. FedEx? Also inconvenient. Amazon desk in a retailer? Iíd drive past at least five post office branches getting to one.

So, hereís the end result. If the USPS wants to thrive and be a vibrant part of things tomorrow, they need to seize opportunity today. All the parts are in place. We arenít talking massive expenses to get buildings placed or vehicles on the road.

The only question becomes whether or not they recognize an opening is available. If they donít do it soon, that option will be filled.


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