You’ve Got Mail

Vantage Points Header Joel ElvesonIs The United States Postal Service Still Needed?

When I get an e-mail on my phone, I get an audio verbal alert that states “you’ve got mail.” Upon receipt of that message I immediately go to my inbox folder to see who sent me e-mail in addition to the date, times and the sender of the e-mail. I can then elect to “open” the e-mail and view its content or simply delete it if I don’t feel comfortable with what I am seeing. E-mail as we all know arrives in the recipients inbox seconds after you hit the send button. No running out in bitter cold or pouring rain to mail a letter or letting it sit on top of your mail box (or inside depending on the type of mailbox you have)waiting for it to be picked up. E-mail though not perfect by any stretch of the imagination is not perfect.

Independently-run postal routes operated back in in 1639 with a Boston to New York City service starting in 1672. Fast forwarding to the 19th century when the postal system played a crucial role in national expansion. It facilitated expansion into the west by creating an inexpensive (it remains that way to this day) fast, convenient communication system.

The early 20th century saw via the development of a domestic parcel post service by then Postmaster General Frank H. Hitchcock in 1913 greatly increased the volume of mail that was shipped nationwide, and motivated the development of more efficient postal transportation systems. On August 12th, 1918 the Post Office Department took over airmail service from the United States Army Air and appointed Benjamin P. Lipsner to head the civilian-operated Air Mail Service.

mailboxes-us-mail-mail-usps1Currently the United States Postal Service employs roughly 617,000 workers, making it the third largest civilian employer second only to the federal government and retail giant Wal-Mart which offer full pharmacy services in their stores. In 2011, numerous media outlets reported that the USPS was going out of business. The strategy of the USPS came under fire as new technologies emerged and the USPS was not finding ways to generate new sources of revenue.

E-mail has become the method of choice to send correspondence all over the world with the striking of a few keys to put your thoughts, etc. on paper and with the click of a mouse your letter is on its way and will arrive almost instantly after you send it. If you have the correct e-mail address of the person you are e-mailing despite the worst of weather conditions your e-mail will arrive ready for you to read.

In a sense you can via use of Western Union or MoneyGram you can e-mail money is now possible as well. From the comfort of sitting in front of your computer you can send money practically anywhere on the globe and have arrive safely and securely (for the most part) at its destination within breathtakingly short periods of time. While they have as yet figured out a way to ship packages through your computer rest assured somebody one of these days will.

The internet which e-mail is such a large part of is a revenue generating machine. Please don’t tell that to Twitter or Yahoo as it may elicit a profane response from them. E-mail services are many with few of them charging for the use of their service. Yes, there are drawbacks such as hackers, spammers, viruses and alike if you are careful you can mitigate these risks.

Factually speaking when you drop a letter in a mailbox there are risks that you cannot mitigate. The modern day mail carrier barely resembles the carriers of our parents’ day. Many do not read an address properly resulting in misdelivered mail. Throw in complaints many carriers have about having deliver mail to two “zones” in one house. Many houses have apartments in them with mailboxes upstairs and downstairs. Many of the carriers today have poor attitudes or are not open to being approached by a mail patron. If you have a substitute mail carrier chances of something going wrong increase as will in all likelihood the time your mail arrives as the “sub” has to cover his regular route plus the route of the regular mailman.

The Post Office recently has tossed around the idea of getting into the banking business by offering savings accounts and alike. To date that has not come to fruition. The common feeling is that if you can’t be trusted to deliver mail (although to give credit where credit is due considering the volume of mail handled very few pieces are completely lost) how can I trust you to handle my money.

Due to declining mail volume as e-mail grows ever more efficient and popular the USPS lost $5.5billion dollars in fiscal year 2014 and $5.1 billion dollars in 2015. Few corporations could absorb these losses and continue to stay in business but in this case bear in mind the USPS revenue was $67.8 billion dollars in 2014 and $68.9 billion dollars in 2015. Despite those robust numbers clouds continue to form over the future of the USPS.

As for me I would hate to think the loss of $617,000 employees would do to our economy. I use and prefer e-mail over the USPS for reasons previously stated. Yet I continue to hold onto the romanticism with mailboxes and the personal service e-mail cannot provide. In 2016 there is still (and hopefully that will continue) a need for both medium of mail transmittal.

Factual data was derived from Wikipedia. To offer more food for thought please listen to the song (lyrics below) Please Mr. Postman as performed by the group The Marvelette:


[message type=”custom” width=”100%” start_color=”#FFFFFF” end_color=”#FFFFFF” border=”#fb7200″ color=”# fb7200″]

“Please Mr. Postman” (Stop)
Oh yes, wait a minute Mister Postman (Wait)
Wait Mister Postman
Please Mister Postman, look and see (Oh yeah)
If there’s a letter in your bag for me (Please, Please Mister Postman)
Why’s it takin’ such a long time (Oh yeah)
For me to hear from that boy of mine
There must be some word today
From my boyfriend so far away
Pleas Mister Postman, look and see
If there’s a letter, a letter for me
I’ve been standin’ here waitin’ Mister Postman
So patiently
For just a card, or just a letter
Sayin’ he’s returnin’ home to me (Mister Postman)
Mister Postman, look and see (Oh yeah)
If there’s a letter in your bag for me (Please, Please Mister Postman)
Why’s it takin’ such a long time (Oh yeah)
For me to hear from that boy of mine
So many days you passed me by
See the tears standin’ in my eyes
You didn’t stop to make me feel better
By leavin’ me a card or a letter (Mister Postman)
Mister Postman, look and see (Oh yeah)
If there’s a letter in your bag for me (Please, Please Mister Postman)
Why’s it takin’ such a long time (Why don’t you check it and see one more time for me, you gotta)
Wait a minute
Wait a minute
Wait a minute
Wait a minute (Mister Postman)
Mister Postman, look and see (C’mon deliver the letter, the sooner the better)
Mister Postman[/message] [su_spacer]

Joel Elveson
Joel Elveson
INDEPENDENT Executive Recruiting By Joel is an "up and coming" Executive Search Firm formed and headed up by Joel Elveson whose visionary ideas, leadership & creativity have brought to life a more "user-friendly" approach to recruiting. His clients and candidates form powerful strategic partnerships that we use to help you. Joel’s Firm offers Permanent, Temporary (case by case), & Temporary To Permanent staffing solutions for all of your Human Capital Requirements. Contract IT/Consultants are available if needed. Above and beyond they are experts (by way of their personal industry work experience) with mortgage, mortgage banking, middle-market banking, accounting, along with many others under the vast financial spectrum of disciplines. Their business goes beyond candidate recruiting as they also train, mentor and develop your internal recruiting staff with an eye towards helping you reduce the cost of hiring. They will also work in areas such as compensation, effective onboarding processes and alike. In other words, their business is to help your business by becoming an extension of you by filling in gaps that cause delay or waste. The recruiting methods employed by Joel’s team are time tested that results in a high rate of successful placements. Joel was trained in the art of recruiting by some of the top staffing industry executives in addition to the best recruiter trainers who to this day drive me to exceed the lofty goals he has set forth.


  1. When I met my wife we wrote each other every single day while waiting for her to move to Myrtle Beach. There is nothing like getting that letter in the mailbox every day it seemed much more romantic than an email. Those days have passed as we don’t even get our bills by post office anymore. Very interesting article Joel . Thank you my friend I always enjoy what you’re writing.

    • Larry,
      Thank you for your very comments. It means a lot when people take the time to write. Although we can get our Con Ed (Electricity) bill by e-mail it is easier to read the paper version. When we were dating my wife and I would spend hours on the phone(Until that fateful day came when I moved in with her which made me an instant father of three Elementary School age children)since we only lived in another. I had a girlfriend that lived in Santa Rosa, Calif. who I corresponded with. As much as I love e-mail a letter in the mail is so special unless it’s not a personal letter. It always puts a smile on my face when people tell me that have read or are reading my article as sometimes it feels like I am writing words that mean something. Take care, my friend.

  2. I am always intrigued by the different ways we now can communicate. Each medium has it’s plusses and minuses. This article provides a lot of food for thought. I do still love getting a letter in the mail or a birthday card instead of the Facebook “Happy Birthday”. I also have to say that my lifeline to my son and his to me, was the written letter when he was in Marine boot camp. During their training the written letter is the only way for them to communicate. I have those letters today and will keep them for the rest of my life.

    • Raissa, I was incredibly struck by how touched you were by the letters your son sent you when he was in the Marines. My wife and I had the same experience when our son was in the Army. We were always worried when we did not hear from him for a while and so excited when a letter from him came. My mother who passed away three years ago never had a computer (I wish she had gotten one as Facebook might have put an end to her loneliness after my father passed away) always sent birthday cars to us and the kids. I started saving them a couple of years before she passed. These cards hold a special place in my heart. E-mail Happy Birthday messages are nice as it shows somebody is thinking of you. A card you can hold in your and store away to look at is worth its weight in gold. I agree with you wholeheartedly about all the ways we can now communicate. Sometimes all this new technology scares me. It was very kind of you to send me your thoughts. I am glad the article gave you food for thought.

  3. Chris, May I point out that an e-mail can touch somebody as well in addition to being kept for however long the person wants to hold onto it. Sentiment does not transmit as electronically as it does via regular mail but it can have the same effect. The point I am bringing out is that the Post Office is not efficient and has somehow grown obsolete when it is stacked against e-mail. Thank you yet again for reading and commenting on my article. It is a pleasure to have you as a reader.

  4. A physical letter is usually kept, an email, not so much. Clients today are impressed when they receive something physical in the mail such as a card or stationary “love note”. The sentiment of a relationship doesn’t transfer from the paper to the electronic. Electronic is both cheaper and colder.



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