Is 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.
Currently 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:
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