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The U.S. Postal Service Nears Collapse
Businessweek ^ | May 26, 2011 | Devin Leonard

Posted on 05/28/2011 6:47:53 PM PDT by 4buttons

He is struck by how many USPS executives started out as letter carriers or clerks. He finds them so consumed with delivering mail that they have been slow to grasp how swiftly the service's financial condition is deteriorating. "We said, 'What's your 10-year plan?' " Herr recalls. "They didn't have one."

(Excerpt) Read more at businessweek.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Government
KEYWORDS: biggov; freelazamataz; government; postal; postoffice; usps; veterans; waste
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1 posted on 05/28/2011 6:47:59 PM PDT by 4buttons
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To: 4buttons

Should have been privatized 30 years ago.


2 posted on 05/28/2011 6:52:27 PM PDT by SC_Pete
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To: 4buttons

I know 6 people from my church’s bible study group that work for the post office. Every single one of them tells stories of working the system so they can get guaranteed pension and benefits.


3 posted on 05/28/2011 6:52:47 PM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: 4buttons

Close it down, sell it to private contractors. No more million dollars house purchases for mail carriers.


4 posted on 05/28/2011 6:53:21 PM PDT by org.whodat
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To: org.whodat

UPS could buy their infrastructure and run it at a profit.


5 posted on 05/28/2011 6:55:40 PM PDT by omega4179
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To: 4buttons
Don't rock the boat too much with the USPS.
6 posted on 05/28/2011 6:56:13 PM PDT by pnh102 (Regarding liberalism, always attribute to malice what you think can be explained by stupidity. - Me)
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To: 4buttons

If the government can’t break even running a monopoly for mail delivery, what make anyone think they will break even running a monopoly for health care?


7 posted on 05/28/2011 6:57:10 PM PDT by Hoodat (Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. - (Rom 8:37))
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To: 4buttons

USPS provides a service and brings in revenue.
What kind of revenue bring in HUD, Dept. of Education, Dept. of Energy, and so on?

I say, we subsidize parasites, we can subsidize USPS!


8 posted on 05/28/2011 6:58:55 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: 4buttons

Does anyone else deliver letters and junk mail?

Post Office is a constitutional office. They couldn’t privatize any more than the U.S. Patent and Trademark office.


9 posted on 05/28/2011 6:59:06 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Hawk)
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To: omega4179
FedEx > UPS.

FedEx is non-union and has lower shipping costs.
10 posted on 05/28/2011 6:59:57 PM PDT by Minus_The_Bear
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To: 4buttons

Too typical. They are on the verge of bankruptcy so they sign a new contract giving their union employees continued protection from layoffs, a 3 1/2% raise and COLAs. I hope that congress stays tough and gives them nothing. NO bailouts.


11 posted on 05/28/2011 7:01:31 PM PDT by Scotsman will be Free (11C - Indirect fire, infantry - High angle hell - We will bring you, FIRE)
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To: 4buttons

I keep seeing a certain word when reading about failed enterprises.

It’s...u....nions!

Remember the union label: “There’s nothing made that we cannot do for more money and less quality. And you have to buy it, or else!”


12 posted on 05/28/2011 7:01:35 PM PDT by Da Coyote
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To: Minus_The_Bear

Too bad that FedEX can’t deliver the mail, too. I think they do an exceptional job.


13 posted on 05/28/2011 7:02:17 PM PDT by basil (It's time to rid the country of "gun free zones" aka "Killing Fields")
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To: Minus_The_Bear

Too bad that FedEX can’t deliver the mail, too. I think they do an exceptional job.


14 posted on 05/28/2011 7:02:17 PM PDT by basil (It's time to rid the country of "gun free zones" aka "Killing Fields")
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To: 4buttons

It may be that mail delivers trash for the most part. I pull it out of my mailbox and toss it into my trash barrel. The trash men charge more to take it away than USPS does to “deliver” it to me. I don’t want it. Junk mail is a totally useless activity. Like junk e-mail, which I never even look at.


15 posted on 05/28/2011 7:03:45 PM PDT by GregoryFul (Obama - Jim Jones redux)
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To: driftdiver

They may working for their pensions but I have a local postal worker who is getting rich off the packages he steals. I’ve had at least six packages stolen in the past few years.

The USPS makes it easy for their workers. They write the amount the package is insured for right on the label. Then the USPS makes you wait 30 days before you can even begin to use their so-called ‘tracing’ system.

I’ve had to stop using them. Now I use UPS or FedEx. Much better.

BTW any negative comments here on FR usually elicits some irate but amusing private freepmail from USPS workers.


16 posted on 05/28/2011 7:04:09 PM PDT by ladyjane
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Maybe true will probably need one person going around the country cleaning the cob webs out of the post office windows, when the children born in a few years start saying what is a envelope Mommy.


17 posted on 05/28/2011 7:04:29 PM PDT by org.whodat
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To: 4buttons

Even when they have a good idea (drop Saturday delivery), the politicians won’t let them implement.

Here’s a quick fix:

Phase 1 - go to 3 day a week delivery for business, 2 day a week for residential.

Phase 2 - Charge for home delivery, provide cheaper post office boxes for those who opt out of home delivery. Provide ‘stand in line’ service for those who want to receive mail for free. Discard mail not picked up within 2 weeks unless an additional fee is paid.


18 posted on 05/28/2011 7:04:48 PM PDT by PAR35
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To: 4buttons

19 posted on 05/28/2011 7:05:21 PM PDT by Brandonmark (News Coverage)
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To: Minus_The_Bear

UPS nor FedEx will deliver a post card or standard #10 envelope.


20 posted on 05/28/2011 7:06:48 PM PDT by ThomasThomas (I am still looking for that box I am supposed to think out of.)
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To: Minus_The_Bear

UPS nor FedEx will deliver a post card or standard #10 envelope.


21 posted on 05/28/2011 7:06:54 PM PDT by ThomasThomas (I am still looking for that box I am supposed to think out of.)
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To: GregoryFul

shred the junk mail and use it as mulch in the bed of the hedges or fill in low spots in the yard, once the grass gets cut (mulch-blade) over it, it disappears.


22 posted on 05/28/2011 7:07:38 PM PDT by bicyclerepair ( Ft. Lauderdale Florida)
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To: SC_Pete

It can’t be. The US constitution states that one of the functions of the US government is to provide a mail service.

Without a constitutional amendment, the USPS *HAS* to stay operating and under federal control.


23 posted on 05/28/2011 7:08:40 PM PDT by gogogodzilla (Live free or die!)
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To: 4buttons

Good. Defund all collectives.


24 posted on 05/28/2011 7:08:53 PM PDT by PGalt
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To: ladyjane

Yeah I’ve had run ins with one of the address specialists. I guess I’m fortunate to not losing any packages. I just get other peoples mail all the time.


25 posted on 05/28/2011 7:09:50 PM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: PAR35

Their problem isn’t the number of days they deliver. its the number of people they have doing nothing and pulling full ride pensions.

They make money off junk mail, so its in their best interest to deliver more of it.


26 posted on 05/28/2011 7:11:51 PM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: Da Coyote
It sounds like if the Postal Union was out of the picture that the USPS could at least break even. Even if they closed down Post Offices it won't mean squat since they cannot lay off workers.

I can say this though... the day the USPS charges me to receive mail is the day I stop bothering to check it, forever. I will not pay to receive junk.

27 posted on 05/28/2011 7:12:04 PM PDT by pnh102 (Regarding liberalism, always attribute to malice what you think can be explained by stupidity. - Me)
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To: ThomasThomas
True...

But why is that?

Because of a law. I think UPS & FedEX would do a fine job competing in the market with the USPS.

Lysander Spooner ran the American Letter Mail Company for several years (at lower prices than the USPS) in violation of the law.
28 posted on 05/28/2011 7:14:56 PM PDT by Minus_The_Bear
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To: 4buttons

Here are three recent stories that sum up the level of stupidity with which the USPS is run.

(1)
Half century of service earns South Sound postal worker a joyous goodbye
Retirement party: After 50 years, postal worker gets special send-off
ROLF BOONE; Staff writer | • Published April 29, 2011

TUMWATER - George Witherow will work one more four-hour shift today for the U.S. Postal Service and then, 50 years after he went to work for the federal government, he’ll finally call it quits.
Postal Worker George Witherow Retires After 50 Years
On Thursday, his co-workers, plus about 12 family members, threw a retirement party for him at the mail processing and distribution facility in Tumwater.
More than 50 people crowded into the facility’s break room to say goodbye to Witherow, who is 85. He was seated at the front of the room, balloons affixed to his chair and a stack of presents next to him. Co-workers, family members and friends shared their memories of Witherow for about an hour, then lined up to shake his hand or give him a farewell hug. His great-grandchildren helped him open gifts.
“I’d like to think we can always be friends,” Witherow said to his retirement party audience.
Witherow’s first job for the postal service was “facing letters,” manually adjusting letters by hand so that they could be processed through a machine. His final job was working as a review clerk, he said. Witherow recalled that when he started, a stamp cost three or four cents and there were no ZIP codes. He worked an early shift, which started at 4:30 a.m. and ended at 1 p.m., and then he would head to his East Olympia home, where he worked in his garden and tended to his cows, pigs and chickens until sundown.
Duke Matthews, who has worked for the postal service for 13 years, called Witherow a strong person, someone who enjoyed his job and took it all in stride. “He liked what he did,” Matthews said, adding that the work was sometimes thankless and hard.
“I enjoyed talking to him,” Matthews said.
Taped on the walls of the break room for Witherow’s retirement party were a number of his favorite expressions, including “Too soon we get old, too late we get smart,” and “Top o’ the morning to you and a jolly old balance of the day.” The second expression was one of Joe Taylor’s favorites.
Taylor, too, works for the postal service and recalled the first time he met Witherow, who greeted him with the expression. Taylor said it sounded weird the first time, but then it became a regular exchange for them, something they said to each other every morning.
“My only regret is that I didn’t know George long enough,” Taylor said.
Witherow was born and raised in Pennsylvania and moved to the Olympia area to join his brother in the late 1950s, he said. By then, Witherow was in his early 30s and was looking for steady work after a period in which his past employers, both General Motors and General Electric, had laid him off. “I needed a job,” he said about his early days in Olympia.
After his pastor spotted an opening for him at the post office, Witherow got the job. He started in 1961, three days before his 35th birthday. His first few years were spent working at the federal building downtown, followed by a long stint at the main Olympia post office and then the distribution center in Tumwater.
On his list of things to do after retirement: taking a trip to Pennsylvania with his grandson.

(2)
Oldest Postal Worker retires at 95 years old
July 2nd, 2010 8:34 pm CT Stanley Cravens St. Louis Postal Service
Postal worker retires at the age of 95.Credits: USPS LinkIt’s not known whether Chester Reed planned all along on working for the Postal Service until he was 95 years old, or if it just crept up on him, but he finally decided he was ready for retirement. Working to the age of 95 earned Reed the well-deserved honor of being the oldest employee of the United States Postal Service.

Mr. Reed’s last day on the job was Wednesday, June 30, ending a career that spanned 62 years, 10 months, and 12 days of combined military service and postal employment. He served in the Air Force for 25 years, retiring as a sergeant. Chester then worked for the Postal Service for 37 years, ending his career as a mail handler operating a fork lift at the San Bernardino, CA mail processing facility. Amazingly, Reed didn’t use any sick days during his Postal Service employment, retiring with nearly two years of accumulated sick leave that will be credited to his retirement.

To what does Chester credit for his good health and ability to work so long? A good working environment for one thing, but something else he will always mention are the onion sandwiches he eats everyday. Apparently, an onion sandwich a day kept the doctor away!

Chester Reed may be officially retired, but it won’t be a sitting-around-taking-it-easy kind of retirement. Reed loves to travel, and plans on taking a few trips with his 57 year old son. Russia, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland are the countries he’d most like to see next. On one of his previous trips with his son, Reed went to Rio de Janeiro where he went hang gliding,..., at the age of 93! With that kind of energy and sense of adventure, Chester still has an exciting life ahead of him.

Neither rain, sleet, snow, or age was able to keep this postal worker from the completion of his appointed rounds. Congratulations, Chester Reed, on an amazing career!

(3)
85-year-old Chapel Hill letter carrier in Sunday’s Parade magazine
Rudy Tempesta, 85, the longest-serving mailman in the nation, is featured in Sunday’s Parade magazine.
For 65 years—first in New York City, and since 1959 in Chapel Hill — Rudy has been delivering good news and bad, checks and bills, letters and magazines, catalogs and packages, the magazine reports. For the past 20 years, his route has been a seven-mile stretch in the central part of Chapel Hill: North Estes Drive and the pretty residential streets—Somerset, Granville, Cumberland, Halifax—that curl off and around it.
At 85, he has no plans to retire soon, he tells Parade.
“I’ve still got children in college,” he says. “And I love to work. It’s better than sitting home all day watching television and getting fat.”


29 posted on 05/28/2011 7:15:55 PM PDT by cquiggy
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To: ThomasThomas

They’ll deliver. At what cost?

I tried to look up online. USPS took me to 3 or 4 screens before showing that an ounce letters to Andorra, where my uncle the Prince resides would set me back $0.98.

The Fedex site (I didn’t try UPS) took me to a dozen screens before showing me (and I’m still not sure that is correct) that the same letter could cost me $28.85 or more to have delivered.

Do I think that the $0.98 charge is being subsidized by the taxpayers? If it is, then there is something wrong, becauese this is an international rate agreed upon by a multitude of countries. If it isn’t subsidized by the Swiss when they send snail mail to me, it shouldn’t be subsidized by us here.


30 posted on 05/28/2011 7:16:57 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: 4buttons

Well I for one hope the USPS does not go belly up.

I will NEVER, NEVER, NEVER do online banking of any sort.
I pay my bills religiously on the 15th and 30th and my mail lady is subcontracted by the Post Office and not an employee, and does a good job.


31 posted on 05/28/2011 7:18:31 PM PDT by CapnJack
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To: basil
Remember, FedEx is an air carrier that has trucks. UPS is a trucking company that has airplanes.

Both almost went under in the Great Obama Recession and were asking for bailouts.

That was because their parcel volume collapsed.

USPS had a similar problem ~ mail volume dropped, the Postal Rate Commission would not allow them a rate adjustment, and Congress refused to allow them to discontinue operations that are excessively costly.

Hmm ~

BTW. Neither UPS nor FedEx deliver to the entire USA. They regularly mail their out of range stuff with USPS.

32 posted on 05/28/2011 7:19:02 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: driftdiver
>>I know 6 people from my church’s bible study group that work for the post office. Every single one of them tells stories of working the system so they can get guaranteed pension and benefits.<<

What kind of church do you go to that has a Bible study where someone can brag about “gaming the system” and they aren’t corrected on their attitude?

33 posted on 05/28/2011 7:20:48 PM PDT by CynicalBear
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To: 4buttons

In the last several months they lost 4 packages I had coming. all of them were replaced by the sellers but I no longer count on getting things on time unless UPS or Fedex handles them.


34 posted on 05/28/2011 7:21:14 PM PDT by SWAMPSNIPER (The Second Amendment, a matter of fact, not a matter of opinion)
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To: ladyjane
Why would any comments be irate? Apparently you are unaware of the postal standard regarding theft ~ NO TOLERANCE.

If you believe you've had 6 parcels stolen in a couple of years you OWE it to everyone to report that to the Postal Inspection Service.

Failure to do so makes you complicit in the crimes.

35 posted on 05/28/2011 7:21:14 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: 4buttons

I recently had a package sent by USPS delivered by UPS. Evidently, USPS ousources some of its services.


36 posted on 05/28/2011 7:21:14 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: HiTech RedNeck
Does anyone else deliver letters and junk mail?

Much more junk mail than letters these days. What's especially annoying is those newspaper flyers that are neither contained in envelopes nor bound like magazines.

37 posted on 05/28/2011 7:22:25 PM PDT by cynwoody
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To: muawiyah

They were all reported. Nothing happened. The thefts continue.


38 posted on 05/28/2011 7:23:24 PM PDT by ladyjane
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To: ladyjane

I have also heard from a certain well placed person that the main post office in Greenville SC is a major point for stuff (gift cards esp) disappearing only to reappear at delivery with no contents. Complaints that were filed apprently were quashed or flat out ignored. Anything of value goes UPS or Fedex.


39 posted on 05/28/2011 7:25:17 PM PDT by wally_bert (It's sheer elegance in its simplicity! - The Middleman)
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To: muawiyah
That was because their parcel volume collapsed.

I keep hearing this, volume down, parcel volume collapsing, etc. It isn't happening in my P.O. The last mail count all our routes went up in size.

40 posted on 05/28/2011 7:26:32 PM PDT by Big Giant Head (Two years no AV, no viruses, computer runs great!)
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To: CynicalBear

My church is fine but thanks for jumping to that conclusion.


41 posted on 05/28/2011 7:30:44 PM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: 4buttons

There seems to be a lot of that going around.


42 posted on 05/28/2011 7:32:17 PM PDT by Clintonfatigued (Muslims are a people of love, peace, and goodwill, and if you say that they aren't, they'll kill you)
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To: 4buttons
Interesting article ~ been there, done that, plan rejected by management because Congress would have crucified them.

My plan, done for Postmaster General William F. Bolger would have done two things:

(1) Close about 25,000 post offices and other facilities devoted to servicing less than 10% of the nation's mail needs, and

(2) Reorganized rural delivery ~ which wouldn't have cost any rural carriers a job, but would have allowed those 25,000 post offices to be closed.

The savings over 30 years ago were a MINIMUM of $800,000,000 per annum ~ that's about $10 billion per year now.

I still have a copy.

This Herr guy is remarkably timid. Apparently the former letter carriers got to him. He should have called me first.

43 posted on 05/28/2011 7:33:46 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: Big Giant Head
Mail volume, in the aggregate, is down 17% from what it was 3 years back.
44 posted on 05/28/2011 7:34:56 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: 4buttons
The USPS should be sold/licensed for whatever the market will pay for it.

The sole requirement being that they must deliver and pick up first class mail from every address in the USA 4 times per week.

45 posted on 05/28/2011 7:35:27 PM PDT by Mariner (War Criminal #18)
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To: ladyjane

Hmm ~ did you actually talk to an inspector about the lost parcels or just to name your suspects?


46 posted on 05/28/2011 7:36:14 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: ladyjane
I’ve had at least six packages stolen in the past few years.

I had one 'disappear' this weekend...point 'A' to point 'B' via 'PRIORITY' mail, and they lose it...

47 posted on 05/28/2011 7:36:40 PM PDT by who knows what evil? (G-d saved more animals than people on the ark...www.siameserescue.org.)
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To: who knows what evil?

UPS does that to me here. Sent overnight and it took 4 weeks. Of course there was no refund.

Since big brown unionized I’ve found them to be a lot less efficient and more expensive.


48 posted on 05/28/2011 7:41:31 PM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: wally_bert
I have also heard from a certain well placed person that the main post office in Greenville SC is a major point for stuff (gift cards esp) disappearing only to reappear at delivery with no contents. Complaints that were filed apprently were quashed or flat out ignored. Anything of value goes UPS or Fedex.

Someone sent my wife a birthday card a few years ago that contained a 'gift card' when it was mailed...the 'gift card' disappeared somehow before it arrived.

49 posted on 05/28/2011 7:42:33 PM PDT by who knows what evil? (G-d saved more animals than people on the ark...www.siameserescue.org.)
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To: Revolting cat!
The Fedex site (I didn’t try UPS) took me to a dozen screens before showing me (and I’m still not sure that is correct) that the same letter could cost me $28.85 or more to have delivered.

It's a different level of service. USPS doesn't personally deliver your letter to a foreign location. They only sort the letters, load them into bags and send them away. At the destination country some other postal worker will do the other half of the delivery. Note that $1 USD may be a lot of money in most 3rd world countries, so USPS will still collect most of the money for the in-country trip and perhaps the airfare.

Talking about the airfare. One ticket, round-trip, from SFO to Spain is about $1,000 (there are offers for $764 too.) A standard non-cargo airliner will carry 300 people, 200 lbs each (forget the cargo.) Total load = 60,000 lbs or 960,000 ounces. Each 44 cent letter is below 1 oz. so the airplane will carry about a million letters to Europe and back. If the flight is filled with passengers the revenue would be $300K over the entire round trip. If the flight is filled with mail, each envelope has to pay 15 cents one way to make the same profit to the airline. In reality envelopes fly much cheaper because there is no service in cargo holds, no TV, no heating, no free drinks, etc. etc. Probably an envelope can catch a flight to Europe for mere 5 cents.

Let's subtract 44 cents from 96 cents to cover the delivery from your home to the airport. We get 52 cents. We just above calculated that we need about 5 to 15 cents to fly the mail to the destination country, that leaves us with 37 to 47 cents for the local delivery. This is very much on par with the US leg of the trip.

So back to FedEx. What do they charge those $28.85 for? They charge them for speedy and reliable delivery. FedEx is what you send business documents with. FedEx will cone personally to you and pick the package up. On the other end of the trip, FedEx will send a truck to the destination location, also personally. Packages will fly not on whatever airplane, but on a FedEx airplane, and they will be under company's control all the time until they are delivered. They won't be dropped off wherever (unless you specifically permit that.) USPS doesn't know what happens to your mail abroad, and doesn't care - it's not part of the service. USPS doesn't even track domestic 1st class, you have to pay more to get the service of a barcode and a scanner.

So why the FedEx price is so high? Because they are doing personal delivery now, several times per day (about 3.) If they are allowed to operate in the USPS market space they can cover it at no extra cost whatsoever; the routes already cover most of the territory that USPS covers.

There is one small side note, though. FedEx doesn't have machines to sort small mail, and I'm unsure if they can currently ship such small items. Usually FedEx ships packages - that's all that the law allows them, so no surprise that they never invested into anything else. This can change.

50 posted on 05/28/2011 7:50:27 PM PDT by Greysard
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