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Old 12-12-2013, 07:58 AM   #21
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So important that it is expressly contemplated in the U.S. Constitution, while much that the government does is not.

"The Congress shall have Power To . . . establish Post Offices and Post Roads;" (Article I, Section 8),
Though there are lots of ridiculous things in the Constitution that were amended out. I seriously doubt USPS will bear any resemblance to what we grew up with in 100 years. The only question is how/when they'll evolve meaningfully IMO.
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Old 12-12-2013, 08:18 AM   #22
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I honestly don't understand how the various postal services are crying poor in 2013. Parcel traffic has never been higher, what with the explosion in online shopping.

I understand they cite falling lettermail business as the cause, but it seems to me that the lettermail business would be the least profitable aspect of a postal service. Frankly, I don't understand how they make any money at all transporting an envelope from Halifax to Vancouver for $0.58 or whatever it is currently. Where's the profit in that?

Canada Post has minimal overhead. I can't jump in my car and drive to the nearest "Canada Post Store" - there's no such thing around here. They just lease a counter in Shoppers Drug Mart. And they can pretty much charge whatever they want. If I'm shipping a parcel, I have absolutely no way of knowing what it's going to cost before I bring it in to Canada Post. They put it on their scale, take a quick measurement with their tape-measure, punch in the postal code, and say, "That'll be $12.37 for 2 business days, or $8.71 for 4 business days."

What am I going to say? "Uh, are you sure that's right? I'm pretty sure the 2 day with insurance, no signature, 8"x12"x10" parcel under 675 grams should only be $11.19" Heck no! We're at their mercy. Whatever they say it costs, is what it costs. We just shut up and pay it.

And they're still losing money I don't get it.
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Old 12-12-2013, 09:57 AM   #23
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In the US I know that the uspo is overstaffed in many areas. It just doesn't operate like a modern business. That is not to say that some geolocations really need this service.

In our area the content is primarily junk mail and if it was delivered every other day there would be no regrets here.
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Old 12-12-2013, 01:06 PM   #24
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In the US I know that the uspo is overstaffed in many areas.
That'd be nice. My neighborhood Canada Post outlet (in one of the aforementioned Shoppers Drug Marts) is consistently staffed by a single employee. A friendly, elderly, Indian gentleman. Nice guy, but man is he ever slow. Going there to mail/pick up a parcel is positively maddening.

If there's a lineup of 5-6 people, I know it's going to be a good 10-15 minute wait. It's agonizingly painful. One by one, the customers go up, put their parcel on the counter, he weighs it, measures it, punches some keys on the computer, quotes a couple different prices, the person thinks about it, asks some questions, thinks about it some more, decides which option they want, then the Postie does a bunch more typing, a few stickers and reciepts come out of the various printers as the customer fumbles with the debit machine.

The whole time, I just want to scream. On a couple of occasions, I've had to mail some paperwork. I mail the same size & weight letter quite often, so I know exactly what it costs ($1.56). Yet with 10 people in front of me, I know it's going to take at least 20 minutes. I've seriously been tempted - multiple times - to step out of line and say to the crowd, "If you let me go ahead of you and I take more than 10 seconds, I'll give every one of you $100." I'd place the envelope on the counter, slap a toonie ($2 coin) on top, and say "Keep the change."

Alas, I'm (thus far) not that bold.
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Old 12-12-2013, 01:46 PM   #25
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The whole time, I just want to scream. On a couple of occasions, I've had to mail some paperwork. I mail the same size & weight letter quite often, so I know exactly what it costs ($1.56). Yet with 10 people in front of me, I know it's going to take at least 20 minutes. I've seriously been tempted - multiple times - to step out of line and say to the crowd, "If you let me go ahead of you and I take more than 10 seconds, I'll give every one of you $100." I'd place the envelope on the counter, slap a toonie ($2 coin) on top, and say "Keep the change."
Here in the US I would just buy stamps in block, put that much postage on the envelop and drop it off. No need to wait in line for that.
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Old 12-12-2013, 01:57 PM   #26
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That'd be nice. My neighborhood Canada Post outlet (in one of the aforementioned Shoppers Drug Marts) is consistently staffed by a single employee. A friendly, elderly, Indian gentleman. Nice guy, but man is he ever slow. Going there to mail/pick up a parcel is positively maddening.

If there's a lineup of 5-6 people, I know it's going to be a good 10-15 minute wait. .
You described the local post office, but we have 3 counter persons. 15 people in line, and a 15-30 minute wait.
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Old 12-12-2013, 02:11 PM   #27
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That'd be nice. My neighborhood Canada Post outlet (in one of the aforementioned Shoppers Drug Marts) is consistently staffed by a single employee. A friendly, elderly, Indian gentleman. Nice guy, but man is he ever slow. Going there to mail/pick up a parcel is positively maddening.

If there's a lineup of 5-6 people, I know it's going to be a good 10-15 minute wait.
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You described the local post office, but we have 3 counter persons. 15 people in line, and a 15-30 minute wait.
Here too, though in all fairness the lines I see usually move at a snails pace not because the PO employee isn't on top of things, more often it's the peeps in line who are clueless/unprepared when they get in line. They reach the PO employee with unacceptable or no packaging, no forms, much less filled out, and then have to ponder each question - especially around the holidays. My favorites are the ones who after finally finishing their business want to stand there and gab about the weather or their grandkids while putting everything back in their purse...seemingly unaware of the line behind them.

Fortunately some folks are really on top of things and they move through the line very quickly...

And Happy Holidays!
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Old 12-12-2013, 03:07 PM   #28
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Here in the US I would just buy stamps in block, put that much postage on the envelop and drop it off. No need to wait in line for that.
I have a little scale at home so I can calculate the postage at USPS.com, slap on the stamps, and drop it in the mailbox at the post office.
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Old 12-12-2013, 03:56 PM   #29
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Here in the US I would just buy stamps in block, put that much postage on the envelop and drop it off. No need to wait in line for that.
Of course if your shipping you can go to a UPS store in the the US and ship by USPS, no need to visit the post office. (If your working and live in a large city, you can also get a mailbox and ship to it, no need to be home when the parcel arrives). In Houston there was always a line at the post office, but no line at the UPS store. They can also do certified mail and return reciepts. (However where I live there is a local post office with typically no lines at all. (In a semi-rural area)
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Old 12-12-2013, 04:05 PM   #30
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I used to bad-mouth the USPS. But I have to admit that the past decade or so, things have gotten much better.

1. I have a mailbox by the street where my mail is delivered and outgoing mail is picked up. Packages are brought to my door. I keep stamps and a supply of those "if it fits, it ships" boxes at home. I hardly ever need to go to the PO. Maybe 3 - 4 times a year max.

2. On the rare occassions I do go to the PO, it gives the appearance of being efficiently run. Polite folks at the counter. Clean and tidy. It's been years since I've had something lost in the mail or a similar bad experience.

I hope the PO makes it. I use UPS and Fed-X as well, but I feel I'd be less comfortable having only UPS and Fed-X.
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Old 12-12-2013, 04:11 PM   #31
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(However where I live there is a local post office with typically no lines at all. (In a semi-rural area)
That's what we do unless we happen to be in front of the "big city" post office where there is always at least a 5-minute line, usually longer. But south of where we live there is a smaller P.O. that hardly ever has a line and if it does, the line is short.
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Old 12-12-2013, 04:38 PM   #32
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I hadn't looked in a while, but here's USPS's 5-year plan (not enacted) through 2017. By law they are supposed to be self-supporting (virtually no taxpayers funds) and they were until the internet changed everything beginning about 10 years ago. If they do nothing their already substantial operating losses just continue to grow (not surprisingly). I think we have to let them follow through with some or all their initiatives, but who knows what our legislators will support.

http://about.usps.com/strategic-plan...-2012-2017.pdf
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Old 12-12-2013, 05:08 PM   #33
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As has been pointed out newer developments in the US have had cluster mailboxes for a good while (where I live was developed in 1986).
This is true here as well. Typically, older subdivision and higher end subdivisions still have individual mailboxes although the new subdivisions that do all have the mailbox at the road.

For me, I would be fine with the cluster mailbox (I like it better not having one but it wouldn't be a dealbreaker).

But then I think my mother. She is 89. We rented a house before we bought our current house that had a cluster mailbox a couple of blocks away. Fine for me, but it would be a huge issue for mom particularly in poor weather. Even if good weather walking 2 or 3 blocks is difficult for her with her health problems.

I think that when these kinds of things are considered there also needs to be consideration given as to those people who have health reasons to find it difficult to use those types of mailboxes. There needs to something like the handicap permit she has for the car.
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