The postal service is planning to increase the prices of the postage and decrease the number of working days for the postal workers. Despite the changes, the USPS still faces $4.7 billion of deficit for the 2011. Amount of stuff being mailed dropped more than the great depression. Instead of getting mails from friends and relatives, we now receive junk mail in our mail box.
The rate hike for the stamp is insufficient to cover the operational costs of the post office. There are also perspective changes of the sequence of the delivery from 6 days to 5 days a week. Right now the price of a stamp is 44 cents but it will be 46 cents in January 2011. That's where the "forever stamps" come handy. If you buy them today you can use them ANY TIME you want. The future price changes don't effect you. On the other hand, the behavior of communication is significantly changing. People used to send each other mails, postcards, birthday cards, packages. But the new generation is communicating via text messages, emails or facebook etc. No one can guarantee the communication through the actual mails will continue. Therefore, the forever stamps might look profitable today but we can't predict what the future will bring to profit them.
What are the impacts of the emailing to the number of mails(not electronic,but actual) ? First class mail is still the highest revenue contributers to the USPS but mail volume has eroded in one year. Almost 12%. You can't blame people not sending the postcards to each other. The time is changing, We used to have newspapers in the morning and in the evening for the latest news, or we used to phone booths everywhere to call family or to call a cab. To adapt the changes, the post office has to change itself. Why not seeing a Postal Service kiosk next to the sunglasses kiosk in a mall? People go to Hallmark to buy a postcard and an envelope, but they also need to find stamp and a location of a blue box to send it. Through those kiosks with the pre-stamped occasion cards you only need to write the address and give it back to the Postal Kiosk worker to put it in the outgoing mail box for you. Total time spent probably 1-2 minutes. But again. It is still government, therefore it takes time and persuading a lot of bureaucrats to apply these easy, profitable and customer based changes.
But why post office lack of any kind of customer service? Do we have to see at least 10 people waiting in line? There is no business that discourages people like that. Why would I wait in line there for 10-15 minutes when I can go to FedEX or UPS and wait only a few minutes? There is no vision and there is no customer service so far. There are probably 3-4 managers in each office but the sad part is they never deliver mails in their lives. So how can you expect the success of such a giant organization? It looks like the volume of mail is going down but it is still done with the same amount of managers which are highly paid.
So the $4.7 billion dollar loss moving forward to 2011 is not only the reflection of the changes in the postal operations but also a burden upon the USPS. The fact is postal service is technically a hybrid organization. It is a company but it is also government. The wall street has been down for a while, maybe it is pulling down the government with it?