masthead-highres

Friday, August 21, 2009

Postal Rationing Confirmed?

A lot of mail came in about David Almasi's blog post about D.C. area post offices rationing stamps.

Of those we were given permission to publish, the following two stood out:
i am a long time window clerk. cant say where for fear of retribution. this is nothing new. i have seen stamp increases where we do not have the supplemental stamps available at all. for ex.. price increase from 29 to 31.. no 2 cent stamps.. at all.. or ones.. limited 3 centers.. so let the customer buy them.. or how about running out of forever stamps.. or how about down to 26 total 44 cent stamps available period.. that includes coils.. we are not supposed to break coils of 100 apart.. believe me. .i have done it.. many many times.. clerks are put in an embarassing situation.. has been going on for about 10 years now... bad bad bad.. and no acct for management... they tell clerks.."do what you have to do"...or "deal with it"
-Name Not Published

It really gets to me when people (the President included) make statments when they are ignorant as to the facts.

I have been a dedicated Postal employee for over 29 years. The Post Office Department used to be totally funded by the government. The current Postal Service is supported solely by the sale of all types of postage.

One of our biggest challenges is that when we became self-supporting, congress did not give up control to allow us to run efficiently.

Another challenge is that we are pre-funding future employees' retirement benefits. What other business/company/entity in the United States has to do this??

Furthermore, whenever a post office is announced to be closed, the community rallies their congressman and the post office remains open. If you ran a business and you paid $45K for 1 person (there may be more at that particular office), $35K in rent, $20K in water bills, electricity, etc. to just be open and your revenue from stamp sales equals about $1k per week, would you keep it open at a minimum annual loss of $48K????? Multiply a minimum net loss of $48K by thousands of offices across the US. The total is staggering. We are hemorrhaging cash and we can do nothing to prevent it!!!

Does any other business have a congressman telling them what they can and cannot do when they are required to be successful and self-sufficient?? I am not a gambler, but I will bet your answers are NO!

The last, but huge issue is that congress itself has abused us for years in another way. They are allowed to mail ALL correspondence without paying a cent. They are required to pay at the end of the year a "percentage" of what they sent out. In reality, almost NONE have ever repaid this burden of cost upon the Postal Service. Mail does not process itself. There are costs involved to move it by donkey, boat, truck, or plane. Congress finally admitted a few years back that they were guilty. They also pledged to repay us at a rate of $29M per year. This did not happen. They again responded that we were correct and would begin repayment. Again, they did not make the pledged payment. I have seen no such statement or document that they have done so to date.

Faxes, scanners, and on-line catalogs have all but destroyed most of our services. I too am guilty of using both, but back to the beginning... Before people make such statements -or- perpetuate statements of others, homework should be done PRIOR to the publishing deadline. You have done a dis-service to your readers and postal employees everywhere. This response is not to offend you, but I hope it will encourage you to do more research about the Postal Service before a public statement. We are so often the brunt of much, but have many hardworking, dedicated employees that give much for so little.

Sincerely,

Bob
Robert S. Hartsel, Jr.
Manager, Transportation
U S Postal Service
Roanoke, VA
Notice in the second letter the allegation that Members of Congress have been cheating the post office. Ethics investigation, anyone? The comments below, plus others we received by email but were asked not to print, do bear witness that Mr. Hartsel is correct: the post office does have many dedicated employees.

PostalReporter.com ran a link to David Almasi's blog post and allowed comments.

A few samples:
That must be happening nationwide...that is what happened at our P.O. too. I was told it was to force customers to spend that dollar doing it online.
-justsaying

This is happening in my office too. I've had no stamps to sell on more than one occasion.
-Anonymous

If this is true, we are truly led by morons.
-skullking

Put a sign in the lobby. When they find out they are rationed, you will have lobbies full of people buying more stamps then they need. Human nature, like filing taxes on the 15th of April. Think about it!
-john

This is NOT a problem.
The Postal Service will issue I.O.U.s in lieu of stamps.
Now quit your whining get back to work.
-V.P. Of I.O.U.s

What a load of bull! This 'article' is nothing more than a conservative organization's thinly veiled attack on the current health debate. The PO has never, and will never have a need to ration stamps! Whereas a lone clerk, station manager or PM might be inclined to make such a grievous error based on misguided logic, the PO would never turn away any paying customer, provided we could accommodate them immediately. This is our job! They print stamps whether we sell them or not. This article is an affront to the hardworking people of the PO, and yes as much as I regret saying it, even management.

Those of you that choose to buy into this propaganda are way too gullible, too eager to slight the PO, or perhaps have never worked for the PO. Spreading this kind of baseless rhetoric is ridiculous and undermines the PO.
Get real!
-roflmao

This absolutely IS occuring in Westchester County in New York. We have been told we cannot order stamps as we always have on an "as needed" basis. We are currently out of MANY types of stamps the customers need and continually ask for and the district tells us we must wait until a certain date to put in an "emergency" order. It is a pathetic situation as I watch many customers walk out without the stamps they came in to purchase bewildered as to how their local Post Office cannot get them. I've never in my many years on the job seen this before. So, don't tell me it's propaganda!
-JP

We are being harrased of late about our stamp stock being "too high." This has never happened in years past. Our postmaster now gives us stock in small amounts compared to what we used to get. Theyt run out quickly. She says she's been told she can't get the usual allotment anymore. Hence, we are always low or out of the fast movers. It's a joke.
-Harry

The only thing were good at selling,besides BS,and now we cant get our mitts on enough of em.No wonder this business model won't work.
-Dexter

Ummm, lets see... We sell postage to generate the money that runs the company. We're in the hole big time so top brass decides to ration the thing that brings in money? What am I missing here?
You couldn't make this s--- up!
-dwhite

Idiotic stuff like this IS true. We have a very strict limit that we can have on hand. If we run out of something and have to do and "emergency" order for something then we can not do another one for 21 days. If we are going to go "over" our limit of stamp stock, then the stamp distribution office will not send you your stamp order.(We only get one day each month for a "scheduled" stamp order.)
It's ridiculous. It is supposedly to keep theft/risk down, save time when conducting stamp audits etc.
In the meantime, sometimes we are not able to have on hand what our customers need at the time. We are supposed to "guesstimate" what our customer's needs are.
I too think they are trying to drive out all the business from the P.O. counters. That way they can have the tanning salon down the street sell stamps w/o having to pay the bennies and salaries!
-wake up and smell the stink


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