for forty four cents, someone comes to your house, picks up some piece of crap you wrote and takes it to wyoming on a plane

the-package1We like to bitch about the postal service in this country (almost as much as we like to complain about the DMV), but the fact is that it’s one of the cheapest, and probably the most reliable, in the world. Which is why I was disheartened to read about how USPS management is trying to quietly shut down a bunch of locations, and even subcontract some services out to private companies.

Not too long ago, one of my Plurk friends was poo-pooing worries that the USPS would stop operating on Saturdays, comparing people who use the postal service in this country to “vaudeville fans”. That right there is some elitist bullshit. Maybe you have enough disposable income to send/receive everything via UPS or FedEx; and maybe it’s no problem for you to drive to a distribution center 2 towns over to pick something up because they wouldn’t leave it on your porch.

But the poor, the elderly, the disabled, and people who don’t drive rely on the USPS. I develop my photos through the mail. I get books and socks and fountain pens through the mail. I GET MY PAYCHECK THROUGH THE MAIL. (And guess which day of the week it almost always arrives on?) And the thought of being delivered (or not) by an understaffed, overworked post office; or, even worse, by an employee of a private firm who has not undergone the USPS’s background check, sends a cold chill down my spine.

The post office is not some frivolous service only occasionally used by a select group of people. It’s an absolutely vital service used — probably more than you realize, until you stop and think about — by all citizens. Bill H.R. 658 would modify procedures to close or consolidate any postal centers to ensure it would be fair and transparent. You should write your Congresscritter to ask them to support it; I have already done so.

One word, people. NETFLIX.

(Thanks to Jon Stewart and the Daily Show writers for the title to this one.)

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