Thursday, September 8

Save the U.S. Postal Service: legalize mail order marijuana

When did the post office go bankrupt? I went on vacation a few weeks ago, so did I miss something? Every time I go to the post office there is a line five people deep. My post office seems like it has enough business to stay afloat. It isn’t like a pizza place in an ill placed strip mall. Indeed, even a poorly located pizza place can stay in business if it has delivery. Last time I checked, the post office delivers.
Who’s in charge over there? The Postal Service accumulated debt as a result of fewer people mailing letters. With the advent of email more than 20 years ago (remember Eudora?) the reduction in paper mail flow and revenue was a foregone conclusion. Bankruptcy should have and could have been avoided. The increase in email users and decrease in paper mail is no surprise – to anyone.
There have been a few suggestions to keep the postal service solvent. The obvious “save the post office” suggestion by raising the price of the stamp won’t significantly impact the escalating multi-billion dollar debt. Others have considered making the post offices more of a local meeting place, circa 1910. The post office would include retail shopping and a coffee shop and I think this is a great idea. I’m tired of buying overpriced but well-advertised coffee from mammoth corporations. I would much rather support the post office with my jolt of caffeine. But will they have a drive-thru?
My favorite “save the post office” suggestion thus far is an online system that would, for a fee, allow you to manage your snail mail. That’s right, you could pay money to go online to delete your paper mail from ever being delivered. I can’t explain the inherent electronic-versus-paper contradiction of this “save the post office” suggestion. I didn’t say it was a good idea, I just said it was my favorite.
Part of the reason that fewer people use mail is that they don’t like what shows up in their mailbox every day. It is estimated that 41 pounds of junk mail lands in each mailbox annually. Junk mail is of little interest to the recipient and generates less revenue than regular mail for the postal service. There was a time when a trip to the mailbox was exciting. Perhaps if the contents of our mailboxes were more compelling people might be encouraged to increase their use of snail mail.
My “save the post office” suggestion: legalize mail order marijuana. I guarantee mail usage would increase. I think there are a considerable number of Americans who would find a joint in their mailbox a compelling reason to use the postal service. The average household mail delivery would jump from 41 pounds to at least 82 pounds in one year. People would be standing by their mailboxes waiting for the postman. In fact, I project that the postal service would find itself flush with cash. (Hey, it’s a better idea than paying to manage snail mail online.)
Will the post office close down and reopen as a Uno’s pizza restaurant or perhaps Mail Boxes Etc.? More importantly, if the post office closes down, does this mean I have an excuse for not sending out Christmas cards? I’ve always been challenged by Christmas cards and this would be the ultimate excuse. “I’m sorry, I can’t send you a Christmas card, or even a gift because the post office is now a pizza place – that delivers.”

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