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Postal service decisions ultimately the right ones

By   /   February 7, 2013  /   Comments

A lot of Albanians have been upset with the United States Postal Service lately.  First, the closure of a post office that seemed to enrage a significant portion of Albany, and now no more Saturday delivery of First Class mail.  What is the postal service coming to, anyways?

Well folks, like it or not, these decisions are the right ones.  The postal service now has something it didn’t have 200 years ago: competition.  Packages are usually delivered by UPS, FedEx, or some other service.  Bills and correspondences are more likely to be sent digitally.  People even pay their bills online now.  Relatively few people are mailing much of anything anymore.  This creates a budget crunch for the postal service that will continue regardless of what the economy does.

For years, the postal service has developed a reputation as being slow and inefficient.  Well, that was because they were slow and inefficient.  I won’t pretend that they’ll be any faster with the moves they’ve been making, but they are bound to be more efficient.  You see, any organization needs to be as streamlined as possible.  Sure, opening more branches may lead to more business, but if branches aren’t cutting it, they need to close.  That’s what happened downtown.  As fewer and fewer businesses were trading downtown, there was less and less demand for a post office right there.  It sucks, I know, but that’s just the nature of the beast.

Many critics of the closure argued that the closure would cost both government and businesses a great deal of money as stationary needed to be changed to reflect the new addresses.  It’s a fair argument, except for the fact that the same would be true of any closure.  Frankly, the USPS couldn’t concern themselves with that.  It’s no different than any business that has to make adjustments.  Frankly, they have to focus on their own needs.  That’s just what they did.  Many Albanians, including some of our dear leaders, just didn’t seem to understand that.

Now, we see that the USPS will cancel Saturday delivery of First Class mail.  Now, this isn’t angering some segments of the local population like the closure did, but that’s because it’s impossible to view this as being “unfair” to Albany.  Plenty of folks are still upset about it.  Of course, again the USPS is making a decision to cut services due to the fact that they just can’t pay for those services.  If you want it back, then tens of millions of Americans need to go back to the old way of mailing things to folks.  Either that, or stamp collecting needs to become the latest rage.  After all, the post office makes their money through the sale of stamps primarily.

Like anything else, if you want it, then you have to step up and pay for it.  When a business closes in town, it’s because there just wasn’t enough business.  The post office operates in a similar manner, despite its governmental roots.  Folks probably need to learn to accept that what is going on is the inevitable result of the 21st century and current technology making the post office more and more irrelevant.  Honestly, it won’t be long before we won’t even notice the differences.

That won’t stop some from lamenting “the good old days”, despite their complaints about the post office during those same days.

Tom Knighton is the Editor and Publisher of the Albany Journal.

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Owner / Editor / Writer

Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

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