I do not much care for the US Postal Service. I collect postage stamps, and so I’m fond of those, but so far as the service is concerned, I have an intense dislike for it.

My local service at my home has taken a nosedive in the past month or so. It used to be that the mail was delivered around four PM at the latest. I liked our mail carrier and he did a fine job. But in the last month or so I’ve not seen him and instead have seen several different people pretending to do his job. And the mail has been arriving at 7:00 PM or even as late as 8:00 PM! Or not coming at all.

In one memorable scene from the TV series, Cheers, Cliff Claven, the mailman, had delivered mail along a hallway in an apartment complex. Once he leaves the scene, we witness the inhabitants exiting their doors and exchanging misdelivered mail with one another.

Well, the mail that is delivered to our church suffers that problem on a regular basis. At least twice a week I discover mail delivered to the church that should go to our neighbor, or sometimes to someone on the next block.

Last week, it happened at my house. My next door neighbor came by and handed us our mail–the whole bundle–because it had mistakenly been delivered to his house!

And twice now in the past two weeks, our mail wasn’t even delivered at all; it showed up the next morning in one case, mid afternoon in the second, followed much later by the regular mail delivery.

And now, for this deteriorating service, the postal service intends to raise the cost by another 2 cents. I already avoid snail mail as much as I can, doing my bill paying and bill receiving almost exclusively on the web. I will cut back even more now.

And the postal service, like most government agencies, seems not to have a clue about basic economics. When usage declines and their revenue suffers, their thought is to raise the price to compensate for the falloff. Other industries, such as airlines, instead LOWER their prices to encourage people to come back. That’s kind of the basic principle of how supply and demand function. Economics 101.

But government bureaucrats and congress people don’t think that way. And so the price goes up every time usage declines. And what will happen? Usage will continue to decline, and the revenue will continue to drop. And they’ll scratch their heads and raise the price again and again, completely confused and clueless that bad service coupled with overpricing, when there are alternatives to everything they offer, will only result in further declines in their revenue.

Unfortunately, since it is a government operation, it won’t go out of business like any similarly incompetent corporation would mercifully do.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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