Death of the Postman*

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

*an allusion to the play, Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

This was the issue of TIME magazine that was published about a week ago. I kept wanting to blog about Joel Stein's article that was about the imminent bankruptcy of the USPS (United States Postal Service), but never got the chance to sit down and write a nice long post about it.

I've always found Joel Stein's column, "The Awesome Column" very funny, and I've been a devout reader of his column since about as long as I can remember. He always makes heavy issues very light-hearted and funny, yet he brings much needed attention to the issue. I found his postal service article one of his best.
I personally love USPS. I've always enjoyed receiving mail, and every time I receive a piece of mail, I feel elated. It's partially the reason why I subscribe to so many magazines. I need to receive something in the mail that I can read. Magazines fill that need. (Also, it fills that gap when I don't have any books to read.) Other than light mail such as letters and cards, I've always liked that feeling of going to the post office and sending a package off. I'm probably a rare species that way, and probably even more rarer considering my age, when everyone my age sends text messages and Facebook messages. I'm probably the only teenager that I know who writes and sends, no, mails thank-you notes and letters. 
I loved going to the post-office and writing that address label and then handing the package to the mail office clerk to be shipped off to its destination. I still do. I mail packages and letters to my friend who moved out of the country and also to my friend who moved (but still in the country.) I suppose I'm old-fashioned that way, but that's who I am. I enjoy that email or that Facebook wall-to-wall that tells me that my friend received my package. I don't shun technology, but it's always nice to get something in the mail and  send something in return.

When I read Joel Stein's "Pushing the Envelope" article, I laughed. His style, as usual was funny, but I felt like there was more seriousness in this article. His previous articles always poked fun at someone and he always quoted some industry insider who he later ends up making fun of. This was different. 

It described how the revenues for USPS were down because the proliferation of UPS, DHL, Facebook, e-vites, and e-mail. He then mentioned steps that the USPS took to try to bring revenue up. Obviously, Stein thought the steps that USPS took weren't enough and at the end of the article, he gives humorous advice to how bring revenue up.

Although the steps that Stein suggested are humorous, the thought is right. USPS does need to bring revenue up, and I'd hate to see my local post office close down. (How am I supposed to send my packages? For the record, I've never sent anything via UPS.) I love my post office to death, but more people need to use the post office. Send some letters. It's cheap (44 cents) and probably costs less (and lasts longer) than something you can buy at a dollar store. (You probably lose more change in a week than you would if you send a letter.) Mail a card. Send a package. Save the post office! 


p.s: On a semi-related note, make sure your postman doesn't suffer like Willy Loman (a character in Death of a Salesman) did. 

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