March 10, 2010 12:00

Mail service redundant

The announcement that the federal government is looking into the benefits of ceasing mail delivery on Saturdays caused ripples of discomfit in RV parks and senior homes throughout the nation. No mail on Saturdays! What will we as a nation do?

With apologies to all the stalwart mail carriers out there who have served their nation with honor, we posit that the entire US Post Office has been rendered unnecessary through modern technology and private enterprise. It’s time to put the entire business out to pasture.

The US Postal Service began as the initiative of our man Benjamin Franklin all the way back in 1775 — yes, it predates the country — back when the only way to get a message from Philadelphia to Charleston was to wade through the Great Dismal Swamp on horseback. The Postal Service helped create roads and routes as well as carried letters and light parcels throughout the far-flung colonies. This independent agency of the federal government has since carved out an august and noble history, serving as one of the binding ties of a young nation.

And it still is pretty incredible that for the price of a stamp — 44 cents — someone will come to your house, pick up a letter and deliver it to your grandmother in Arizona within a couple days.

But these days, you can send Grandma an e-mail or one of those infernal “virtual” birthday cards, or better yet, just give her a call. You can even chat with her face-to-face on your internet webcam.

For packages, most people use UPS. For urgent deliveries, FedEx has cornered the market.

And in truth, most of what the USPS does these days has very little to do with personal messages and birthday cards.

What did you have in your mailbox today? A post from a long-lost relative? Important news? Anything memorable at all?

Odds are your mailbox is filled each day with crap: advertisements for products you don’t want, offers for things you don’t need, content-free “publications” that you never asked for.

The USPS has evolved into a direct-mail marketing machine owned and operated by the US government. Mail carriers — federal employees one and all — are basically carrying loads of unasked-for advertising into your homes, most of which goes straight into the garbage.

An informal poll of some YES! Weekly staff members puts the mail throwaway rate at about 80 percent. This generates an amount of garbage that can be measured annually in millions of tons. That is an awful lot of trees, not to mention greenhouse gasses.

And while it is currently true that many people receive bills and important financial correspondence through the USPS, we see that over the long haul, online billing, banking and receiving will constitute the overwhelming majority of transactions in the country.

For everything else, we out our trust in the private sector.

YES! Weekly chooses to exercise its right to express editorial opinion in our publication. In fact we cherish it, considering opinion to be a vital component of any publication. The viewpoints expressed represent a consensus of the YES! Weekly editorial staff, achieved through much deliberation and consideration

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