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Dead Letter Office: U.S. Government Doesn’t Use the U.S. Postal Service.

Written by Gary North on March 29, 2013

How bad is the United States Postal Service? In order to get a straight answer on this, ask the federal government. The federal government uses the Postal Service 2% of the time.

Here is an agency that is so utterly incompetent that the United States government will not use it. How’s that for a testimonial? Here is an agency run by the government that the rest of the agencies regard as so utterly unreliable and expensive, that they refuse to use it.

The Postal Service has had a monopoly over first-class mail ever since the time of Benjamin Franklin. That is the longest monopoly in American history. Yet it cannot persuade the federal government to use it.

Federal agencies in 2012 spent $4.8 billion in mailing. Of this total, the Postal Service got $337 million. If that is not a vote of no-confidence, I do not know what would be.

The federal government uses UPS and FedEx. The Government Services Administration has contracts with both companies. The Postal Service has not been able to convince the GSA to use its services.

The GSA set up the contracts for mailing with FedEx and UPS back in 2001. The Postal Service did not get involved until 2009. Apparently the Postal Service did not get the memo. I suppose it was sent by regular mail. This means that long-term contracts are already established, and federal agencies do not want to bother to break those contracts, or let them run out, and switch to the post office. Why should they?

The Postal Service said it was going to set up a system of guaranteed express delivery. It would get the package there in two days or three days. Unfortunately, the Postal Service never actually delivered on the promise. Again, delivery from the Postal Service is really slow.

What is the potential market? Some investigators have made an estimate that the Postal Service might get about $35 million of extra business next year. That is chump change when you consider the GSA is spending close to $5 billion a year in shipping.

FedEx and UPS offer significantly lower prices for next-day delivery. The Postal Service cannot compete.

The Postal Service does not own its own aircraft. UPS and FedEx do.

All in all, the government has stamped this on its dealings with the Postal Service: Return to Sender.

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34 thoughts on “Dead Letter Office: U.S. Government Doesn’t Use the U.S. Postal Service.

  1. Another example a hard won government paycheck and job well done. <sarc off> http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Investigators-

  2. The federal government still can not decide if the Postal Service is a federal or civilian agency! I once sent a first class letter, zip plus four, from Oklahoma City to Chicago and it took fourteen (14) days to get there! I once took a tour of the main post office, and letters had fallen off the conveyor belt. I saw that no one was picking them and putting them back on the belt. I offered to pick them up and put them back on the belt, but was told that I could not do that because the postal inspectors would arrest me! So, the letters stayed on the floor, being walked on by postal employees, and not being processed and delivered! Is there any wonder why the United States Postal Service is going under?!…

  3. The Postal Service said it was going to set up a system of guaranteed express delivery. It would get the package there in two days or three days.

    They call 2 or 3 days 'express'. UPS and FedEx call the NEXT AFTERNOON 'economy. Express to them is 7AM the next day, if received by 7PM.

  4. Wow! Talk about do what I say not what I do…

  5. Anthony De Maio says:

    These are the same folks that have control over your medical system.

    Sleep well

  6. clifford sultz says:

    I had a bulk mail company and used the local post office to send the cards, envelopes and mail that I processed with zip+4. I made a trip to the bulk mail section of the post office after delivering a bulk mailing and found that many of my previous mailings were in the dumpster outside to the building. I contacted the Washington office of the post office and reported this problem. I asked to remain anonymous due to the fact that knowledge of my report would cause problems with the local bulk mail office and my business. I was contacted by a postal inspector from Atlanta, GA and he informed me that he was looking into the problem. all of my documentation and pictures were forwarded to the local office. needless to say, I was unable to get bulk mail completed in future. there was always a "t" not crossed or an "I" not dotted. so much for doing business with usps

  7. pat ryan says:

    at our post office in my town we have 5 clerk windows . at the most busiest times of the day at best only three of them are manned, while a line of 15 to 20 patrons can be seen twiddling their thumbs waiting for assistance. I suspect it is because that the other clerks are on their mandated union break time. How convenient for those paying their wages.

  8. Big Gene says:

    100% of my written correspondence with the government is through the post office. I do not remember any lost mail. Instead, my problems are with the agencies sending the mail, not with the delivery. Even so, it is interesting (and probably accurate) to read the comments about the efficiency of the private delivery companies compared to the post office. WE all need to support legislation that will allow private industry to compete with letter delivery as they do with packages. Government cannot possibly compete with private industry in most endeavors and they should not be allowed to waste hard earned taxpayer money trying.

  9. Mitchina says:

    Well, at least they went from junking them in the dumpster to analyzing every square inch of each piece…. you made SOMEONE do their job – albeit against you in retaliation but still…. someone actually earned their paycheck.

  10. CMelK4RE says:

    The Postal Service is a convenient whipping boy. Yet day in and day out they do perform an important service, particularly for folks in outlying areas and small towns. I think the real problem with them is that they are being forced to do things and do them in ways that make little or no sense. FEDEX & UPS cherry pick the prime business and the Postal Service ends up with the leftovers. We just need to lower our expectations, recognize that they will never be a profit making operation, and understand that we'll need to subsidize the operation. The need for universal mail service is real today as it was when Ben Franklin set up the Post Office system in the early years of this country.

  11. aryton senna says:

    A couple of years ago, I ordered (on line) 20 USPS first class "forever" postage stamps.
    Someone in the distribution center went "postal" and sent me 280 stamps for the $8.40 + $1.00 handling.
    Needless to say, neither I nor my friends shall ever need stamps again.

  12. Mitchina says:

    I guess if you want protection from being tried in court and sentenced, then you need to be a gvt worker. I thought tampering with the U.S. was a Federal Offense – "extreme laziness" wasn't a formal charge last I knew of. Maybe is should be, it would take all those Welfare recipients from our costs of supporting them to prison, where we would still be paying to support them. Ah FOOFIE! I think we need an Island to throw all these people and make them fend for themselves. Then again, we pay our enemies billions of dollars to hate us so I highly doubt this idea would be considered either.

  13. Mitchina says:

    "The federal government still can not decide…" That isn't even a valid question, they never decide on anything but a payraise for congress.

  14. Mitchina says:

    I beleve they need to close the postal system and let the free market do it all the time, not just 90% of the time. Our tax dollars are being wasted when they could actually be used for something else, like…. IDK, maybe give more to Egypt or something.

  15. Big Gene says:

    Yes – there are unprofitable areas that cannot make money at this time. But even these areas would be covered much better by private industry. There are many ways that this situation can be "addressed" as it is turned over to businessmen.

    For example, government can initially require companies that deliver to the profitable areas to also cover the other areas. Or government can initially subsidize the unprofitable areas. This would be a lot less expensive than taking over the entire system with lower efficiency government management. Government is never a solution when private, independent competition is a viable option.

  16. That's because there are too many 'chiefs' & not running the 'indians' well .

  17. Paul Nordin says:

    I find the USPS pretty good. Not perfect. But what or who is perfect? And the subsidy that taxpayers pay is relatively small; the USPS tries to break even. Let's all support our USPS. Give the clerks and the mail carriers a pat on the back and a "good job!" comment. Maybe they will respond with improved service!

    Paul Nordin

  18. Steve Rhinehart says:

    This is one point I have to disagree on. I am shur it could be done cheaper with private enterprise, but I belive with all the millions of pieces of mail they handle every day they do a fantastic job.
    At the moment I am having a problem with a package that was probubly delivered to East Normal insted of west they are investigating and trying to find it, but mistakes are rare.
    About 20 years ago I sent a letter from Farmington, New Mexico to Kansas City, Missouri and recived an answer the next day. I know everything had to hit with split secound timeing and will never happen again but they do a better job then any other government agency I am aware of. (Not that that is saying much)
    Now all you secritaries who disagree,if you have nothing inteligent to say, go after my spelling.

  19. ncbill12 says:

    Universal mail service is still possible without the expense of home delivery.

    My college town had NO home mail delivery – you rented a P.O. Box at the local post office and came there to get your mail.

  20. clifford sultz says:

    people are talking about the usps as if it is a poor child. I have had letters go 48 miles in 9 days. they are inefficient, over priced and arrogant. the postal workers put in a 20 year career and retire with almost 100% of their pay. it is no wonder that the budget they work to will not work. It used to be "neither rain, snow or any bad weather will keep us from delivering the mail", now it is union and acclimate or bad weather will stop delivery. there is no pride in the job.

  21. I disagree that the USPS is slow and crappy. For the most part I have nothing but good experiences with them. (My biggest complaint is First Class from CT to FL seems to take forever, but other locations seem to be fine). In my small business I use the USPS exclusively, and I use Priority Mail for nearly every shipment. UPS and FedEx cannot come anywhere near meeting the USPS priority mail rate for 2 – 3 day delivery. That timeframe is perfect for me and my customers.

    There are always horror stories about some USPS letter or package going horribly wrong and I've had the same experience a time or two. But I've also had occasional problems with nearly everyone I've ever dealt with. Sometimes things go sideways either by mistake or incompetence. The USPS doesn't have a monopoly on either one.

  22. Lucky!

  23. Can't you do better than speculation? Did you ask the clerk if there was anyone else available to man another window? Did you call the postmaster to ask about staffing?

    I've gotten to know my postmaster – she's very nice and professional. I had a bad experience with a grumpy and unhelpful clerk a few weeks ago. Within 10 minutes I was on the phone with her (she was temporarily at another post office) and you can be sure that she corrected the problem.

    Give the postmaster feedback. If you do it nicely I'm sure you'll get a helpful reply.

  24. File another report about the retaliation. Did the postal inspector arrange a refund of your postage? You paid for a service that you didn't get and you're due a refund. It's not like your situation can get any worse!

  25. You should have called and reported them to the postal inspector's office.

  26. Do you know alot of packages sent with UPS and Fedex are DELIVERED by USPS.

  27. clifford sultz says:

    After having a company that used the post office daily for mass mailing, I cannot agree with you. I used the usps exclusively for bulk mail because it was the only place that would do this. Prior to closing my business, I was able to sell many items for mailing, envelopes, boxes, etc. the post office in my city moved into a commercial building, set up their own sales department to complete with me and were exempt from taxes that I had to pay. It is hard to compete when you have to pay the state and city and the usps is exempt from all this.

  28. All of a sudden the US CONgress is SO brilliant, they don't use the Postal Service. The US Mint started using UPS & coins take 12 days to arrive instead of 5 that USPS always did.
    The USPS is a community glue. After 9/11 when people saw the mail truck coming to their houses everyday, it instilled a sense of "normal". People were scared. Of all government agencies, USPS has the best approval ratings from citizens. If the US CONgress would butt out of their business, they could be even better.

  29. StarOracle says:

    The post office wont deliver my mail to my home, they want me to rent a box or place one a quarter mile away, they do not deliver express mail, they put it in your PO box which I don't have. With direct deposit, online bill paying and Federal Express I learned years ago that I don't need the post office. Another bonus is no one sends junk mail Fed Ex!

  30. With all the closings of the post offices it seems to take quite a long time to get your mail. When ordering from one state over, std delivery time by UPS was 2 days Ground. Now since they ship economy part way by USPS it takes 7-10 days. Same deal from California takes 6-7 days. Go figure!

  31. Randy Thompson says:

    You are a liar! No Postal employee would be allowed to leave a letter on the floor for anyone to step on! Nor would they knowingly do so! My family has worked for the Post Office since 1868 and I know what is and is not permitted on the working room floor!

  32. Whoever wrote this piece got the math wrong, sorry.

  33. I hate to break this to yall,but the fedgov goons use something called e-mail,texts and fax. because just like when they want your money,property or freedom they are very impatient.where the money is wasted for the most part is at their lavish headquarters in Wash.d.c. the number of executives they have on the payroll at l enfant plaza in D.C. has tripled since the Kenyan usurper has taken over .

  34. Time to shut 'er down… totally!