Today, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) seems to be on the verge of default, according to the headlines (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/05/business/in-internet-age-postal-service-struggles-to-stay-solvent-and-relevant.html). Recent reports also dwelled on how USPS announced recently that it would close post offices across the US — I miss post offices and real mail!
Sweden already closed the bulk of its post offices. You can only go to a handful of actual physical official post offices sprinkled across Stockholm here, and my main source for a stamp or to send a package is a grocery store or gas station. At our old place, I had to talk to a pimply faced teenager behind a counter who normally might be a cashier or stock boy. I always cringed after leaving a box behind, wondering if it would make it.
Some of these places are more professional than others, like the post desk at Sabis at the mall. And there’s a service called “Bring!” that contracts with Sweden’s Post to send mail and packages… and of course, there’s UPS and DHL…
It’s weird — I need to find some data on the shift to electronic mail from hard copies, and how much it’s going to cost me to send a real letter some day. It doesn’t happen often. But for three packages I sent recently, containing little gifties that didn’t weigh too much? I spent about $50 to send them abroad! Wheeee!
I think the future of the post should be to advertise how special it is to receive something in the mail, and to up the level of customer service. Snail mail is special!
USPS reconsiders business model (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124248341)
Living in a post office (http://www.npr.org/2011/07/26/138722349/living-in-a-post-office)
Swedish Post and Telecomm Agency http://www.pts.se/en-gb/
Postal Service, hear the music: