February 27, 2013 at 7:00 AM
U.S. Postal Service to end Saturday delivery
Crowdsourcing as a solution
I am certain that the U.S. Postal Service has engaged high-priced, white-shoe consultants to help them ferret out a solution to its fiscal challenges. And boy have they got ideas! Let’s shutter a bunch of low-volume rural post offices; let’s reduce the number of neighborhood blue mailboxes; and, now, let’s eliminate Saturday delivery [“USPS still to deliver packages Saturday,” page one, Feb. 7].
There’s one thing in common among these solutions — they aren’t about the average Jane — the Jane who lives in upstate New York and found her visits to the post office a high point of social and civic engagement; or the one who lives in Seattle and strays the streets in search of a blue mailbox; or the one who doesn’t own a computer and handwrites her notes and anticipates the sound of the mailman on her front porch carrying the real letters she aches to read.
If ever there were a time for crowdsourcing a solution — this is it. The United States Postal Service was started for civic purpose and should be preserved the same way. We need a civic-solution strategy. We need to hear the loud voice of the beneficiaries! I am one beneficiary and here are some of my crowd-of-one solutions:
•On blue mailboxes — put them in food stores — that’s where the people are.
•On an efficient selling strategy — sell stamps through vending machines at the same locations.
•On Saturday delivery — offer it on a paid subscription basis ($5 per month).
•On rural outlets — create a nonprofit subsidiary to franchise rural post offices; no union pay scales; raise charitable support to maintain with partial government subvention.
•On using the great service — hire the same ad firm that created the “Be all that you can be” campaign for the U.S. Army — it worked for them.
We the people should have a say in what “they” the U.S. Postal Service, decide.
–Jill Blair, Seattle
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