It's really interesting how the U.S. Postal Service varies in performance across this country. In 52 years I have never had anything lost or delivered/received late but the real horror stories are true. These problems seem to occur mainly in the large metropolitan areas where the volume of mail and the huge number of employees make things like this more likely to happen.
Remember though, that the Postal Service has a directive to provide "uniform" service whereas private companys do not. Stated another way, your first class stamp will deliver a letter next door or across country for the same amount. Would UPS do that? This may not seem like a meaningful statement but changes for the worse are yet to come.
The GAO recently did an audit of the Postal Service and determined that their business plan of being quasi-governmental is not working and Congress directed the Postmaster General to come up with a fix for the Postal Service to become profitable. The "plan" is to privatize to the extent that stock will be issued, charge for services based on cost analysis, take employees out of the government sector and give the unions the right to strike.
If you ever think that Congress and the Postal bureaucrats can come up with a "private sector" business plan that would work, I would like to sell you some ocean front property here in Idaho.
Since the September 11 terrorist attack and the anthrax mess, mail volumes have decreased significantly making the Postal Service borrow money to pay the bills. Cost cutting measures have been implemented...read: cutting hours, cutting the number of hourly employees, closing post offices, etc. It's funny though that the number of bureaucrats stays the same. The automated equipment is often times not designed to acomodate the real world items that goes through them.
One of the first orders of business when this country was founded was to establish the Postal Service. Those old geezers saw how important it was for reliable and timely mail delivery. UPS, FEDEX and similar services wouldn't exist if Congress hadn't given that part of the Postal Services business away through legislation. Just think about what was left for the Postal Service. "Uniform" delivery six days a week at rates that no private sector business would consider.
I'm a "smaller is better" type of guy when it comes to government in general, but I wouldn't want to privatize our military, police, fire or MAIL! My suggestion for anyone that really cares is to use the USPS more rather than less. This is the only way we can avert the horrible consequences that will be inflicted upon us by those that are supposed to serve us.
The people in this great country want convenient access to their local Post Office. They want six days per week delivery. They want their items delivered in a timely fashion. They don't want to pay more for postage. So, the only honest solution is to solve this problem the way Congress solves so many other problems; subsidize the Postal Service by burying the cost overuns in the general budget.
No, I don't work for the Postal Service. If the changes that are planned are allowed to be implemented this country may be dealing itself the final blow. The collective stupidity of those in the beltway can only be overcome by the citizens collective intelligence. Fat chance.