Oct
21

Brookhaven Having Trouble Getting Respect from USPS | WABE 90.1 FM

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Brookhaven Having Trouble Getting Respect from USPS | WABE 90.1 FM.

I don’t think Brookhaven’s resident’s need to feel they get less respect from the USPS than folks in other communities. The fact is that the USPS is a very big and slow-moving entity whose culture is all about getting stuff from many places to as many places as possible in the time allotted given the amount paid by the customer. In short, they do logistics, not human relations or customer service. In fact, given that they are a monopoly, they are remarkably well-mannered. Remember the old AT&T?

I’m very sympathetic to their feelings of being ignored, but they should not feel singled out.  Their experience is common. The USPS changes their system and the town/city names their physical stations are known by very slowly, and with understandable reluctance.  It’s about much more than changing the sign on the post office.  All these changes need to be embedded in a complex data system, and communicated to all the mail sorting nodes in the system, of which there are thousands. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as “only a change of name of the office”.  There are thousands of moving parts in this machine, all of which must be calibrated.  It must be made clear whether mail to and from the newly-named post office/town needs to go to/from which particular sorting node.  Getting the postal code wrong, or changing the post code of an area, can be an even worse nightmare.  For example, “simply” changing a town from one post code to another could mean that mail to/from the town now passes through a sort center a hundred miles from where it used to.  While a letter bearing the wrong postcode OR town name (which is inevitable, since people don’t change their address books very regularly and companies tend to be sloppy about it) it is unlikely to go totally missing.  However, it will be, as Daniel Boone was famously alleged to have said, “confused for quite a while”.  And any confusion of destination costs the postal service real money. And real customers real angst.

Could the USPS be better at public relations regarding this sort of thing, and do the “change thing” faster?  Yes, it could. Will it?  Probably not until it is privatized.  Until then, it will act very much like the massive giant watch of many complicated interlocking systems which it is.  And we just have to grin and bear it. Hopefully, knowing why the changes are glacial will make the wait less troublesome.

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