Mail Delivery to Rural America

Politics and the United States Postal Service

Every online business relies on the smooth and efficient functioning of the United State Postal Service. Yes, there are other delivery services; but, they could not equal the service offered by the Postal System for those of us in rural areas.

  • Only the USPS delivers to Post Office boxes – an address preferred by many.
  • Local Post Offices. Our local Post Office in Amesville is less than 2 miles from our front door.
  •  The postal rates were fair; the Postal Service is a service provided for citizens, business and government
  • And not to forget, importantly, the Postal Service provided boxes at no charge. Not an expense, as the new director would say, but rather an assurance of customer loyalty. 

Over the years, rumors that our local Post Office would close was reason for many to panic. The Post Office in Athens Ohio is 18 miles each way on two lane roads through the hills. Our local Post Office really provides a service that is the hallmark of the United States Postal Service.

In the early months of 2020, we noticed that our shipments were taking far longer than usual; especially to Pennsylvania, Michigan and Indiana. Indeed, our shipments to California were traveling faster than to states within our region. Certainly, we were increasingly busy because of Covid. However, there was no good explanation for the disparity in shipping times. By the end of October, orders to other Midwestern Sates were taking up to six weeks to reach anxious customers. There was no way to predict shipping times.

The major disruption in service for us in Ohio came at the hands of the new Postmaster General. Sorting machines were destroyed, mailboxes were moved and hours were shortened.  Local mail carriers were home with Covid – and too often attending funerals. But still, there were new cuts in staff. There simply are not enough workers to handle the increase. All too often, the mail carrier cannot take our packages. Some days, he simply ignores me or runs away if he sees more boxes in hand. Orders are frequently not scanned immediately or even for days. And all too often, our supplies- boxes, tape and packing material – take weeks or are simply lost.

Were these simply oversights? Or is it true, as Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”

In the beginning, the mission statement of the USPS was simple, “. . . to bind the Nation together through the personal, educational, literary, and business correspondence of the people.” No matter the weather – through rain, snow or driving winds – the mail would be delivered. On the other hand, the latest news from the United States Post Office underscores the stark difference between the mission statement and the reality of corporate business, “The U.S. Postal Service saw improved financial results in its most recent quarterly filing, though its on-time delivery plummeted and significant concerns about its financial state persisted.”

The importance of community and the common good that once defined the United States Postal Service seems all but lost.

 

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