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The U.S. Postal Service posted a $8.5 billion dollar loss for the fiscal year 2010 which ended last September. There’s talk about eliminating mail delivery on Saturday (a move I support even if the economy was stronger). Post offices are closing all the time. This post isn’t about the quality of the workers we interact with when we buy stamps, mail packages or deal with our mail carriers or station agents. This post is about how, with very little effort, the U.S. Postal Service can create a new revenue stream which could be significant if executed properly.
I’ve had a Post Office Box since I was a teenager. I’ve had boxes in the largest post offices in the world and also at some of the smallest while I was an undergrad. The biggest issue with a post office box is knowing when you have mail to be collected. If you have a post office box, how many times have you walked, drove, traveled to the post office only to find an empty box. What if there was a way to know you had mail to be collected each day before you made the trip to the post office. How much fuel (and time) could we collectively save if we never traveled to the post office when we knew there was nothing waiting for us in our post office boxes?
I’d like to see the U.S. Postal Service offer a paid option for post office box holders to allow us to receive an email or text/sms message when we new mail has been delivered for that day. I’ve recently learned that the UPS Store offers this service for their box holders for $10/month. Whenever you receive a package or letter, the UPS Store sends an email to let you know something has been received. Their emails include tracking numbers and some other details where applicable. I am not even suggesting that the U.S. Postal Service offer something as detailed as the UPS Store.