Jul 26 2011
06:41 am

The U.S. Postal Service may have an announcement today to close 3,653 post offices. They expect to save $200 million. The postal service currently has 32,000 post offices. They eventually plan to look at half of those for potential closure.

First class mail is down 28% in the last four years. The postal service is also having trouble with the $5.5 billion they are required to pay annually into a fund for future retiree-health benefits. "Proposed legislation in Congress would relieve the agency of that requirement and would also limit mail delivery to five days instead of the current six days a week, which the postal service said would save $3 billion annually." This proposed legislation could cover the $8-$9 billion deficit the postal service is projecting for 2011.

At the end of 2010, 23 Tennessee post offices were closed. Will your post office close in this next round? Do you care?

reform4's picture

Raise the price for junk mail.

maybe we'll see a little less of it.

Min's picture

I'd miss it.

I love my post office, and I use it a lot.

Funny story. The Halloween after 9/11, my local PO decorated the office with Grim Reapers. It was hilarious, but I'm not sure all the patrons got the joke.

bizgrrl's picture

Here's the list of post

Here's the list of post offices being studied for closure.

Whew! Alcoa nor Maryville are on the list. I was a little worried about Alcoa since they have already reduced services.

Bbeanster's picture

I like my postman, but not my

I like my postman, but not my post office. Going there is an ordeal.

Last time I was there (2 weeks ago), I had to wait more than 15 minutes because there was only one counter open.

A second PO employee came out just as I got to the head of the line, but I had to wait some more because another PO employee came out from the back of the building with an envelope and a debit card.

It was clear that this was a personal transaction for the other employee, who got waited on before me, making me wait another 3-5 minutes or so. I was getting pretty pissed.

But things got worse when I presented the first of two boxes I wanted to send to San Diego. The first one contained a small suitcase (hard plastic, shaped like some sort of animal -- called a "trunkie") for my grandson. The box had "special handling" tape on it, which I had covered with heavy black tape. Unfortunately for me, I didn't cover it well enough and little glimpses of red and blue border peeked out in a couple of place, if you looked for them.

I wanted to send it surface mail, and was shocked when the woman told me it would be $37 FOR ONE BOX.

Because she could see that tape.

We didn't get to the second box.

I huffed out and went to Fed Ex. No line, no waiting. Courteous guy who takes my two boxes with very little comment and charges me $34 for both of them.

This experience is typical. Customer service is awful at my P.O, and I'm not going there anymore.

jbr's picture

When I have to go to counter

When I have to go to counter at Weisgarber I dread it. The folks are nice enough but usually just one and occasionally two clerks working. Slow and when several folks in line no extra clerks. They have 6 or so counters, empty.

smalc's picture

Any time between 11 and 1 is

Any time between 11 and 1 is tortuous at Weisgarber. I have tto say much of it is due to inconsiderate customers, though. I go to the Sutherland/Bearden office when I can.

I don't know how new it is, but I just recently became aware of the Fedex handoff to USPS delivery method. My wife hates it, as it is a complete guess on how long the package will take to get from the PO to our house. I really think our mail carriers pick and choose what they would like to deliver on a given day.

michael kaplan's picture

I just recently became aware

I just recently became aware of the Fedex handoff to USPS delivery method

It's called SmartPost and, apparently, part of the USPS policy to contract out more and more services to private corporations - in this case, intercity transport. Remember those USPS intercity mail trucks? Gone, along with those union-protected jobs. Even international express mail services are now farmed out to FedEx, though the rates through USPS are discounted a bit. Like in Germany, we may yet see a takeover of the post office by a private corporation.

My biggest complaint about USPS, though, is its elimination of international surface mail, seriously hurting small businesses. Shipping on some items (like books) is now triple the cost of the item itself. I guess FedEx doesn't operate boats ..

bizgrrl's picture

I don't really have a problem

I don't really have a problem with fedex and the relationship with the post office. That kind of delivery occurs usually when paying the cheapest rate. I'm happy to get my pkg with my mail delivery. Saves gas.

adanovi's picture

Staff cuts and poor service?

What I am reading here is that y'all are waiting a long time and don't have good customer relations experience. Don't you think continuously cutting staff might have something do with your experiences?

Bbeanster's picture

What I am reading here is

What I am reading here is that y'all are waiting a long time and don't have good customer relations experience. Don't you think continuously cutting staff might have something do with your experiences

I've thought about that.
But being understaffed doesn't explain that woman trying to force me to pay $37 to send a not-very-big, not-very-heavy package to San Diego.
And it doesn't explain her waiting on a co-worker when she has customers who have been line for 15 minutes.
i WANT to support the post office, and the North Knox branch is just down the hill from my home.
But they don't give a damn about customer service. Something like this happens every time I go there.

fischbobber's picture

Customer Service

If you beat your dog enough, eventually he'll quit coming when you call. Thank you Marvin Runyon for showing us how to live.

Pam Strickland's picture

That branch is horrible. I

That branch is horrible. I went there once to mail something internationally, and despite the sign right behind her prompting a particular international service, the clerk said they couldn't do that. The manager wasn't there, had left for the day. So I left, went to Fountain Vity, and the clerk there said, sure We do that all the time.

From them on, if I really needed to make an appearance at a physical PO, I either went tp Weisgarber or Fountain City depending on where I was headed. Thankfully, after six years of the North Knoxville branch being my branch, my new place is attached to the Southerland Ave branch. They have considerably better customer service skills. But then it wouldn't take much.

reform4's picture

I don't have that experience.

Granted, I'm mostly using the Clinton Highway and Fountain City offices. I rarely have to wait over 3-5 minutes. Compare that to the 30-45 minute wait at Verizon to get my constantly-breaking phone looked at. I have had long waits at Weisgarber, but usually that's just Saturday AM.

But I have a lot worse customer service experiences with Verizon, AT&T, Home Depot, and more retail stores than I care to count. There's no connection between private vs. public entities.

Min's picture

True enough.

And I've rarely had a package from the PO land on my porch in as bad a condition as the ones from UPS.

bizgrrl's picture

I get frustrated with the

I get frustrated with the post office employees as I do with any company employees that give bad service. I'll say that generally I encounter decent to good service at the post offices I visit, Alcoa and Cedar Bluff. I also try to remember they send my various types of correspondence for 44 cents each to any place in the country. Try to get FedEx or UPS to do that.

It's kind of funny how the Alcoa post office has 3 windows and does a good job of serving customer in a tiny location. Cedar Bluff has a big location and I believe 4 windows. They also do a good job with lots of space, and a lot more customers I would think.

Every year we send out a new, upgrade package to our customers. In the past we always sent them FedEx, they are just so easy to deal with. Last year we sent them via the US Post Service to save money and it was almost as easy at half the price.

The other day I was in the Alcoa Post Office to pick up box mail. I received my notice for annual renewal. I waited in line a few minutes but decided it was taking too long. I went to their kiosk and was able to pay it quickly. I also could have taken the bill home and mailed a check for 44 cents.

ATSF616's picture

PO box rent

I received my notice for annual renewal....I also could have taken the bill home and mailed a check for 44 cents.

Actually, for free. The remittance envelope is postage-paid business reply mail.

bizgrrl's picture

Even better.

Even better.

EricLykins's picture

Several POs along the

Several POs along the Appalachian and Pacific Coast Trails are on the list of possible closures.

reform4's picture

My experience Friday

The lock on my office mailbox (not at PO) broke, so I went to the PO to request a repair. The very next morning, the carrier showed up with my mail, new keys, and said the lock was repaired.

Compare that with AT&T, that refused to show up twice for scheduled service appointments, or FedEx, which destroyed a shipment and refused to pay the claim on the shipment I paid to insure, and tell me how much more "efficient" the private sector is.

fischbobber's picture


Great Point! This illustrates what most people just don't understand. The post office delivers mail better than anyone in the history of human civilization.

Their problems only arose when they attempted to become all things to all people. Marvin Runyon chose to pursue this course by attacking the wages and work standards instead of focusing on his core business.

Bbeanster's picture

Fischbobber, I lived in

Fischbobber, I lived in Germany and in Holland, and I can tell you that the postal service in those countries was far more efficient than it is here.

fischbobber's picture

With all due respect

I would submit that you are comparing apples with oranges.

Is DHL the German post office to which you refer?

fischbobber's picture

My Point

My point is that the post office employees tend to take all the bad rap for idiotic management decisions. Case in point, no post office vehicle has as much space as the smallest UPS or FEDEX vehicles, yet under Runyon's direction they went after the package and freight industry for volume. Had they concentrated on their profitable and highly efficient core business of delivering the mail, they would be in the black today, likely able to deal with the present effects of their downsizing through attrition and retirements.............There is a reason there is low morale at the post office and it isn't union complacency.

bizgrrl's picture

I think the post office had

I think the post office had to try and diversify.

"We've lost a tremendous amount of first class mail; it's down 28% in the last four years and that's what pays the bills; that's what pays for six days of delivery," Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe said in an interview. "As you lose that, you have to make decisions. We're no different than any other business."

Maybe it didn't work out as well as hoped, but their alliance with FedEx that may have come about because of the attempt is probably a good thing.

fischbobber's picture

Can you tell.........

that I think Marvin Runyon was the anti-Christ and a minion of Beelzebub set upon our nation to destroy Christianity and any sort of hope and structure our nation might aspire to?

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