Posted by: SWL | February 20, 2013

Post Office Has Money to Invest in Clothing Line But Not to Deliver My Letters on Saturday?

I have wondered for some time if American society has lost the internal gyroscope that brings it back into balance when it gets off kilter from things like wars or the cultural upheaval of the 1960s. Now it appears we are tilting so far we will never be normal again: The US Postal Service (USPS) has contracted with Wahconah Group, Inc. of Cleveland, Ohio, to develop a line of clothing based on classic Postal Service uniforms!

This is the same USPS that announced 2 weeks ago that it must stop most deliveries on Saturdays to save money. In that news conference, the Postmaster General mentioned that at one point the USPS had only enough funds on hand for a few days of operation. (A normal business model has much more of a reserve.) If this Ohio company is efficient and profitable, they probably will not begin a project for a new product line without some earnest money up front. If that is the case, where would the USPS get the money? It was also reported that the USPS will obtain a spot in the NYC Garment District so the fashion industry can see their merchandise and take them seriously. How can they afford to pay the rent?

The “Rain Heat & Snow” line will include shirts, raincoats and umbrellas to highlight the Postal Service motto: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor dark of night stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” Items will be equipped to carry personal electronics. The press release claims the clothing will be affordable and sold at “premier department and specialty stores“. (Can the words “affordable” and “premier” exist in the same sentence?) This sounds like a real loser. Who is going to buy this stuff?*

I do not see this clothing being any more successful than all the gift items marked down at my Post Office at the end of each season. If the Post Office would focus on only what is directly related to their primary mission – and seek to do it with excellence – they could cut some or all of their losses.

I wonder who is on the hook financially if (when) this venture fails?

I am a proponent of limited federal government. But I believe mail delivery is one of the things that should be run by the government. I do not know all the specifics of the legislation that privatized the USPS; could Congress get back control? I would rather see my tax dollars “invested” (as President Obama is fond of saying) in the Post Office than in solar panels and electric cars. Even if all of those “investments” lose money, at least the USPS benefits all Americans and provides service through a proven system.

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* Will there be a new scam as criminals impersonate postal employees in this clothing?
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