Remember when the mail was delivered by Pony Express? Well, neither do I.
But that’s beside the point. Friends, the United States Postal Service is in dire straights, and it’s been coming on for some time. Which is why there’s no way around it, but to enlist your help.
Yep, it looks like it’s going to be up to us to save the U.S. Postal Service from becoming the next dinosaur. And I’m not referring to those prehistoric creatures from the Fred Flintstone era. I’m talking dinosaur as in the LP record, the iceman cometh, go-go boots, and, of course, the most recent addition to the extinction list: Blockbuster Video stores.
No doubt, you’ve read the news that, in order to survive, as well as save money, the post office last year appealed to Congress to eliminate Saturday delivery—and, frankly, the way we use postal service, would anyone really have noticed if there was no mail on Saturdays?
But Congress won’t allow them to save money that way. I imagine it’s because they’re waiting for a big, fat check from their bookie, the proceeds of a bet they won by questionable means. Or maybe they just want to see how many times they can make the postman always ring twice.
Sans congress’ aid, it’s up to us to save the postal service. One letter at a time. Which is why I’m working on an entirely new marketing campaign for them, coming to a mailbox near you, assuming you still have one and know how to use it. Drumroll, please! The slogan is:
Let’s Go Retro!
Yes, it’s time to turn back the clock and quit relying on the Internet for all your communication and product-ordering, and bill-paying needs. Instead, it’s time to start spreading the news and go retro!
What exactly does this mean?
It means doing your part, and mailing something—anything—instead of relying on the ease of the web. For example:
Instead of emailing your mother to see if she has time to do your laundry this weekend, send her a letter. Like your mother always said, “Lick it, put a stamp on it, and send it to someone who cares.” Even if she does live down the block. She remembers what it’s like to receive letters and will be thrilled to get yours.
And while you’re at it, consider putting more postage on your letter than necessary. That way the postal service will make a profit and the extra funds will help their bottom line.
Request a catalog via mail, from your favorite retailer, rather than perusing their products online.
And speaking of catalogs, let’s bring back the Sears catalog, and the Spiegel one, too, for that matter. These catalogs were once nice and thick, sure to cost a pretty penny to mail. Plus, they’re filled with oodles and oodles of products waiting to be delivered–via snailmail–to your home. Isn’t it time you ordered a Princess telephone for your cousin, Lulu?
Instead of text messaging your friend, Pierre, about going to a movie tonight, drop him a line about seeing one next week or the week after. What? Can’t you plan ahead just once? Sure, it’s not as impromptu, but that’s not the point. Your goal is to help the post office, not make things more convenient for yourself.
Did you borrow some eggs and a cup of sugar from your neighbor, Daisy, to make your favorite brownie recipe? Well, don’t go knocking on her door to replace said borrowed items. Put the eggs and sugar in a shoebox, wrap it up and mail it. And, it’s okay to save money by sending the package via bulk mail. Daisy will get it in a week or two, and be most appreciative that you remembered to return the items at all.
Did Uncle Harry give you a chainsaw for your birthday, and it turns out you already owned one? Pop it in the mail and return it to him. Remember to write on the package, “Chainsaw enclosed, do not bend.” This way, the post office won’t wonder why the box is so heavy and rattling.
Instead of “Liking” all your favorite organizations and products on Facebook, write them each a long letter, describing in detail just how much they have made your life more fulfilling as a result of having them in it. I’m sure Doritos and Home Depot will be eternally grateful.
Planning to place an order for a pair of shoes on Zappos? Print an order form and mail it with a check, instead of ordering directly through their website. This is a win-win, for, not only are you helping the post office, but doing it this way will also help you avoid credit card fraud.
These are just a few ideas. If you have any suggestions for saving the post office, please leave a comment below. Better yet, leave the comment, print it, then mail it, c/o WordPress.
Remember, friends, we are in serious danger of losing this bastion of our society: The United States Postal Service. And you know what they say.
It takes a village to raise a child—and a gazillion villages to save the U.S. mail!
I’m a huge fan of snail mail. Sending and receiving a “real” letter gives me a ridiculous amount of joy. I received THREE yesterday, which sent me skipping back into the house. It will be a sad day when the postal service is gone.
CanadaPost has not had Saturday delivery service for as long as I can remember. (I don’t know if they ever did). And my mail is delivered to a neighbourhood superbox not to my home. Both, I’m sure, are huge cost savers. CanadaPost may not longer thrive on mail as it used to but it certainly has expanded to other business in rethinking its core business. Maybe the US Postal Service has to do the same.
I don’t write letters anymore the way I used to but I do still send snail mail birthday cards to all my neices and nephews – and of course a handwritten envelope is the first to be opened!!
I’ll mail you a letter! Message me your address! Save the U.S. post!
Ha! I will message you! I think, too, we should have Tee shirts made up that say “Save the U.S. Post! Save the Pony Express!” and then we can march on Washington. Think of the possibilities! 🙂
So, by 2056, there will be no more hidden boxes of love letters tied with blue satin ribbon for some son or daughter to find? Lovely letters written by parents long since deceased, nor love letters to read and remember the “way we were”? And as for stamps, must we only have an upcoming wedding to use the “love” stamp?
Insightful and sadly true, your post. Thanks for sharing.
I know! Not only is that sad to think about, it’s depressing. I have a couple of boxes of my letters, but my kids right now have zippo! Think about all the books that exist that are all about letters: JFK’s letters, FDR’s letters, Beethoven’s letters, Mark Twain’s letters. This type of history won’t exist anymore!
Eventhough email was popular. I always thought I’d have use for stamps and would keep them in my wallet or somewhere in the house. The key word is ‘somewhere.’ I could never find them and thought I was wasting money. I still have a letter I need to mail from December.
I like your idea though. I always feel so guilty for not buying some special stamp when the postal guy asks. They’ve become salesmen.
Totsy, anything we can do to help is always appreciated. Bella and I are going to write a post end of this month on how April is write a letter or card month. Feel free to join us! Maybe you could do one of your 100-word stories about someone writing a letter, or expecting one, etc. Could be fun! 😉
You could really help the Post Office by collecting stamps – or, if you don’t want the stamps sticking around, use them as stickers on your next craft project. Don’t give them to your dog though. They don’t put good tasting lick ’em on the back of them anymore.
Collecting stamps is a great idea! I used to unofficially collect stamps, buying two of stamp offered, one for keeping an a old photo album, the other for using. But when they came out with the forever stamps, I just started buying those. Thanks for the tip, Bongo! 🙂
You are so right Monica, letter sending and letter writing has declined so much. Writing a letter is much more personal and so lovely to receive. All mail now seems to be either bills or mail shot advertising. Bring back letters!
That’s right, Bassa! I’d love to receive a letter from you! 😉
Monica, trust you to rally the masses for a worthy cause! I love your proactive approach, amiga! I had no idea the US Postal service was in dire straits. That’s what happens when you’re not in the “thick” of things. I send birthday card to my nephews and daughter. I also send some of my bill payments this way too. Lets hope that these contributions help in the long run! 🙂
Bella, this has been coming on for some time now. Unfortunately, congress makes the rules and we all now how well congress agrees on things these days, so the end result is gridlock, etc, and the post office has to make do. With so many resorting to the internet for communication, well, maybe dire straights is too strong, but it’s close. All this to say, I’m so glad you are pitching in by using the mail. Did you know that April is National Card and Letter writing month? What shall we do to celebrate? A linkup, perhaps? 🙂
Get brainstorming and send me any ideas! Whatever it is, I’m in! 🙂
Will do!I just love partnering with you! 🙂
As an employee of USPS for my day job – may I add to this plea the small but not insignificant fact that the unfair prefunding of retirement payments which we agreed to over a period of 40 years and it was returned to us as an ‘oops you’ve just got 10’ which would devastate any and every other business in the US, is at the root of this problem. Imagine going in for a 40 yr. mortgage and having it returned to you on a 10 yr. payment schedule. I do not think the elderly who depend on us for their medicine and the good people who work Monday thru Friday and depend on Saturday to do postal business, should have to sacrifice their delivery service because the congress of ten years ago stamped the Post Office with a bad mortgage! Keep sending those letters folks. And Monica, thanks for the space.
Thank you for stating the case quite eloquently. Mine was written tongue-in-cheek, to make a point, but the point you make is right on. I truly try to use the mail, when possible. It’s a great service and I hate the fact that they’re having to close branches in some areas. Where would we be without the US Postal Service??
I still write letters; so does my mom; so does my childhood friend. I’m trying to do my part, you see. But oh, how I wish all those charitable organizations would quit sending me letters requesting money, letters with address labels and “membership” cards, letters with certificates and note cards!
Debbie, I know what you mean about those charitable organizations. I have dozens of pads, some personalized with my name, address labels, note cards, too. I’m just waiting for one of them to send me an honorary diploma to some prestigious university. Now that would be cool. 😉
With Max’s barmitzvah coming up we used and used and used our beloved USPS, sending invites to USA, Germany, Russia and Israel and after his party time for thank you cards to be sent back to the same people and same countries. Hopefully we helped!
Oh, you’re helping a lot, Ariana! Mazel Tov, to your son. You must be so proud! It’s been 8 years since my daughter’s, and I know all that goes into planning. It’s like planning a wedding!
I love getting letters, and yes, I still write them. I still do holiday cards too.
Catherine, I’m so glad to know you’re doing your part! On behalf of the USPS, thank you!
I love the Spiegel catalog. They had the best ever stuff I had to have. I still buy stationary and cards but only to write my daughter and my aunt (which reminds me I haven’t written in ages, bad, bad, bad). I do miss writing and sending letters (emails are not technically letters) but it’s the closets I come to writing a letter. You know it might be interesting to start a letter writing group amongst us bloggers and take turns cameo-ing them on our blogs..
I think we should get a petition going to bring back the Spiegel catalog, Brenda. I love crisp, beautiful stationary. Eaton comes to mind. Your idea of a letter writing group sounds great. Where do we start? Can you write a post about it? If so, I’ll link to it and put in my endorsement for it. Can’t wait!
I used to love getting those thick Spiegel catalogs. And buying pretty stationary. And having pen pals. Yep. I’m that freakin’ old. I actually remember the three cent stamp and how outraged we all were when it went up to five. These days I still write and mail “thank you” notes. If cards weren’t so expensive, I’d send more of those, too.
Jayne, I used to love the Spiegel catalogs, too! What fun it was to peruse and mark the pages that featured stuff you liked, then mail in your order. My mother taught me well about the etiquette of thank you notes. I’d rather mail them than email a thank you. It doesn’t feel special enough when you email it.
Monica, I am definitely doing my part to save the postal service. I cannot imagine life without mail, I will continue to order books, send parcels to far off lands and write to my dear friend in Australia, as often as I can. How did we get here? I love writing letters…
I’m so glad you’re doing your part, MM! We need more people like you placing orders and sending parcels as far away as possible. I love sending packages to my family who is sprinkled all over the country. And even when I pay the extra for priority mail, which is delivered super fast, it’s still cheaper than the private services that are around.
At the very least, we travelers can send postcards of our near and far-flung adventures to friends & family. Who doesn’t love receiving a postcard in the mail? In fact, I even suggest sending postcards to ourselves as a way to keep those travel memories alive.
Great idea, Nancy! I like the idea of sending postcards to ourselves. Wish I had thought of it when I was in Europe a few years ago. Would have loved to have that time stamp on it.
Go, go boots are extinct? Say it isn’t so!
I think now there is a new version of go go boots, but it’s not the same. Not the These-boots-are-made-for-walking kind, anyway. I miss the pair that I once had. 😦
When my mom passed away 6 years ago, one of the treasures I found in her house was all the letters she had ever received since she got married in 1957. I found myself thinking that my kids will have no such treasure from me and it was such a sad thought.
I have boxes of letters that have been sent to me, most of these letters are pre-Internet, from when I was a little girl all the way to when my kids were young. I cannot bear to part with them. Maybe my kids will want to read them one day. One can only hope!
So I know I’m supposed to comment on the postal service, but you brought up the Pony Express, and now all I can think about is that old TV show The Young Riders. Did you ever watch it? I think I had a crush on all the guys on that show.
No, I’m not familiar with the Young Riders, but as a kid I wasn’t really into watching Westerns. I’m glad, though that the mention of Pony Express conjured up nice memories for you. 😉
I read an article recently about the “Death of Letter Writing.”
I was saddened. Really.
Because I LOVE getting written letters & cards.
And I love writing them.
btw, one of my fave. authors said: “if I recieved a written letter from one of my fans I’d write back.”
well, I wrote one to him. I’m still waiting for a response!
Anyhow, what does that have to do w/ this post?
Lets all go BUY stamps and write REAL letters to people we love.
Is that a good idea?
Love your pro-active approach, Sweeeets. xxx
Kim, I love your idea of writing letters! When I went to college, my mother and I wrote each other letters once a week. I always looked forward to them. She’d include clippings from our local newspaper with info on what was going on in town. Or sometimes just cut out the Ann Landers column for me, as we both used to enjoy reading it. Sigh. Those were the days. I still like to write letters and do so whenever I can.
I belong to a postcard exchange called Post Crossing. It links up people all over the world randomly with other people with post cards. you send out 6 post cards to random people and you get 6 post cards from 6 different people, up to 12 people. I keep the P.O. in business because it costs $1.05 for international stamps. (You also get American postcard pals.) It’s a great way to use the Postal Service. And you get the most interesting cards and then get to say thank you over the website to the folks you “meet.”
I love the idea of a postcard exchange. How clever! Let us know how we can take part!
You’re so creative! I have a new pen pal (snail mail!) so maybe I’m doing my part and I won’t have to resort to mailing baking supplies. 🙂
Of course the mention of the baking supplies was just to make a point. Glad you’re making yours by having a pen pal. We should all have one! 😉
I even have stationary. I rarely use the phone. The walk down to the store next to Jake’s barber shop to use it takes half an hour even with a good tail wind. Did you know the pony express was operational for only one year !
Carl, you are a font of information. No, I didn’t know that they were operational for just a year. And yet they’re so famous. Folks remember them. Glad you’re doing your part to help!
He;s a retired History teacher, Monica, He knows pretty much everything.
Oh! That makes sense. No wonder Carl knows so much. Thanks for letting me know!