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Monday, May 02, 2011


Finally! It can be said that it is a beautiful spring day in North Dakota…..but, a chance of snow in the northwest corner of the state. Well at least from where I sit there is a little green grass, geese flying over, robins hopping around in the trees, patches of snow, and mud. Odd isn’t how for one or two fleeting weeks each year, mud is very beautiful? Say it out loud, “beautiful mud”, kind of has a nice sound does it not? But, don’s say it aloud around people from out of state, they would not understand. Your mental state would be questioned.
Sending the magazine to the subscribers is getting to be embarrassing. I just heard from my father in Michigan that he got his most recent magazine……THREE WEEKS AFTER IT WAS MAILED! In fact, I have had several magazines returned as undeliverable that were sent to an address less than ONE HUNDRED miles from were the magazine was sent from that returned SIX WEEKS after being mailed! It is absolutely unbelievable. On the odd occasion that someone has called to comment about this tardiness or wondering where their latest copy is, I tell them it was mailed weeks ago. There is invariably initial silence, then the, “Well OK, thanks”, and I know that they do not believe it possible. The caller likely thinks I am lying to them.
The U.S. Postal Service is the only means to mail individual magazines. I have no other options. My only recourse is to bring this to the attention of the Postal Service. The beauty of a monopoly bureaucracy is that they can (and do) pass you around and give you an unending number of people to contact with your complaint. No one can give you any answer other than we will look into it. There is no possible resolution. Eventually, because you realize the futility of your quest for sanity, and you feel yours slipping away, you throw in the towel. So, in summary, it takes as much as three weeks to mail a magazine as little as 100 miles and nothing can or will be done about it. And if you think that is cool wait until the same type of governmental bureaucracy monopoly is in charge of your health care!
The U.S. Postal Service by all indications is on an unsustainable financial trajectory. They have an incredibly strong union, and very high wages and benefits. As with the afore discussed intractable, unfixable mailing problem, nothing can be done. What is absolutely insane is that you can buy almost anything short of a new car from a vending machine. These machines are quite sophisticated these days. The can dispense after payment by credit card, coin, or bill. All stamp dispensing machines have been removed from all Bismarck Postal facilities. This fact raises the question of “Why do I have to stand in line to buy stamps from a Postal Service employee who if making the average wage of a Postal Service employee costs the Postal Service somewhere around $ 70,000 per year, when the act of selling a stamp is no more difficult than making change at the Cenex?” There was a little brouhaha in Bismarck about the possibility of shutting down the main post office. It seems that the annual rent in that Federal building was too much overhead. Idea: put in three stamp dispensers and put two front counter folks (who by the way are wonderful folks) to work sorting magazines so that they can go 100 miles in say two weeks. Two birds, one stone.
If you call the U.S. Postal Service to make such a crazy suggestion, I will guarantee you that you will have an opportunity first hand to experience the governmental bureaucracy monopoly hand-off, “we will look into it”, Kabuki dance. When you are done call Senator Conrad and thank him for voting ObamaCare into law.

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