Wednesday, February 8th, 2012...8:39 am
The Mailbox Wars
Have you ever had a business partner? I had one once and partnerships can be very tricky to maintain. Trust, but verify comes to mind. Each party needs to trust the other, but just in case one of the partners lacks the ability to remember, an understanding in the form of a Partnership Agreement needs to be agreed upon.
We as individual stores have agreements with the three major carriers that could be seen as a partnership. But occasionally a carrier, with its internal, competing fiefdoms, violates the spirit of the contract, creating an adversarial relationship by competing with us. One department, by doing its job supports our businesses, while another department by doing its job, competes with us.
These departments, internal to an organization, also appear to be competing against each other. Such is just the nature of large organizations.
Speaking with Postmaster General Patrick Donahue last year, he emphasized the value of retail partners like USPS Approved Shippers by calling them, along with Contract Postal Units, Village Post Offices, and other affiliates, essential partners to the survival to the USPS. These replacement Postal outlets have the verbal support of the Postmaster General and his Executive Team.
So why has the USPS seen fit to imperil these very businesses by directly competing with the local neighborhood shipping stores? The USPS has offered the following services to PO Box renters who have boxes in the designated Competitive List areas:
- Offering Post Office Box renters the use of the Post Office street address for Post Office Box addressing.
- Offering Post Office Box renters email notification of mail delivery.
- Offering Post Office Box renters the use of the “#” designation.
- Offering Post Office Box renters to receive packages from private carriers.
- Allowing Post Office renters the use of Change of Address Forms allowing the USPS to forward renters mail at no charge.
- And, eventually, the only address that will get mail on Saturday.
On the USPS’ entry into the express market, Fred Smith from FedEx said:
“The problem with the USPS’s vain attempts to compete … is that there is not a shred of evidence that its entry into the field serves any public interests. There are, to be sure, important interests worthy of consideration, primarily those of postal workers and the postal family. However, a convincing argument has yet to be made to show that the public interest requires the Postal Service to use its monopoly … to gain an advantage in a service that can be and is being provided more efficiently by private enterprise. Moreover, it is noteworthy that these private companies, with which the USPS seeks to compete, pay taxes while the USPS does not; purchase license plates for vehicles, which the USPS does not; and, unlike the USPS, must comply with zoning restrictions and pay fees and other charges; are subject to customs laws; and are constrained by a host of government-imposed burdens.”
Unfair competition – that is the essence of the argument of stopping the USPS from adding the mail receiving enhancements that have been enjoyed by the customers of Commercial Mail Receiving Agents. No sales tax collected, no property taxes, no gas taxes, no license plates, no local codes or regulations to follow, and a $100,000,000 marketing budget allows the USPS advantages beyond comprehension.
Even if the above advantages of the USPS are tempered with the inefficiencies of unions, bureaucracy, PRC, Congressional regulation, and a monopoly mentality, the USPS still has an unfair competitive playing field with FedEx and UPS. But let these behemoths battle it out amongst themselves. Their armies are large are fairly balanced.
On the other hand, the USPS is now attacking the foundation of American economics.
When the USPS unleashes its firepower on the local mom and pop, independent family businesses, it’s the US Government versus the family and that’s wrong.
When the USPS uses its labor, which is paid for by postage, to move and deliver private carrier packages, to subsidize these businesses by consolidating their delivery stops, returning undeliverable packages, and communicating delivery information to the private carriers’ customers, that’s wrong.
When the USPS, who regulates Commercial Mail Receiving Agents, does not allow them to use the USPS Change of Address system for their customers, but allow the use of that system for PO Box customers, that’s wrong.
To claim financial reasons to implement five-day delivery for Private Mail Boxes, but service the PO Boxes on Saturday, that’s wrong.
Competing with the businesses you regulate is unethical, unfair, and corrupt.
Now we fight. We fight with everything we have. We will be commenting on the Docket we created on the PRC site. We will be writing letters to our Congressmen during an election year. We will be writing letters to the House and Senate leadership. And we will travel to Washington DC to confront the responsible people.
We cannot do this alone. We will need your help. Although we have other organizations willing to sign complaints, wars are expensive and signatures do not buy ammo. If you are not an AMPC Member, join us at the Classic Level; if you are not a Classic Level Member, upgrade, if you are a Classic Member, renew. This will become a fight for our existence, our survival, and the basis for our businesses.
Join the fight at www.ampc.org.
Keep informed at http://fightformympc.wordpress.com/