Thursday, May 24th, 2012...9:09 am
Postal Service Attempts Destruction of Family Businesses
Layoffs, early retirement, closing plants and distribution centers, closing or reducing the hours at unprofitable Post Offices, begging the Congress to send bailout money are a few of the more known desperate attempts for the USPS to save itself.
On the revenue side they have introduced new products and services like Every Door Direct Mail, better tracking information, flat rate boxes, and new Workshare products with private mailers. And they still lost $3.2 billion in the first three months of 2012.
Now they are attempting to take the business of Private Mailbox Rentals from small family businesses in their neighborhoods.
As the owners of the First Class Mail monopoly, they did very well. Their contribution margin on First Class Mail is 285%, while Standard Mail gets just over 100%. As First Class has been electronically taken away from the USPS, their most profitable product has been almost eliminated. Trying to generate three times the quantity of Standard Mail to make up for the loss has been a failure.
AMPC and 12 other industry leaders and associations are in a battle to stop the USPS from winning the Mailbox Wars – the usurping of our business by an untaxed government behemoth with a $100 million advertising budget. This David versus Goliath fight between a powerfully connected and deficitly financed organization and the efficient small shop down the street, locally owned, family run, with an advertising budget of 1/10 of 1% of the enemy, paying local, state, and federal taxes, supporting local charities, and contributing to the local economy, is corruption at its worse.
Where else in the world does a country’s government take over the private sector enterprises? I could name a few places, but their political systems are a little different from ours.
I have been advised by who I would consider respected, professional, smart business people in this industry that this fight is not worth the trouble. It’s not a big deal they say. We all know that the USPS will do as well with this as they did with the Bugs Bunny neckties. Besides doesn’t it call attention to the Private Mailbox Business?
I do not doubt the fact that the USPS will, as in all other attempts to compete with the private market place, fail at providing the quality of service we are so successful at delivering. When a government, even with its vast advantages of deficit spending, no tax liabilities, and significant marketing budgets, tries to compete in the rules of engagement in the business world, they are bringing a knife to a gunfight. The incentives and punishments of private businesses mean nothing to them; they are not able to comprehend the thoughts of a person who has risked his family savings to work without paid vacation, pension, sick leave, annual leave and carryover accrual, health insurance with vision and dental, family medical leave, expense accounts, junkets, conventions, education reimbursement, and holiday leave, to provide for his family.
Compare a postal employee to be given the choice between making another $1000 sale or taking Friday afternoon off and the same choice offered to a shop owner and you can see why the war can be easily won. How often do you see a postal clerk forgo her break to speed the long line through the Post Office?
So why would AMPC spend the hours and the money it takes to chase this windmill?
It’s because it’s wrong. To see an American industry so unfairly attacked and devastated by its own government requires action. You expect action from us and it would be irresponsible for us to ignore this. And the rest of the industry agrees: 13 industry organizations consisting of for-profit and not-for-profit, trade groups and franchises, turnkeys and owners’ groups have coalesced into a united front to defeat the subterfuge of the USPS to take our business.
You can help. Soon there will be an opportunity to comment to the docket on the Postal Regulatory Commission website, but in the mean time, armies need money for weapons and supplies. Please consider a donation to the cause to protect your store from the onslaught of USPS competition by going to www.fightformympc.com and making a donation. Donations are averaging $100, but any amount will be appreciated.
Our job is to provide opportunities for you to become successful. Part of that job is to take down the barriers that keep us from doing that.