12 Mar

The Post Office is going. That is a shame. Yet another historic vista of American History is being driven in to the dust. A profession that remains romanticized by the Pony Express, manned by Orphans people wouldn’t miss, is looking at its sunset. There is talk of privatizing it- merging it with Fed Ex/UPS. Shame. A lot of good men and women are being lost to the folly of high powered men with no brain for business- John Potter, to name one.

The postmaster at T and Florida instituted pens with oversize silk flowers taped to their top to mitigate patrons stealing pens set counter top for customer use. She expanded her line to include figurines and holiday globes. Her pens were the best stolen item in the branch. People weren’t as inclined to steal the giftcards or the like.

The postmaster at Wisconsin Avenue in Friendship Heights has been clearing space out in her branch. A LOT A LOT of floor space, slowly beginning a deconstruction of a familiar layout. Customers are told room is being made for more self service machines the customers already don’t use in droves. Clerks spend more time out from behind the counter trying to get customers to use the machines the more often than not don’t work. Clerks confide, nothing they can do will move the older customers towards technology, throwing their hands up in exasperation. The last place management looks to advice is within their ranks. Shame. Knowledge lost where the dollar crosses the counter.

News the USPS licensed its visage to a fashion line barely made the waters ripple on the Potomac. Seems more than a few people have seen how Postal employees dress. A go? Maybe. I slightly wrote about the (cough) same idea months back.

People don’t go to the post office for machines. They go to be social to stand on line, chat and wait for the clerk who remembers them each time they walk in the door. One USPS employee greets her office route with “Happy Tuesday” or “Monday” or whatever day of the week it might be. These aren’t people to push out the door. MAYBE cut back a bit on junk mail to really be green. Or as I have told more than many – you got pens with your logos on them? OMG. Park them at the Post Office guaranteed they will get stolen and passed forward. Distribution at its best.

To lose all this. And more? I have a plan.

My plan isn’t my plan. It is a game plan I am borrowing from the UK’s Royal Mail, Swyddfa’r Post in Welsh, a state owned limited company, bringing near and dear from far apart together

It works.

It will work here, a retail post office offering everything from stamps, to ribbons, to wrapping papers, chocolate twizzle flake bars, plus, run by moms & pops out of corner stores that look more like thatched cottages than a site where occasionally employees (and customers) go postal in close encounters of the customer kind. There are over 12K Post Office branches across the UK. Most of the branches are run by franchise partner or Sub Postmasters, all legal of course.

Post Office Ltd became a wholly owned subsidiary in 2001. The Post Office ltd became independent of the Royal mail in 2012. Plans are laid for Post Office Ltd to become a mutual organization some time down the road. The Post Office isn’t expanding with product. It is expanded by providing services, a full range of them including selling stamps and financial business. And stuff in between. And that is where my game plan begins.

Pipe in the 60’s music. Break out the double latte, yes, latte. Repurpose the Post Office in to a coffee shop. Wi Fi or no Wi Fi, make a coffee shop and the profits will come.


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