To promote postal solvency

The United States Postal Service has been in trouble for a long time. With its financial shortfall growing deeper and deeper, something's got to give: Post Offices are sharply reducing their hours and even closing; there is serious talk of ending Saturday mail delivery; and now, another rate increase has been proposed. And here I'm still using up stamps from two rate increases ago.

I'm not going to protest the new postal rate increase (although I think a little more creativity in pricing structures might be helpful). I value the service that the Post Office provides, and I'm willing to pay a fair fare for my mail. I want the USPS to remain solvent.

And so, I propose a project, a small crusade, my own little effort to prop up the postal pillars. I will send something by US Mail every day for a year, and I will write about my efforts here. I actually started this project back in February, but didn't get any blog entries written at that time, and a stressful period derailed my mailing for a couple of months. But if a few people will read and comment on my posts, that will help me continue.

Here is my mail for today: a Make City San Francisco postcard for my brother E. in Ghana. I am mailing it at postcard rate (one 24-cent Common Buckeye stamp, two 2-cent Navajo Jewelry stamps) to Salt Lake City, where it will be bundled with other mail to LDS missionaries in Ghana and delivered by pouch.

Here's what I wrote: "Dear E., 'Summertime, and the livin' is easy . . .' -- Amazing how exhausted and stressed out I can get, considering that my life is, in fact, quite easy. I was enormously relieved and encouraged by the positive outcome of my thesis committee meeting last week, yet I still feel tired and grumpy every morning. Let us all press on, right? I said to A. [3 1/2 years old], 'What should I write to Uncle E. on his mission?' 'A letter,' he said. 'What should I write in the letter?' 'Happy Valentine's Day, okay.' and later: 'Don't forget to watch out for the big bad wolf, okay.' So there you go. I'm happy to hear that you are having better times. May the Spirit continue to be with you. Love, T."

I know perfectly well that my mail-a-day won't make any dent in the Postal Service's $7 billion shortfall. Furthermore, my blog is unlikely to attract attention from enough people to motivate a broad effort. If nothing else, perhaps I'll get more "real" Mail back in my own mailbox, which never fails to brighten my day. If you read and comment on this blog, I will send you mail!

The USPS financial crisis seems like an intractable problem, but who knows? Maybe we can start a postal Renaissance.


  1. My Father-in-law will be appreciative of your efforts. He has worked for the USPS for the last 20 years.

  2. I applaud your project. I put eight items in the mail today. I need to finish E's letter for the week and post that one too. I'm glad to have some help in keeping the postal system afloat!
    : )

  3. I like the idea. I'll follow along with your project and welcome any mail you wish to send to us. =) Do you have our new address?

  4. If we have to force ourselves to use it then maybe it is time for it to be cut back? I believe that new technologies have destroyed many older ones and we cant stop that from happening unless we stop innovating. I for one would not mind getting less mail. 95% of what I get goes straight into the burn bin anyway. The only thing I ever wait for is my netflix stuff and that is doing digital in a hurry. Using less paper seems like a good thing does it not? Oh and I did not realize there was still a Saturday delivery till they threatened to get rid of it. I guess I am in favor of saving our money in this tough economic time and getting rid of outdated systems and investing in things people actually want to use.

  5. Ro -- thanks for reading! I think it's cool that your father-in-law worked for the USPS. Tell him thanks :-)

    Mom -- you are my most reliable source of "real" mail, and probably a lot of other people's too. I'd like to follow your example.

    Alli -- Expect something from me soon! I think I have your new address, but just in case, can you send me a facebook message?

    Kami -- I agree that there's little point in propping up obsolete systems. In fact, I agree with most of what you say: most of what comes in my mailbox is junk, paper wastage should be avoided, thrift is a virtue. But I disagree that the post is outdated. More on why I value the USPS in later posts.