Commentary & Analysis
Big Macs and the Post Office
By The Postal Curmudgeon We can make some nice mail,
By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: June 15, 2005
By The Postal Curmudgeon We can make some nice mail, take it to our local acceptance unit and have that mail rejected or assessed by the Postal Dictator Dujour, based on some creative interpretation of the Domestic Mail Manual. June 15, 2005 -- Welcome to this month's whine-fest. This month we’ll kvetch over inconsistency. We’re not talking about the fact that two crème donuts in a case don’t quite look or weigh the same. We’re talking about postal employees reading the same regulation as you and I and coming up with some incredibly creative interpretation of what that rule means. To you and I as service providers that means that there is probably going to be additional cost, delay or both assessed to our client’s mailing. Reasoning With Postal Employees? Now I have tried to reason with my local Postal Acceptance folks, but find that is like trying to convince Paris Hilton to consider becoming a nun; neither of them is going to happen any time soon. What amazes me is that we can make some nice mail, take it to our local acceptance unit and have that mail rejected or assessed by the Postal Dictator Dujour, based on some creative interpretation of the Domestic Mail Manual. On a regular basis, we use one of two fixes for that particular power trip. We have successfully taken the exact same mail, changed the office of mailing on the statements and the trays and had that mail accepted with absolutely no problem at a post office in an adjacent community. We have also taken the mail back to our plant, do nothing to it, and represent it the next day to the same postal clerk and have it accepted with no trouble at all. Arrgghh!!! Are You Listening, Jack? Surely the expression “going postal” was, in fact, not used to describe postal employees with “issues” but rather mailers who are confounded on a daily basis with these exercises in futility. In an earlier whine fest I extolled the virtues of the MERLIN system and how it was supposed to make mail acceptance less subjective. Well, it hasn’t. So my next request to Jack Potter and the boys at Postal HQ is “how's about a little consistency?”. What these dimbulbs at our local post office seem to forget is that the mail we present as mailers belongs to our mutual client (both my company and the Postal Service). They forget that that client pays everyone’s salary in the mail-food-chain, and doing things on a whim that unfairly increase costs or causes delay in delivery hurts everybody. I do have one word of advice to share, that we have found to be effective locally: Appeal everything. Every Merlin issue, every acceptance issue that is even slightly vague you should appeal. It takes the acceptance folks time to document and process an appeal, and I have frequently found that when you submit your appeal, all of a sudden there is no problem. Go figure! Maybe the Post Office could learn something from my favorite eatery, McDonalds. I have enjoyed Big Macs all across this country and even in Europe. I am always amazed at the consistency of my sandwich from place to place. If they can do it with pickles and special sauce, why can’t it happen with the mail? Food for thought Until the next time we gripe together.