Changes for the worse at the post office

Web-Editorial-Gary-MugAnyone who has been to the Oroville Post Office lately should have seen the pieces of paper stuck on the entry doors that talks about new hours for mail collection. The notice’s intention wasn’t very clear so I asked the Postmaster what was meant by the sign. He said the counter would remain open until 4:15 p.m. but mail would no longer go out on the truck at the usual time. In order to send a letter it has to be in the collection box outside or in the mail slot inside by 1:30 p.m., that’s because the truck is leaving hours earlier.

None of this is the Postmaster’s doing, it all has to do with money – in order to overcome billions of dollars in debt, the USPS is consolidating distribution centers all over the United States. Our mail will not longer go to Wenatchee to be sorted and sent on it’s way, but now has to go to Spokane, because the Wenatchee distribution center is being shut down.

I like the U.S. Post Office, we still have the best and one of the most affordable mail services in the world. If you don’t think so, ask a Canadian. You’ll find dozens of them daily at the Oroville P.O. picking up and sending their mail. I’ve been told it’s faster for someone from Osoyoos to send a letter to Osoyoos from Oroville than it is from their hometown.

However, all the changes to service are starting to make me wonder if we won’t be in the same boat as our northern neighbors before long. Remember when you could just write Oroville or City on a letter and it would find its way to the right person in your town? I have a cousin in Conconully who used to just write Oroville (not even WA) on cards and letters and they always got to me. Not anymore – and don’t you dare write your post office box address and your street address – that will at the least get a heavy black stroke through the offending street address and at the most get it sent back.

Now days you never know how someone is going to ship you something. You order it online and they want a street address for UPS, but not so fast, UPS sometimes partners with USPS and drops your packages off there, especially if they’re small. Or the shipper who asked for a street address for UPS decides to save money and send it through the postal service and well, you don’t have a mailbox so who knows where it will end up. Thank goodness we have postal employees who live and work in our town. You know they’ll find you and make sure your package gets delivered even if it has one of those offensive street addresses on it.

I blame a Congress who makes the USPS be run like a private business but insists they have 75 years worth of benefits set aside for it’s workers. They don’t make other businesses do that and in fact many of their rich cronies gladly raid the pension funds of their workers. This insistence on the part of Congress has put the Postal Service deep in debt. If it were really left to run the business like a private business they wouldn’t be in the situation – postage increases would be less often and talk of shutting down services like Saturday delivery would stop.

It’s all penny wise and pound foolish, but what do you expect from a Congress that would spend the blood of our service men and women and a $3 Trillion on a war with Iraq based on lies?

So, in the old days you could mail a letter and it might reach it’s destination the next day. We will have to wait and see how long it will take now that it has to go to Spokane first. It’s doubtful we will have the same service we used to and that’s sad and bad for business.

Oh yes, one last thing, if you miss the deadline, you can always race down to Tonasket, where the collection time is a half hour later because it takes time for the truck to get from here to there.