Maybe it’s just me, but I miss the post office that existed before Trump appointed Louis DeJoy to take over as Postmaster General in May 2020. I really do. I know many people don’t mail things, what with online bill pay and Facebook posts in place of Hallmark greetings, but I used to regularly send cards to friends for their birthdays. I don’t do it much anymore because I have no idea when my greetings will arrive so I don’t know if I should be sending regular birthday greetings or sorry-I-had-to-send-this-belated-card-even-though-I-mailed-it-in-what-should-have-been-plenty-of-time-but-the-damn-post-office-is-deadly-slow-these-days-and-I-have-no-idea-when-or-if-this-will-even-get-to-you-but-my-fingers-are-crossed ones. Since DeJoy took over and started dismantling automated sorting machines and removing thousands of easy access mailboxes from convenient locations across the country, the postal service has become a joke. Cards that used to take three days to travel across the country now often arrive well after a week later. Last Christmas, many of our holiday cards arrived two weeks after I dropped them off inside an actual post office around December 10th, while some didn’t arrive at all. A package I mailed took two weeks to arrive at its destination, which is a little ridiculous considering that I could have driven the stupid box to my sister in Connecticut, handed it to her in person, and made in home in less than one week. And the package I sent that same day from Denver to Billings, Montana, made it in three weeks. It is a NINE HOUR DRIVE from Denver to Billings. Are you kidding me?
Now, none of this has to be an issue for me because I can afford to ship packages via Fed Ex or UPS and will undoubtedly be doing so this holiday season. But most people are not in my fortunate financial position. Some people still wait for their social security checks to arrive via snail mail (which is now even more snailish). Some seniors still send birthday cards to their grandchildren with cash enclosed, and I bet they have no idea that if they don’t mail them at least a week early their grandkids will be wondering if they were forgotten on their special day. And some people absolutely do not have access to or cannot afford to send packages via other carriers, so they will be stuck with this shitty situation.
Today, I read in an NPR article that “beginning on Oct. 3 and ending on Dec. 26, the postal service will temporarily increase prices on all commercial and retail domestic packages due to the holiday season.” So, if you want to send a gift to your sister in Connecticut for the holidays, I hope you have it picked out, holiday wrapped, and mailed by this Saturday or have already told your sister that she will get her Christmas gift maybe in time to open it at some point in 2022. Some people might have you believe that DeJoy’s changes to the postal service have made the service more cost effective, but they would be wrong. NPR also reported that “the postal service reported a loss of $3 billion for the quarter ending June 30, compared to the $2.2 billion in the previous year.”
As a kid who grew up sending handwritten letters to pen pals in Australia, Italy, Scotland, and Bahrain, in the early 1980s when sending a letter Air Mail to Australia took one business week, the idea of sending a birthday card across town and having it arrive 5-6 days later infuriates me. So, Louis DeJoy, if you’re listening, this is my Christmas postal service wish*: I would like to put you in a small box (can’t afford to mail a larger one with the new postal increase starting on Saturday) with a few air holes and send you first class mail across the country during the upcoming holiday season. Maybe a week or two or three, or who knows how long it could take in there, would make you rethink what you have done to this beloved and necessary institution. You may be gleeful you are slowly driving the USPS towards its demise because apparently you think it is a socialist program that doesn’t deserve to be supported by the government, but you, sir, are just the Grinch stealing Christmas from people who deserved better than you. May Santa leave coal in your stocking this year.
And that is the nicest thing I can say about that.
*I am not actually advocating putting this man in a box and mailing him across the country because that would be wreckless, dangerous, and wrong. Just consider this a thought experiment.