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  • Amazon’s new ‘same-day nodes’ will displace postal deliveries

    Home Forums AskWoody blog Amazon’s new ‘same-day nodes’ will displace postal deliveries

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      • #2345234
        Brian Livingston
        AskWoody MVP

        PUBLIC DEFENDER Amazon’s new ‘same-day nodes’ will displace postal deliveries By Brian Livingston The market dominance of Amazon in online retail is w
        [See the full post at: Amazon’s new ‘same-day nodes’ will displace postal deliveries]

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      • #2345250
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Brian Livingston: Thanks for this opinion. As it says in your article:

        ” … perhaps no one will care whether their post office becomes more and more cash-strapped. But some people may want to ensure that the goal of universal postal service to every part of the country is guaranteed and preserved for future generations. ” This is the crux of the matter.

        And that is followed by this comment:

        The decisions made in the months ahead by Amazon and its competitors — and the government agencies that regulate them — will determine the outcome. It’s best for this to take place with the public well informed about what’s at stake.

        Let’s keep this in mind, by all means. Good, sensible and prompt government action is really needed; it is not just the present problem of unusually slow mail deliveries, but the accumulated negative effects of decades of lawmakers funding the Post Office, an organization set up to fulfill a basic role of government, as if it were a subsidized private company that has largely to pay its own way, cover the pension payments of its retired employees, etc. Hence all the junk mail that mostly goes right into the circular filing cabinet as soon as it is picked up from the house mail box, because it is one way for the USPS to rise funds from local businesses willing to pay to advertise there, in order to get some more working money above and beyond what its official budget provides.

        Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

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        • #2345254
          MHCLV941
          AskWoody Plus

          The reason the USPS is “a subsidized private company that has largely to pay its own way, cover the pension payments of its retired employees, etc.” is precisely because Congress did not want to fund it and in fact, Congress does not fund it at all today.  (See How is the U.S. Postal Service governed and funded? (brookings.edu)) and has not done so since 1970.

           

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      • #2345249
        anonymous
        Guest

        The USPS has one advantage that Amazon will, in all probability, never have: sanction by the United States Constitution.

        No doubt Amazon can do what you forecast, at least in more populous areas of the country, and it may well be detrimental to the USPS’ bottom line.  It may also be that the USPS will shrink but it won’t go away and it may be that it has to revert to being a funded part of the federal government instead of its current quasi-corporate status.

        As for your analysis of the potential for running afoul of the Sherman Antitrust Act, it seems to me that it would be very difficult to achieve the homogeny that you foresee without doing so.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2345280
        ScotchJohn
        AskWoody Plus

        Is Amazon willing to become the letter carrier of last resort, providing what we call in the UK the “universal service obligation”?  The logical extension of what Brian has outlined is the worst of both worlds, time for some pragmatism, surely.

        Dell E5570 Latitude, Intel Core i5 6440@2.60 GHz, 8.00 GB - Win 10 Pro

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        Geo
        • #2345290
          MHCLV941
          AskWoody Plus

          Is Amazon willing to become the letter carrier of last resort

          Not likely in the least because there is no way to make money in large areas of the US.  Too few people, too many miles.   FedEx and UPS both add surcharges for rural addresses (not to mention surcharges for delivery to residential addresses).

          There are also legal issues involved.  Only the USPS can place mail in mail boxes.

          • #2345316
            Ascaris
            AskWoody MVP

            The USPS is the only one of the typical carriers that will not deliver to my residence. UPS, Amazon, FedEx, Airborne Express, etc., all deliver here, no additional charges. The Post Office… nope. I can call Pizza Hut or Domino’s and they’ll deliver here too. Just not the Post Office.

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            • #2345390
              OscarCP
              AskWoody Plus

              The USPS has been closing some of its offices. Is there one still open near where you live? Some people (perhaps you too?) have problems getting mail delivered for that reason. If that is not it, do you know why you don’t get the mail delivered by your local Post Office?

              Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

              MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
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              • #2345645
                Ascaris
                AskWoody MVP

                The Post Office does not deliver to anyone in the whole zip code. I don’t know the reason… it was like that before I was here. It’s just a regular residential neighborhood of several square miles. No dirt or gravel roads, no dangerous conditions, just people walking their dogs, kids on bicycles, that kind of thing.

                It’s kind of amusing that UPS, Fedex, and Pizza Hut all deliver here, but the “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed round” Post Office, which always uses the “well, we have to deliver to everyone, while the private companies don’t” excuse when they’re asked about why they can’t make ends meet, will not.

                What’s worse is that if you send mail to my wholly valid street address, it won’t be forwarded to my PO Box… it will be returned to sender, undeliverable. That means I have to know in advance how a given parcel is going to be sent so that I can give them the correct address. Special instructions to send to one address if USPS and to the other if anything else are universally ignored, and then there are the shippers that refuse to use anything other than the Post Office while stating “we don’t ship to PO Boxes.”

                If you happen to need proof of address that is based on the premise of there being the existence of mail with the physical address on it to show someone, well, that won’t work either. I had an IRS “help” agent strongly imply that I am full of something when I told him/her that my zip code is undeliverable and that any mail sent to my valid address will be returned. “Well, you do live in the United States, right?” said the person in a tone dripping with disdain and condescension. Yep, I sure do live in the US, and it is not any fault of mine that (a) the USPS won’t do what it’s meant to do, and (b) no one informed you that they do this!

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                • This reply was modified 7 months ago by Ascaris. Reason: (a) and (2) are not a proper series
              • #2345648
                DriftyDonN
                AskWoody Plus

                I believe you but I don’t want to….:-(

              • #2345654
                OscarCP
                AskWoody Plus

                This is is about a government’s “policy” issue, not about a “political” issue. It is something that started half a century ago in the USA and has continued under all the governments since then, regardless of which party was in power and when. As the Newsletter article that started this thread makes clear, it is a questionable policy, it has been known to be so for decades, it has had and it is having bad effects on mail deliveries, and everybody, those who are interested and those who are not, are affected by this regardless. If someone is of a different opinion, please do us the simple courtesy of giving an objective reason based on facts for saying that this is “political.” Then we may reconsider. I hope this is not the start of having comments being labelled as “political” because someone does not like the comment. Or the commenter.

                Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

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              • #2345731
                DriftyDonN
                AskWoody Plus

                It is NOT technical in nature-ie has nothing to do with hardware nor software and it involves a psuedo govermental entity- hence it is now political.

              • #2345784
                Susan Bradley
                Manager

                Keep in mind that Brian’s topics are consumer protection topics. Amazon isn’t just a retailer they are a tech company.  Clearly a tech company that has a great deal of impact.

                Susan Bradley Patch Lady

                4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2345291
        MHCLV941
        AskWoody Plus

        The USPS has one advantage that Amazon will, in all probability, never have: sanction by the United States Constitution.

        No doubt Amazon can do what you forecast, at least in more populous areas of the country, and it may well be detrimental to the USPS’ bottom line.  It may also be that the USPS will shrink but it won’t go away and it may be that it has to revert to being a funded part of the federal government instead of its current quasi-corporate status.

        As for your analysis of the potential for running afoul of the Sherman Antitrust Act, it seems to me that it would be very difficult to achieve the homogeny that you foresee without doing so.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2345314
        WSDKS01
        AskWoody Plus

        In this month’s minutes of my city’s Community Services Committee (which receives a report on all building and renovation permits issued by the city) was this little gem.

        “An interior renovation permit (valued at $50,000) was issued for the location of an ‘Amazon Prime Depot’ at 3225 East Bayshore Road.”

        The location in question is already used by UPS as their sub-regional distribution hub. Purolater and FedEx also have distribution hubs here. A former manufacturing facility, there are ample loading doors and unencumbered warehouse space in the building.

        Currently you can have your Amazon Prime parcels shipped to this city of 20,000 (serving a region of 150,000) by Canada Post for pickup at the main post office or the two sub-post office (called Retail Postal Outlets which are franchises) counters or any other CP outlet in the region. Amazon appears to be changing their delivery model in Canada, too.

      • #2345515
        anonymous
        Guest

        This topic appears to be political and thus contrary to the amended ‘Lounge Rules’.

        Point out the IT angle, and I’ll accept defeat.

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        • #2345623
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          This is about an article published in the latest Newsletter and the comments are correct and relevant to the topic as presented in that article. If this is against the Rules, then so is the article in the Newsletter. I don’t think it is “political”, I believe it is about an important aspect of the world we live in and worth discussing for that very reason, as we are all interested parties here in the USA, that is. But that is just my opinion.

          Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

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        • #2345638
          MHCLV941
          AskWoody Plus

          This topic appears to be political and thus contrary to the amended ‘Lounge Rules’.

          Point out the IT angle, and I’ll accept defeat.

          This is not a political issue. The only remote reason one might consider this article “political” is because the USPS found itself embroiled in the November elections.

          It is an infrastructure issue that has the potential to impact all of us, not only in IT, because we get lots of stuff shipped, but because it impacts us as residents of this country.  FedEx, UPS, and the like found their niche by picking off high-profit shipping in ways the USPS could not match.  Whether or not this is a good thing is not the point; Amazon’s potential to impact the shipping industry is.

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          • #2345640
            WSDKS01
            AskWoody Plus

            The USPS and Canada Post have legal mandates to provide service, as opposed to a private business which is accountable to their shareholders. Both the post office and private shipping companies, as you correctly point out, are part of our infrastructure and infrastructure matters.

          • #2345780
            wavy
            AskWoody Plus

            FedEx, UPS, and the like found their niche by picking off high-profit shipping in ways the USPS could not match.

            The USPS mostly gave up package delivery in the late 80’s bad move.

            🍻

            Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
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        • #2345682
          Geo
          AskWoody Plus

          Item # 1 lists  no personal attacks, politics or religion This is not about a person it’s about an entity.

          2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2345646
        DriftyDonN
        AskWoody Plus

        I believe this to be political …….

      • #2345642
        anonymous
        Guest

        As this institution is a publicly subsidized PRIVATE company, how can their employees be called Federal officers?? Someone I know had a minor altercation/conversation with an aggressive mailman. Said mailman lied to the local postmaster and accused them of threatening! Postmaster then instigated a federal investigation, stopped mail service and sent federal(?) officers to question the citizen. A very scary situation-who threatened who I asked? Hmmm.

        So, private corporation w/ federal law powers?

        • #2345683
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Answering to Anonymous  #2345642  really good question:

          Starting from the beginning, the existence of the US Postal Service (USPS) is mandated by the US Constitution in its Article 1, Section 8. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the US Federal Government to see that there is a well-organized and properly equipped, staffed and maintained Post Office capable of serving the needs of the citizens of this nation.

          Then something unusual happened in the 1970’s, if I remember correctly: The Congress changed things to make the USPS not exactly a government entity, with workers that are regular civil servants, but who are actually more like the employees of a company charged to fulfill the Postal Service function. One might say that the USPS was privatized (as have been the Post Offices of some other countries), but that would not be correct either: my recollection is that it is legally designated as a “Corporation-like Independent Agency” of the government that, functioning similarly to a business organization, has to raise most of its funding from what it gets paid by us, its customers, when we use its services.  In my opinion, this situation is one where the USPS is neither fish nor foul. Looking back, I have the distinct impression that this was meant, originally, as a sort of experiment in having the USPS work as a business rather than as a part of the government’s bureaucracy, in hopes that, in this way, it would be more efficient and less costly to the public.  Regrettably, as I see it, that idea has not worked out very well in practice. Perhaps this also explains it having staff problems, including some notorious cases.

          Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

          MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
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          • #2345732
            DriftyDonN
            AskWoody Plus

            interesting metaphor. Subcontractors that are ‘entitled’ to federal pension benefits. I mean to say it is or it isn’t – not sort of or kinda like. It seems to me to be a grey area(as defined by the gobbeldy gook explanation-gov’t speak)) I am partial to black and white(or yes or no) if you prefer.

            out

             

      • #2345692
        MHCLV941
        AskWoody Plus

        As this institution is a publicly subsidized PRIVATE company, how can their employees be called Federal officers??

        It is not publicly subsidized.  Congress has not appropriated any funds for it since it was converted to its current status in 1970.  Indeed, that was the reason for the conversion. (See How is the U.S. Postal Service governed and funded? (brookings.edu))

        However, the USPS is not a private company in the same way as FedEx or UPS.

        The USPS often is mischaracterized as a quasi governmental or private entity. It is neither. The USPS is a government agency that was created by Congress to achieve various public purposes. Federal law defines what products and services the Postal Service may offer. Additionally, the USPS’s employees are federal employees (emphasis added) who participate in the Civil Service Retirement System, the Federal Employees Retirement System, and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.  (See Postal myths: #2 The USPS isn’t part of the federal government | postalnews.com)

        <p style=”text-align: left;”>BTW: Interfering with mail delivery is a federal felony offense.</p>

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        • #2345702
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Actually the USPS retirement system is not funded by the government, unlike the other agencies. From the Brookings’ article:

          The fundamental problem is that while the USPS generates enough revenue to cover its operating costs, its pension and retiree health care liabilities push its bottom line into the red. The USPS has operated at a loss since 2007.”

          “Like many employers, the Postal Service provides pensions for its retired employees—and it is required, as private companies are, to set aside money from current income to cover its pension promises.

          Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

          MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
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      • #2345696
        MHCLV941
        AskWoody Plus

        The USPS is the only one of the typical carriers that will not deliver to my residence

        Not to challenge your statement but it would be highly informative if you obtained an official statement from the UPSP as to why this is true.

        As I think many believe as I do that the USPS is required to deliver to all addresses in the United States.  Indeed, according to the USPS IG, it does have a “universal service obligation…In general, a USO is a collection of requirements that ensure everyone in the country receives a minimum level of mail service at a reasonable price. The Postal Service’s USO includes a requirement to provide mail services to everyone, regardless of where they live, and for at least one mail product, at a uniform price.”.  (See The Postal Service and Its Obligation | USPS Office of Inspector General (uspsoig.gov)).

        That said there are some correctable conditions that may prevent mail delivery (See No mail delivery? (usps.com)).  Do any of the conditions cited pertain to you?

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        • #2345942
          Ascaris
          AskWoody MVP

          It’s not a temporary issue like something blocking the way to a mailbox… there are no mailboxes, nor would any mail carrier notice if anyone had put one up, since they never come out here. It’s a perfectly normal, safe, boring neighborhood… no natural disasters or other hazards that would fit under the definitions listed. Everyone (residential or business) in the whole zip code gets their mail at the Post Office (and it’s not even a real Post Office, but a contract unit).

          I don’t know how or why this came to be. I was surprised as much as you’d imagine when someone asked if I had gotten my PO Box yet, shortly after I’d closed on the house. I asked why I would do that, and they told me that everyone does, it’s the only way to get mail here! I hadn’t even noticed the lack of mailboxes on the street or CBUs at the end of the block or anywhere else(thanks to @bbearren for the term; I had no idea what they were called), and no one had thought it relevant to point it out at any point in the process either.

          I’ve since run into people who live in other areas who don’t get the mail either. Apparently the Post Office just sometimes decides not to serve certain areas, and those people have to go to the nearest post office where they are generously granted a free PO Box for a year if you fill out the form and demonstrate to them that you live in an area they don’t deliver to. We have to re-prove it every year too.

           

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          • #2345945
            MHCLV941
            AskWoody Plus

            So you have no idea whatsoever why the USPS won’t deliver mail to your house (mailbox) or neighborhood (CBU).    I cannot imagine not pursuing this with the USPS to get an official statement and/or my Congressional representatives to have it changed.

          • #2345965
            OscarCP
            AskWoody Plus

            The blue boxes on the street (I think you are referring to those), are Post Office Collection Boxes. The CBUs, if I understood bbearren correctly, are like the mail room in my apartments building, with the walls covered with embedded mail boxes, one per apartment, each with its own key.

            That detail aside, I find it really sad that the UPS is so limited in its ability to function in some places, as seems to be the case in your neighborhood, while, apparently, no one in a position to do something about it seems to have noticed or even cared, perhaps for a long time, as your neighbors seem to be used to it.

            Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

            MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
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      • #2345703
        Mele20
        AskWoody Lounger

        Item # 1 lists  no personal attacks, politics or religion This is not about a person it’s about an entity.

        But it is VERY political.

        • #2345704
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Please, have the common courtesy of explaining why is anything here political, giving objective, and verifiable factual reasons for claiming it is political. Because anyone who actually cares to read what has been written here by several of us in the course of this conversation about the opinions in the initial comment at the top of this thread, that is also an article in the latest Newsletter, this is all about certain problems that affect the capacity of the USPS to function properly, something that concerns me, for example, having my medications delivered by mail, and that might get worse for the reasons that have been already explained, I think that clearly enough, here, and are also the main topic of this thread.

          Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

          MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
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      • #2345777
        wavy
        AskWoody Plus

        decades of lawmakers funding the Post Office, an organization set up to fulfill a basic role of government, as if it were a subsidized private company that has largely to pay its own way, cover the pension payments of its retired employees, etc

        Some one beat me to a comment, but yeah. We (removed by me for the sake of tolerance ) make the USPS prefund benefits (not a terrible idea on the face of it) but limit its competitveness and force it to do certain things for free or at a ridiculously low price. Mail was recognized as an important part of services provided by government in the Constitution and is still an important and needed service.
        📨📫

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
        • This reply was modified 7 months ago by wavy.
      • #2345779
        wavy
        AskWoody Plus

        As for your analysis of the potential for running afoul of the Sherman Antitrust Act, it seems to me that it would be very difficult to achieve the homogeny that you foresee without doing so.

        Even so it would need will (am I allowed to say the ‘p’ word??) to enforce. The PO has been a target for many years.

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
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      • #2345801
        bbearren
        AskWoody MVP

        I have a USPS approved mailbox on a post by the street where my house is located.  I don’t own the mailbox, even though I purchased and installed it.  Technically, it is leased to the USPS for the purpose of free delivery of mail (including packages) addressed to me.

        Without a change in federal law, Amazon (nor anyone else, for that matter) cannot put anything in that mailbox—only USPS employees can.  The letter carrier that runs the route I’m on is kind enough to place packages too large for the mailbox by my back door in the carport (my mailbox is on the side of my house, not the front—near a small cluster of similar mailboxes of my neighbors).

        My sister lives in an apartment complex.  She does not have mail delivered to her residence, but that is because “a property with a single mailing address but with multiple mail recipients may utilize a community mail station designated CBU, or Cluster Box Unit. CBUs are typically stand-alone units that have locked individual compartments for each tenant”.

        That (a CBU) is the primary reason that the USPS may not deliver to one’s residence, but FedEx and UPS will.  FedEx and UPS are prohibited by law from using letterboxes or cluster box units, and have no option other than to deliver to one’s residence.

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      • #2345814
        MHCLV941
        AskWoody Plus

        My sister lives in an apartment complex.  She does not have mail delivered to her residence, but that is because “a property with a single mailing address but with multiple mail recipients may utilize a community mail station designated CBU, or Cluster Box Unit. CBUs are typically stand-alone units that have locked individual compartments for each tenant”.

        CBUs are what pass for residential delivery in many parts of the country, and not just for apartment complexes.   I live in a single-family house and my mail is placed in my lockbox in the CBU that just happens to be on the corner of the lot next to mine.  However, the CBU supports 18 houses in total.   We are not in a rural or even formerly rural area;  CBUs have been standard in subdivisions in southern Nevada for about the last 25 years.

        The days of the mail carrier actually coming onto your property to put your mail in your box on your porch or through the mail slot in your door are ending.

        • #2345827
          bbearren
          AskWoody MVP

          CBUs are what pass for residential delivery in many parts of the country, and not just for apartment complexes. I live in a single-family house and my mail is placed in my lockbox in the CBU that just happens to be on the corner of the lot next to mine. However, the CBU supports 18 houses in total.

          Indeed.  They are quite common here in Florida, as well; centralized delivery in residential areas as a cost-saving measure—time is money.

          The days of the mail carrier actually coming onto your property to put your mail in your box on your porch or through the mail slot in your door are ending.

          In large part that has already ended.  I live in a small town (~5,000 pop.) and everyone has a mailbox by the street.  I remember the days when delivery at the door was common.  However, also since I live in a small town, the letter carrier still delivers oversized packages to my backdoor in my carport as a courtesy.  It’s a southern thing, perhaps.

          Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
          "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
          "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

      • #2345816
        MHCLV941
        AskWoody Plus

        It is NOT technical in nature-ie has nothing to do with hardware nor software and it involves a psuedo govermental entity- hence it is now political.

        It is NOT technical in nature-ie has nothing to do with hardware nor software and it involves a psuedo govermental entity- hence it is now political.

        Agree to disagree.

      • #2345821
        MHCLV941
        AskWoody Plus

        The USPS mostly gave up package delivery in the late 80’s bad move.

        Yep, it did and yep, it was a bad move.   However, I don’t think it was as much a deliberate policy decision as it was an inability to do so (up-front funding, administrative and/or legal restrictions, etc.).

      • #2345823
        MHCLV941
        AskWoody Plus

        (am I allowed to say the ‘p’ word??)

        No idea because I have no idea what word you have in mind.   Regardless, the USPS would be the only victim, so would FedEx, UPS and other courier services, so I do think the “will” would be there.

      • #2345860
        Ben Shoemaker
        AskWoody Plus

        Of course Amazon is trying to control the entire delivery chain.  If USPS planned on this revenue steam for any extended period of time, they were fooling themselves.

        As soon as drone delivery becomes a thing, Amazon will barely need drivers and trucks for last mile (home/business) delivery.  Probably about the same time that automated trucks start moving freight on US highways.  Driving as a profession will soon become a thing of the past.

        I’m still amazed that USPS does daily mail deliveries and pickup.

      • #2345946
        MHCLV941
        AskWoody Plus

        As soon as drone delivery becomes a thing, Amazon will barely need drivers and trucks for last mile (home/business) delivery.

        The drones may cut down on the number of drivers needed but not so much as you seem to think.   Drones can only carry packages under 5 pounds and small enough to fit in the drone’s cargo box.   Aside from technical issues, Amazon intends the make this an extra cost service (so Amazon itself says (See Amazon.com: Prime Air).  If it does so, how many people do you suppose will actually pay for it?  You also assume that local governments will allow the service.

        Drones cannot deliver at all to any area where they cannot safely operate (crowded neighborhoods and/or ones with overhead obstructions) or where Amazon cannot reasonably assure the intended recipient picks up the package (apartment complexes, office buildings, actual urban areas like city centers).   Weather can be problematic as well.  It is not always a nice sunny day with light winds and large open spaces.

        Also, porch pirates are already a problem with drivers ringing the doorbell when they drop off a package and doing their best to put the package where it cannot be seen from the street.    Dropping a package in the front yard, as I’ve seen being done in the demonstrations, is little more than dropping a “steal me” sign.

        Even assuming Amazon can overcome every last technical issue with the drones, there is no guarantee that operations in the real world will actually prove practical.

        • This reply was modified 7 months ago by MHCLV941.
        • This reply was modified 7 months ago by MHCLV941.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2346884
        Will Fastie
        Manager

        For the AskWoody Newsletter, I am the final arbiter of content. Perhaps I can clarify the “political” issue.

        In a sense, everything is political. That we are governed is a reality. That there are laws is a reality. That the laws are created through legislation is a reality. And that these things can affect the way we live, especially digitally, is a reality. Not just in the US, but everywhere.

        Brian’s article about Amazon’s initiative was based on fact, on reality. It did not express a political opinion or advocate a position, it simply described the initiative and discussed what impact it might have on the US Postal Service. Amazon is able to do this through technology, enabled by our use of Amazon’s services. The company’s technology reaches into our homes all over the world, making it fair game for Brian’s role in the Newsletter.

        The rule limiting politics in these forums is designed to prevent flame wars and maintain as genteel, collegial, respectful, and helpful an atmosphere as possible.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2346889
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        On the same topic: One day, during the recent disappearing-comments glitch, repaired a while ago as I write this, I read in the Washington Post that there is considerable push now in Congress to modify the 1970’s and 2006 laws that establish in detail how the USPS functions and, in particular, to remove its obligations to fund the retirement system of its employees, same as a regular business company, and also to pre-fund their retirees health insurance, both things financed with its earnings from postage and various other USPS services people pay for, in contrast with what civil servants get and is funded by the Federal government. Removing those obligations, it is argued, will make the USPS get back in the black, after having been in the red since 2007. (And I’d hope, end also the present deluge of junk mail, that is one way the Postal Service makes money to finance its operations and obligations.) But it is too late now to find that comment and put a link here.

        In the same article there was a summary of what the current Post Master General explained some days ago, at a hearing in the House of Representatives, is his plan for improving the service. Some of these, at least the easy for me to understand, are ideas that might make sense to me as temporary measures, not as permanent ones. Among them: to change the maximum delivery time of local first class mail from the current 3 to 5 days, same as for general mail, and to stop flying long distance first class mail within the country. The short term rationale I see for this is that, right now, with the aftermath of unusually many people posting their votes during the election, followed not long after by all the Holidays’ mail, and soon by the piles and piles of mailed tax returns. the USPS is overwhelmed and needs a bit of a slow down to catch up. The long term idea is that this swill save money. Here I am not so sure that, long term, this is a good enough reason to slow-down mail delivery.

        More on this here:

        https://www.npr.org/2021/02/24/970504457/postmaster-general-dejoy-faces-questioning-about-mail-delays

        Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. also Intego AV and Malwarebytes for the Mac.

        • This reply was modified 6 months, 3 weeks ago by OscarCP.
      • #2346893
        MHCLV941
        AskWoody Plus

        (And I’d hope, end also the present deluge of junk mail, that is one way the Postal Service makes money to finance its operations and obligations.)

        What gives you any hope that anything the USPS does, save raising rates, will stop or even slow down junk mail?   Junk mail is probably the only significant thing that will be left for the USPS if Amazon commanders physical delivery of “everything” because Amazon will most certainly charge more than the USPS does.   For that matter, so what?  Don’t you have a dumpster big enough to hold the junk mail you get?

        I’m more concerned about DeJoy’s plan to change the delivery standard for first-class mail.  If he gets away with doing so, not only with it not be a “temporary” change but in due course even this degraded standard will not be met.

        There is a lot of things in first-class mail that are time-sensitive.  Aside from ballots (mail-in, i.e., absentee, voting has always been legal no matter what party is losing or winning), mail order pharmacy shipments, legal documents (FedEx/UPS isn’t necessarily a legally sufficient way to send documents) and the birthday card you send your mother.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2346962
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          MHCLV941: ” What gives you any hope that anything the USPS does, save raising rates, will stop or even slow down junk mail?

          I was referring, in my comment, to a possible deep overhaul of how the Post Office operates, not of the same thing going on as until now, for ever. And I was just expressing my hope that this overhaul, if it comes to pass, might have certain desirable results.

          As to Amazon always being around, irresistible conquering the (courier and etc. delivery business) Universe: Actually, come to think of it: Amazon is not forever either. Sears … well just look at Sears! On the other hand, ensuring the persistence of the USPS is an obligation of the US government mandated by the US Constitution, for as long as this government is around (also, not for ever, because nothing is  –“generations come, generations go, only the earth remains forever” — but probably longer than Amazon, or so I hope). Accordingly, even if it only receives one letter for delivery in a whole decade, because everything else has moved on online or to drones, or whatever, the USPS still has to be around to take that letter and deliver it to someone living in a very small and remote island in the Marianas, if that is the destinatary’s address. In principle.

          Also, I have been known to use, occasionally, hyperbole, metaphor and even synecdoche. Things generally known as rhetorical devices.

          Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

          MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
          Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
          Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. also Intego AV and Malwarebytes for the Mac.

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