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Re^2: Approximate Delivery Date from USPS---OT rant

by Illuminatus (Curate)
on Jun 14, 2012 at 13:18 UTC ( #976206=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re: Approximate Delivery Date from USPS---OT rant
in thread Approximate Delivery Date from USPS

So Business::Shipping::USPS_Online::Tracking isn't what you're looking for? However, I agree with zentara; I don't think you'd be far off with:
use DateTime::Event::Random; use strict; my $dt; if (exists (USPS)) { # they could be bankrupt do { $dt = DateTime::Event::Random->datetime( after => DateTime->now ) +; } until $dt->day_of_week != 7; # sunday } else { print "Never, sorry\n"; }


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Re^3: Approximate Delivery Date from USPS---OT rant
by ww (Archbishop) on Jun 14, 2012 at 13:37 UTC
    # they could be bankrupt
    <rant extended...> Surely someone there (or in Congress) recognizes that they're on the same course the railroads took in the '50s, et seq.:
    • Reduced service -> customers find alternate solutions ->reduced service
    • Abandonments
    • Pricing favoring a customers with alternates, and discouraging customers with limited alternatives
    • An assumption that technological advances (aka: www) provide inexpensive and efficient service to customers not targetted for service (ie, in the RR analogy, 'not on the main line').

    Anyone else love what's happening as USPS?

      There's a similar situation in the UK. Royal Mail is legally obliged to provide a service to every address in the kingdom. They take big losses from delivering to remote villages in the Scottish highlands and islands, which were once compensated for by profitable bulk mail deals (e.g. delivering electricity bills).

      Of course, now all that profitable work goes to private companies, who have no obligation to deliver to remote addresses (they just dump those envelopes into a post box and leave Royal Mail to handle them), so Royal Mail haemorrhages cash. Yet people were surprised that the cost of stamps went up by 30% this year.

      perl -E'sub Monkey::do{say$_,for@_,do{($monkey=[caller(0)]->[3])=~s{::}{ }and$monkey}}"Monkey say"->Monkey::do'

        Sorry in advance for the rant, which is not really objective. Normally, i try to see all sides, (you know, "there are always two equal, opposite sides to every story") but on the issue privatization vs. government run services, i just can't.

        Here where i live in Austria (rather far away from the next big city) we have a strange situation. DHL and UPS is the prefered method for companies to send packets to private people. But the DHL and UPS delivery times are trimmed for businesses. In effect, most people aren't home when a packet arrives.

        Our postal service would charge money to DHL and UPS for delivery, so they don't take that route. So, instead, they leave a note "Sorry, you where not at home...". You then have a few options for the second delivery attempt:

        • Leave it at your doorstep
        • Ask a neighbor to take your packet and leave DHL/UPS a note with an alternate delivery address
        • Drive the 50+km to the next UPS/DHL center, then wait half an hour in line to be told that they just can't find your packet right now and they will try to deliver it next business day.
        • Don't take delivery and let the packet return to the sender

        That makes this services quite unpopular. I (and most of my friends as well) always filter online orders (for example on Amazon) by delivery options. If the same product is available from two sellers, and only one of them does the presuambly slower postal delivery (which is actually sometimes faster since DHL always requires two attempts at least), we mostly choose the select that one that does not use DHL or UPS. Even if it would mean spending a buck or two extra.

        What the postal service did here in Austria is starting to privatize the postal offices. This works similar to the fast food business model. The Post (which is partly privatized itself) does the central logistics and sets the prices. Then local business owners bid for something like a merchandising contract, set up a corner for postal work in their shop and guarantee local services. Not every John-and-Jane-Doe village has a local postal shop, but there is usually one within 3-6 Kilometers from where you live.

        It's not a perfect solution, but it works more or less.What i really don't understand is why wee need to privatize essential services (post, electricity, landlines, emergency services, hospitals, etc) in the first place. First of all, they aren't cheaper after privatization (the government doesn't have to make a huge profit for the shareholders).

        And second, any money we pay "too much" for government services stay (at least on paper) property of the government, and - at least in a democracy by its very definition - property of the people.

        So, the postal services employs 5000 people too much? Given that they would be otherwise out of a job, we would have to pay them anyway, wouldn't we? Roadworks going too slow? Well, that's always the case; at least in government run operations the workers are required to stand around on site while doing nothing (compared to a typical privatized run roadworks, where there are no workers too bee seen for months)...

        Government run facilities aren't the pinnacle of efficiency. But compared to what the private sector has done to our economy lately... I doubt that many dictators could have ruined so many lives (and complete countries) so quickly than investment banks, privatization efforts and "shareholder value" have done to us all in the last ten to fifteen years...

        "You have reached the Monastery. All our helpdesk monks are busy at the moment. Please press "1" to instantly donate 10 currency units for a good cause or press "2" to hang up. Or you can dial "12" to get connected directly to second level support."

      The funny thing is, I've found USPS service in my area to be better than ever. I can get a letter to anywhere in my region of the country in a day or two. Within the first three digits of my zip code, I can put something in the box in the afternoon and expect it to be there the next morning. For less than 50 cents, I can't complain.

      But the fact is that even a quality service may become obsolete. Email means there's no need to send written letters anymore, unless you're sending a hardcopy as proof of something. That leaves USPS with bills, certain packages, and junk mail.

      The US Constitution mandated that Congress establish post offices and roads because no one else could do it at the time. (And there was an argument over how far that power should go. At first the postal service couldn't even own land.) But now, with electronic communications and numerous private shipping companies, there's really no reason to have a USPS anymore. Shutting it down would hurt the people who work there, of course, but no one else.

      Aaron B.
      Available for small or large Perl jobs; see my home node.

        "...even a quality service may become obsolete"

        That's not without merit. Consider the flint knappers who made those stellar Clovis-era spearheads; buggie-whip makers who produced a truly excellent product; and the drovers who herded range cattle to the railheads to be fattened into prime beef in the feed lots.

        OTOH, friends sent me a book, recently. I think the process there presents a minor (call it 'trivial' if you like) instance for the proposition that the USPS is NOT "obsolete." Without USPS and its bookrates, it probably would have been delivered by (UPS|FedEx|pick your poison) on Monday, rather than Saturday (and, I believe, at a higher cost to my friend).

        Or, the friends probably could have found an e-book version... and sent it electronically. But in that case, I probably would have received an email, rather than physical evidence of the thought and care that went into selecting the book and the gracious, handwritten inscription inside the front cover.

        One can, of course, hold that this very personal appreciation fails to present a case for continuing USPS existence.

        One can also argue that the effective demise of the railroads' passenger service reflected in some large measure, the then new popular mindset that being 'an American' entitled you to a car, an uncrowded highway, and a parking space near your office.

        There is, of course, some merit to that view. But, we know how long and how well that worked... and how high the cost of subsidizing that mindset, today.

        But terminating most passenger service also had the effect of reducing traffic on many branch lines contributing to the abandonment of freight on those as well. And the consequence?

        Tractor-trailers (operating with effective subsidies that make those provided the railroads fade as a bete noir) beating secondary roads to death and clogging the same Interstates that -- initially -- provided some minimal justification for that "uncrowded highway" hope.

        And, finally, an argument that I can't square with my semi-Libertarian economic views: If USPS goes away, will competition among the alternatve providers actually enhance service and drive down prices?

        Sometimes it does; sometimes it doesn't, but I certainly haven't see much evidence that we can count on it. Thus, I respectfully disagree with the Tea Party/Libertarian/radical GOP inclination to believe that the proposition "smaller government is better government" is globally true.

        IMO, t'ain't so.

        Nor do I think you've presented a compelling case for the judgment "there's really no reason to have a USPS anymore."

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