Recently I had the occasion to travel from California to Arizona for both business and pleasure. Accompanied by my wife, the “LRHG” we took our usual route off Hwy 10 using Rte 60 that takes us through Wickenberg and a number of very small towns including Salome to reach our destination in the west Phoenix area. As we drove through all of the small towns in each one the local Post Office was one of the most prominent buildings in town.
Being a guy who has lived most of his life in larger metropolitan areas, and have worked in larger scale businesses, most the communications field, I was struck by the sight of these post offices. The local post office holds no personal sway for me. Most of my professional interactions have been with larger scale facilities. As a direct marketer I have spent my days selling and managing the design and distribution of millions of pieces of mail. I hadn’t been in a local post office for personal reasons in years.
The world has changed over the last couple of decades, and the days when we used to get cards and letters from friends and family have been replaced by email and Facebook. The mailbox is now a commercial place where bills, advertising circulars and catalogs dominate. Hard to come away from a trip to the mailbox and return with a smile.
My world is mainly digital world today, but all of those small towns in Arizona still live in that past world, mostly ‘analog’ and little digital communications. The residents are more like those who the USPS was the lifeline and center of commerce that Ben Franklin saw when he helped to pioneer our model of universal service.
In our attempt to find solutions to the current financial the plan is to close a number of post offices. I hope that we can find a way to keep those open to those who it means the most. My trip to Arizona found many, and I know that throughout the west there are many more, just are there across a wide swath of the mid-west and south.
In our rush to find cuts within the USPS to help it find solvency we need to prioritize the personal services to those who need it the most. Let’s make sure that in our plans to financially reshape our postal services that local post offices can remain a hub and key service provider to those who need it the most.