I just saw a commercial for the United States Postal Service trying to convince people to stop using technology and go back to their way of doing things. In what's being called "the refrigerator commercial", they say the following – "a refrigerator has never been hacked" (I beg to differ), "an online virus has never attacked a corkboard", and that there's extra security with snail mail. It won't get lost in thin air or disappear with a click. They then, naturally, tell you that if you want to know more about "safe ways to stay connected" with them, visit their website at www.usps.com/mail for God's sake.
See, stuff like this bothers me. It's a necessity to promote your business and I understand the idea behind it, but just because I understand the "why" doesn't mean I support the "what" or think the "how" was done properly. All commercials are annoying because of how much they have to lie to give off the impression that their product or service is better than what it actually is. If they told you the truth, you wouldn't be interested. The cheeseburger at Wendy's doesn't look nearly as good in real life as it does on a television ad where they brushed it with oil, stacked up the ingredients, filmed it with the proper lighting, etc. In this case, how many mail carriers do you see walking around with bright smiles on their faces, greeting people like they're Jimmy Stewart after his epiphany in It's A Wonderful Life? The people take their mail and then fart out some rainbows themselves. It's so awesome to wait 10 days for something that could have been sent directly to my computer instantaneously! Whether rain or sleet or snow – or in this case, the sunniest day in the most perfect neighborhood in Fantasyville. In reality, we have situations like if you park your car just a little bit too close to your own mailbox, you get a note on it from the mailman telling you you're a dick. We get the stereotype of the disgruntled mailman that dogs hate "going postal" and shooting up his office. [Before everyone complains to me and says I'm saying everyone that works at the USPS is a horrible human being or inept or anything, I'm not saying that. There, saved you some effort and now you don't need to comment about how much you hate me because your cousin once delivered mail.]
|Whether rain or sprinklers, we'll be there.|
Just like nearly everything else nowadays, they focus on the scare tactics rather than presenting facts to you, because if you look into the pros and cons, your product pretty much sucks in comparison. Let's tell the people that if they use an alternative, bad things will happen, so ignore the benefits. What are those benefits? Well for one, as I mentioned above, there's the time frame. They don't call this form "snail mail" because it's a cute little slug with a backpack handing you your birthday card – they do it because it takes longer than anything else. When you send someone an email and it doesn't go through, you usually get a message right afterward that says it didn't send. You then can easily just resend it. What happens when you send mail through the US Postal Service and it gets lost? You might not EVER find out that it didn't get sent. How about the time it takes to get a paycheck, drive it to the bank, deposit it, drive home, write a check out, and then have it delivered in the mail versus automatic deposit and bill payment through the computer? No contest. You want to talk about computer viruses and hacking, what about mail fraud? When have you seen it cost more money to email someone as opposed to how they keep raising the price of stamps? All I get with my normal mail anymore is junk ads that I throw out like credit card companies begging me for their service, hoping I'm irrational with my spending so I can owe them my life with interest or the occasional pamphlet about how there's yet another pizza place that opened up in the area. The last thing I received through a non-electronic method? I can't remember the last package that was sent to me through something other than FedEx or UPS.
|New slogan for Pizza Hut: "We Deliver Pizza To You". No shit you do.|
You want to save the US Postal Service? Here's what you do. First off, stop raising your prices. Everyone seems to think that if you're hurting for money, up your cost and it'll make up for it. Instead, people just say "bullshit, I'm not spending even more" and they stop using you entirely. Ask nearly every business that has tried this how it worked out. Also, you're hurting from email? Put some effort into trying to create the best mail service possible through the internet. How did the USPS never fully get invested in the "electronic mail" concept? Losing money because FedEx and UPS are stealing customers away? Look into charging less for your shipping so people use you as an alternative. If you offer a better deal for the same or better service, people will use you. What's this I'm hearing about how you might stop delivering mail on more than Sundays now? You win by offering more for less, not less for more. I'm not spending more money on your company for you to give me less – ask Comcast, who tries to up my bill every year and remove channels.
I don't WANT the United States Postal Service to go under and die out, but the way they're refusing to adapt and survive, it looks like that just might happen.
|Get with the times, adapt. It worked for the toothbrush.|