Saturday, January 26, 2008

In Praise of the Post Office

The United States Postal Service gets a lot of flak, most of it deserved. I don't rise here to defend the post office, but to praise it despite its faults.

I run a small business, about as small as a business can get. It's just me and I run it out of my apartment. A lot of that business gets walked across the street and dropped into a blue metal box. Remarkably, almost everything I drop into that box gets to its destination on time and in mint condition. How is this possible?

I sometimes marvel.

My brother lived briefly in Ecuador. He basically told us not to try to mail anything to him there, the postal service was so unreliable. I remember even when he lived in Spain that he had a lot more problems with mail delivery than I ever have here, and Chicago is supposed to have problems, relative to the rest of the country.

I won't say I've never had mail go astray. I was even once the victim of an organized ring of mail thieves, working inside the post office. Even with that the percentage of all the mail sent by me or intended for me that hasn't arrived perfectly is very small. Sometimes, when the box is full of junk, I wish they were less efficient than they are.

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