Posts tagged ‘usps’

Oh, the Irony

If you didn’t already know, I work for the Post Office.

I ordered something from a company, and they insisted on sending it via UPS because it was more reliable than using the Postal Service.

And…UPS lost it. All attempts to locate it have failed, and the company I ordered the gizmo from will now have to resend it.

Maybe they’ll strap it to a mule and send it to me that way.

Can a Lighter Be Sent By Mail?

Thought I’d do a simple post today.

Yes, a Zippo or refillable butane lighter can be sent through the mail. Here’s how to do it:

  • Make sure the lighter has no fluid in it. With a Zippo or similar liquid fuel lighter, open the lighter and let the fuel evaporate. This may take two or three days, depending on how full the lighter is when you start. Remove the flint.
  • If it’s a butane lighter, hold down the button you use to light the lighter just a little bit. Don’t actually light the lighter. You should hear the butane hissing out. Keep going until you hear the lighter quit hissing but keep the button down for another 30 seconds. Butane is under pressure, but some low pressure butane may be still leaking out. If there’s a flint in your lighter, remove it.
  • Post Office: If you’re shipping the lighter at the counter with the window clerk, they’ll ask you “Does this contain anything liquid, hazardous, flammable…” you can honestly say no. You don’t have to declare it’s a lighter unless you’re shipping it overseas or Registered. If it’s an expensive lighter, I’d suggest sending it Registered, not Certified. Registered Mail goes straight into a vault, and is transfered through the Postal Service under lock and key until it gets to it’s destination. I’d also suggest sending it Insured. It doesn’t cost that much. Using one or the other, you can verify delivery of the lighter when it reaches it’s destination. If you use Express, it’s trackable through the entire process and is automatically insured for a $100. If it’s value is more than $100, you can always add additional insurance.
  • If you choose to use another evil, sucky shipping service, follow their guidelines for shipping requirements.

Hope that helps!



Speaking yesterday to the Board of Governors, PMG Jack Potter re-emphasized the fact USPS faces extraordinary financial challenges in the months ahead, and that there is no indication the faltering economy or continuing decline in mail volume will stabilize in the near future.

Mail volume was down more than 9 billion pieces last year, Potter told governors, and preliminary reports show mail volume dropped more than 5 billion pieces during the first quarter of FY 2009. And, with no economic recovery expected for the remainder of the fiscal year, year-end mail volume could tumble a total of 12-15 billion pieces.

If current revenue and volume trends continue, Potter said USPS could experience a year-end net loss significantly higher than last year’s $2.8 billion loss, due primarily to the cost burden imposed by the Postal Act of 2006. That Act requires USPS to prefund future retiree health benefits in addition to paying for current benefits.

“An adjustment in our retirement health benefit funding schedule could have a significant and positive effect on our bottom line — some $2 billion in 2009,” said Potter, explaining that legislative change to the funding schedule would not require any appropriated funds. It also would have no effect on retirement benefits, themselves, and would not change the Postal Service’s obligation to retirees.

To meet the challenge of declining revenues, USPS also is taking major steps to cut costs immediately, said Potter. These steps include:

  • Eliminating $5.9 billion in cost through fiscal year 2010,
  • Cutting 100 million workhours this year,
  • Freezing the salaries of all Postal Service officers and executives at 2008 pay levels,
  • Halting all construction of new postal facilities,
  • Pursuing efforts to consolidate some excess capacity in mail processing and transportation networks while protecting service,
  • Reducing employee complement through attrition and voluntary early retirement. The number of career employees at the end of the first quarter was down by 24,240 compared to the same time a year ago.

“The Postal Service is an important public service and a vital economic engine,” Potter told the board. “We are focused on identifying and implementing strategic solutions to ensure the Postal Service continues to deliver for Americans today and for future generations.”


Feb. 2, 2009


As most of you have heard, I talked to Congress last week about the economic situation of the Postal Service. I told them we are in a financial crisis. I told them how it came about. Then I offered some proposals that could help us through a very difficult economy.

The biggest problem we’re facing is the economy itself. Business is down. It’s harder for companies and families to get credit. Unemployment is up. People are worried about the future. Spending has slowed down across the board — on homes, on cars, on household goods, and even on the mail. And some of the businesses that were our largest mail users have had the most difficult time — so they’re mailing a lot less, as well.

That’s had a real effect on our business. You can see that every day where you work. There’s less mail to process and less mail to deliver. Volume was down by more than 9 billion pieces last year. That’s about 4.5 percent. It’s falling even faster today. By the end of the year, we expect to lose another 12 billion to 15 billion pieces. At the same time, costs have been growing — but revenue has not. This year, the money we bring in will be less than it was 2008, when we lost $2.8 billion. We could lose more than $5 billion.

Before I asked Congress for help, I explained that everywhere in the Postal Service — at every Post Office and every plant — our people have been doing a great job helping to make ends meet. We were able to reduce more than $2 billion in costs last year. And we’re doing even more this year. We’re reducing administrative positions and costs that we just can’t afford. We’ve stopped new construction. We’re going to keep adjusting operations as volume keeps falling. We’re on track to reduce 100 million workhours this year — double last year’s reduction.

Another thing I was very clear about with Congress was the fact that you brought service to the highest levels we’ve ever seen — during one of the toughest times we’ve ever faced. I appreciate that. You’ve kept our customers first. That will make a difference for us when the economy does get better.

But despite everything we’ve done, and everything we’re doing, volume is falling faster than our ability to adjust to it. That’s why I asked Congress for help.

The one thing that can help most is changing the way we pay for retiree health benefits. About two years ago a new law, for the first time ever, required the Postal Service to pre-fund future retiree health benefits. The Postal Service is required to pay $55.8 billion over a ten-year period, heavily front-loading the payment schedule. The Postal Service is the only federal agency that is required to pre-fund this obligation. This is a payment usually spread out over 30 years or more. It’s like having a 30-year mortgage on your house that you have to pay off in only 10. It’s not easy, even in the best of times.

Our retiree health benefit fund has a strong and growing balance — more than $32 billion. We pay more than $5 billion into the fund every year. We pay another $2 billion for current retirees. Last year, those payments were the difference between making money and losing money. I explained to Congress that if we paid our costs for current retirees out of the fund, we could save almost $25 billion over the next eight years. That would go a long way toward protecting the future of the Postal Service. This is a good solution. It won’t raise the premiums paid by today’s retirees or by you when you retire. And it wouldn’t have any impact on your benefits—they’d still be secure.

I made one other point to Congress. I said that if the economy doesn’t improve, and if our finances keep getting worse, we could reach a point when we may not be able to afford six-day delivery. If that happens — and it hasn’t happened yet — I asked Congress for flexibility in the number of days we deliver mail. I know you’ve heard and read a lot about this. So it’s important that you hear it right from me. That’s not a choice that’s at the top of anyone’s list, and it may be a decision we’ll never have to make. There are other things we can do, things that we’d prefer to do, and that can help us financially.

Thank you for everything you do. I know it hasn’t been easy, but it’s made a difference. I’m asking for your continued help as we work to weather this economic storm so we can continue to serve America, now and long into the future.

Jack Potter




As the national economy continues to decline, the Postal Service must continue to rightsize its workforce. And among those efforts, as announced yesterday by Postmaster General Jack Potter, are planned reductions in authorized staffing levels for the nine area offices.

This follows a similar workforce reduction at headquarters and headquarters-related offices announced last fall.

With this action, some vacant area-office positions will be eliminated and other occupied positions will be affected. Employees occupying impacted positions will be notified and given information and guidance.

On Feb. 24, a series of job postings will be available to place qualified employees in vacant positions. Area employees interested in competing for these vacancies — whether or not they are affected — can create a profile now by going to on LiteBlue. Some additional positions will become vacant as a result of regular and voluntary retirements.

Additional information will be released as it becomes available. Details also will be posted on the Organization Change Management website beginning Feb. 2 and will be updated on an ongoing basis.