Tuesday, June 16, 2009

WHEN LESS CAN BE MORE

The Post Office wants to eliminate Saturday delivery and close and/or consolidate its retail locations. I think USPS should take it a step further and just shut down completely on weekends. Many Post Offices already have APCs which can complete many routine transactions; the rest could be similarly equipped. There are convenient outlets just about everywhere that potential customers frequent, and if you just need to purchase up first class stamps, well, there's always the grocery store. But the most important reason to implement such a change is societal; let me explain.

I grew up in a time when there were Blue Laws, those now seemingly pesky and archaic rules that forbade most forms of commerce on Sundays, a time which was reserved as sacred for God, for family, or for downtime, the proverbial forced day of rest. Over the years, as lives got busier and more complicated, the weekend became increasingly utilized to "catch up," do the shopping, take care of home related business. It spiraled out of control when the pursuit of leisure became indulged in with the precision of a work week schedule. And then the economy tanked.

Coupled with "the Great American Blackout," otherwise known as the digital conversion which has left millions with either no TV reception or more limited programming options than before, my suggestion is a step in the right direction, no matter how backward it might at first glance appear. For years, life 24/7 has been about "the stuff," or how much can be crammed into a day, or what of either can be bragged about to impress and pass, poorly, for conversation. The reverse, prodded by financial malaise, and brought into perspective by more physically limited options for shopping and entertainment, should usher in the onset of a trend of real and meaningful communication and putting the intrinsic value of people first. Despite all the interminable hoopla leading up to June 12th, Best Buy has just posted quarterly profits down 15%, with a 6% decline in same store sales. It appears that despite the hype, there was no stampede to upgrade or purchasing frenzy, but rather a resignation of cash strapped consumers to do without. The Post Office has an opportunity to harness this change in collective mentality to its benefit and to lead by example at the forefront of a national movement, as we necessarily scale back and revamp our lives, one industry and one person at a time. Less can be more. Really...

Karen Ann DeLuca