Written by Joel Klaassen Tuesday, 12 February 2013 11:53
During a discussion in our office the other day about full-service gas stations, I realized that all but the oldest staffers, like me, had never experienced full service at the gas station. Most had grown up pumping their own gas.
I mentioned we still have Jost Service here in Hillsboro, a full-service gas station. I said a few cents a gallon higher than self-serve (1,000 gallons x $.02 = $20) was a small price to pay to have a place where people who need it can receive some assistance with their refueling needs.
Some folks will remember the Wiens & Jost station in downtown Hillsboro where they would wash your windshield, check your oil and the air in your tires and even vacuum your floor boards.
The post office’s announcement last week that it will be discontinuing Saturday delivery in August was no surprise, given the fact that it continues to lose billions of dollars each year. And since the U.S. Postal Service does not receive funding from the federal government, which has no money either, it has to make serious changes.
This means the P.O. does not charge what it really costs to deliver the mail, or feels it cannot raise prices because it probably would lose even more business to e-delivery of payments and invoices, all of which are in the first-class domain.
When you think about it, 46 cents to send a letter to cousin Kathy on the West Coast is unbelievably cheap. Sending a thousand first-class letters is another matter when it can be virtually free via the Internet versus the $460 for postage and the labor to affix the stamps or meter the mail and address it as well, plus the cost of the envelope and the paper contents inside.
This has also hurt the printers as well as the post office.
Saturation mailers such as the Free Press are not affected by the discontinuance of Saturday mail delivery. However, there are many saturation mailers who did count on Saturday delivery that may now consider setting up their own delivery systems, which will further impact USPS revenues.
We rely heavily on the postal service to deliver our newspaper for almost all of the zip codes we saturate. We have used them for saturation mail since 1996 and overall the service has been quite good. The piece rates have increased steadily since then to about half again what they were when we started.
For many people, mail is their only connection to the outside world other than TV or radio. I predict we will always have a national mail delivery service, either quasi-government like now or private. I am certain we will always have a way to get a letter or other types of mail from here to there.
The news in most small communities regarding delivery of mail is not if they will have a post office, but how many hours a day it will be open.
We Kansas Jayhawk basketball fans are totally spoiled. We expect to win every time, and that’s what makes it so hard to lose.
If you play enough games, over time something like the funk we have seen over the past couple of games is bound to happen. The 1988 national championship team lost four in a row, so I don’t think it’s time to panic just yet.
If you wish to share your comments or ideas, my e-mail address is email@example.com.