Apr 2, 2010

Spring does not arrive with the fury of Winter, nor the settled measure of Summer, but with the renewal of life and the gift of roses.--M. Sneed.

But now, back to our regularly scheduled grumpiness.

I read the other day that the US Postal Service will officially announce soon that they intend to stop Saturday mail service. It is expected to save $3B a year and result in a 40,000 person reduction in workers.

In case you wondered, the USPS employs 654,000 people, making it the 2nd largest "civilian" employer in the US.

The irony is that if the USPS was really a civilian employer they would have half the employees and really make money. Instead, they have been relegated to being the default carrier for unimportant correspondence. Important mail rarely enter the USPS system these days.

Speaking of a waste, Mrs. Sneed and I went to Costco last night. Mrs. Sneed saw a woman slip and fall on something in a aisle of the store. The woman wasn't badly hurt, but complained of back pain and a hurt arm. The store folks called 9-1-1 and they dispatched the EMTs.

You might think a couple of EMTs could handle a slip and fall with minor injuries, but for good measure, a fire truck loaded with firemen also arrived. I guess that was in case the victim happened to be on fire.

The contribution of the fire crew in this instance was to stand around and watch the EMTs do their work. Then they got in their truck and drove back to the firehouse.

If your town is like ours, the firefighters respond to medical emergencies more than any other call. Building fires are pretty rare.

Don't get me wrong, firefighter do dangerous, often heroic work. They just don't do it that often. Big structure fires are becoming more rare with each passing year.

From time to time, it is important to reevaluate what we staff for in the public sector.

Here in Hooterville, fire authorities recently closed a couple of fire stations and idled some trucks precisely because they spend all their time driving to medical calls. No firefighters lost their jobs, though.

When forced to do with less because of shortfalls in budgets, the local fire department admitted that they had more resources than they needed, given their work level. Absent budget woes, it would not occur to them to think about it.

Which brings me back to the point I insinuated about the USPS. We have too many workers in some public sector jobs, with little or nothing to do most of the time.

Things in this blog represented to be fact, may or may not actually be true. The writer is frequently wrong, sometimes just full of it, but always judgmental and cranky


Megan said...

I wonder how much she's going to sue Costco for?

Barbara said...

I heard the USPS may also discontinue picking up mail at neighborhood boxes. That would be a real inconvenience.

Kurt said...

If they stop Saturday service, then I'll only have something to live for FIVE days a week.

Perpetual Chocoholic said...

Canada post has never delivered mail on Saturdays for as long as I can remember. We only get mail once a day and usually to the wrong house so we have to exchange mail with the various neighbours in a 3km radius.

Steve said...

I throw away nearly all my mail anyhow. As far as I'm concerned they could cut back to twice a week.

I agree about the firefighters, too. It seems firefighters spend a lot of time running to useless calls. Couldn't we raise the bar on what they'll respond to, and thereby reduce the need for staffing? (I'm sure the unions would have something to say about that...and it is true that in the unlikely event of a major fire, you'd want all hands on deck!)

Reya Mellicker said...

The only thing I get in the mail is bills, so if they skip Saturdays, I will not complain.

I sure would miss Reggie, though, if mail service stopped altogether. He is our neighborhood mailman and we all LOVE him.

Speaking of love, your one-line spring poem about roses? WOW!!