Seeking Alpha

Staples goes postal

  • A pilot program by the USPS to open up retail centers inside of Staples stores continues to draw the ire of postal labor unions.
  • The company uses its own employees to staff the centers.
  • Despite the criticism from the unions, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says the initiative isn't a privatization play.
  • The partnership only covers 84 stores, but could be expanded aggressively.
Comments (12)
  • The union is going to try to convince Staples to employ postal workers at $25/hour and great benefits. Can't blame a union for trying to avoid further erosion of its influence, but it's hard to see how this campaign will be successful.
    19 Jan, 07:33 PM Reply Like
  • I had a conversation with a postal service employee once when I was dropping off a large quantity of packages. It turned out that this particular individual was taking home $35/hr to collect and sort mail. I'm all for paying for service, but is the USPS really providing that level of valuable service?
    19 Jan, 09:24 PM Reply Like
  • Well, next week the price of a stamp will go from 46 to 49 cents, almost 7% more, so expect these overpaid collectors and sorters to get a nice pay raise.
    20 Jan, 11:00 PM Reply Like
  • Shouldn't the post office be required to deliver the mail in horse and buggy, thereby assuring the need for at least double the current union payroll roster?
    19 Jan, 07:50 PM Reply Like
  • Now you can visit two dying entities in one stop.
    19 Jan, 07:54 PM Reply Like
  • I don't see why every Wal-Mart couldn't be a post office.
    19 Jan, 08:07 PM Reply Like
  • I actually went to a Shopping Mall where they had P.O. Boxes built for the Postal Service back in the 80's. I mean that's all Amazon has to do. "Just put P.O. Boxes in a shopping mall." 5 bucks a month "and you can have all the snail mail you want." I do agree...Wal Mart is another option. You won't get your newspaper delivered for free...but who reads those things anymore.
    19 Jan, 08:22 PM Reply Like
  • patrick donahoe has been trying to do the right thing at the USPS for years......close inefficient post offices, eliminate a day or 2 of deliveries, cut benefits etc. He is fought by Unions and undermined by politicians alike at every turn.........IMO he is a breath of fresh air in DC. Most guys shuffle paper in that position for 5 years while wasteful inefficient practices continue. At least he is working hard to right size the operation.....he has little to show for his efforts
    19 Jan, 08:57 PM Reply Like
  • This is a great idea and its not new. Used to have a post office in a grocery store near my house that was manned by store employees it was open all during store hours. Now I have to travel further to a post office that has stupid hours. Can't mail a package 12:00 to 1:45. Apparently lunch and a break together.
    19 Jan, 11:52 PM Reply Like
  • In Canada having a post office in a store is common practice. All Shoppers Drug Mart Stores usually have a post office inside. Seems like a good idea for USPS to do the same.
    20 Jan, 09:01 AM Reply Like
  • I would assume the USPS is reluctant to give up window service because that's where the money is. They also have to deliver the mail, which those outlets don't do - and where the cost is.

     

    That said, I agree with another poster whose PO has crazy hours. Ours doesn't open up until 10AM, closes at 5PM, but does have staff during lunch hours. They are required by law (I assume) to only have 40 hours of window service per week, so when you include Saturdays, they are open 40 hours/week (7 hrs/day Mon-Fri, 5 hrs Sat), but it sure makes it difficult at times to get there during those hours, and there is always a line.
    20 Jan, 09:12 AM Reply Like
  • I get that the union is trying to protect it's constituency, and in so doing the public receives an inferior cost/service tradeoff. What I would be curious to see, though, is whether Staples or any other agent in a putative privatization scheme is willing to accept a contract which will burden themselves to the same extent as USPS. Restrictions on price increases? Mandates for service in unprofitable areas and times? Federal penalties for improper delivery and fraud?
    It's obvious that postal delivery can be performed much of the time by private entities for substantial savings. The question is at the margins, where the undesirable responsibilities lie.
    20 Jan, 01:42 PM Reply Like
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