The US Postal Service is struggling. The current economic climate, set against the backdrop of a rapidly changing business environment due to advances in technology and communications, has resulted in severe declines in the volume of traditional mail. But in our Hamptons community, the Post Office still means something special.
We don’t get home mail delivery. Instead, we have a PO Box. So one of my regular errands is a trip to the Post Office to pick up our mail. Most of the people working there know me. They know that I live in England for most of the year, am a big Chelsea fan, and that my family loves online shopping (see The UPS Man). My PO Box is always overflowing with junk mail and notices to pick up packages. So I always have occasion to go to the main desk to say hello and chat with the postmen. They have an incredibly great R&B playlist that makes it hard to leave, always keeping me there for just one more song. One of the postmen is a huge soccer fan and, thanks to my enthusiasm, has adopted Chelsea as his English team. He has turned me on to several websites where I can stream Chelsea games for free when they are not on local TV (see www.vipbox.tv, www.firstrowsports.eu, www.p2p4u.net).
So, it is now my personal mission to save the Post Office. Send somebody a letter today for old times’ sake. Here are some of my ideas. Let’s hear yours.
- Retailing The Post Office sells sports memorabilia. For some inexplicable reason, our Post Office has, for many years, had the same unsold commemorative photos of Sammy Sosa, a steroid-tainted baseball slugger who played primarily in Chicago, and Roberto Alomar, infamously known for spitting in the face of an umpire. I would unload those and get some photos of Derek Jeter and Mariano Riviera, our hometown Yankee Hall of Famers! I’d also be selling copies of that great R&B playlist they’ve got.
- Hospitality I would open a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise in the Post Office with free wi-fi and nice comfortable couches so people could sit around, pay bills and read all the catalogues that get stuffed in their mail boxes. They could also add Post Office coffee mugs to their retail inventory.
- Recycling I would vertically integrate the Post Office by going into the recycling business. That way, patrons could just transfer the junk mail directly into the recycling bin and the Post Office could use it to create recycled paper.