General Question

elbanditoroso's avatar

Are post offices in competition with each other?

Asked by elbanditoroso (15764 points ) January 10th, 2012

I live roughly equidistant from three post offices. Two of them are fairly small – the old small town post office where everyone knows everyone and it’s pretty laid back.

The other one is a big branch PO -probably 100 parking spaces, easily 75 delivery trucks work out of there – it’s the main post office for one of the more significant suburbs here.

When I have to mail a package, I sort of randomly choose which one to go to. Today I had to drop something off at a store near the big branch PO so I went to that PO to do my shipping.

But am I in some way hurting the little ones (L1 and L2) by going to the big one (B1)? Do post offices get ranked by how much income they bring in? Should I go to L1 and L2 more often in order to keep them as active facilities?

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8 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I would say they are. The Post Office has beeb closing branches, a new list came out recently of another few hundred that will be closing around the country. If a branch is very slow in business, it might make it on the list I would think, especially if there are one or two other USPS locations within a reasonable distance.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@JLeslie – that’s a pet peeve of mine, by the way.

The two post offices I mentioned are literally about 1.5 miles away from each other. Each one is in the ‘downtown’ of the tiny little burg that used to be important as trading center 50 years ago. They are tiny.

Any sane manager would have combined them into a single facility 15 years ago, but there is political muscle in both of these little towns, so they persist.

If the USPS follows through on these proposed closings, the ones I am talking about are ripe for consolidation if not closure.

zenvelo's avatar

Yes, they are, the tiny P.O.‘s the size of a take out window, often with no PO Boxes, are staffed and add cost if they are not a viable drop off point.

A few years ago I took a bike tour through Vermont, it seemed like every wide spot in the road had a full on Post Office: one at north village, another at village center, and a third at village south. It seemed like many had been built in the 1930s as part of the WPA. It’s a great way to make the Post Office accessible to the people; it’s a lousy way to run a business.

JLeslie's avatar

@elbanditoroso Well, 1.5 miles apart is very close together, so I might agree with you, it depends on the entire situation and the economics of keeping two open, how busy each one is, how much revenue they bring in. Your situation on the surface does sound like they could eliminate one of the offices without too much inconvenience to the surrounding population.

I am however very very sentimental and support strongly our US post office system. I also support having smaller offices in remote areas, even if they only break even, maybe even run at a loss, assuming the larger offices balance out the revenue stream. I support looking for ways to make the post office more profitable, or break even, whatever it is they strive for, but closing too many branches concerns me. The postal service is a service that is to be available to all of our citizens, we should not lose site of that in my opinion. A postal clause is in our constitution.

Also, here is a wikpedia on the history of the postal service if you have any interest. If you are ever in DC I recommend the postal museum.

filmfann's avatar

The post office is considering closing a small office they have near my work, because it gets too much business. Turns out the other businesses in that area are complaining that all the parking spaces are being used by people mailing stuff.

JLeslie's avatar

@filmfann That is unbelievable. I hope they will find a location very close by if they do it.

AstroChuck's avatar

My 26½ years as a disgruntled postal employee say no.

Moegitto's avatar

On a large level no they are not. Post Offices service areas assigned to them. I’m in kinda the same situation, because there’s 2 post offices near where I live. The offices themselves don’t “battle it out” or anything. But the administrations do tend to butt heads. They adjust the mail to what each office is producing, which in terms can lead to one closing and those workers “may” lose their jobs. This would bring hate towards the other office, and the workers do get word of what the administration is planning.

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