General Question

elbanditoroso's avatar

Why don't we have drive-thru post offices in the US?

Asked by elbanditoroso (14549 points ) March 29th, 2014

We have drive-thru banks and fast food?

Yes, of course there are the drive-up mailboxes for dropping off letters, but that’s not what I mean. I’m talking about a window with a human being, where I could give them a package, have them weight it, print the postage, and send it on. Or maybe I would buy a roll of stamps, or whatever else.

Sure, put a limit on it—three transactions per person—but it would be a big convenience.

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22 Answers

Pachy's avatar

For one thing, a lack of funds for personnel. I mean, how often do you see all or even most of the walk-up windows manned?

elbanditoroso's avatar

@Pachy – actually, where I live (major regional post office for 5–6 suburbs in metro Atlanta) – pretty much all day.

Pachy's avatar

That’s nice for you, @elbanditoroso, but in the three major cities where I’ve lived, I never saw that. And you know, if USPS is considering dropping Saturday and rural service, you know they don’t have money to build drive-throughs. I think it’s a crime how Congress has ignored USPS.

gailcalled's avatar

Our little one-woman post office has cut her hours down daily. She is forced to shut down from 12:15 to 3:00 M-F because of budget restraints. Inconvenient for her and us, most of whom pick up our mail thare rather than on a RFD mailbox. We are the epitome of rural service.

Darth_Algar's avatar

I don’t really see how this would be any more convenient than what the USPS offers now.

bolwerk's avatar

Have you seen how efficient the queue management at the post office is? You want a queue of obese suburban whales idling in their Hummers next to a drive-thru window too? Let them park and walk in. It will clear the customer queue faster and it’s probably the only exercise Hummer drivers get anyway!

dappled_leaves's avatar

Picture having to lift a box from anywhere in your car and hand it out the driver’s side window. Now picture the USPS agent having to lean out the window, take the box, and pull it in. There’s too much risk of back injury on either side. Just park your car and go inside. It’s not that hard.

janbb's avatar

I’m just happy to still have post offices!

hearkat's avatar

There was one where I lived 15–22 years ago, but they did eventually stop using it – presumably due to staffing cuts. It was a great convenience when my son was an infant and toddler!

JLeslie's avatar

Great idea! Maybe that would give USPS an advantage over FedEx and UPS. I try to use the post office as much as possible over the other choices, I hate to see negative press about them or the idea that the post office is endanger of disappearing. I would still go inside, because I like to. I rarely use any drive through ever anywhere, not at banks or fast food, but I think people would use the drive through at a post office probably for small packages, letters and buying stamps.

@dappled_leaves It could be a pass through box where the driver opens the box puts the mail in and then on the other side of the window the agent can slide it out with a sliding bottom on the box so there isn’t much if any reaching.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Letters can be dropped off quickly and easily. Inside the post office you simply walk in and put your letter through the relevant slot. Not to mention the countless street corner mail dropboxes or the possibility of sending a letter from your own mailbox. And stamps can be purchased from vending machines now. No reason to employ someone to man a drive-through just for those things.

ibstubro's avatar

Actually, the USPS is phasing out the stamp vending machines.

Being government employees, the postal workers would have to be protected as well as a bank teller, meaning that they would unable to handle anything that can’t be easily placed in a drawer or tube. Meaning, of course, that the only thing they could do that a dropbox can’t is sell stamps.

Although my closest post office is nearly the same as @gailcalled, I live between 2 large rural towns where the post office employees are slow as molasses. I doubt people would favor anything that slows them down further – another distraction.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

We had one in our city, but the budget cut three years ago closed it down. They had two people inside on the counter and one person on the window.
Now there is one person, maybe two inside.

ibstubro's avatar

That’s amazing to me, @Tropical_Willie. Of course, I forget one of the local post offices is also The Federal Building and they are spending millions retrofitting a 70’s era brick building so that it is bomb proof. A building that they were threatening to close, 5 years ago.

creative1's avatar

No clue but I’d use it if we had one

JLeslie's avatar

It could only be done in large post offices with large staffs I would think.

hearkat's avatar

Hmmmm… now I’m trying to remember if they closed it before or after 9/11/2001 and the anthrax powder someone put in the mail shortly after – which did effect the main postal processing facility for the P.O. I was using.

Judi's avatar

Have you ever stood in line at the post office even when there is three windows open? It’s not as guck as taco bell.

Darth_Algar's avatar

The post office might not be as quick as the pimple-faced teenagers slinging pre-fabricated dog meat off a conveyor belt system, but the service is better.

Judi's avatar

@Darth_Algar , I agree, that’s why I don’t think it would work with a drive through.

gailcalled's avatar

Our post office, the size of a large walk-in closet is a hub of social activity. We often catch up on the local gossip, comparable house sales, and towm politics. It is a one-woman band, she knows us all very well, and the service is incomparable.

ibstubro's avatar

We had that here, @gailcalled, until the most recent down-size/hours cut. The Mistress quit and the replacement is pitiful. Filthy, no trash can…if it’s not on the list of things she’s paid to do, it isn’t getting done.
Now there’s new bulk mailing rules where you have to bundle and tray your own mail and fill out the paperwork yourself and bring it with you. With the exception of the 2 bank branches in the town, we have to be the biggest customer of the PO, and we’re giving serious thought to giving up our (cherished) mailers.

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