Government Work

I hate the United States Postal Service. I needed to get another textbook for an Auditing class, and was smart enough to shop around for it, and so I got a good deal at half.com. The problem is, the seller insisted on sending the book by ‘Media Mail’, not allowing an option to use FedEx or another service. I bought the book and paid for it June 18, and since then have been waiting for my book.

Except for using the USPS, the seller made no mistake. He sent the book in a timely way, he used the correct address, all the details. What annoys me about the USPS is not just that a month later they have not delivered my package, or that they still have no idea where it is or when/if it will be delivered. It is the attitude of the people who work there. I looked up and called the Track & Confirm desk and got a recording which gave no information, then the national line for complaints and inquiries, got another recording but eventually navigated to someone who opened a ticket. That led to a phone call telling me what I already knew, that the book had not been delivered. I called again this morning, both the Houston main office and the national number. The Houston office only takes messages; you are not allowed to actually talk to an employee. The national office had a guy named Justin who got angry when I asked him to explain why the USPS would not even call the shipping location to find out why the book had not shipped, then hung up on me. I called back and learned that there is no way to complain about someone hanging up on you – customers are not allowed to use the complaint line to complain about unprofessional behavior by USPS employees. The whole place is loaded with lazy, incompetent and dishonest employees whose only motive is to get paid.

Compare that with FedEx. I am not saying the USPS is totally incapable of doing their basic job – they do a bang-up job of getting junk mail in my box every day but Sunday. And I am not saying that FedEx never screws the pooch. But in my experience, the two are worlds apart, so much so that it’s sometimes hard to remember they compete for the same business. FedEx, for example, has not only never failed to deliver a package I sent or ordered within the time frame promised, their GPS positioning is so exact that sometimes I can find out within a city block where that package is. What’s more, FedEx goes out of its way to be user-friendly, and to over-deliver – that is, to do a better job than they promise. A lot of 2-day deliveries get done the next day, they always answer with a live person, and in my experience they have yet to lose a package.

The difference between the US Postal Service and FedEx is huge, but it reminds me of what will happen if other things get run by the government. You want your doctor, your employer, and your bank to be controlled even more tightly by the government? If you do, stop and think about the government’s track record. With the exception of the military, it is near impossible to think of one product or service where the federal government is as professional and effective as the private sector. And therefore, anyone who wants more government as a solution to the pressing needs of the country is either disingenuous, or just out of his freaking mind.

The Obama Iraq Documentary
Something I have always found interesting