This afternoon, I spent 15 minutes in the Oak Lawn post office. I was there to buy a stamp. One stamp.
The post office has been suffering of massive losses. After 15 minutes, I know why and have some suggestions.
Return the postage machines. I used to walk in, use a vending machine, get a stamp or two, mail a bill and leave.
This visit I stood in line 15 minutes until someone else in line saw me holding one envelope and offered me a stamp. I paid her. Thanked her. Mailed my bill and left.
While I was waiting in line, I saw someone go to the door marked “Passports.” A clerk told her she needed an appointment and the next available date was March 28. At more than $100 a passport, the federal government should be pressing for more applications, not rationing the service.
Someone came in looking for federal IRS forms. A postal employee said that the Oak Lawn branch (of a federal agency) doesn’t carry the forms but the Oak Lawn library (a city facility) does. Of course the library does. Our libraries — especially the Oak Lawn branch — are a great neighborhood resource. Does carrying forms generate business for either the library or the post office? The library appreciates your visit. The post office obviously doesn’t care if you buy anything from them while you’re there or not.
As for me, I will sign up for my last remaining bill — my city water bill — to be paid on line beginning next month. My last remaining piece of personal business with the post office is done. And I like doing things the old fashioned way. I have a rotary dial cell phone. But it would have been faster for me to drop the bill off at city hall than try to buy a stamp to mail it.
While the post office is deciding on whether or not to drop Saturday service, I don’t really care if they drop all service altogether.