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Re^5: Approximate Delivery Date from USPS---OT rant

by cavac (Deacon)
on Jun 17, 2012 at 20:45 UTC ( #976683=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re^4: Approximate Delivery Date from USPS---OT rant
in thread Approximate Delivery Date from USPS

Sorry in advance for the rant, which is not really objective. Normally, i try to see all sides, (you know, "there are always two equal, opposite sides to every story") but on the issue privatization vs. government run services, i just can't.

Here where i live in Austria (rather far away from the next big city) we have a strange situation. DHL and UPS is the prefered method for companies to send packets to private people. But the DHL and UPS delivery times are trimmed for businesses. In effect, most people aren't home when a packet arrives.

Our postal service would charge money to DHL and UPS for delivery, so they don't take that route. So, instead, they leave a note "Sorry, you where not at home...". You then have a few options for the second delivery attempt:

  • Leave it at your doorstep
  • Ask a neighbor to take your packet and leave DHL/UPS a note with an alternate delivery address
  • Drive the 50+km to the next UPS/DHL center, then wait half an hour in line to be told that they just can't find your packet right now and they will try to deliver it next business day.
  • Don't take delivery and let the packet return to the sender

That makes this services quite unpopular. I (and most of my friends as well) always filter online orders (for example on Amazon) by delivery options. If the same product is available from two sellers, and only one of them does the presuambly slower postal delivery (which is actually sometimes faster since DHL always requires two attempts at least), we mostly choose the select that one that does not use DHL or UPS. Even if it would mean spending a buck or two extra.

What the postal service did here in Austria is starting to privatize the postal offices. This works similar to the fast food business model. The Post (which is partly privatized itself) does the central logistics and sets the prices. Then local business owners bid for something like a merchandising contract, set up a corner for postal work in their shop and guarantee local services. Not every John-and-Jane-Doe village has a local postal shop, but there is usually one within 3-6 Kilometers from where you live.

It's not a perfect solution, but it works more or less.What i really don't understand is why wee need to privatize essential services (post, electricity, landlines, emergency services, hospitals, etc) in the first place. First of all, they aren't cheaper after privatization (the government doesn't have to make a huge profit for the shareholders).

And second, any money we pay "too much" for government services stay (at least on paper) property of the government, and - at least in a democracy by its very definition - property of the people.

So, the postal services employs 5000 people too much? Given that they would be otherwise out of a job, we would have to pay them anyway, wouldn't we? Roadworks going too slow? Well, that's always the case; at least in government run operations the workers are required to stand around on site while doing nothing (compared to a typical privatized run roadworks, where there are no workers too bee seen for months)...

Government run facilities aren't the pinnacle of efficiency. But compared to what the private sector has done to our economy lately... I doubt that many dictators could have ruined so many lives (and complete countries) so quickly than investment banks, privatization efforts and "shareholder value" have done to us all in the last ten to fifteen years...

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