Sunday, July 7, 2013
Happy Birthday Mr. Zip
This month is the fiftieth year anniversary of the Zip Code.
You remember the zip code.
As a reminder to the remainder of us that still write stuff, stick it in an envelope, lick the envelope, address it, put a stamp on it and send it through the US Mail, it's that five to nine digit number at the end of the address.
In the Summer of 1963, the Zip Code was trumpeted in like it was the greatest invention since the US Postal Service's previous best idea, The Pony Express.
There was a "Zip Code Song" or jingle sung by Ethel Merman, a television variety show dedicated to the zip code which ironically featured a band that had the hit "Western Union". The Zip Code even had it's own mascot....Mr. Zip or who I liked to call "Zippy"
The zip code did do what it promised to do. It actually did help deliver our mail faster and more efficiently. Plus, think of some of the things we would have missed out on if there was no Zip Code. Would the Show Beverly Hills 90210 have been the same without the title? I think not.
But, that being said, I think Mr. Zip would turn in his grave if he saw how his former employer is being run today.
I recently went to a US Post Office Seminar where they were supposed to be sharing with us some of the "new and exciting" things that were happening at the US Postal Service.
The first half hour was taken up by a guy who told us how many millions of dollars the US Postal Service loses every day and how they are billions of dollars in debt. Then, the "good" news... they are scaling back, closing many locations and laying off people.
Most of the stuff they talked about was old news and not even their invention like Augmented Reality, which was a printers/marketing invention and the fact that they can track advertising mail better.
My thing is that the US Postal Service needs to operate more like a business. In one recent trip to one Post Office I found FedEx Pick up boxes in front. Don't they realize that FedEx is a competitor?
They also need to stop making stupid decisions like sponsoring a Bicycle team full of PED users. On what planet would that be a good idea?
And the biggest problem of all, they need to figure out how to pay these tremendous pensions that are owed their workers.
It's a sad situation for this once proud institution.
The Postal Service needs another great idea and plan other than a taxpayer bail out.
They need another Mr. Zip.