Thursday, December 22, 2011

In a Post-Postal World

Monica Hesse writes in the Washington Post, "Christmas at the post office. Possibly the one time of year when everybody still makes a pilgrimage here. Over a lunch hour at this Bethesda location, the people in line at the post office stand as if they have forgotten how to be in line at the post office, as if 364 days of e-cards have left them incapable of operating ballpoint pens or responding to the orders of the middle-aged ladies who preside over their stations with an attitude best described as Stop-Your-Foolishness."

Washington based Deputy Postmaster General Ron Stroman is quoted in the piece as saying he wants to expand the Postal Service’s digital offerings and move away from the idea of post offices as brick-and-mortar buildings, "but the post office is forever imprisoned by its own wistful reputation."

She goes on to say, "Earlier this year, the Postal Service announced that it hoped to close up to 3700 facilities across the country by 2015, part of an effort to cut $20 billion. Suddenly, people were outraged, campaigning to save the buildings they rarely visit for a service they are using less and less. They started e-mail campaigns. Some of them noted the irony of saving the post office with e-mail campaigns. Then, last week, the 3,700 facilities were granted a moratorium , saved from shutdown at least until the spring. A Christmas miracle."

In the article she also mentions graduate student Evan Kalish whom she says has become the "philatelic poster child (stamp child?)" for post office awareness. On his website , Going Postal, Kalish has photos of  some 2,700 post offices, "shooting everything he sees on the way: pickups, antelope, clapboard, flagpoles, Ameri-kitsch Americana."

Shown above, employees at the Curseen-Morris Mail Processing and Distribution Center in Northeast Washington.

To read the entire piece, click here.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM