Service of What’s the Point?

June 12th, 2017

Categories: Common Sense, Communications, Practical, Technology

Photo: jlacitychurch.org

Is there something about mail that makes the people who run such services–whether traditional or online–impractical?

USPS

I was rushed when I grabbed envelopes from my handbag to mail them in a box in front of the Amenia, NY post office, population 4,436. Inadvertently I may have also tossed in the box two checks meant for someone in my office.

Amenia, NY post office. Photo: mapio.net

When I realized this a few days later, I called to ask if they’d found the checks when they emptied the box.  The postal clerk said she wouldn’t know; the mail is picked up and goes to Albany where, if they found such checks, they’d shred them.

We live in an even smaller adjacent town, population 1,434. Were I mailing something to a business or friend there, does it make sense for the letter to travel to Albany first?

Naughty Spammer, Sloppy Spam Filter

Photo: med.stanford.edu

I received a warning that automatic filter systems were reporting as SPAM my twice weekly email notices highlighting posted topics on this blog. If I didn’t stop, my access to mail would be suspended.

There was a solution: I could avoid this by using a dedicated bulk mail delivery service designed to ensure regulatory compliance.I get tons of SPAM and have for years from entities many times larger than my business with far longer lists of recipients. No doubt they use services like Constant Contact, yet the mail keeps on coming even though it, too, is identified by the SPAM police as SPAM. So much for ensuring regulatory compliance, paying for someone else to perform a simple task and nevertheless being grabbed by the fingers of SPAM.

Further, those greedy fingers yank from my email box legitimate emails from clients, friends and relatives, people to whom I write weekly or daily and sometimes, even in the middle of back-and-forth correspondence.

I don’t want to be forced to pay for something I can do myself. Can you think of other instances like this?

Why does the USPS in tiny communities no longer have boxes designated for mail within the same zip code? Why must a small business be forced to buy a service it can very well do itself?

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8 Responses to “Service of What’s the Point?”

  1. Lucrezia Said:

    This information comes as a surprise. I neither run a business nor post a blog, but if I did, I would check it out with both FCC and FTC to make sure this is legal. If so, I would demand to know how, and assuming an unsatisfactory response, would contact federal authorities. It’s a good time to complain and get results considering today’s political climate.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    If I have a day in which everything is going right, I’m in a good mood and I don’t need to be anywhere or to meet a deadline and my list of “to do’s” is under control, I might look into the subject with FCC and/or FTC as it is a good idea, but right now, I’m not looking for aggravation.

    Meanwhile, I cut the email list to a number my IT support genious thought would fall below the radar, which works for me. I also post on Facebook and Twitter….so plenty of people, if interested, can chime in.

    Plus, though it takes more steps than I would like, there’s a way to receive notifications directly from the blog by signing up. I don’t know how reliable it is–it might take a few days to arrive–and, I fear, it might come with ads for the company that provides the notifications for free. The place on the blog’s home page to sign up is at the bottom of the right hand column: “Get this blog emailed to you.” You type in your email address, hit “subscribe” and follow instructions.

  3. Martha Takayama Said:

    At this point in time, I think we have to tread gently or we will have no public postal service. We have to make sure not to give the so-called Chief Executive any reason to cut anything further.

    Most postal workers are demoralized and wondering how long they will have
    their jobs. Of course the most modern equipment and logical programming or planning are not generally part of this or most of our other bureaucracies. The Post Office has been treated like an unwanted burden for a while. Now Trump is trying to cut funds from everything for everything that does not financially benefit him and friends and family. The procedures of the Post Office may be mysterious, inefficient, counter to ordinary logic, but it is better than not having them.

    Email is another matter. Everything about the net is profit driven, often madly inefficient and designed to make the simplest of tasks time-consuming. Computer generated selection, monitoring and censorship of the significance of one’s mail reaches heights of absurdity. So many requirements for registering to receive information, computer generated selection, monitoring and censorship of the importance of one’s mail reaches heights of absurdity and the tediousness and difficulties of opting to not continue to receive unwanted correspondence are irritating and exhausting. All of these electronic layers can be as exhausting as taking handwritten notes. But then no endless stream of confusing ads, solicitations etc. could be flung at us. Essentially I have no answer and wonder if anyone does.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Martha,

    I agree re. the USPS and how fragile a service it is. What a sad thing when it will be gone and if it is eliminated as a result of a cut from above that gives more $ to the one percent, enraging. Gone, too, will be birthday and holiday cards….and more lost jobs for the artists and printers who make them.

    Funny that maintaining a second box, the least high tech suggestion of all, has little to do with the latest technology or great expense. The underutilized postal workers in the tiny towns would at least have one more task to perform thereby 1) helping ensure their existence a while longer 2) giving them something to do while 3) taking pressure off Albany and other central points.

    You are correct that hands are out all over the place on the Internet and that I should expect to pay yet another service, but it gets frustrating and expensive.

  5. hb Said:

    This is a roundabout comment on your point, another example of what’s the point?

    I have been flying in commercial aircraft since 1940 and have logged in at least 1,000,000 miles, if not more, over the years. I could write a book about what is wrong with air travel service and how to fix it, but I will restrain myself.

    For me, the quality of air travel gradually improved until about 1980 and has been deteriorating ever since. However, the service never did achieve the level of quality it might have probably because the people in charge, while they may have known something about flying, knew diddlely-squat about service or how to make it pay.

    One of the wackiest things I remember was that one airline, I believe a middle eastern carrier, for a number of years issued round trip transferable, first class tickets, permitting multi-stops, JFK-Karachi-JFK, for a price less than what a round trip coach ticket, JFK-London-JFK cost. As I was commuting to London regularly on business at the time, these tickets made it possible for me to go there on “safe” airlines, enjoy “free” side trips all over Europe, and still save my employer money. Of course, I never did use any of them to go Karachi. Nutty. What were they thinking?

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    hb,

    Hmmmmm. So here is another example of common sense run amok, in this case a company shooting itself in the foot. You can envision the meeting of executives of this airline, or of the postal service…charts, explanations sprinkled with jargon and the others in the room thinking of what restaurant they will be going to that evening agreeing to the “new and improved” plan.

    As for the Internet access provider, they didn’t recommend one particular company for me to use to gain access to groups of people via email, which would have been sleazy and outrageous, but they have set up a situation in which one size fits all doesn’t work yet again. Big sigh. I’m not selling via my blog. That makes me different from most SPAM. There’s nowhere for me to explain this.

  7. Martin Johnson Said:

    Life is irrational. Most are guided by perceived self interest or easy ambivalence. Government and all institutions are organic self generators – almost robotic in replication of the path to least resistance. You must fight to be real, different yet authentic. Keep it up!! This is the most significant battle we will have in the next decade. Forget politics. Keep the lamp burning and the authoritarians away from us. Think clearly.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Martin,

    The path of least resistance…I’ve found on most boards and committees I’ve served that few speak up even though they are supposedly there to reflect the interests of their constituents and to protect them from nutty ideas. Long ago I knew I’d never be a fit for employment at a large corporation. While polite, I’m outspoken, a no-no.

    As for authoritarians, I feel a bell jar is beginning to clamp closed on the lot of us literally serving to extinguish our intellectual and physical lives.

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