The Post Office Really Grinds My Gears

April 11th, 2011

I go to the Post Office as rarely as possible. Today, I needed a bunch of stamps to send out some Harlan mailings, so I ventured to the main Post Office in Johnstown. I intended to avail myself of the quick and efficient stamp vending machine. This machine allows me to purchase stamps without waiting on a lengthy line.

I walk in, and the alcove that house the vending machine was now an empty corner. Surprised, the machine was gone. I asked a Postal Worker where it went, and he said “It wasn’t meeting its quota.” Surprised, I said “I didn’t realize machines had quotas.” He replied, “When you install an expensive piece of technology that requires maintenance costs, it has to meet a certain quota.”

I wonder if the same logic applies to human postal workers. They are certainly expensive to employ, and I’m fairly sure that their benefits (pension, health insurance, etc.) far exceed the costs of maintaining a vending machine. Do postal workers have a similar quota? What is it? How could it even be measured?┬áIs there a comparison between the machine’s efficiency and the efficiency of a employee? Who can sell more stamps per hour?

What is the process to terminate a postal employee whose costs exceeds his or her productivity?

Regardless, I had to wait a lengthy period to buy some stupid stamps, when a machine could have handled the transaction in a manner of seconds.