Postal Locations Should Be Like McDonald’s


As a bit of a community service, I have solved the problems with post office locations.

Sometimes it takes an outsider like me to be able to see the handwriting on the wall, before it becomes graffiti.

The big question for us citizens is whether the post office should be turned into a private enterprise. Entrepreneurs especially like the idea. They figure they built something from the ground up, keep it running on a day-to-day basis, stay out of the red and even manage to eke out a profit by the end of the year; why can’t government do the same? (The answer is: too many cooks, but that is a diversion from my topic.)

I tend to agree with the entrepreneurs. The post office should be run by a business — but not just any business. It should be run by McDonald’s.

Don’t laugh. I’ve thought about this long and hard — or at least through a Big Mac and fries — and it is a sane and logical answer. I know you’ll hear me out when I tell you the very first change McDonald’s will make: implementing drive-through lanes.

Uh-huh, that’s right. If you only want to buy stamps or have the contents of your post office box handed to you, you get to drive through. Anything more complicated than that, you have to go inside. But the line will be a lot shorter because it won’t be full of people who are angry and hateful because they’ve been waiting 20 minutes to buy a postage stamp.

The second thing McDonald’s will do is schedule more clerks (not less) during peak hours — namely, meal times. This will wreak havoc on postal workers’ schedules, but, just like in any other business, they are free to quit. Something tells me that they won’t, at least not in this economy.

The drive-through window will be manned by contract employees paid minimum wage because almost anyone can count out stamps. The real challenge is international mail; insured, tracked and signed-for mail; mail that gets returned but the sender has moved. I’m not saying the post office doesn’t need its highly skilled and qualified workers. It does.

At least until McDonald’s changes all that. They will simply have to offer fewer options. And, yes, I know that McDonald’s has expanded its menu quite a bit from the hamburgers-and-fries menu of old, but you still can’t order oysters on the half shell. You can’t order a margarita. You can’t order cotton candy (although personally, I think that would be a great idea). To be profitable, they have to have limitations. Anything the post office no longer did could be picked up by other private businesses. Swell.

And, like McDonald’s, I want to see more post office locations, not fewer. Put them along the highway. Add them to the Food/Gas signs. Make them convenient.

Of course, I have saved my best idea for last. Wouldn’t it be great if you could buy a book of stamps in less than two minutes and also be asked, “Want fries with that?”