direct mail, Government, Media

Across The Routed Plain

MailThere is a page on the USPS website which was written to boggle the mind.

It is a story worthy of the read for anyone who views the postal system as a fading presence.

While you have to dig a little, and do your own math, you can learn something fascinating about the real meaning of “ubiquity” and “omnipresence”.

mailman-truckIt turns out that America has a network of 4,100,000 miles of roads.   From two-rut country lanes to 16-lane raceways.   Like a fine mesh of nerves stretching across the continent, the road leads up to the doorsteps of 154,000,000 US mail boxes.  Quite incredibly, the USPS drives vehicles along 3,834,000 miles of this road system, six days a week.

This would not seem such a big deal if it wasn’t for the presumption that we are all connected inexorably by the Web.

mailmanTruly, the Web has done its best to increase our knowledge about more people than we could ever achieve otherwise, without really coming to know them at all.

Enter the the USPS.

This quasi-Federal organization shows up in person every day to see us.   For the working masses, the visit occurred while we were somewhere else, doing our job.   For the very young, the out-of-work, for the retired, and home keepers, it’s likely we saw the truck pause in front of our home, or heard a plop and clunk at the front door as a postal person marched across the yard.

Mail ladyThe point in all of this is that we are connected by a single, reliable entity that physically bears witness to the daily lives of the country’s people.  Present and accounted for.

To fill this in a bit, the post office drew over 244,000 separate routes on a map to come see us, and ostensibly sent over 211,000 couriers out to make the call, judging by the number of vehicles in use.

Just for comparison, Google has 54,000 employees, and apart from their roving camera cars, most probably haven’t left the office.  Yet they would make the claim they know all about you.

The USPS web page is a column of statistics that may astound you, and then again maybe not.   What is riveting nonetheless, is their final, bold statistic– “$0: tax dollars received for operating the postal service”.

Give it a read!

Thanks for reading! I have no affiliation with the USPS, but do value their work and worth.  Compared to a lot of government agencies, this one actually gets the job done.


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