Post 859: efficiency and the US Postal Service…

Let’s say I want to mail my car registration tax and fees check to the Box Butte County Treasurer’s office at the Courthouse. I do do this, incidentally, since it seems every time I go to the courthouse, the elevator in this 101-year-old building is not operational or the sheriff has access blocked for security reasons.

Since stairs are an ordeal for me, using the drop box actually makes sense. Going up isn’t the bad part. Coming down is as muscular weakness sets in, and I experience legs giving out…! 

Yellow circle at bottom is mail drop box...; red circle is on the courthouse.

Yellow circle at bottom is mail drop box…; red circle is on the courthouse.

Wait! This isn’t hypothetical! This is what happens: I put my envelope in the drop box. If I beat the daily pick up deadline, it continues on its path to the courthouse that day. Otherwise, it sits there till the next day.

Once the envelope’s removed from the drop box, it goes inside the post office to be rerouted to the distribution center in North Platte, Nebraska, a 384 mile (618km) round trip by contract truck. While in North Platte, the envelope is sorted by address — a Post Office Box in this example — and re-rerouted to Alliance for distribution to that POB.

Someone from the courthouse stops by the post office to pick up the mail. The 384 mile round trip is for a piece of mail that needs to move 185 feet (113m) from a drop box south of the post office building to the courthouse in the next block north.

Alliance to North Platte and back: 384 miles round trip.

Alliance to North Platte and back: 384 miles round trip.

Seriously, for 49 cents worth of postage, I get to be outraged at the absurdity of a distribution system that counts a 384 mile round trip as the most efficient way to handle a piece of mail moving 185 feet from the drop box to an address a block away!

(Illustrations come from Google Earth.)

31 thoughts on “Post 859: efficiency and the US Postal Service…

  1. It’s the same here in Australia; mail goes to a central sorting area, many km away, and then back. So, what you describe for mail times for something going overseas, and something in the same country is exactly like here. It’s a mad, mad, etc., world!

    • It takies three days to mail a letter from Alliance, NE to Amsterdam, The Netherlands or six to seven day to mail a letttr from Alliance, NE To my siblings in Northern California and Seattle!

  2. The same thing happens here. If I mail a letter to someone in a city 15 miles away, it has to be routed through a larger city on the coast and then back to the center of the state. There has to be a more efficient way.

  3. Heehee. Even I pay my bills on line – including auto renewals, tags, water bills, real estate taxes. I can count the number of paper checks I write in six months on one hand. Get with the program Weggie!

    🙂 Regards

    • I pay lots of things that way myself for the same reason. My rent I pay by check so it takes longer for the funds to come out of my account. The car registration and tax can be paid on line but the system refuses to accept me: I( have tried annually for three years, and it eventually is just easier to do it the snail mail way. Ridiculous!

    • Of course, when I pay my rent, I could have direct debit, but I put the check in my mail box, and it goes through this same rigmarole to go 2/3rds a block to the accountant who deals with the checks. I love the absurdity of it!

  4. (growls) oh, the Post Office. They are going to “dinosaur” themselves right out of business. The last time Dad mailed his car payment, he used the little label provided by the bank. The bank’s phone number was included on the label. True to form, the P.O. ripped off the bottom of the label indicating the city and state. The phone number, however, was fine. Long story short: P.O. sent the payment back to us for “better address” when they could have just called the bank and said, “What city are you in?” The bank started sending Dad nastygrams, and now he has to pay a late fee. The wonder of it all!

    • God help[ you if you put the wrong Zip on one! It ends up where the Zip indicates, even if the written address is clearly written. I am old enough to remember who you could maiul a letter to a small town with nothing more than the person’s name and the town, and the PO got it to them since everyone knows everyone in a small town. Now, it would be returned like the bank payment you mention!

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