Innovative ways to make snail mail fun, profitable

By John Toth
The Bulletin

So, the Postal Service is pondering closing on Saturdays to save money – yawn.
I bet not too many of us will miss that letter in the mailbox on Saturday. With email being so accessible and costing next to nothing, and cell phones, texting, and unlimited plans and free weekend calls, the Post Office has its task cut out.
I don’t think in my lifetime it will disappear, but there will be cutbacks to accommodate the times, just like newspapers have undergone transitions to survive in the Internet world – those that have survived, of course.
Since we are one of the survivors, I am going to extend a helping hand to Mr. Postmaster for free, right here in this column. Similar advice would run you six figures if a paid consultant came up with them.
The Postal Service already is doing things to make more money, while watching costs. They are reducing staff. On many days, the lines snake to the exit. Expect to spend some serious time in line if you need something – like a stamp.
I once stood in line for 20 minutes, and the woman in front of me bought one single stamp. There has to be a more efficient way to buy a stamp.
Once you reach the counter, the nice and friendly clerk will try to sell you up (that’s retail lingo for trying to convince the customer that they should buy more).
After you are through with the transaction and pay with a debit or credit card, the nice clerk will ask you if you want cash back.
These are all good moves, but not good enough. Here are my proposals.
For every $100 spent for Postal Service products, give the customer a discount card good for $5 or $10. TGI Friday’s restaurants do it. Office Max never stops sending out those little cards, which I use all the time. Even the RV store I shop at does it.
Offer scratch off coupons with each purchase. Once again, the reward could be free product, or you could get entered in a grand prize drawing for a car, or something else big and expensive.
Do you see those receipts we get after each transaction, Postmaster? Load the back up with advertising, like an oil change or tanning. Just shop at Krogers to see what I mean.
Here is my best idea.
Since the lines are so long, put eight liner slot machines in the lobbies, and hand out numbers to customers as they come in. While waiting for their number to be called, customers could try their chance at luck, and who knows – they may hit the jackpot. Those things make a lot of money, but in Texas you’re not supposed to award cash, so they’ll have to give you some prize, like a big screen HD television.
Get rid of those political protestors at the front door. Instead, allow non-profit groups to peddle their cakes and cookies. They’re a lot friendlier than someone shoving a sign in your face.
I’m not even trying very hard, and am coming up with all these great ideas, Mr. Postmaster. I’m sure there are many more floating around if you all stick your heads together. I got an idea. Go ahead and contact all the branch managers to see what they think.
Wait, though. It would take too long to send them letters. Just email them today and get these ideas rolling by mid-afternoon.
Just this one time, push that send button. I know it is equivalent to treason, but do it anyway. Just don’t tell anyone. Now let’s make some money.
If these ideas work, who knows? The Saturday closing may not even be necessary. Post offices may have to stay open all the time as people flock there night and day to buy a single stamp and … try to win a car.