Friday, February 10, 2012

What Happens When the Tortoise Goes Broke?

Dear USPS,

I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I didn't get around to sending out my Christmas cards this year. True, my contribution is only a drop in the bucket compared to your overall mail volume, but I'm sure there were plenty of other people like me, who just said, "Screw it. Not going to spend the time writing out cards this year."

Of course, that didn't help your bottom line, which is driven in part by first-class mail. If the category of people who decide to stop sending regular mail grows, then you're going to continue to be in real trouble.

Hopefully what will help you is the growing movement to send snail mail, and a bunch of writers are getting in on the act too. I'd read about Mary Robinette Kowal's challenge for February at the beginning of the month (basically, send a piece of first class correspondence every day of the month that the post office delivers), and I thought it was a great idea. So great, that I've only managed to send out two letters.

Yes, two. And it's February 10th. That means I owe seven letters/postcards. Hopefully for your sake, others are doing better than I am in this endeavor, but I promise to send out a few more pieces of mail this month.

What's great about this project is that I'm starting to remember the joys of letter writing. One of my friends who I wrote called me up, and we had a really nice conversation that otherwise wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for the letter. He told me how cool it was to receive an actual letter in the mail. Hear that? Snail mail is still hip and cool, even if it's one of the slowest forms of communication!

I'm working on it, USPS. I don't want you to keep hemorrhaging money, and one of the ways to stop that is for me to keep buying stamps and sending mail. And set the trend for others to do so--and we all know how I'm a massive trendsetter in the world at large. Still, I'm putting it out there, and hopefully more people will pick it up and run with it.

Your pal,

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