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USPS and Automation

This afternoon, I was preparing to send off a package I have been remissed on taking care of until now. I have had all the materials for the past month. I was waiting on nothing except for me to take it to the post office- which I go to daily to check my mailbox- and send it off. Why had I not just sent the package off anytime in the past month? The package was time-sensitive so I needed it to arrive in a short window. That and I simply never did it.

I had neglected to take Thanksgiving into account and so I realized that I had to send it today, else it would be really late. Since today is not a Federal holiday, I figured I could take it to the post office on campus and send it there. The retail counter closes at 4 p.m. and so at 3:45 p.m., I briskly walk to the West Mall Office Building. I arrive just before 4 p.m. to find the location closed. They took today off as well.

Deteremined to get to an open retail location, I ponder my options. I could drive to one of three locations within 15 blocks or so of my location. However, my car is blocked in and I can’t drive. Praying that Capital Metro is running routes today, I head to the stop in front of St. Austin’s. I finally see a bus to indicate that they were running today. Sadly, the bus was not one that I could use.

I board the southbound Route 1 bus to head downtown. It was one of those occasions where I wish those who complain about Capital Metro busses have no ridership could be there. Every seat was filled- and not just with four little kids in four seperate seats. Kids were sharing seats. There were people standing the length of the bus. After our stop, the bus stopped accepting new riders because there was no room. We get to 6th Street and I step off to head towards the location at 6th and Guadalupe.

The retail location is open until 6 p.m. Angels were singing their joyful songs of praise. The location has an 24-hour automated postal center. If you don’t know me, I am the type where if it is automated, I have to try it. The automated center had the Priority Mail envelopes that I needed (and why I didn’t use the online shipping center), a kiosk that had a simple touch-screen interface and a drop container. Within 5 minutes, I had the package addressed, stamped and placed in the custody of the United States Postal Service. It was simple, easy and the best part- open 24 hours a day. Not to mention, I am sure it saves time not standing in line for a retail clerk as well as man-hours reserving the clerks for tasks that truly require them. The package will be delivered on Monday for the low cost of $3.85.

We mock the United States Postal Service about many things but when push comes to shove, I tip my hat to them.

By Brandon Kraft

My life is an open-source book.

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