Express Mail is Urgent and Should be Delivered Immediately — Unless Fuel is Expensive

Each month the post office sends me two Express Mail deliveries. Each contains a CD of address changes for my two magazines, AnswerStat and Connections Magazine. It is a service that I subscribe to in order to keep my mailing lists as up-to-date as possible.

I really like the service, but dislike Express Mail because I have to sign for the deliveries. If I’m on the phone or out of the office when the mail carrier arrives (I’m a one-person office), then I have to wait until the next day. Plus, signing for the packages always interrupts something more important.

When my deliveries arrived this month, I was out of the office. The carrier left my other mail and a card about my Express Mail. I expected them to be delivered the next day, but they weren’t — nor the day after that, or the rest of the week.

Eventually, the Post Office called to say that if I didn’t pickup my packages, they would be sent back. Before I could ask them to simply deliver them, the postmaster explained that because of high fuel prices, they would only make one delivery attempt.

That’s nonsense — because they deliver mail to me every day. It’s not going to take extra fuel to drop off the Express Mail at the same time. How idiotic — and ironic, given that the package says, “Extremely Urgent — Please Rush to Addressee.”

As postal volume decreases, they become less efficient; they need a sufficient quantity of mail to be cost-effective. (If the number of pieces mailed increases 10%, their costs rise less than 10%; if there’s a 10% decrease, their costs do not go down 10%.)

Given that reality, it’s foolish to give people a reason to seek alternatives, but not delivering Express Mail in order to save fuel as a great reason to do just that.

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Visit to receive his newsletter, read his blog, or connect on social media.

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