Yesterday was a great Fall day in the District. We were up and out of Alison’s place early, to walk around enjoying 80 degrees and sunshine – we got coffee, went to the library, stopped by the dog park to watch the critters running around, had a light meal on a shaded patio area at Raku, hit the farmers’ market for vegetables, and covered 3-4 miles in a pleasant urban meander.
Enjoying our day didn’t stop us from tackling the world’s problems, of course. Alison was the first to notice that we’d passed several postal carriers, and that it seemed inefficient for them to be covering the same ground as one another. That led us to start talking about ways the Postal Service could start implementing better practices to save money. We agreed that while stopping service on Saturday’s was one idea, perhaps requiring carriers to handle an extra block on their routes was another. I wondered how UPS and FedEx seem to employ olympians, while we hadn’t seen a single pedestrian postal carrier – and we’d passed four or five of them – who was under about 250 pounds. How does someone who walks for a living even get that big? I understand that they have a union, but perhaps giving the USPS the ability to replace their work force would be a good start?
It was toward the tail end of our trek, marching down Alison’s old street, that I saw another clear cost savings that USPS could implement. When did mail carriers start driving minivans? What happened to those boxy little right-hand drive jeeps they used when we were growing up? This was a pretty posh looking van, whose clear back windows made me wonder about this odd driving policy dictate:
Avoid backing up whenever possible? I’m wondering what their insurance premiums look like, that they have to say that. I’m no proponent of ageism in the workplace, but particular jobs have particular physical requirements. The gentleman belonging to this postal chariot was hobbling around delivering a house at a time, going back to the van to replenish his pull cart. In the time it took us to go almost the length of the street – including me going back twice to take pictures – I think he delivered mail to three or four houses.
Oh, and Post Office policy regarding putting your mail vehicle in reverse? I thought it was a general thing until I really noticed this man’s parking performance: