USPS Saturday Solution

Every few years I hear in the new how the Post Office needs reform because it’s in the red, going in the red, or can’t get out of the red. The only ‘solutions’ I ever hear are closing post offices permanently and/or close on Saturday – close post offices, stop delivery, etc. Closing post offices will help, but by itself it’s not enough, and there is always a bunch of whining about which offices to close. The ‘Saturday’ solution isn’t enough as it will just delay more drastic measures needed later.

I have three particular ways the Post Office can cut costs and compete with the non-government-aligned delivery services. And no, I don’t have exact figures because I have no desire to do the research.

The first is to stop the defined benefits pension plan and move to a defined contribution pension plan (e.g. a 401(k) vs. a traditional pension). Then, once in the black, the USPS would be allowed to offer 401(k) matching as an incentive.

Many municipalities have passed laws to change their pension programs such that all new employees have to actually contribute or the organization say it will contribute X and be done with it. Those with the current plans keep them. Perhaps some people can figure out an equitable way to convert current defined benefit to defined contribution plans, but that would be a bonus to this idea.

Immediate savings: minimal. This is more of a long-term fix.

My second idea is a ‘Saturday’ solution, not to close offices on Saturdays or stop delivery on Saturday, but to cut residential delivery to just Saturday. Post offices would keep their current Monday through Saturday hours.

I don’t know about most people but I don’t send much mail. And the majority of mail I do receive I can do without or get all at once. Of the mail I do receive, 10-15% is actually for me or my wife – letters, bills, magazines, or packages. Everything else is either a catalog (just because I ordered from you once it doesn’t mean I need a regular mailing), promotions from business I am a customer of, postal patron mass mailings, or some other form of junk mail.

All bills I’ve ever received could easily have waited until Saturday to be delivered and the next Saturday to be sent. Currently, however, most of my bills I get are electronically paid. For the few I still receive in paper form there is no need for me to turn it around in less than a week.

As a residential customer if I need to send something out on a Tuesday I see no reason I shouldn’t have to take my mail to the Post Office, FedEx, UPS, DHL, or whomever else is in the delivery service. Some people even have the unusual luxury of postal service pickup at work.

Immediate and long-term savings: employee count, gas use, wear and tear on vehicles, actual number of vehicles needed.

My third idea is for business delivery to be cut to Monday through Friday. It only drops one day from their route, but what would they get in six days that they wouldn’t get in five?

As many bills are paid digitally or automatically they aren’t waiting for a large portion of money. And, considering mail is delivered faster now than it ever has been before, they won’t miss that sixth day of delivery.

Immediate and long-term savings: employee count, gas use, wear and tear on vehicles.

The most difficult part will be the downsizing. As I’m not a total cold-hearted jerk I suggest using natural attrition to initially get the employee count down. Unfortunately, natural attrition likely won’t get the employee count down fast enough, so other measures would need to be taken. Companies do this all the time, so there are ways to do it.

Take away: “When it Absolutely, Positively has to be there overnight”*, there are options: FedEx, UPS, etc.

* FedEx, circa 1978-1983

Thanksgiving Travel Pains

As I watched the news last night there was the normal discussion of traffic due to the holiday. But it’s not just from the number of vehicles – cars or aircraft – but also because of ice cold rain or snow. I’ve come up with two possible solutions to ease Thanksgiving traffic.

The first is by far the easiest: change the month of Thanksgiving to a warmer month, perhaps August when there isn’t anything else really going on. The same amount of people will be on the road or in the air, but no ice rain or snow. Bonus: as most kids are out of school families can travel across multiple days vs. a mad dash on Wednesdays. This leads to a second bonus of slightly lower airfares!

The second solution is a bit more complex and takes the spirit away… Each state is assigned a particular week in November for Thanksgiving. This leads to less traffic per week and possibly cheaper airfares, however, if your families live in states whose Thanksgivings don’t match up then planning would not be fun.

Take away: when trying to sell one solution, give a second more convoluted solution and people will flock to the first.


I’m not much of a spectator of sports or pageantry and the Olympics are both with a huge dollop of personal stories (at least on TV). I have three ideas to improve the Olympics.

First, no more country vs. country. Go big or go home: continent vs. continent! Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America.

Why we should do it:

  • In 2012 games[1]
    • 205 countries entered, 85 countries won at least one medal (41% of participating countries), 10 countries won 55% of all medals (5% of participating countires).
    • 11 countries had two entrants.
    • 2 countries had over 500, another 4 had over 390.
  • It took all teams having ten entrants or less to surpass the entrants by Great Britain who had the most entrants
    • 547 from 102 countries (50% of participating countries)
    • 541 from Great Britain.
  • People would be employed to come up with new continental songs and chants – employing the arts.
  • Can’t we all just get along would be taking another step forward.
  • Much shorter opening and closing ceremonies!
  • We could recombine the summer and winter games for the same year so it seems more significant vs. every two years.
  • With only 6 teams we only need to worry about first and second place.
    • Fewer podium spots – less risk of injury to falling.
    • Less natural resources used – go green!
    • Fewer heats and brackets.

Why it’s not a great idea (cons):

  • Cheering for your continent is a bit less dramatic… As of now.

Second, remove individual events. I’m not against individualism at all, but why do we need to know which individual is the fastes in the breast stroke vs. the butterfly vs. the backstroke. Relay that up, oh wait, they already do, so we have redundancies going on. Or, just say fastest swimmer of whatever style you want. Same thing with running, but in running’s defense, it is nice to know who the bear would eat and not eat if all 6 people had to run away and depending on the persistance of the bear who would be eaten: 50 or 100 yards.

Third… OK, I don’t really have a third, so I’m going with this bear running event. I don’t think I need to put much definition here: open [hungry] bear’s cage, runners run until bear stops chasing. Everyone not caught is a winner (and the only event allowed to have multiple medal winners).

FYI – Russia would be part of Team Europe because Moscow is on the European continent. Island countries may have a harder time identifying which continent, but it just takes a little sense to determine their group. Examples include: Iceland to Europe, Caribbean islands would go to either NA or SA, Indonesia to Australia or Asia.

Take away: don’t allow someone who doesn’t watch sports and hates pageantry to reformat one of the largest ‘sporting’ events of which half takes place every two years.


MS Windows (7) Enhancement

We can move the Task Bar, why not allow us to move where the Start Button is on it – top or bottom, left or right, not necessarily somewhere in the middle. And while we’re at it, allow us to move the System Icon and Date/Time section – also top or bottom, left or right. And don’t say anything about “upgrading” to Windows 8.

iPhone Case

iPhone 5 GameBoy Case

iPhone 5 GameBoy Case

I have a case for my iPhone which looks like an old-school GAME BOYTM. Not only do I love it, but I get lots of compliments. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a case that looked like an iPhone when you first take it out of the package, that is, the default background and icons?

Ring, ring… Ring, ring… Tap… Tap… Why isn’t it answering.. Ohhh, riiight.

Maybe one exists, but in my five minute search I couldn’t find one via google, therefore nothing.

Take away: you really wouldn’t be confused by your own cover unless you’re an idiot, but it would still be neat.