Archive for December, 2011

Time (again) and Post Office Pugilism

December 16, 2011

ImageI enjoyed the pictures in your pastoral and quite sentimental look at the post office. What I don’t enjoy is that if I had chosen to mail you feedback it would’ve cost me almost half a dollar to do so. The post office is an overworked section of government that hasn’t really been cleaned up. I can only offer secondhand knowledge of its operations.

One, I had a friend who worked for the post office in New York. He worked 6 days a week and usually 14-hour shifts. He explained to me that at the cutoff for the number of hours needed in a month to attain benefits he was given a mandatory day off. He also mentioned that the supervisor continuously took vacation and never really did anything. This could just be bitterness or a one-time thing.

Two, different friend in Florida, tells of an overpaid supervisor that really isn’t around much. Hmm.

In the wonderment of the moment I google, “postal service audit” and find that the postal service has been audited many, many times in the states of Virginia, Kentucky, Chicago, and Ohio. There were significant findings in not just delays but managers not providing adequate staffing, cocaine trafficking, and, surprise, inadequate supervision. As a result the Postal Service has plans to “shutter” 251 plants, reducing operating costs by, allegedly $3 billion. This will result in postal rates remaining the same.  Huh? Though it will allow the service to avoid a Chrysler-type situation and allegedly eliminate the possibility of a stamped letter arriving the next day.

My personal beef is that it costs $1.10 for a money order.


Time’s Article on Chrysler

December 16, 2011



This month’s Time touts the innovation of Italian car-maker Fiat in the Chrysler’s resurrection. It always amazes me when an employer does something worthy of the label “common sense” that it is inflated to the term “innovative”. In an effort to help people understand the simple nature of these miraculous decisions, I offer the following connection to the dots:

  • “We…brought people on the management team who had been  buried beneath the classical hierarchy of corporate America” – In other words they asked people if they had any ideas and listened to them. Whoa.
  • “Paying off the bailout loans six years ahead of schedule.” -But not six months ago Annalyn Censky on CNN Money, Fiat paid off the remaining shares that the governement owned in Chrysler, totaling $560 million. This also cost taxpayers, allegedly, to lose $1.3 BILLION dollars. Which is weird considering that CNN Money is a Time Warner-owned company.
  • Less is More – Chrysler also reduced the number of models they would produce, thus lowering their production costs and only producing product they knew was going to sell. So if you are selling fruit and you notice that only apples and oranges are selling significantly higher than parsimons and star fruit, what are you going to sell? Again, as the article states, “it can produce brilliance”. Ugh.
  • Less is More II – Instead of bringing in “squads of industrial engineers to dictate the exact sequence of each assembly process, workers were trained…” Lemme see, flying over “squads of engineers”, paying them higher wages, increasing payroll and training time versus training an existing workforce with one or two people. Hmmm.

Honestly these people need to get on the stick. I’ve already had two bailouts in my lifetime. I really don’t want another one. Unless it’s to pay off my student loans.