I’m surprised nobody (including me) has mentioned it before. And the idea of USPS upping their rates to reasonable levels to do the work of UPS (and, one hopes, FedEx) for them might be the salvation of our postal service, one of the great bargains in America and one which could not be handled as efficiently and cheaply by the vaunted private sector.
1. UPS absolutely does not want to deliver packages to residences. In fact, they’ll up-charge you if you send to a house or even an apartment building. 2. UPS is completely inflexible if the address you provide for them is not the perfectly standardized address. And if they have to correct your address to put it in the error-free USPS format, they will charge you an extra fee for that as well. And those fees add up quickly. USPS does not charge for address correction. 3. UPS needs USPS. They will go broke doing residential delivery without them, which is why they’ve set up a product called Mail Innovations, where they take your profitable packages and do 90% of the bulk work of moving it from the business’ location to the local post office of the recipient, where USPS delivers the “last mile” of the package’s journey.
In essence, UPS kills you on fees, does the easier, less costly (and more profitable) work, then dumps the package at the post office to avoid the costly part of package delivery.
I don’t see why FedEx would not do the same if they could. So your USPS retiree/reader is right – the savings from not having UPS and FedEx and USPS trucks all driving the residential neighborhoods would be tremendous, and it isn’t impractical.
Also, USPS should probably up their rates for these “last mile” services. UPS will pay them. They have no choice, really. And UPS will pass those costs along to online retailers, who will also pay them – they have no choice, either.