Pony Express could get papers from here to Dallas in better time

    “I just received the April 1 edition of the Star on May 29. Your editorial in that
edition didn't help much. I'm going to write the post office and report the eight week
delivery time.”

    It’s disgusting any time you get an email like this from a customer, but it’s even more disgusting when that email was from your uncle. Unfortunately, there are more and more complaints like this every day with no end in sight.


    My uncle, who lives outside of Dallas, used to get his Steelville Star-Crawford Mirror on Tuesdays, less than one week after we mailed it from Rolla on Wednesday. Starting last fall, however, delivery times were deliberately slowed by the U.S. Postal Service and now it’s taking up to two months for his paper to arrive.
    As a great customer of the Postal Service—spending more than $100,000 a year with it—this is unacceptable for us and it should also be for you. It’s not just newspapers being delayed in the mail, but important payments, notices, and more.
    And to make it ever worse, the Postal Service has officially announced that it is going to charge us all more for doing a worse job than it was doing just nine months ago.
    The Postal Service is making a “planned adjustment” of postage rates as of August 29 for the public and commercial mail users. For community newspapers using periodicals mail to reach readers, the average rate increase will be nearly nine percent, while the first-class stamp will move from 55 to 58 cents.
    Brett Wesner, chair of National Newspaper Association and president of Wesner Publications in Cordell, Okla., said the rate announcement was grim news for community newspapers that have been fielding months of complaints that subscribers are not receiving their copies on time.
    “Nothing about this scenario is good,” Wesner said. “These increases will require many newspapers to increase subscription prices to cover this new cost and readers will think we have lost our minds to charge more when USPS cannot get the paper to so many on time. But times are tough in our world. We have to pay these bills.
    “The increase in the stamp cost will be felt most in a rural economy. People in small towns across America send checks through the mail to pay their bills. The stamp goes up and delivery goes down. I fear that just as economic hopes have started to rise for people returning to work, faith in the Postal Service’s ability to serve the nation will put a damper on commercial activity for many of us.
    “At the same time,” Wesner said, “we have been warning our member newspapers for several years now that if Congress did not enact postal reform legislation, we would wind up exactly where we are today. It is not a recipe for success.”
    Something has to change and it has to change soon. Unless Congress acts, these postal “reforms” are going to cause an undue economic burdens on rural residents and businesses alike. We all must demand better service from the U.S. Postal Service, especially if they are intent on making us pay more for it.