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When I have to prepare a presentation for any group, I try to get as much information as possible to meet the needs of that group. That means I need to do some research and make sure my facts are straight, especially since I often present to teachers. If I’m not prepared, they are a group that will jump on that as quickly as anyone.

So you’ll understand why I found it amusing to see an unprepared presenter at a community meeting concerning the future of the Ellendale Post Office.

Everyone is aware the USPS is in trouble financially and is making cutbacks. According to this presenter, they plan to have saved $2.1 billion by the end of 2014. A small trickle in that savings is cutting back hours at my local post office.

First off, I completely understand. It’s a business, one that is slowly deteriorating. I have no problem with cutting hours; it would seem that in our small town it doesn’t need to be open all day. However, the proposal of opening at 8:00 and closing by 3:00 at the latest didn’t sit well with me or a number of others.

After claiming that the postal service is trying to make things as convenient as possible, that was their best idea? While they are planning on having a 24-hour lobby for those of us with a PO box to have access to our mail, they would be severely limiting our ability to perform functions at the office such as purchasing stamps and mailing and receiving packages.

When this was brought up, his first response was to add package receptacles that could be accessed with a special key at all hours. When asked if he had seen the lobby and how that would be difficult to install, he admitted he had not been in there. And there’s where the problems started.

You’ve got to be prepared. To make changes to a facility, don’t you have to at least have walked through it first? This guy was from Fairmont; couldn’t he have swung over a little early and strolled through for five minutes before the meeting? He lost all credibility after that.

He also seemed oblivious to the working hours of the postal carriers. By changing the hours, they would get a later start. He seemed stymied by a suggestion that the office open at 7:00 or 7:30 at the very latest. This would give people a chance to access the office before going to work and would get our carriers out on the road earlier so they could finish before dark.

The postal service is on its way out; I would expect it will not last my lifetime. I don’t help since I pay most of my bills online and save in stamps. However, I also do more online shopping, which I’m sure makes up for that. All of us use it less; I used to go through a book of stamps every month, but with the two books I just bought, I’m probably good through the summer.

Part of the decrease in postal use is a little nagging. Mom used to have us write thank you notes after Christmas and our birthdays for the gifts we received. Admittedly, we’re a little lax in that regard with our own kids, but do try to get to that. It’s always a little perturbing to go to a wedding or a graduation party and find a generic thank you attached to a party favor. I’ve even seen invitations that take care of the thank you as part of the package! It would be nice to go back to a society where we thanked people individually rather than that method or mass emails or messages online. That alone could boost postal revenue greatly!

So we know that eventually the USPS will go the way of the dinosaur, but the obliviousness of our presenter continued as he predicted the postal service would grow and change and continue to be relevant. Of course, this was after he shot down questions about a continued decrease in service hours, calling it “speculation.” Um…

The post office will not grow if they don’t give local communities a chance to access their services in person. While some things can be done online, I can’t pick up a package on my computer. Much like the lack of preparation by this presenter, it would seem a general lack of preparation by the entire industry has led them to the precipice. It looks like a short fall.

Word of the Week: This week’s word is incorrigible, which means incapable of being corrected or reformed, as in, “The presenter was incorrigible, failing to admit that he might be wrong.” Impress your friends and confuse your enemies!

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