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Customer service never is the focus of any giant Monopoly

March 30, 2008
Many of us have had the experience: We have a piece of mail that needs to go out immediately, so we go to the post office after normal operating hours.

Mail still can be deposited in the outer lobby — and, thank heaven, there’s a machine available to sell us a stamp.

Not anymore. The U.S. Postal Service is removing all stamp vending machines. They’re getting old and it is difficult to keep them in operation, say officials.

We understand that stamps can be obtained in a variety of ways, in addition to buying them at the post office during regular business hours. But removing the stamp vending machines creates a substantial inconvenience for customers.

Private enterprise seems to be able to cope with the challenge of keeping vending machines, where everything from soft drinks to headache remedies can be bought, in operation. Why can’t the Postal Service?

Removal of the stamp vending machines is one more reminder that the Postal Service, in many ways a government-run monopoly, just doesn’t get it when it comes to serving consumers.

When it comes to the U.S. mail, the customer isn’t always right — but the bureaucracy is.


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