CNN Money, at money.cnn.com reported a few days ago how the U.S. Postal Service showed a $3.2 billion loss for the first quarter of 2012.
Unfortunately, the first quarter traditionally has been the Postal Service’s most profitable quarter according to the article I saw. And the shortfall for the first quarter of 2012 was greater than the $2.2 billion shortfall for the same period of 2011.
We’ve seen plenty of ideas floated in the news for reducing the shortfall, like closing post offices in small communities, maybe eliminating Saturday delivery, and more.
A Sweet Talk reader sent me a note calling my attention to the Postal Service’s financial difficulties and passing along an item from “Wilson Quarterly” that he thought was pertinent.
The copy of the article from the Spring 2012 issue of the magazine had an obviously from long ago picture of a mailman with his familiar mailbag strung over one shoulder, but instead of seeing letters and other typical mail sticking out the bag, this mailman had a toddler in his bag.
The information accompanying this old photo told how back in the day, people relied on the U.S. Postal Service to deliver goods that were scarce in rural areas. Especially interesting was a statement that “at least four families used it to mail children.”
That’s right, four families “mailed” children, having the mailman take their kid along with his regular mail, delivering the child to some other address.
Wilson Quarterly reported on one child, in 1913 put into the mail for 15 cents postage. He was insured for $50.
“The next year, a 5-year-old girl rode the rails between two Idaho towns, accompanied by her cousin, a postal clerk, with a 53-cent stamp affixed to her coat.”
Both of the children were delivered to their grandmothers. Shortly after this time, the mailing of human parcels was forbidden by the Postal Service.
Maybe the Postal Service will want to reconsider and perhaps start offering delivery of kids again as a new revenue source?
I do know a few parents who might be tempted when their kids are acting up to stamp them “return to sender.”
Or instead of threatening a spanking, maybe a parent can pull out the book of stamps and threaten, ‘If you don’t behave, I’m going to send you to …’ ”
Hard to believe anyone came up with the idea of mailing a kid, much less that there were three more families that tried the same thing.
If you’re lucky enough to have Monday off for Memorial Day, be sure to take a few moments to consider what the holiday is about — to honor the memory of all men and women who have died while serving in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Memorial Day traditionally marks the start of summer and it’s a long weekend for most, with a chance for barbecues and other fun, but it’s also about those who died in the service to their country, serving us, helping to keep us free.
Freedom is not free.
Memorial Day is to honor those who paid so clearly so we can have so much of it.
WILL CHAPMAN is publisher of The Daily Iberian.