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June 13th, 2004

USPS Does it Right With Their New Shipping Station

The post office I use most frequently is the one that’s notorious for four things: long lines, not answering the bell for the package pickup door, waiting six months to take down Christmas-themed advertisements, and having a “self-service” shipping station and stamp machines that were broken 75% of the time.

Well, finally, the USPS has given me something to smile about: an all-in-one shipping station, complete with weigh station and the ability to charge as little as one stamp to your credit card. And to top it off, it really works! The touch screen interface is surprisingly easy to use and intuitive and the process is generally quick. Because of people’s general techno-phobia, I foresee this being a great alternative to waiting in line, not to mention being able to ship whenever I’m able to make it to the post office. My only complaint about the system is the differentiation between a “letter” and a “package.” When mailing a CD, I was asked if I was sending a letter or a package, so I answered “package,” of course. The label that printed covered almost the entirety of the front of my package. I clearly should have chosen “letter.”

Nevertheless, it’s a great system and as long as it doesn’t break down too frequently, I think it’ll make me not dread mailing a package so much.

Posted in Miscellaneous

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday June 14, 2004 -- 12:08:33 am
You write this Ping as if you expect the Postal Service to keep this machinery fully up to date and working at a top level. That's pretty funny.

Merry Christmas to you!




FROM: Joseph
DATE: Monday June 14, 2004 -- 4:46:00 pm
New ideas at the US Post Office include stamps that you don't have to lick in order to activate the adhesive. When did those come out? Five years ago? They still sell brown packing tape that you have to wet with a sponge.

I'm amazed that they even have electrical outlets there, much less computerized systems.



FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday June 14, 2004 -- 6:32:56 pm
Dave, you won't believe this... actually, you probably will. I stopped at the post office after work today and saw an unusually long line at the counter. "Why aren't they using the new system?" I wondered.

I looked over and the screen on the new shipping station read: "Temporarily out of service. Try again later."

Some things never change, I guess.



FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday June 14, 2004 -- 6:36:03 pm
C'mon Ryan, like we didn't know this was gonna happen?

Man, with these psychic abilities of mine, I'm hitting Atlantic City this weekend.



FROM: Chris [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday October 19, 2004 -- 4:47:15 pm
My wife walked into my office today and handed me a postcard from USPS announcing the automated postal center now available in our local post office.

I asked her "why are you giving me this."

Her answer , "I don't know - it just reminded me of the Ping Ryan did on those things."

I can't remember what I wrote on my own site in June, and I'll bet my wife doesn't either. But she remembers a Ping from June?

Should I be worried about this?



FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday October 19, 2004 -- 6:49:36 pm
We'll have to add her to the growing list of "Ping Stalkers."



FROM: Paul
DATE: Sunday April 10, 2005 -- 10:35:31 am
So I got the chance to try out the Automated Postal Station (which needs a better name) yesterday and, I agree... it's really good. Everything was fine except for those silly label sizes. I just wish I could order a coffee from it. Then I'd be SET.



FROM: Andrea
DATE: Thursday June 9, 2005 -- 7:33:02 pm
This is a question for anyone willing to give me their two cents. On the topic of automated systems to avoid long lines at the post office -what do you think about an automated queueing, take-a-ticket system instead of waiting on line? A system based on a timestamp for when a customer enters a line, exits the line and gets service. Do you think this would improve customer service -especially since you can shop around or browse while you wait? Any thoughts....? Has anyone seen any technology like this out there? Thanks



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