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Will A Rise in Postal Rates Kill Physical Media?

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Will A Rise in Postal Rates Kill Physical Media?

Old 06-13-11, 03:43 AM
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Re: Will A Rise in Postal Rates Kill Physical Media?

Originally Posted by kd5 View Post
Only reason postal services are bankrupt is the unchecked corruption and greed within their ranks. If our own postmaster general alone can make $850,000 a year in salary & benefits, then something is royally frakked up with this picture. -kd5-
Per Wikipedia, the Postmaster General--while second to the President on payroll--earns $245,000 annually. Not sure where you got $850k. Consider that the Postmaster General is the equivalent of the CEO of UPS or FedEx; he or she could be earning a whole hell of a lot more money in the private sector for the same job. Competitive wages are necessary to attract competent, talented people to public service. Even conservative icon Ronald Reagan argued this.

Originally Posted by bse View Post
That is like asking if a rise is gasoline will kill physical media. no and no. also, I wish the USPS wasn't a monopoly, I'd love to see it fail, it deserves to fail - any for profit company ran as terrible as USPS would have been gone long ago - I enjoy waiting in line for 45min and then being treated like shit every time I go to my local post office, everyone complains - but nothing happens because you aren't going to take your business anywhere else, them got you, them get you.
USPS is not a monopoly. You can ship your parcels and post via any number of private competitors (UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc.). The only thing you can't easily get anywhere else is a U.S. passport and in this instance the fact that USPS branches are readily available to U.S. citizens means it's the best means of access for anyone who wants to get a passport.

As for service, YMMV. My local branches are generally well run with friendly staff. We had one specific carrier who should have been fired for sitting in his truck and reading people's magazines during the afternoon (and often damaging them by shoving them into mailboxes so roughly), but otherwise I have nary a complaint.

Also, if you think that mediocre service is exclusive to the USPS then either you live in a very unusual community or you're just not paying much attention.

Back on topic, it's a very complicated topic that goes beyond the USPS. Retailers have allocated less space for physical media over the last several years anyway. Before we see studios and record labels abandon physical media entirely, though, I believe we'll see a more concentrated effort to find lighter packaging options. Digipaks and Eco-cases will become the standard, and likely something else is in the works.

This is one aspect of Blu-ray that I think gives it something of an edge over DVD and one more reason combo packs are becoming standard. Gone are the days of Full Screen, Widescreen and 2-disc Collector's Edition releases; now we're getting one release in a smaller package that contains Blu-ray, DVD and often a Digital Copy to boot.

Two more things to remember: Not too long ago, UPS shirked much of its residential deliveries, handing those over to USPS. So, yeah, UPS looks good on the books because they're not paying people to go door-to-door anymore. Anyone could turn a big profit if they only moved packages from one ZIP code to the next. It's in the bringing it to your door that operations become expensive, and the USPS still does this.

Lastly, USPS offers a media rate that allows books, movies and music to be shipped at a lower cost than other materials. It can take longer for delivery, though in my experience media rate packages arrived to my buyers within just a few days, comparable to first class shipping. This saved my buyers some money, which they liked. But, of course one should remember that a padded envelop containing a hardback book still weighs the same and adds to the mass of the freight being shipped whether they charge me the full price or not.

We can't have it both ways, though. We can't expect a Postmaster General to do the job of a UPS CEO and then cry foul that he makes almost a quarter of a million a year. We can't require that USPS--unlike private competitors--bring our mail to our doors and then complain about the cost of providing that service. We can't get a break on shipping weighty books and such, and then complain about their debt knowing that fuel costs are what they are.
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Old 06-13-11, 08:02 PM
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Re: Will A Rise in Postal Rates Kill Physical Media?

Originally Posted by Ish Kabbible View Post
The US Postal service was $8.5 billion in debt last year (as per CNN) and no it would not have a meaningful impact on Amazon IMO
I really don't understand how the USPS can be in debt - postage for a item over 13oz is ridiculousily high.
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Old 06-13-11, 08:55 PM
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Re: Will A Rise in Postal Rates Kill Physical Media?

Originally Posted by MinLShaw View Post
Per Wikipedia, the Postmaster General--while second to the President on payroll--earns $245,000 annually. Not sure where you got $850k.
There was a huge news story and controversy a couple of years ago over the amount the Postmaster General made in a year including salary and benefits. Perhaps that was just for that year, I don't know. But there was quite the public outrage over it. I'm surprised you never saw/read that story. All told he took home $850,000 that year. That's insane. -kd5-
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Old 06-14-11, 01:35 AM
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Re: Will A Rise in Postal Rates Kill Physical Media?

Originally Posted by kd5 View Post
There was a huge news story and controversy a couple of years ago over the amount the Postmaster General made in a year including salary and benefits. Perhaps that was just for that year, I don't know. But there was quite the public outrage over it. I'm surprised you never saw/read that story. All told he took home $850,000 that year. That's insane. -kd5-
Alright, I found the Washington Post article from February, 2009. Their description says:

Postmaster General John E. Potter recently warned that economic times are so dire that the U.S. Postal Service may end mail delivery one day a week and freeze executive salaries. But his personal fortunes are nonetheless rising thanks to 40 percent in pay raises since 2006, a $135,000 bonus last year and several perks usually reserved for corporate CEOs.

The changes, approved by the Postal Board of Governors and contained in a little-noticed regulatory filing in December, brought Mr. Potter’s total compensation and retirement benefits to more than $800,000 in 2008. That is more than double the salary for President Obama.
WaPo goes on to note that:

In informing the Postal Regulatory Commission of its change, the Postal Board of Governors said it added deferred compensation because federal law made it difficult to pay Mr. Potter “even close to a level of comparability with similarly situated individuals in the private sector.”

By comparison, Frederick W. Smith, chief executive officer for FedEx, received $10.9 million in total compensation last year and $17 million in 2007, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
So, yeah, that speaks to my earlier point about trying to lure into public service someone who could make a ton more money in the private sector. As for the perks and such:

Mr. Potter’s compensation also included perks usually reserved for corporate executives, like $69,253 in security. He and other top postal officers are eligible for perks such as life insurance premiums, parking, spousal travel and airline club membership, the records show.

The board of governors also disclosed that it awarded Mr. Potter $135,041 in “pay-for-performance” and incentive payments for his “effective leadership during the difficult economic challenges of 2008.”
It's hard to pass judgment on any of those things from such an ambiguous description. On principle, I'm open to being persuaded about most of those perks and bonuses (though spousal travel would be a hard sell), but it would depend on how much we're talking about spending and why each of those things was felt to be reasonable.

But, again, it's worth remembering that no one said boo about his private sector counterparts's pay or perks. For those who want to say, "Well, they're not paid for with tax money so that's none of my business," I would counter that if you subscribe in the least to the notion of a free market, you have to acknowledge the dynamics of competition. Who would want to be Postmaster General, when you could make that much and more just being in the middle of a private organization with a lot less hassle?
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Old 06-14-11, 10:47 AM
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Re: Will A Rise in Postal Rates Kill Physical Media?

Mr. Potter’s total compensation and retirement benefits to more than $800,000 in 2008. That is more than double the salary for President Obama.
Yeah, that's a dumb comparison.
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Old 06-14-11, 12:13 PM
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Re: Will A Rise in Postal Rates Kill Physical Media?

Originally Posted by Mister Peepers View Post
Yeah, that's a dumb comparison.
I could be wrong, but I think the reason for associating his 2008 pay with Obama's salary was that the article ran in February 2009. Everyone wanted to break free as much as possible from the end of the Bush years (including Bush himself, it seemed) and since Obama had become the sitting president, it made sense to the WaPo writer to cite him rather than his predecessor.

Regardless of which name one cites, though, I would counter that the cost of Air Force One alone probably puts the presidency well over the top if you consider that a perk.
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Old 06-14-11, 12:32 PM
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Re: Will A Rise in Postal Rates Kill Physical Media?

I'm saying it was dumb because they're comparing total compensation and retirement benefits to just a salary and not the same stuff.
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Old 06-19-11, 02:35 PM
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Re: Will A Rise in Postal Rates Kill Physical Media?

Originally Posted by Paul_SD View Post
The $80 buy in is a steep price initially, but is definitely worth it when amortized over the year. Even 40 orders a year will justify it since you would only be paying $2/ package for 2 day express shipping.

But the big benefit that I hardly ever see mentioned is- just like B&Ns membership-there is no minimum order to get the free shipping.
This is a HUGE deal around the holidays when prices swing wildly and insane deals may only last an hour or two. Last Christmas I must have placed about 10 orders each under $8. No way I could have bought half that stuff if I didn't have Prime because the shipping would have either thrown cold water on it, or else I would have had to throw in more things to reach the $25 free ship threshold. Last year I think I placed about 65 separate orders, so it definitely was worth it, and I've already changed my preferences to automatically re-bill when this is up in a month.
Thats the main reason I got prime. For $40 bucks a year, I can order whatever I want, whenever I want, and get it in two days. Its really a no brainer. No more waiting to find a "filler" item. Something goes on sale for an insanely low price, I buy it right away. If one were to look at my history, of the 40 orders I have made so far in 2011, 29 of them have been for less than $25.
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