Sunday, April 12, 2020

Easter Amazon Deliveries By USPS Deserve Our Scorn

This Is So Very Wrong!
During a walk on Easter I observed a United States Postal Service truck out doing its Sunday Amazon deliveries. This action should be scorned by all Americans. Amazon is a company that both Trump on the right and Sanders on the far left have decried, this leaves me wondering why so many Americans continue to buy its goods. An article on MarketWatch in 2018 reported how President Trump personally pressured Postmaster General Megan Brennan to raise the charges Amazon and other firms pay to ship packages. At the time, Brennan resisted Trump’s demand pointing out that the rates are set in contracts and that the Amazon relationship was beneficial for the Postal Service.

How Brennan defines "beneficial" and whether the deliveries are profitable are two different animals. Also, even if they are beneficial to the USPS using Brennan's definition we should consider they are coming at a great cost to both brick and mortar stores as well as to other shippers using the system. This was sometime after President Donald Trump had signed an executive order creating a task force to study the United States Postal Service. Trump said that USPS is on "an unsustainable financial path" and "must be restructured to prevent a taxpayer-funded bailout." The task force was assigned to study factors including USPS's pricing in the package delivery market and had 120 days to submit a report with recommendations. Trump's claim the service should be charging more was backed up by a 2017 report by Citigroup that supported his claim, it concludes that the postal service was charging below-market rates as a whole on parcels.

Package Delivery Is Often Very Challenging
As it continues to struggle with losses year after year the United States Postal Service is an example that something as basic as delivering a package can be costly and no easy task. This is especially true when you are responsible for taking it the last mile or to the doorstep located down the road, up the hill and through the woods in sparsely populated areas. Amazon started taking most of its packages directly to the Postal Service in 2013, a way of avoiding the expensive last leg of the delivery in high-density metro areas as well as on America's backroads.

The fact the USPS goes to these locations regularly doesn't mean Amazon "deserves" the right to be able to tag along at the same rate they would pay for a package delivered across the street. The true or real cost of putting Amazon packages in the hands of consumers is not easy and forces us to circle back to another big issue and that centers around the cost to society and other American retailers. When you consider that the USPS has had to purchase special equipment such as larger trucks to deliver packages for Amazon it is not difficult to reach the conclusion the USPS is simply in cahoots with Amazon or willing to sell out the rest of American businesses for a few dollars in revenue.

It should be noted that rather than expanding to delivering to Sunday most USPS watchers have for over a decade advocated dropping Saturday deliveries as its importance declined with the fall of first-class mail.  Also, a case can be made that any shift of business away from UPS, FedEx or any other delivery company will not add jobs but merely shift them from one company to another. The bottom-line here is that far more goes into deciding the optimum shipping rate than simply whether the USPS makes money. Also of concern is the issue that Sunday deliveries are especially damaging to small businesses that can't afford to expand the hours to seven days a week. 

The Ugly Face Of America Betrayed
Any benefit to or claimed by the USPS is quickly negated by the cost of businesses and retailers forced to close all across America from unfair competition created by taxpayers subsidizing cheap deliveries for Amazon packages. Package deliveries should at a minimum be both profitable and not discriminate. This means they should be done for every other company at exactly the same price and terms. While Jeff Bezos would like the USPS to be a subsidiary of Amazon ready to do his bidding and calling it is not. To give a company special breaks that funded by taxpayers is in many ways simply un-American. This is especially true when the company is hellbent on exploiting the brick and mortar stores that add so much to our communities. 

Sunday deliveries that favor Amazon over other businesses are wrong but this is especially glaring during a time most small businesses across America have been forced to close due to covid-19. Even more objectionable is seeing this done on Easter when businesses normally close so people can be home with their families. The toll of these actions by Amazon and USPS are massive. Empty storefronts across America stand witness to the damage being done. When local stores and businesses close jobs are lost. While online sales have their place in the area of commerce, local retailers and distributors of goods should not be put at a disadvantage. We the taxpayers have been forced into subsidizing Amazon, a company that exploits the very stores that provide jobs and pay taxes in our communities. This is worthy of our scorn.

Footnote;  The article below delves into whether there is anyone or anything that Amazon doesn't exploit?

No comments:

Post a Comment