Next year instead of just delivering clothing, the USPS plans to start selling clothing. (Getty Images)
Since the United States Postal Service has been completely unable to compete with UPS and FedEx, the masterminds in the corner office have decided it’s time to compete with L.L. Bean and Lands’ End. Next year instead of just delivering clothing, the postal service plans to start selling clothing.
And we’re not talking postal service surplus or packages left in the dead letter office. These will be new duds, in more ways than one, that “will be something recognizable that identified the product with the Postal Service.”
Would that “something recognizable” be slow delivery or smashed boxes?
Usually a company would want to have a positive brand association with its product, which is why Lance Armstrong isn’t currently endorsing bicycle clothing. But this is government and it has little experience with the free market or competition.
Since this is the post office, the clothing line will no doubt adopt the same successful customer service strategies that have had Americans seething for years.
- Clothes will only come in three sizes, but you can fit as many people inside as you wish.
- Customers won’t be able to buy on Saturday.
- When you call to order, it will take 30 minutes of web searching to find the number.
- No one will answer the phone when it rings.
- Customers who plan to purchase in person will see 10 registers, but only one clerk.
- Large numbers of employees will wander around behind the registers, but never make eye contact.
- Prices will be raised randomly.
- Customers will not be able to buy on Black Friday, because that will be a holiday.
- Customers will not be able to buy on any other holiday either.
- Merchandise returns will require customers to pay postage, handling and USPS pension fees.
- Orders will have a tracking number accurate to the nearest county.
USPS Licensing manager Steven Mills announced, “This agreement will put the Postal Service on the cutting edge of functional fashion.” Unfortunately, the rest of us just wish they were on the cutting edge of functional mail delivery.
No word yet on the brand name, but I suggest calling the men’s line “Return to Sender” and the women’s “Insufficient Postage.” I also wonder if this could be a trend for cash–strapped government? Will the Social Security Administration license a line of adult diapers? How about ATF introducing a line of smokes? Or the DEA selling diet pills?
Normally when government decides to compete with private industry, the industry suffers. But based on the USPS record, in this case there is little to worry about. My only remaining question is: Will Newman be the new spokesperson?
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan. He is the founder and chairman of The Reagan Group and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Click Here Now.
© Mike Reagan