The future USPS: All zipped up


There are some things the two of us just don’t get. Take, for instance, the U.S. Postal Service. In the wake of last year’s $15.9 billion loss came the news of the USPS forgoing Saturday delivery (except for packages and P.O. boxes). Smart move, and we applauded it recently in this space; it just makes good business sense. Then came last week’s report that the USPS is getting into the … wait for it … apparel business next year in an effort to improve its take. Men first, then a line for women. Yes, nothing says economic repair like the launch of a new “cutting-edge functional fashion” line. That’s what Steven Mills, the USPS’s licensing manager, termed it in a statement last week. Yes, the USPS has a license manager. We shuddered at it all. Repeatedly.

Wouldn’t successfully negotiating even the most minor union concessions make just a wee bit more sense? After all, it wouldn’t necessitate renting a showroom in the Garment District in New York City, which is what the USPS is going to do, and we’re not exactly talking bargain-basement commercial real estate there. The folks at Northface, Eddie Bauer and Nike probably laughed their coattails off with news of this development.  So, on the heels of increasing postage – yet again – last month, we now not only have the opportunity to pay more for stamps, but also soon to buy clothing that is said to accommodate an iPod. Huh. Isaac Crawford, CEO of Wahconah Group, Inc., which is going to manufacture the goods, told ABC News that we all should expect an “image-conscious, first-class, high-end line.” Wow. Maybe it’s time for a new USPS motto: “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds … and moving garments like never before.”