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Postal Service Starting To Use Mobile Point of Sale Tech

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  • Competition (Score:1, Insightful)

    by roman_mir (125474)

    As labour becomes more and more expensive due to all of the resource mis-allocation, inflation, taxes, regulations the capital comes to the rescue and saves the day once again. Competition is pushing USPS to reduce costs and in our times the result is obvious - automation. This may be good news actually, of-course it's a government program, so there has to be a level of inefficiency somewhere there, the procurement process, somewhere is getting a nice piece of the pie, but as long as it works out at the en

    • Re:Competition (Score:4, Insightful)

      by organgtool (966989) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @02:15AM (#45843361)

      of-course it's a government program, so there has to be a level of inefficiency somewhere there

      Yes, since it's the government, it just has to be inefficient! We need to have FedEx and UPS show USPS how to send letters from Florida to Alaska for 46 cents.

      • Re:Competition (Score:4, Insightful)

        by tchdab1 (164848) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @02:22AM (#45843397) Homepage

        I too am sick of and disappointed in the inaccurate and unsourced assumptions that presume government processes are less efficient that for-profit processes. My unsourced opinion is they're both about equally inefficient, but the for-profit solutions cost more.

        • Re:Competition (Score:5, Insightful)

          by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@NOspaM.world3.net> on Thursday January 02, 2014 @05:06AM (#45843893) Homepage

          There is evidence that government run out heavily regulated operations can be more efficient. It depends on your definition of efficient though.

          For example national energy production was a lot cheaper before it was privatised. It is now not efficient at making profit but worse if you need electricity, which everyone does. We end up paying for new infrastructure through our bills that is then privately owned and used to extract even more money from us. It's horribly inefficient.

          Companies like British Telecom used to build new infrastructure when it was needed. Now they are nationalised they do so only when they can make money, so our broadband is slow and crap. Here in Japan my phone has 150mb up and down, while the absolute best the UK has to offer to your home is 120/10 (with shitty traffic management to make it pointless).

          Government run operations are far more efficient for consumers and the country/economy as a whole when any kind of essential service or infrastructure is involved.

          • That Japanese phone you mentioned at 150Mbps symmetrical - what carrier is that? Docomo, which is 82% privately-held? Softbank, 100% private?
          • by kwbauer (1677400)

            So is it the private or government run systems that are doing better. You mention electricity was better as a government run entity but that telecom was better as a private entity. Or do you not understand the meaning of big-words such as "nationalized"?

          • by plopez (54068)

            Something I try to point out is that efficiency is dependent on where your are "standing". From the POV of a corporation what is efficient for them is how easily they can rip the most money out of my pockets to improve profits or CEOs bonuses. While for me it is how cheaply and easily I get what I need. For government it means how cheaply and easily it can provide services it is mandated to do; such as defense, police service, critical utilities such as health care, education etc.

            Note that individual goals

      • by m2pc (546641)
        Yeah show me which shipping method UPS or FedEx offers that comes close to $0.46... Maybe they can do it for $4.75 or so, but no cheaper!
      • by roman_mir (125474)

        Being declared a monopoly and being subsidised by government and providing 46 cent letter services does NOT make USPS efficient, it only makes it a monopoly that is using various government subsidies (some are hidden as parts of other government programs) to provide that type of delivery. Of-course USPS was selling 'forever stamps' for more than a year now, those could in principle work as a hedge against inflation unless USPS at some point simply declares that it will not honour those sales or that it jus

      • by Anitra (99093)

        You've got a point, but did you know... FedEx has a contract with USPS to actually move a lot of USPS packages around the country?

      • The USPS _can't_ send a letter from Florida to Alaska for 46 cents (49 cents as of 1/24/13). It is able to because it CAN send a letter from Midtown Manhattan to Lower Manhattan for a lot LESS than 46 cents. It's a cross-subsidy, made possible because the USPS has a monopoly on First Class mail. I think that it's a GOOD cross-subsidy (from a public policy perspective), but let's not pretend that it's a comment on USPS's efficiency or lack thereof.
        • by roman_mir (125474)

          . I think that it's a GOOD cross-subsidy (from a public policy perspective), but let's not pretend that it's a comment on USPS's efficiency or lack thereof.

          - why should people, who send letters a few miles from each other be subsidising somebody who sends letters across the continent? I do not think it is a good thing, I think it is an awful abuse of gov't power. Are the people living in Alaska subsidising Manhattan cost of living?

        • by plopez (54068)

          The reason they are losing money is that 46 cents is too cheap. And every time they ask for a rate increase they have to beg for it from congress. It is congress that is hosing the USPS. If they had less restrictions, e.g. increase rates when needed, they would be more solvent. Not that these artificially low rates also under cut the private sector.

    • by IICV (652597)

      ... what.

      USPS makes money. It makes a lot of money, in fact. The only reason why it appears to be in debt is because of the other parts of the government forcing it to take on debts most businesses don't have to.

      And I have no idea why you think "automation" is something the USPS hasn't thought of before. Do you really think a person sorts your mail? As long as it's legibly written in the standard format, your letter is OCR'd without human intervention.

      Hell, why do you think those mobile POS thingers are any

    • by daem0n1x (748565)

      As labour becomes more and more expensive

      Your comment starts right away with a big fat lie, which is repeated and repeated ad nauseam by the Corporate Propaganda Machine, a.k.a. The Media, until people actually believe it. It's nothing but propaganda by the 1% to convince the 99% to shut up and suck it while a bigger and bigger share of the income flies from the pockets of the latter into the pockets of the former.

    • by gtall (79522)

      "of-course it's a government program, so there has to be a level of inefficiency", this is true of any program, it isn't special to government. It is just that government is more conspicuous due to it running on taxpayer dollars. The citizenry will complain vociferously about "waste" in a government program but will happily fork over much more as a percentage of their income for things like cable TV, internet access, gasoline. Why? Because they see themselves as getting a direct benefit and hence it okay. C

      • Whats the MOST inefficient way to make a decision? Having millions of people vote on it is probably the least efficient way possible.
        The second most inefficient way to make a decision is probably to send it through the US Congress. On the other hand, North Korea makes decisions efficiently - the dictator simply decides. That might take ten seconds, while the same decision by the US government might take years.

        The US government isn't SUPPOSED to be efficient. If we wanted efficient, we'd have a dictator.

  • ...could do something about those hours...

    Seriously, the post office in my wife's old hometown is only open until something like 4pm. We usually need to use it when we're mailing something back from her parents that they've given to us on a trip, something like books that aren't particularly fragile and are very heavy, so shlepping them on to the plane is less than ideal. It's awkward when they're open such a short amount of time, and yes, there usually is quite the line at closing time so they're effe
    • It's awkward when they're open such a short amount of time, and yes, there usually is quite the line at closing time so they're effectively open until 4:30 or 5:00 anyway.

      Oh, I watched them slam their metal window shade at 04:59:50 on a long line of Christmas package shippers a few days before Christmas. Many of them had been there for half an hour or more because they only had one person running a window. Oh, and I went to check my PO BOX at 1PM on New Years Eve and they had closed at noon. Not that I

      • Yeah it just sucks you couldn't get postal service outside of normal business hours. You'll be so glad when no one can get postal service!

        • by kwbauer (1677400)

          Closing at 1 pm on a Tuesday is not "normal business hours" in the US.

        • Yeah it just sucks you couldn't get postal service outside of normal business hours. You'll be so glad when no one can get postal service!

          Because no services exist except those metered out by a government monopoly. Gotcha.

          In related news, the immigrant gentleman who owns the local UPS Store franchise kept his business open until there were no more paying customers coming in the door. Why? Profit motive - it signals optimal market operations. He doesn't have a monopoly to lean back on.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        I won't miss them when they're gone.

        Not rain nor whatever long since gave way to "fuck you, I'm off". So far between my lady and I we've witnessed four incidents where there were huge lines and the postmaster of Kelseyville was just standing around jaw jacking. I thought he got paid to make sure the mail got delivered, not to shoot shit and hold his dick. One of those times my lady managed to guilt him into fetching packages for people, which shouldn't be necessary. In these times he should be fearing for his job, and doing it lest he lose it

  • Why not use something nobody will want to take home, like a HTC first?

  • I finally reach the age of being able to rag on the USPS and they are still delivering things on time. Now I have to hear they are being accommodating too? Dirty roten rat...

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I finally reach the age of being able to rag on the USPS and they are still delivering things on time. Now I have to hear they are being accommodating too? Dirty roten rat...

      The USPS does neither of those things in my area.

  • Been using them in Oz for years...

    • by jonbryce (703250)

      Are they using Apple ones? Most people use Windows CE for that sort of thing. Although that is discontinued now, so they do need to look for something else.

  • Too labor-intensive (Score:5, Informative)

    by Animats (122034) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @01:23AM (#45843151) Homepage

    Many USPS locations already have a kiosk with a scale and a vending machine type arrangement to do that, without the need for a postal employee. Or you can get a USPS account (which is free) and print your own bar-coded package labels with postage. Just like FedEx. There's even a discount for that, and you get free tracking.

    When you use either of those methods, no postal employee has to do any data entry.

  • I was wondering why a purchase kept bouncing in and and out of a delivery for two weeks.

    I ordered a game from ebay that was mailed first class two day post - and it circled in and out of forest park for over two weeks. I've never had a problem like that before. Now it makes sense.

  • by Ukab the Great (87152) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @02:01AM (#45843311)

    Because you can't Instagram your rampage with a mere cash register.

  • when will their own website notice that 07676 is the Township of Washington in NJ

    cause when I sent shit there this summer the website said invalid and I had to take it to the post office only to get screwed another 4 bucks for some drooling flunky to print a label

  • Interesting what makes news in America. Obviously some people haven't eaten in a European restaurant in a very long time. LOL!
  • "US Postal Service announces trial of a technology in widespread use for many years, film at 11"

  • Oh! These joke sites like The Onion, and Satirewire are so funny. Imagine an efficiently-run post office with friendly attendents employing modern technology. LOL.

  • It amazes me how little the USPS "clicknship" website has changed over the past 10+ years. A consumer still cannot go online and print out a stamped, first class envelope, let alone an unstamped mailing label. You still cannot fill out paperwork for certified or registered mail online, instead you have to go to the post office and scribble on one of those adhesive-backed green labels with smudgy ink. If you don't want to verify a mailing address or ZIP+4, it's far easier to type it into Google.com than U

  • Mobile point of sale is the future, and this is just another step in that direction. Revel Systems is utilizing customizable mPOS systems for all types of establishments. Check them out here http://revelsystems.com./ [revelsystems.com.] -Adam

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