“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds” has long been associated with the American postal worker.
The phrase’s association with the U.S. Mail originated with its inscription on New York City’s General Post Office Building, which opened in 1914.
Perhaps second only to an ice cream trunk heading toward you with an upbeat jingle, mail trucks are always comforting.
Yet, the U.S. Postal Service always seems wrought with controversy. Postage is going up — again? Mail is lost and stolen or delivered to the wrong address. More recently, the postal service was criticized for not distributing election ballots quickly enough.
U.S. Postal Service still relevant
And perhaps most importantly, the postal service is facing a concern among detractors that it’s become obsolete.
But it’s difficult to consider the institution disappearing like other traditions, fire alarm boxes to old school hardware stores. What would it be like without mail trucks?
For several years, the U.S. Postal Service has been negotiating with manufacturers to finalize a contract to build new fleets of state-of-the-art new delivery trucks.
Current models, some more than 20 years, are fuel-inefficient. There’s been an increase in mail trucks catching fire.
It’s time for a change, no doubt.
But just as it has affected many businesses in many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a delayed announcement of who’ll build the new trucks. It’s unknown’ when they’ll be available to more efficiently let mail carriers do their jobs.
In the meantime, as winter arrives, here’s to the tradition of the U.S. Postal Service and those who, as the saying goes:
Perhaps it’s naive, but the tradition of mail delivery is important. Here’s to its future.
Article Last Updated: December 28, 2020.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.