I don’t know what is wrong with me, but I feel bad for the US Postal Service. It’s kind of like an aging great aunt who, in her youth, thrived as a courtroom lawyer in all-male Atlanta, but now that she is older smokes three packs a day and insists that the Sears Towers is located in Skokie and not the Loop. I want to help the Postal Service, so here are some marketing tactics I am giving it for free.
1. Spend some serious coin on a decent commercial. Stamps are cute, but you can’t take cute to the bank. (OK, so maybe you can, but cute will eventually crash and burn and start dating men three times its own age. So, gross.) The USPS should just bite the bullet and buy the rights to some Michael Jackson songs and make a series of commercials based around them. Hello? Earworm. All I’m saying is that it is really easy to hear “Keep on with the post office/ Don’t stop ’til you get enough” when MJ sings, “Keep on with the force/ Don’t stop ’til you get enough.”
2. Hot ‘N Ready Little Caesar’s Pizza is on to something. It caters to busy parents and poor college kids by having $5 pizzas at the ready for customers on the go. The Postal Service should have something like this, too: super cheap, super fast delivery. For a low, low fee, you could drop your parcel off at the Post Office and have it delivered by another postal patron who’s heading to the final destination of your package. They’d get a discount on their own mailing fees for helping a brah out.
What if the random weirdo who promised to handle your letter never follows through, you ask? Well, Little Caesar’s doesn’t factor quality into their business model either.
3. Move its floral section to the front of the store. I am a total sucker for Whole Foods. It’s bad. If you think I get possessed when I walk into Target and inhale that first sweet breathe of salty, stale popcorn, you should see me when I enter Whole Foods. That place is more orchestrated and controlled than Disney World. Every dreadlock falls just so and each kernel of quinoa has been blessed by Incan descendants themselves (not really.) At the entrance to each and every Whole Foods, shoppers are greeted with bountiful, beautiful flowers for sale. This is because during the walk they had to take from their Prius to the interior of the store, their smugness dipped to low levels and had to be rejuvenated ASAP. The FDA said so. The Postal Service really, really needs to move their flowers to the front of their facilities. This is so obvious, I can’t believe no one has pointed it out before.
What’s that? The Postal Service doesn’t sell flowers? Well there’s their problem.
4. Sue other delivery companies for picking up parcels they lost. I have a dream. I dream of a world where Monsanto does not have the corner market on evil. I dream that much like Monsanto – which litigates against adjacent farms for seeds that scatter naturally from their own fields – the Postal Service will grow horns of its own and start suing FedEx and UPS for picking up their slack. There is nothing more American than a good ol’ petty lawsuit, so the USPS needs to get with the program and start some. They are on the right track for suing Lance Armstrong, but I challenge them to get more brazen and heartless in their practice. It’s the ‘Merican way.
5. Patent the concept of delivery. The USPS needs to take a little more pride in itself and start claiming that it invented the practice of moving parcels around. It needs to slap a patent on the concept of delivery. No one has ever said that Apple doesn’t have high self-esteem, and this is because it has actually taken patents out on the concept of page-turning.
6. Two words: Jack Nicholson
I mean, come on. GET THIS GUY ON YOUR TEAM. He could sell ice to Eskimos.
7. Have monthly specials. This is so obvious I can barely stand it. USPS, I am throwing you a slowball with this tip. The deli chain Subway thrives on its Five Dollar Footlong promotion. Basically, every month they promote a sandwich and give it to you for five dollars, whether it’s actually worth that or not. The Postal Service should have monthly specials where they give deep discounts on certain services. Stamps are marked down in December, getting more people to send Christmas cards. Media Mail containing books is put on special during October for National Book Month. Parcels containing, um, illicit substances are put on special for April, no questions asked.
8. Spontaneous Yelling When was the last time you said to yourself, “Wow, I can’t wait to go to the Post Office to go file my passport papers!”? You’ve never said it. No one has ever said it. Moe’s Southwestern Grill had the same problem. Why would you want to go to Moe’s when Chipotle is right across the street? So Moe’s came up with the genius idea to have their burrito artisans yell spontaneously whenever customers walked in the door. All of a sudden, Moe’s had some provenance. Now, they’re known for their spastic screaming. Postal employees should do the same thing when their facilities get overcrowded. There is something about leading a crowd in The Wave to lighten spirits. I am picturing some real Cowboy Ugly action, minus Leanne Rimes. Because ewww.
I intended these tips for the Postal Service, but the DMV is welcome to them, too.