Thursday, August 13, 2009

Perhaps the US mail should be managed by the Fruit Growers of America? 

A couple days ago the ongoing near General Motors-scale financial collapse of the U.S. Postal Service was noted here.

Well, after posting that I went to the corner deli to get some lunch. There were lemons for sale, and I happened to pick one up and ask, "How much?" "For you, 35 cents". I put it on a scale, it was 5 ounces. That's 7 cents per ounce. Hmm...

That 7 cents per ounce paid for growing, picking, packing, shipping (a good long way, as few lemons are grown anywhere near Manhattan) and distributing the lemon still in fine, attractive-to-eat condition -- and for a profit for all the businesses involved along the way, from growing to final retail sale.

I looked around a bit more and found...

Oranges: 3 lbs for $5, 10.4 cents per ounce.

Grapefruit: 75 cents each, average 0.94 pounds, 5 cents per ounce.

Apples: $2.00 to @2.50 per pound, 12.5 to 15.6 cents per ounce.
Meanwhile, up the street another block is my local post office. There, sending one single ounce of paper across town costs 44 cents. (A postcard costs 28 cents.)

To create, transport, distribute and retail the lemon via private enterprise costs 35 cents -- with a profit to all involved.

To just transport the same lemon via the US Postal Service costs $1.90 (plus paying for one's own packaging material).

And the Postal Service is on its way to losing $7 billion this year.

Maybe we should have our fruit growers take over running the mail?