Thanks, I guess? Happy birthday wishes, snail mail and data collection

May, 2018 Posted in Columnists & Opinion
Carl Sampson

Carl Sampson

Every now and then, politicians pipe up about the U.S. Postal Service and how it doesn’t meet their standards.
They are partially right.

With all due respect to our anointed ones in Washington, D.C., there’s more to it than a member of Congress can understand. For the most part, I think the post office does an amazing job of delivering the mail – and my recycling box is filled with proof.

I turn 65 this month, which is not a particularly big deal to anyone, let alone me. But that event, small though it may be, will mark a banner year for the post office. That’s because word of my birthday has gotten to every insurance company on the planet. In turn, they have been filling my mail box with advertisements for supplemental Medicare insurance. The volume of mail at our house has risen exponentially as my birthday has approached. I expect the post office will soon have to rent a semi-truck to handle all of the folders, pamphlets and newsletters about how I need to protect myself against doctors and hospitals and the bills they send me.

I should say that I think Medicare is pretty swell. The idea of getting a hand from Uncle Sam if – when – I get sick is comforting. But for now at least, I’m still working and other than signing up for the required part, I don’t need the full meal deal of Medicare. I’m sure that day will come soon enough.

Note to members of Congress: If they wanted to “fix” or “replace” Obamacare, they could just extend Medicare to everyone. It’s not as good as my patented plan – Carlcare – but it’s better than endlessly fiddling around, which Congress seems to do a lot.

Anyway, I do appreciate the post office. I also appreciate that its managers have been under the gun to save money, and that’s caused all sorts of weirdness. One particular weirdness is the late delivery of newspapers and magazines, which have suffered the most. They often are not delivered in a timely fashion – which is a big deal. People who paid good money for a newspaper or magazine subscription but get a week-old publication in the mail are getting short-changed, and it’s the fault of the post office and its cutbacks.

Our esteemed president recently complained that the post office is charging companies such as Amazon too little to deliver that new gadget you just had to have. He may be right. As Amazon, Google, Apple, Facebook and the rest of the internet pirates continue to buy and sell our personal information – apology not accepted, Mr. Zuckerberg – the post office should at least get its fair share. In fact, the post office should have a special rate just for online purchases, since those companies are so willing to screw over their customers by selling their personal information. And every one of those companies is swimming in profits.

This brings me back to my mail box, which is crammed full of Medicare fliers these days. I didn’t
send out birthday announcements to any of those insurance companies. I’m pretty sure my wife didn’t
tell them, either.

So how did they find out? My suspicion is our friends at Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple have been spreading – I mean selling – the word. And they didn’t even send me a birthday card.

Carl Sampson is a freelance writer and editor. He lives in Stayton.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.