Postal Service is so 20th century, but we need it

In 2011, the post office is as dated as a Cliff Clavin reference.
But I like the idea of it, just like I like Cliffy. I’d miss it if the Postal Service really did default, as it has threatened to do at the end of the month.
Bob Pokorney, 33, of Duluth was at the Mount Royal branch Wednesday with a batch of envelopes in his hand.
“I think it’s probably pretty likely that they are going to close (some post offices), but I’m

Lincoln Park post office

This is the post office in Duluth's Lincoln Park. (2011 file / Duluth News Tribune)

going to try to keep it going as long as I can,” he said.
Your heart’s in the right place, Bob, but it’ll take more than your handful.
“I think it would be nice for the elderly folks in town, too,” he continued. “They depend on, in the area here, this post office more than we young folks do.”
Helping him make his point was the shadow of Mount Royal Manor.
Duluth has a main post office and six neighborhood branches. Could some be closed and still meet the community’s needs?
“We could close a couple,” said Giovanni Santodonato of Duluth, 18, also at Mount Royal. “I think this one should stay open; it’s in a good area. It does (get a lot of traffic).”
Much less busy was the Spirit Valley branch, where Duluth’s Shirley Boe, whose husband is a retired postal worker, was passing by.
“They’re going to have to cut service to five days a week, very easily,” she said. “You’re going to shut some of those small post offices that are maintained, not earning money, but just maintained.”
Closing post offices is a reality since the advent of the Internet. People always will have a need to ship stuff, but FedEx and UPS are willing to do that.
I’m part of that change. Other than bills, I have no idea when I last mailed a letter. Maybe 20 years ago, to Nintendo, for help on getting to the next level of “Shadowgate.” I pay most of my bills online and probably will soon pay all of them that way. And other than shipping the occasional hockey jersey I’ve sold on eBay, you won’t find me running to beat the 5 p.m. window closing time.
Yet I can’t imagine getting a wedding invitation through FedEx or UPS, or even Evite.
I doubt the Postal Service really will close in a month, or even the next decade. Boe, who is 73, says it might make it another 20 years if enough of us do our part.
“There’s still a few of us that could last that long,” she said.
And me? I could always start a stamp collection. Either retro baseball players or “The Simpsons.”

Jimmy Bellamy is the multimedia editor at the Duluth News Tribune in Duluth, Minn. Contact him at (218) 723-5390 or jbellamy@duluthnews.com. This column originally appeared here.

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