Netflix and the post office

Starting at the beginning of the year, I noticed that the turnaround time for my Netflix DVDs had increased by a day or two. At first I thought it was because of all the snow the Boston area has been getting but it has continued. I finally did a search and found two things: Netflix no longer processes DVDs on Saturday (they didn’t actually advertise this); the US post office no longer commits to delivering first class mail the next day (they have shut hundreds of processing plants under the Network Rationalization program–they also didn’t do much to publicize this). So this is the new normal. In the old system I could get up to 8 or 9 DVDs a month, while now it’s 5 or 6, so my service is down more than a third. In some ways I’m ok with this (after all, prices change all the time for most things) although it would be nice if they told me that their price was increasing.

What made me write this post is the emails that Netflix is now sending me (along with the usual ones telling me they have received and sent out the DVDs):

Great news! Your next disc is already on its way! We are continually making improvements to deliver your entertainment to you as quickly as possible. Providing our valued customers with incredible service is our top priority.

So, at a time that they have reduced my service significantly, they are trying to claim that they have improved service. It really makes me think about quitting Netflix.

As an aside, as I was searching for information I found this:

 I would encourage Congress to view the Postal Service as a test bed or laboratory of change that might be applied to the rest of the federal government.

When we look at the workforce we’ll need in 20 or 30 years, what we are doing today will have to evolve.

Most young people aren’t looking for a single employer over the course of their careers.  In today’s world, does it really make sense to offer the promise of a government pension to a 22 year-old who is just entering the workforce?  And how reliable is that promise?

Postal Service’s financial issues are similar to those facing the federal government.  At some point the costs have to come down and those promises of benefits have to be paid.  Just look at the unfunded liabilities with military vets and federal, state and local retirement systems.

We’ve proposed transitioning from a defined benefit program to a defined contribution program for postal employees.  A thrift savings plan or IRA would give our employees much more mobility and flexibility.  It may also be a much more responsible and honest arrangement when all is said and done.

I’d like to see the Congress encourage much more experimentation at the federal level.  The Postal Service has the kind of management that would appreciate being at the front edge of change and would make good use of opportunities.

This was the Postmaster General who retired in January. He retired after 39 years with a pension worth more than $4 million (go to page 76). So he’s one of the typical rich fucks–his salary and pension are huge, but everyone who works for him makes too much. And the people who decide on his pay are very sorry they couldn’t pay him more:

The Postal Service’s economic challenges have prevented the officer compensation system from functioning properly for an extended period. The Governors believe that this situation must be remedied. The Governors are concerned that if this situation persists much longer, it will erode the Postal Service’s ability to retain highly-qualified individuals as officers and to recruit the best qualified individuals from outside the Postal Service, if external hiring is deemed to be the best solution to fill critical officer vacancies. Additionally, the Postal Service’s financial constraints, which largely are the products of structural defects that only Congress can remedy, have prevented the Postal Service from fully complying with the statutory mandate that its officers be paid in a manner comparable with their private sector counterparts.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. PCfellow
    May 01, 2015 @ 11:32:54

    I think that Netflix actually did improve their turnaround after the post offices eliminated overnight. Here’s what I mean.

    When the PO first eliminated overnight, it took 2 days (instead of 1) for a disc be returned to Netflix and another 2 days (instead of 1) for the next disc to be sent to the subscriber. This increased the turnaround from 2 days to 4.

    Now, I believe that when a disc is returned to Netflix, the PO informs Netflix that the returned disc has been mailed. Netflix then sends the next disc to the subscriber (a day before receiving the returned disc.) It still takes 2 days for the next disc to be delivered to the subscriber. But, the overall turnaround is now 3 days.

    Does this makes sense?


  2. fredtopeka
    May 01, 2015 @ 21:12:52

    About the time of this post, I called to complain. Since then, the turnaround time is better. I don’t think Netflix only fixes things when people complain, but the longer turnaround time lasted for three months before I called and ended almost immediately after I called.


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