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Is the Post Office What Women Really Want?

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Sometimes there are so many interesting (i.e., ridiculous) stories circulating, one must comment. I’ve never been one to hold my keyboard, and having my own blahg means I get to share with unsuspecting readers who accidentally click onto a link expecting something of substance. Aha! Gotcha again!

This morning, fellow blahger (and husband) FC Etier brought a news alert from the Washington Post to my attention. It seems the U.S. Postal Service projects that, over the next ten years, it will suffer major losses. What is major? Two hundred and thirty-eight billion dollars. Correct me if I’m wrong (go ahead, I dare you) but isn’t that in the neighborhood of 24 billion dollars a year? Now, I’m not the brightest ray of sunshine on God’s green earth, but if I figured out that I was going to lose a billion here or there, don’t you think I’d put my billions someplace where they wouldn’t get lost?

I don’t respect money, and I treat it very badly. I wad up dollar bills and stick them in various corners of my backpack, hoping they’ll be there when I need them. I’ve even been known to pull out one of those little envelopes in which the bank teller puts your cash and find a couple of forgotten twenties. If the USPS knows it’s going to lose hundreds of billions of dollars, isn’t it their responsibility to prevent the loss? Or is issuing a press release like saying “oops” in advance? “Okay, we told you we were going to lose a lot of money, and now we have. Don’t blame us.”

One of the things that bugs the heck out of me in profit-speak is the concept of losing money you never had. If the phone company (remember “the phone company”?) made a profit of 70 trillion dollars in 2009, then makes a profit of only 69 trillion in 2010, they will tell us they lost a trillion dollars. How did they lose something they never had? Lower profits don’t equal loss. Are we supposed to worry because they sold a few less calling cards or cell phones this year or gave the big guys really huge bonuses? That “loss” is a good reason to raise prices, though.

If I’m dumb enough to put $50 in a slot machine and I come back with $10, I’ve lost $40. But if I was dumb enough to put $50 in a slot machine last night and came back with $100, and then repeat the event tonight but come back with only $60, I didn’t lose $40 — I won $10, which is $40 less than last night (and probably beat the odds). The point is, if I have a profit, any profit, I haven't lost anything. I've still got my initial investment plus a few bucks for my efforts.

A dear friend of mine would often say, “Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.” Ain’t that the truth? The effrontery of the USPS to tell us they are going to lose an astronomical amount of money! Are we expected to run to their aid, sympathetically volunteering to pay more for services and stamps? Or are they hinting that they want to jump on the bailout wagon? They’d better start jumping now, Obama won’t be president in 2020. Puh-leeeeeze!

In a totally unrelated story, iVillage asked “what do women want?” and the answer was “vampires.” Confidentially, I’ve been a woman all my life. There are two things I think I can say with authority (the authority vested in me by biology): first, there is not one thing that women universally want. I’d like to think that all women want respect and independence, but that’s not true. I know that all women don’t want chocolate because I hate the stuff. Do all women want love? No. Air to breathe? No. Peace and quiet? No. Some women don’t even care about world peace or ending poverty. The second authoritative statement I am ready to make is that all women do not want vampires. There are enough things sucking the life out of us (for example: jobs, men, children, the USPS, other women) already; we don’t want vampires. Oh, yeah sure, the article tells us that women have bought into the vampire-mania currently sweeping the globe. All women? Nope. Not on a bet.

I may be splitting hairs (I don’t have the equipment to split atoms), but statements about “all women” are about as accurate as any other stereotype. I look forward to the day when there is something that all people (regardless of gender) want, and I hope it’s going to be something positive.

When we look further into the story, we find “iVillage reveals the Hollywood actors, characters and scenes that truly made an impact on its vast network of women in 2009, in the first annual iVillage Entertainment Awards. Confirming just how crazy today's women are for vampires, an astounding 87 percent of voters say they would trade their husbands in for a chance to sleep next to Pattinson’s Twilight character Edward Cullen every night.” Apparently, iVillage believes that the voters within “its vast network of women” are a representative sample of all women.

What I find most interesting in this story is that the women are willing to trade their husbands for “a chance” to sleep with Edward Cullen. Somehow we’ve gotten back to the topic of gambling (you know, I put $50 in a slot machine for “a chance” at winning thousands). Perhaps I am taking this too seriously, since no one has a chance of sleeping with Edward Cullen — he exists only in the imagination. However, I find sweeping generalizations made by anyone, other than myself, to be offensive. I don’t profess to know “what women want,” but I do know that I want people to stop using that as a tag-line to get attention.

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About Miss Bob Etier

  • jeannie danna

    Miss Bob,

    I want Hollywood and Corporate America, to leave me alone, and stay away from my daughter. I don’t think that we will ever get past these stereotypes.

    I like the way you handle money, I do that too! Nice to know, that I’m not the only person with wads of ones wrapped up by grocery receipts.

    :)Good article, you pulled me in with that title. I’ll go digg it.

  • Lizzy

    I always detest people who form an opinion on a subject they know nothing about and use Reductio ad absurdum to prove their point. I think your confusing a decrease with profits/decrease revenue with a loss of profits. One is where companies state they have had a decrease in profits, say 60 billion to 50 billion, so to maintain their goal they increase prices or slash them or develop a new business plan or introudce a new model, et cetra. Also on a separate tangent, I am no fan of corporations but for some odd reason people expect corporations to be caring, kind and considerate. They exist for one reason: to make money.
    With when companies are losing money,meaning as in their post office their expenses are higher their income. so in this case, it would be let’s say 50 billion in revenue, 100 billion in expenses= 50 billion loss.
    Usually companies drastically reduce their expenses, issue shares, increase loans, merge,sell their assets, or whatever. So I wonder if the USPS is an independent agency what do they do? Borrow money or ask congress to fill their deficits? USPS is in a dilemma, they are mandated to fulfill a service that is economically infeasible to do. Even if they cut jobs and cut their delivery service from 6 to 5 days a week, I am sure they will still be in the negative. So I think USPS will perpetually continue to operate a loss, albiet a lower one. Or they privatize and who wants to pay more than 44 cents to mail a letter?

  • Joanne Huspek

    Who wants to mail a letter, period?

    Having worked at the PO for 12 years, I can say without a doubt that the place was destined to failure. (And I left 18 years ago.) Big unions, high pay, contracts for equipment that are foolhardy… of course, this is the government. It’s not THEIR money, so they can be as cavalier as they want. Miss Bob can misplace a buck or twenty here and there but it’s not like the PO.

    As for vampires, no thank you. I don’t get the current craze. I grew up with the soap opera “Dark Shadows,” and blood suckers of any kind scare the crap out of me.

  • Miss Bob Etier

    Joanne, I take it you won’t be seeing the “Dark Shadows” movie when it comes out??? I grew up with the soap, too, then when I got to see reruns (as an adult) on PBS, I couldn’t believe how hokey it was. –Bob E.

  • Dr Dreadful

    All women are women.

  • Miss Bob Etier

    Hmmmmm…does that go for women who are men as well?

  • Realist

    Yes, I remember the phone company! The government should have instead broken up IBM (which fragmented anyway) and left the phone company alone!!!!

    Having said that, my employer is an excellent example of corporate insanity when it comes to money. They can announce record earnings for a quarter and the next day come to us asking for a give back in wages or benefits. They are now in the process of screwing their customers because they don’t have enough left in the employees to continue to suck our life blood. They have already tapped out their suppliers by low-balling them on prices.

    I can only conclude with two comments. No, I don’t work for that vampire Wal-Mart. And the last vampire worthy of the name was Frank Langella back in the ’80s. Eddy who? Byrnes? Kookie, lend me your comb!