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USPS To Launch Line of Smart Clothing 206

Posted by timothy
from the please-link-to-sketches dept.
SpaceGhost writes "The Washington Post reports that the United States Postal Service has contracted with Wahconah Group, Inc. to produce a line of USPS-branded smart clothing. Per USPS Licensing manager Steven Mills 'This agreement will put the Postal Service on the cutting edge of functional fashion... The main focus will be to produce Rain Heat & Snow apparel and accessories using technology to create 'smart apparel' — also known as wearable electronics.' USPS Spokesman Roy Betts reports that the line will be found in premium department stores and specialty stores starting in 2014. The Washington Post points out that the USPS had done a similar retail line in the 1980s sold exclusively at Post Offices, but the line was discontinued after lobbyists complained of competition with the private sector." I hope it has hidden pockets for lost letters, and a loop for the package smashing mallet.
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USPS To Launch Line of Smart Clothing

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  • FYI (Score:3, Informative)

    by Sparticus789 (2625955) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @02:26PM (#42969935) Journal

    The package-smashing mallet has been outsourced to India. The USPS union said that it was not in the mail-carrier's contract.

  • by kannibal_klown (531544) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @02:33PM (#42970065)

    My understanding is, a lot of their financial woes are coming from a 2006 Congress mandate that the USPS start pre-paying into their retirement plan to fund future-future retirement. In short, they're asking them to pay more to handle people that won't retire for years now. And that Congress is dipping into that money for something else.

    And from what I've heard, if they weren't asked to be paying extra into said fund they'd actually be making a small profit.

  • by NekoYasha (1040568) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @02:56PM (#42970387) Homepage

    Yes:
    Release the Postal Service from the draconian Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006
    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/release-postal-service-draconian-postal-accountability-and-enhancement-act-2006/Gz6MrsBy [whitehouse.gov]

  • by NekoYasha (1040568) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @03:05PM (#42970527) Homepage

    Not that this is the first petition [whitehouse.gov] to ask to remove the postal office from the requirement of pre-paying 75 years of retiree benefits.

    (For the record, I'm not a U.S. citizen and have not created or signed either petition.)

  • Re:Hmmm ... (Score:4, Informative)

    by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@@@gmail...com> on Thursday February 21, 2013 @03:13PM (#42970635)

    I must say, after reading TFA ... I have no idea of what this is or why I'd want to buy it from the USPS.

    I'm more baffled by this tidbit ... In 2006, Congress passed a statute requiring the Postal Service to pre-pay for 75 years worth of retiree benefits within 10 years. No other federal agency is forced to make such an investment.

    Why only the Postal Service and no other agency? To make sure Fedex profits stayed high?

    That's exactly why. Lobbyists working for businesses that compete with the USPS basically want it forced out of business, or into a crippled state, so that they can ride in as saviours on private business horses to save the day. The problem is that the USPS was actually doing really well and was (and still is) totally self funded (no taxes pay for its upkeep), so they simply manufactured a no-win situation. The bill along will the extremely onerous restriction to fund retirement plans for employees who haven't even been born yet, specifically forbids them from putting up the price of stamps to raise revenue.

  • Re:Privatize! (Score:2, Informative)

    by operagost (62405) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @03:24PM (#42970781) Homepage Journal
    The Senate passed it unanimously and it was cosponsored by two left-wing Democrats.
  • by garyebickford (222422) <gar37bic AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday February 21, 2013 @04:02PM (#42971285)

    Actually they're remarkably efficient. I don't have the link handy, but USPS handles an amazing amount of stuff, and their overall track record is excellent. They have two basic problems, or three depending on how you count. 1) Congress saddled them with a requirement to pre-fund the retirement account for all their workers, which no other company is required to do; 2) mail volumes of all types (and thus, revenues) have been dropping by 10-20% per year; and 3) bulk emailers (catalogs, junk mail - the stuff that really pays the bills) have pulled way back due both to the internet and to the economy. One might also note that in most countries the cost to mail a letter is substantially (often multiple times) more than in the US, and/or is subsidized or run by the government. USPS, like AmTrak, is a bastard concoction created by Congress to look like a business, act like a business, and be required to be profitable like a business, while being saddled with an impossible set of rules. Others than myself have described both as 'designed to fail'.

  • Re:FYI (Score:5, Informative)

    by _xeno_ (155264) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @05:22PM (#42972267) Homepage Journal

    UPS and FedEx may not be perfect, but at least their tracking software works

    To add another anecdote to the fire, just yesterday I received a package from the USPS that the tracking software said would arrive last week, and that apparently never left their sorting facility as far as the tracker was concerned.

    Actually, the train of events that showed up on the tracker was:

    1. Shipping information received
    2. Package sorted through facility.
    3. Package received by USPS from the shipper. (The day after the previous one where it was "sorted.")

    Then nothing, until the package arrived over a week later.

    Although it was fun seeing the "estimated arrival time" not change days after it was supposed to arrive.

    But, hey, they only slightly damaged the contents of the package, just some minor cosmetic damage. Plus, unlike a previous package shipped via the USPS, this one actually arrived...

  • Re:FYI (Score:4, Informative)

    by fuzznutz (789413) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @06:17PM (#42973043)

    You got only twelve pieces of mail during an entire year? You mean they lost/mangled two pieces of mail out of hundreds or thousands they delivered normally.

    No. First I doubt I get more than a 100 pieces of "real mail" per year. I do get junkmail and advertisements. I don't care if that crap gets shredded or lost. They screwed up two out of twelve paychecks for the year. Those are the important ones. Screwing up one is unacceptable. I've had bills lost in the mail. Before I moved to my current home, they misdelivered my mail to the wrong address all the time. It was a running joke that at 5:00 everybody in the neighborhood was out RE-delivering the mail to the correct addresses. A couple years ago, I got a large tied bundle of presorted letters addressed to people all over the neighborhood. It was stilled tied together. I just do not count on anything sent by USPS as reliable. period.

    I have to drive ten miles to the nearest UPS office to pick up an envelope, compared to five blocks downtown to the post office.

    And my UPS Store is two blocks away. The Post Office is 2 miles. What's your point?

    Let me tell you about my USPS Office.Their service is so bad and had so many complaints that the postmaster put up signs all over the lobby. It said "If you have to wait more than 5 minutes, call this number." My usual wait time is over 30 minutes on a good day. One day the mail carrier left a "I can't deliver this" card on my door. (They didn't knock or ring the doorbell). I started calling the local branch office when I got to work. The line was busy all morning. At lunch, it mysteriously wasn't busy anymore; it rang and rang, but nobody would answer. Right after lunch it went constantly busy again, and so I left work early and to pick up my package in person. When I showed up, I saw the signs up everywhere about wait times.

    Their solution to angry customers in long lines was to take the phone off the hook. I laughed when the people in line waiting said to me that we should all call the number on the sign. I told them to go ahead, but I had been calling it all day.

    The Post Office has a systemic problem.

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