Dress Like a Mailman—the Post Office Hopes It Will Help
BY DUSTIN HURST
Who knew there would come a day when the United States Postal Service competes with the like of Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle and Hugo Boss?
Yet, that day will arrive soon, as the USPS announced this week that it will create its own clothing line in a bid to generate more money.
The agency, which lost nearly $16 billion last year, will release the new line, named “Rain Heat and Snow,” sometime in 2014. The Waconah Group out of Cleveland, will produce the garments. The agency hopes will sell in “premier” department stores.
“This agreement will put the Postal Service on the cutting edge of functional fashion,” said Postal Service Corpor-ate Licensing Manager Steven Mills. “The main focus will be to produce Rain Heat & Snow apparel and accessories using technology to create ‘smart apparel’ – also known as wearable electronics.”
Initially, the line will offer products for men only, but a women’s line is in the works. The agency hopes to make itself cool among younger consumers, who are more apt to go online than use a local post office.
Business Insider assessed the move this way: “This doesn’t solve any of the Postal Service’s fundamental problems and it seems like the USPS is throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks.”
The agency seeks every avenue to restructure itself so it can return to fiscal normalcy. USPS officials announced last month that it will end regular Saturday mail service in August. Federal lawmakers cried foul, arguing that the agency needs congressional approval for such a maneuver, but the agency is rolling ahead with the plan. A poll released this week reveals that about 80 percent of respondents support the service reduction.
This might not be the agency’s only move to grow amidst fiscally trying time. U.S. Sen. Al Franken, a Democrat from Minnesota, introduced legislation this weekend to expand the USPS further.
Here’s an explanation from a Franken news release:
“The measure would let the Postal Service look for innovative new ways to generate revenue by allowing post offices to notarize documents, issue hunting and fishing licenses, and allow shipments of wine and beer-all services currently prohibited at post offices.”
No one expects the legislation, co-sponsored only by Democrats, to pass.
Bloomberg Businessweek writer Devin Leonard trashed the bill.
“When it comes down to it, Franken’s new bill is another attempt by Congress to look like it’s doing something to ease the Postal Service’s woes. But it’s really just another distraction.”
From Watchdog.org. To reach Dustin Hurst by email: Dustin@ Watchdog.org.