Times are indeed tough at the U.S. Postal Service — not just because of the weak economy but email’s growing popularity. So postal rate hikes (like the one due in May) and service cutbacks are understandable. But the latter still have to be implemented carefully, so as to minimize customer inconvenience.
Somehow, the idea of shuttering a post office branch located in the heart of a thriving business district for an hour and 15 minutes each afternoon — as Scotia’s Mohawk Avenue post office intends to do starting next month — strikes us as anything but convenient.
Problem is, there will be customers who simply assume that the branch’s operating hours are like most other branches’ — and other small businesses, with the possible exception of tiny mom-and-pops’: Once open in the morning, they stay that way until evening. The reason is pretty simple: People have a hard enough time keeping track of the time during the course of their busy days, much less the erratic hours that the businesses they like to patronize might keep. (And lest the people who work for the Postal Service forget, it is, above all, a business.)
The Postal Service doesn’t advertise much — and certainly not for things like hours — so it will be hard to get the word out to the branch’s occasional customers. It seems inevitable that there will be a lot of people who will pull up to the post office doors between 1 p.m. and 2:15 p.m., only to find it closed. Yes, they’ll have the option of driving fives miles to East Glenville, or over the bridge and into downtown Schenectady, but if they’re like most workers, they won’t have an hour and 15 minutes off for lunch to do it.
Can’t branch officials figure out a more practical way to fulfill service cutback mandates, either by opening (still) later in the day, closing earlier, or getting a handful of other workers to each do an extra 15 minutes at the lobby window every day?