Overnight Shipment Arrived Late? Blame Congress!

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Robert Nisbet once observed that, before 1913, the only contact that most Americans had with the federal government was the Post Office. According to CBS News, there were 77,000 post offices around the country back then, compared to only 37,000 today. (Apparently, since then the government has found new channels through which to communicate with the masses). But service by the U.S. Post Office sank so low that more dependable alternatives evolved, notably UPS and FedEx.

These outfits like one another about as much as Bill Gates likes Steve Jobs. In recent months, the two delivery giants have been at war. With a union-friendly congress, UPS has targeted FedEx in an arcane “battle of the unions.”

The dustup has even provided some comic relief, snaring some “conservatives” who are accused of trying to play both sides for financial gain (You find that shocking, right?). But the market is feeling the consequences: ultimately it’s consumers who are paying the price. FedEx is spending a lot of money fighting the efforts of UPS and its Teamsters Union, and they have to pay for it somehow.

Who pays ? We do, of course. As FedEx shippers, we are now notified that prices will rise and on-time delivery guarantees will no longer be honored. That means no refund if they don’t get it there on time, no matter what their NFL halftime ads say. Let’s hope they don’t go the way of the Post Office.


8:38 am on October 7, 2009