Just a short rant and observation.
Today I tried to send a letter to the UK what was in the old days called “Air Mail” and is now some kind of express mail. I was quoted $100 by the US Post Office for “3 or 4 day delivery”. The weekend you know… or I could have it take a week for a lot less money. “Only” $60-something. I tried Fed Ex. $68 for 4 day (Monday) or over $100 for faster.
I ended up back at the Post Office where I just “put a stamp on it” (that is $1.15 for international). I asked the clerk how long it might take: “3 Weeks”. Have they resurrected sailing ships or what?
In the ’70s to ’80 “Air Mail” as a choice sort of disappeared. Why? Because airlines were selling bulk cargo so cheap the Post Office sent most stuff by air between major distant locations anyway. We’re not talking a package here. We’re talking a letter of one page in an envelope. $100 for SLOWER than the old Air Mail. What The … heck… is going on? IIRC it was about the equivalent of $5 or so for Air Mail back in the ’60s. IIRC it was a 50 ¢ stamp in the time of nickel stamps for regular mail. Uplift by times 10 for inflation is $5. Double that is still only $10. So where’s the other $90 come from? Eh?
I’d sent a signed “permission” document to a UK Lawyer (some relative died and I’m in the will so they need the OK to get a copy and process it). I did this via email as a color full resolution scan of the original. Turns out that wasn’t good enough and they want a physical copy of the original. OK… so now probate gets to sit for 3 more weeks due to crazy high costs for ‘Air Mail’ and a legal system stuck in the 1900s.
So just when did the US Post Office revert to mail by train and steamer boat? Welcome to the 1800’s fastest mail by rail…
This is just such an incredible back slide in product with exponential increase in prices that it verges on the insane. Really. The better part of a month to move a letter, or the next fastest costs 60 TIMES more? And that still takes a week… In this day and age, it ought to be about 4 days for regular mail and $5 if you want it guaranteed delivery via air direct.
Heck, they had “mail planes” in the age of Lindberg. It was what bootstrapped commercial aviation in the USA.
Perhaps we need a “Regression Index”. Take cost in present $$ and a service metric to rank the percentage of quality of service still present. So this would be about 5/68 = 0.07 on the cost ratio; then about 1/4 on the level of typical service. So a QOS rank of about 0.018 now vs the ’70s. Or a regression of 55 times worse “bang for the buck”. Even if my guesses are way off on the values, that’s still “way sucky”. I don’t think better data can fix that.
If I *tried* I don’t think I could make things decay that fast.