Franchising your mailbox might put the USPS out of business
As far as the current regulations go, only you and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) have the authority to put mail or parcels in your mailbox. Anyone who infringes on this is quite literally committing a crime – even if it is a neighbor who is putting remainder notes into your box. The law might sound bizarre, but it goes back many years and is one of the final frontiers protecting the USPS from cascading into chaos.
Nonetheless, the debate over the mailbox monopoly is far from over. A White House task force stated last December about the need for USPS to explore the option of franchising the mailbox to prop up its declining margins. The USPS has indeed seen some of its worst years this decade, with 2018 generating a $3.9 billion loss – a 44 percent increase in losses compared to the previous year.
However, franchising the mailbox might turn out to be an idea that could eventually come back to haunt USPS. Providing companies like FedEx or UPS the leverage to access personal mailboxes would allow them to deliver faster than before, as couriers would no longer need to get to the door and wait for the customer to sign for every parcel. USPS, which already has a problem keeping up with the pace of private logistics players, would be left in the lurch as regular USPS customers might also move to faster private players.
The real issue though, is with the people who live in rural or hard to reach locations, like the remotest parts of Alaska for instance. Many villages there hardly account for a couple of hundred people and delivering to such locations would need logistics services to charter flights to hand over a few parcels. Being a quasi-government monopoly, the USPS does this, as it is obligated to serve the interests of every single U.S. citizen.