Opinion: Just a thought

POSTED: 10/27/11 12:23 PM

Some developments defy logic. Take for instance St. Maarten’s fight to have its own postal services, and then look around elsewhere in the world what is happening with the once so necessary post offices.
We know that the post office in Marigot is a disaster. Nobody wants to go there. The staff is rude, the lines are long, the service is bad or close to non-existent and the mood among the people who do venture into this archaic institution is volatile.
In the Netherlands, the last post office closed down last week. Even better, it closed a year earlier than planned. The last post office standing was a monumental establishment at the Neude in Utrecht.
In March of 2008 TNT Post sealed the fate of all post offices in the Netherlands. Instead of post offices, the country would be sprinkled with independent agencies offering postal services; they are now to be found in convenience stores and supermarkets.
It’s good news for consumers, because for every post office that disappeared, 2.5 agencies popped up. In other words, the same services are spread over more access points. That makes lines shorter, and service better. Before the March 2008 decision, the Netherlands sported 250 independent post offices – and now they are all gone and forgotten.
Great Britain has taken similar measures, and Germany and the Scandinavian countries are following suit.
It makes sense, does it not? Why have one post office where everybody who still uses snail mail converges to form excruciating long lines, if you can have the postal services spread around over a myriad of access points?
After all, the consumer is king, but apparently that is not the case in St. Maarten, where the government has stubbornly stuck to saving the postal service – as if this were an honorable goal in itself.
Maybe it is time to turn our local thinking upside down and consider the market (and the consumers) first and then decide which institutions we need to serve their needs, instead of having institutions that serve totally different needs while frustrating the market and its consumers.
Just a thought.

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