Complaining about the postal system is a national pastime in the U.S., but looking at the rest of the world can put things into perspective.
"The USPS, even with its vast problems, is still the best and cheapest postal system in the world," wrote an unnamed subscriber in a comment published today on Morning News Beat, a grocery industry news site.
The writer, who frequently sends mail overseas, says "most European countries charge between $2.00 and $3.00" to send a one-ounce letter to the U.S., while the comparable rate for an international letter from the U.S. is only $1.10.
(The U.S. Postal System often charges much less than its international counterparts for domestic mail as well. While most magazines in the U.S. are delivered by mail, in many developed countries high postal rates mean that publications are typically delivered via the newsstand system.)
"Even though there is some pilferage stateside, there is nothing like the level of mail theft in other countries," the writer adds. "Yes, I have had delivery problems and things that have disappeared into a black hole, but I still think they do an amazing job with what they have to handle."
This reminds me of a Winston Churchill quip that "democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."
Of course, most foreign postal services do have one big advantage over the USPS: They're solvent.