FYI about the USPS : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I posted this as a response in a thread below. I thought others might be interested so I copied it here.

I hate to disappoint all the pollies and trolls, but I believe it is Y2K related. I am a PTF distribution clerk in a size 22 office in N Texas. I have family members who are; A Postal Inspector, A Post Master, A PMR Post Master Relief, a regular Distribution Clerk, another PTF Distribution Clerk, and 3 Regular Rural Carriers. Also 2 retired Post Masters. We have been in the USPS in this area for over 30 years.

About a month ago, my office recieved the version 3.03a upgrade for the CSBCS letter sorting machines. This upgrade is part of the overall Postal Remediation for Y2K. We have had nothing but problems since then. They have been mostly minor incompatabilities, but ARE disrupting the processing of mail. The program is poorly done, poorly tested, and documented even worse. The technicians don't even have complete documentation of the bugs found in other offices. Each office is having to reinvent the wheel, over and over again. I know for a fact, that many EVERY office which I have a family member in, that is large enough to have in-office automation, has had problems with the new software. I have recieved reports of the same in other offices. They are STILL in the process of adding it to offices, so some still have this to look forward to. Also, ALL of our computers are old 286 machines, not compliant last I heard. And to top it off, the new version (Y2K fix) still generates report files using the mm/dd/yy format as a filename. Oops!

Now this is only from our end of the Postal Service. The VAST majority of the automation is centered in Processing Plants in hub Cities. A single letter will run through 3 or 4 machines before it gets to the destination office. I have little doubt that mail processing is or has recieved software just as buggy as ours.

BTW, all of this software comes from Lockheed Martin (sp?) They are the people responsible for that little Mars probe mishap (meters vs feet).

Postal management does not take Y2K seriously. They spent $500 million on it, but they don't know what they're doing. We will do whatever we can next year, but manual sorting is MUCH slower. Alter your expectations accordingly.

-- MegaMe (, December 01, 1999.

Anyway, for what it's worth. My personal experiences with this are a large part of why I don't have much faith in the remediation efforts in general. As stupid as our management is, I'm afraid that they are the rule and not the exception.

-- MegaMe (, December 01, 1999


From Dale Ways Essay on Y2K:

""--- If an organization goes off half-cocked, without complete, detailed knowledge of how its 'system of sytems' works altogether in all normal and possible abnormal situations, as the vast majority of remediators have done, yet make wholesale changes as if it did have that knowledge, they are doomed to failure, unless it had many more years than the three or four most organizations have been at it. (Some agencies of the U.S. government were not being fallacious when they first said they would be ready as late as 2014. They were just being honest. Of course, that "politically unacceptable" response was quickly Squelched.) It would have been better for the whole world if this could be admitted. Then non-technical planning would have the urgency at all levels of society it deserves. But technical management and the Y2Klatura collectively do not have the brains or the guts to do that DEFINITIVELY. We will hew to our baseless confidence or pussyfoot around the obvious until the end. COLLECTIVELY WE ARE GOING TO DRIVE THE SHIP RIGHT INTO THE ICEBERG AND NOT SAY ANYTHING UNTIL THE SCEAMING STARTS AND THEN CLAIM WE DID ALL WE COULD TO MAKE EVERYTHING COMPLIANT. We-will-burn-in-HELL.--""

-- d----- (, December 01, 1999.

""--- If an organization goes off half-cocked, without complete, detailed knowledge of how its 'system of sytems' works "

I see you know the USPS.

The first time we tried to run the machines with the new version, we discovered that it was totally incompatable with the old system. It rejected all the plastic sorting cards we use to identify the seperations in the sorted mail. It could not recognize the bar codes. We had to spent about 8 man hours printing new bar code labels for all the routes. It was a stupid, simple mistake that tripled the amount of time it took to proces the mail. We discover about three days later that this particular problem had already been discovered when the software was introduced in the Chicago area. Typically poor documentation and communication prevented us from benefitting from this knowledge. This kind of thing should have been found in testing. Obviosly, it was either tested in a "sterile lab" environment, or not at all. Also, this should have been fixed before it was released, but the PO was running out of time and had to go with it "as is". We are still finding bugs. Pre-coded mailings like utility bills will probably have to be upgraded at the mailors expense to make them compatable with the new software. This is really going to make our customers mad.

-- MegaMe (, December 01, 1999.

Does this mean no junk mail next year?

-- James (, December 01, 1999.

We're not supposed to refer to 3rd class/standard mail as "junk mail". I prefer the term "Crap". 3rd Class mail is usually curtailed in December due to the increase in 1st class (Christmas cards) and parcels(presents). Also, most sale papers are already out. We usually get hit with a ton of bulk mail right after Christmas, and it takes a few weeks to get caught up. This year may be different though.

-- MegaMe (, December 01, 1999.

THANK YOU SO MUCH Megame, for your honesty and candor and detailed report. Now we need a few thousand more like you to step up to the plate and name names, companies, and problems. Bust this thing wide open. Hurray for you!

greatful zog

-- zog (, December 01, 1999.

MegaMe, may I add my thanks also for your honesty and DECENCY in alerting us to your USPS information? You are performing a real service to your fellow man in helping our perception of what the future may hold for us, as we prepare for what lies ahead. Bless you!

-- Elaine Seavey (, December 01, 1999.

Ditto - Very useful post - We need more grassroots posts like this instead of the ugly glut of chemtrail crap and now WTO crap which don't belong in this forum.

-- Guy Daley (, December 01, 1999.

Thanks megame for the information. By the way, nine fingers used to contribute about the USPS...enjoyed his contributions as well. Haven't heard from him in a while or did I miss something?

Lurker 13

-- lurker 13 (, December 01, 1999.

i used to work for the detroit bulk mail center(my hubby still does) and i can tell you. Their never ready for anything. My hubby is looking forward to a vacation on 1-1-00.

-- rebecca grove (, December 02, 1999.

I am glad to see some information about the USPS. Back in Feb 1999 i read the report described below. If you have not seen the full report, the link is at the bottom of this page.

Here is what I quoted in an article back around February of 1999.

The United States Post Office .... now here is a big problem. This report, from the Inspector General of the United States Postal Service to the subcommittee on Government Management, Information, and Technology, presents a department that is behind and working hard to catch up. On the last page of the report there is a statement "In reality, there may be more to do than time will permit." This is an important report of eleven pages in length and points out the enormous task that needs to be done. Consider that they started working on the problem in 1993 and have spent $200 million of the $607 million that they think it will take to resolve the Y2k problem. Read it yourself and make your own conclusions.

-- Jack McNeary (, December 02, 1999.


Yesterday in my small northwestern Ohio city's post office, I asked Deb, a USPS window clerk, if they had any manual backup scales. She motioned to the Unisys terminals and scales, saying, "What you see is what we have."

Apparently they have NO old manual scales in their USPS building. Where are the old machines? Gathering dust in a distant warehouse or trashed in a landfill?

And I noticed the exterior grounds of the Post Office were strewn with trash, and the grass had not been mown in over a month. But the real annoyance was the broken hinge on one of the main front doors, which would not properly close. So this morning I asked Tammie, another clerk, why the maintenance man had not fixed it. She said he had quit long ago for a better job.

Apparently nothing will be fixed or cleaned until they hire a new maintenance man or woman. Or maybe they'll maintain their hiring freeze according to the higher authorities in Toledo. These workers are not ready, and they dread the very mention of going back to the preUnisys days.

BTW, these local people do an excellent job with the limited hands they have. The real mismanagement problems are due to the clowns in Toledo.

-- dinosaur (, December 02, 1999.

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