Of course everyone is talking about health care and the impending government takeover. the government plan is supposed to come with unicorns and rainbows I think.
Let’s look at an industry where there actually is competition between a government organization and a private enterprise. Shipping. My husband is far more qualified to cover this one, but I’m going to hit on it anyway.
I’m currently waiting on 2 packages to be delivered, each containing a pair of things that I love. One is a package containing a pair of books, the other contains a pair of shoes. The books are being shipped via the United States Postal Service. Here is the tracking information that has been provided.
Date Time Location Event Details July 30, 2009 11:45:00 AM — Arrival Scan July 28, 2009 12:05:00 PM — Arrival Scan July 28, 2009 12:23:03 AM Coffeyville KS US Shipment has left seller facility and is in transit
I’ve really no idea where the books arrived yesterday, but I know that it was not my house. They left Coffeyville, KS on Tuesday, July 28th. They are estimating delivery on Monday, August 3rd. I live in Oklahoma. For anyone that happens to be geographically challenged, that would be the state directly south of Kansas. There is nothing in between besides rolling hills and cattle.
I’ve also ordered some fantastic shoes. Yes, the ones that got away. I set a trap and got them. Here is the tracking information from UPS
Location Date Local Time Description GREENSBORO , NC , US 07/31/2009 7:44 A.M. DEPARTURE SCAN US 07/30/2009 2:26 P.M. BILLING INFORMATION RECEIVED
With a scheduled delivery date of Tuesday, August 4th. The package left Greensboro, NC (way farther away from Oklahoma) two days after the books were shipped and is slated to arrive on my doorstep only one day later. UPS gives me the option to have an email sent to me at each and every stop along the way so that I can track my beautiful shoes all the way to my house without any extra effort. I realize that is a little OCD of me, but I like to remain informed.
USPS also offers an email service, but their website is actually further behind than the tracking on Amazon’s interface. Here is the message I receive if I enter my tracking number on USPS.
The U.S. Postal Service was electronically notified by the shipper on July 29, 2009 to expect your package for mailing. This does not indicate receipt by the USPS or the actual mailing date. Delivery status information will be provided if / when available. Information, if available, is updated periodically throughout the day. Please check again later
Gee thanks. Amazon at least knows that it has already done some traveling. But just for the sake of argument, I signed up for USPS’s email notification. They tell me I should be receiving something about my package’s activity to date within 4 hours. I’ve already gotten an email from UPS.
As a bonus, I don’t know that UPS has ever pissed off an employee to the point of a murderous rage in one of their offices.
What if my doctor’s office ran like USPS? Would they even know whether or not they had the results from whatever test was just run? How long would they wait to tell me about it? What exactly would a disgruntled medical worker do to vent frustration and pent up rage? How quickly would they provide me treatment?