To call the United States Postal Service cash-strapped is something of an understatement. But as the government agency slouches towards obsolescence, an interesting new money source has bubbled to the surface: booze. And it makes sense. Because who wouldn't like their mailman to bring them a box of wine with their bills?
Last week the Senate gave the okay to a number of measures meant to save the post office's bottom line (meaning possible 5-day delivery instead of 6, among other things). But, as Time puts it, "the most intriguing proposal in the Senate bill would allow the postal service to ship wine and beer around the country."
For more than a hundred years the post office hasn't been allowed to ship wine or beer, even though private carriers like UPS and FedEx have been allowed to with no problem. Blame Temperance laws! If the USPS gets its way though, that would all be in the past. But first, there are a few hurdles to jump:
First, it would have to make sure it wasn’t shipping to anyone underage. [Postmaster General Patrick] Donahoe says the post office can get around that by requiring a signature either at home or at a local post office. U.S.P.S. would also have to make sure it wasn’t delivering to states that don’t allow the shipment of out-of-state beer, wine or alcohol. For example, only 14 states allow the importation of wine from out-of-state wine retailers, while 40 states allow an out-of-state winery to ship to them, according to Tom Wark, executive director of Specialty Wine Retailers Association.
If it gets all its ducks in a row, the USPS is already plotting ways to make a buck. For example, 2-, 4-, and 6-bottle wine boxes you can ship anywhere with a flat rate. Considering that the only mail we seem to get anymore are magazines we put off reading, bills we put off opening and junk mail we put off trashing, we'd happily support adding booze we drink immediately to that list. And we imagine some thirsty sticky-fingered postmen would agree.