108 years later, delivery still slower than an ox and stubborn as a mule
Some things never change.
There are many cases where we can take comfort in that fact, but there are also instances where it’s just plain unfortunate.
For example I’m currently experiencing the same problem the editor of this newspaper was complaining about 108 years ago – the inability of the U.S. Postal Service to deliver newspapers to neighboring counties in a reasonable amount of time. Our local postal workers do a great job of getting the paper delivered in Yazoo County, but folks in neighboring counties would sometimes be better served if we sent our news out by smoke signal or strapped to the ankles of pigeons.
Each week I take several calls from readers in nearby counties like Madison, Hinds, Holmes and Rankin wondering if their paper is ever going to arrive or complaining about how long it takes. My brother lives in Ridgeland and he said he sometimes gets two or three papers at once, always at least a week or two behind schedule.
At first I thought that this was just an example of the declining ability of our government-run services to function, but one observant reader pointed out to me that this problem has existed for over a century.
Nan Harvey, a Yazoo native living in Jackson, sent me a letter this week informing me that it has been weeks since she has received a Herald. Along with her letter, Harvey enclosed a clipping from the Jan. 3, 1902 edition of The Yazoo Herald that appeared under the headline “Slow Mail Services.”
The article follows:
“Uncle Sam, there is no doubt, has some fast mail service and some that is exceedingly slow – so much so that an ox team would excel it in speed. Heralds mailed at the Yazoo City Post Office on Friday afternoon are read Sunday morning following in New York; the Wednesday following in Seattle and Tacoma, Washington, and nine days after being mailed in Hamburg, Germany. This is good and satisfactory service, as New York is about 1,000 or 2,000 miles distant; Seattle and Tacoma about 2,000, and Hamburg not less than 3,000.
Now for the reverse: Kearney is an office 30 miles Southwest of Yazoo City. It is supposed to have a tri-weekly mail service each way, yet our subscribers tell us that it takes nine days for The Herald to reach them. The papers are mailed at Yazoo City Friday afternoon and Saturday afternoon of the following week they are received in Kearney. Only two changes are made after leaving Yazoo City, one at Anding and one at Satartia. Now an ox team could do better than this and for the sake of the reputation of the U.S. Mail Service and its officials, we trust the matter will be looked after.”
My predecessor shouldn’t have been so trusting. It would probably be a lot harder to scrap up an ox team these days, but I’d still put my money on one over the postal service when it comes to out of town mailing. The mail no longer stops in Anding or Satartia, but it seems that once it gets to Jackson somewhere along the way folks just can’t be bothered to get the mail out in a timely manner. Maybe they should let our local postal workers conduct a seminar and show them how it’s done.
We’ll keep pushing for better service, but so far my experience has shown that while they may be slower than an ox they can be just as stubborn as mules. In the meantime subscribers might want to check out the new and improved online edition. There’s a free digital edition available for subscribers and you can see everything that’s in the paper. If you don’t subscribe to the print edition it costs $5 a month or $50 for the year.
Just give us a call, and we’ll set you up. It will at least give you something to do while you’re sitting around waiting on the mailman.