The doorball rang the other morning.  Very exciting – it was Fed Ex.  Bummer – it was for Malcolm.  Wait, why would Malcolm be getting an urgent envelope via Fed Ex?


When our 12-year-old climbed down from his bunk bed two hours later, he excitedly ripped open the tab, only to groan in disappointment.  “It’s from the Marines.” 

The Marines are looking for a few good tweens.  Times are hard indeed.  They even made a peppy follow-up phone call later that afternoon.

This isn’t a rant about the aburdity of this mix-up, like “My cat is receiving Social Security benefits!” or “My long-dead husband just got a notice that he won the lottery!”  Anecdotes of this sort have pretty much lost their luster.  Nor is it a rant against the USMC, in which my cousin Jane’s son is serving at the moment, in IRAQ.  And the USMC used to be a client at my first ad agency job.  I wondered why they were advertising in teacher magazines and that’s where I first heard the words “reaching influencers.”

No, to my mind, the important element of this story is that the USMC is wasting taxpayer dollars by sending things the most expensive way possible. Dispatching one letter and two flimsy brochures for overnight MORNING arrival via Fed Ex costs $20.  This package flew from New Jersey to Tennessee to Pennsylvania, where it was sorted, thrown onto a truck, and driven to our door, squandering all kinds of jet fuel, gas, time and energy.  The Marine’s carbon bootprint is enormous.

Memo to government drones:  you could have sent the same package via US Mail for less than $1.00, and it would’ve landed in our mailbox within one or two days, whenever Tim the postman drives up in his little boxy truck, sometime in the mid-afternoon.

That would have been in plenty of time for Malcolm’s 18th birthday.  He’s got a little growing up to do.



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