The USPS has been trying to compete, and to establish the service as a "brand", starting when they chose that new logo that replaced a somewhat natural rendition of the head of an American bald eagle. Oh, and the music for the commercials.. John Cougar?, I don't remember as it's been quite a while since I've seen one. The Priority Mail, Express and Delivery Confirmation names/features/services are all fairly recent additions, intended to persuade/convince the public that USPS is a fast, efficient, cost competitive service. In general appearances, the PM boxes are attractive, all red, white and blue, which only a commie could hate.
My USPS friend tells me the PO is an independently operating entity, not subsidized by Uncle Sam, in the way that most federal agencies are thought of.
The free PM boxes, envelopes, labels and tape were most likely intended to be worthwhile incentives for customers to use USPS. If I were a merchandiser of small products, I would choose the brightly colored PM boxes for my products, no question about it. The flat rate boxes eliminate the need for weighing, so what could be convenient/easier? (although reducing costs by weighing packages would appeal to some folks, no doubt).
I've discovered that some cheap bastards will use free PM packaging as filler in packages sent by USPS or brown, and also turn the free USPS boxes inside-out and use the box to send stuff by brown, or to avoid the extra $.50 that PM might cost over First Class or Parcel Post. The free PM boxes were clearly printed USPS inside for a while, which could've possibly prevented some of this abuse, but the inside printing was discontinued a while ago.
A customer that ships packages regularly can utilize USPS free software/tools to print shipping labels (including added features such as insurance or signature required) and place package pickup calls online too, I think.
Years ago, they apparently were thinking of the USPS as being primarily for mail (letter, catalog etc), instead of realizing the importance of parcels/packages and larger items, IMO.
The location of my local PO is too fuctup for the public to ever come around to considering it a convenient location for sending packages. There are about a dozen street parking spots on the corner. If you don't get into one of those, you'll end up humping your packages more than a city block, then have to climb 6-or-so steps after entering a door, then thru another door to get to the counter area. Recently, they installed a 24/7 kiosk for sending packages, after the steps, and only one door. One can choose to use a ramp instead of one set up steps, as the one door is also impaired accessible. None of the doors are automatic, BTW.
Until they make/retrofit the POs to be convenient for public use, not many folks are going to think of the PO as an easy solution to sending packages. I think convenient for use would mean pull up, or back up to a curb in front of a store type layout (at grade level), grab the packages and walk a short distance to a door directly adjacent to a counter for weighing, labeling (if not accomplished beforehand), and paying for the service. Then walk away with a receipt like any other retail transaction. Small stuff could be processed at a drive-thru window.
There is interaction/interplay between the USPS and the brown and orange/blue carriers. Brown has a service? where they accept small packages, process them to a regional USPS processing terminal location, then USPS hands the package over to a mail carrier/postperson to hand carry to an address. Senseless over-complication, IMO.
Crucial used this method to send me some DIMMs that never showed up, but they did re-send them, overnight FedEx. And how was that a good business solution, I wondered. The destination, BTW was a business address where brown delivers my other packages to, on a regular basis.
A USPS example I've mentioned before (metalworking), was a dividing head weighing about 80 lbs, sold on eBay, and the buyer wanted an amount quoted for shipping. The USPS amount for 2 packages was significantly lower than brown's amount for 1 package. The buyer didn't mind if I separated the parts of the DH, so it was sent USPS at a savings to the buyer.
I've used USPS money orders for years (estimated hundreds of 'em) without a single incident of a recipient claiming they hadn't been received. The newest MOs have security features similar to currency paper.. blacklight detection, watermarks and security strip. So they're not easily counterfeited and they can be traced ($5 fee) by The Inspectors, and who (what special kind of idiot) would invite trouble from those guys?
One situation resolved itself when an eBay seller was getting pissy about not receiving a money order that I'd sent. I informed him by email that he could stop assuming that I hadn't sent it, and included the MO serial number, amount, date and the address I'd sent it to. His reply was that he had moved last year, and hadn't updated his eBay payment address. The MO was still delivered to him in another city/same state, but took about
FWIW, I think the federal govt is already a brand, by way of the labor force within the BOP (bureau of prisons) in many areas of manufacturing.. electronics, bullet-resistant body gear, furniture, and numerous other products. Private US companies say they can't compete with traditionally-domestically-produced goods, and that the playing field isn't level regarding US small business competition. This has been going on for quite some time, as I remember seeing a program about these issues several years ago.
Not just liscense plates anymore. Kids.. stay in school, and don't use those brain-damaging chemicals although they might be imbedded within everyday products or your environment, home etc, but only for a good reason.