InsideOut Online

Highlighting the Houston District

A penny at the pump creates a staggering impact on the Postal Service

When the price of gasoline goes up, we all feel the pinch and our budgets are affected. So, can you imagine the financial impact on the Postal Service? The numbers are staggering …

When the price of gasoline increases by one cent per gallon, it costs the Postal Service an additional $8 million a year; which equates to $21,917.81 a day or $153,424.66 a week; and that’s just an increase of one cent.

Recently regular unleaded gasoline has increased an average of 55 cents a gallon, that arithmetic is hard to swallow… but, basically , if gasoline stays at its current rate, we will incur an extra $440 million this year alone.

When these types of economic impacts affect other businesses they adjust their prices by adding a gasoline surcharge to their service fees; the Postal Service on the other hand does not have the ability or flexibility to make these types of changes when necessary.

So what do we do?

When we face shortfalls in our personal budgets, hindsight shows that we always look for ways to adjust. We develop what economists call scale of preference; and it should be the same for us at work. We should cut wasteful consumption of gasoline by always traveling on straight lines. We should turn off our engines when our vehicles are not traveling. We should look for ways to conserve.

Summer months are almost here, and it is projected that regular unleaded gas will rise to $4 a gallon. That would add $800 million this year in additional expenses. Who has that kind of money? Not the Postal Service.

April 2, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Caught In The Nick of Time

handcuffsHouston District Employees recently put a halt to a rash of bad checks written for the purchase of stamp products by a “hot check writing bandit.”  Thanks to the actions of the Heights Finance Station employees, time ran out for this individual on March 1, 2013. 

Beginning in January, 2013 the suspect visited several offices daily. With worthless checks in hand, she attempted to purchase between 5 to10 coils of stamps at each location. With each coil valued at $46, her transactions would average between $230 and $460 on each occurrence. Successfully striking various offices throughout the city several times per month, her scheme was beginning to add-up to thousands of dollars in lost revenue for the Postal Service and the Houston District.

That all came to an end on March 1, 2013 when Window Clerk Shirley Ray, recognized the woman as someone who had previously written a bad check; and when the suspect requested to purchase five coils of stamps, Shirley knew exactly what she needed to do. Maintaining her composure, Shirley told the suspect she needed to retrieve the coils from the back, taking that opportunity to inform Beverly Mathews, the T-7, of the situation,. Beverly contacted Postal Police and the Houston Police Department. 

Shirley continued to delay the woman’s departure by stating she had to look something up on the computer . Meanwhile Beverly went to the back door to meet the HPD officer. The suspect became uneasy after feeling like something was going on and attempted to leave.  As Beverly escorted the police into the front lobby, they found the woman attempting to hide in the lobby… Caught in the nick of time.

According to the National Check Fraud Center, “check fraud and counterfeiting are among the fastest growing problems affecting the nation’s financial system, producing an estimated annual loss of $10 billion.”

Thanks again Shirley and Beverly for a job well done.

April 2, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Solomon Hagger Jr. says so long after 36 years of Service

SolomonHaggerHouston District’s most celebrated Sales and Services Associate, Solomon Hagger Jr. of Southmore Station, has officially retired after 36 years of a rewarding career with the Postal Service. Known for his ability to convince even the most difficult and unwilling customer to buy postal products, Solomon said he was somewhat reluctant back in 1986 to change functions and become a clerk at the Southmore Station; however, his decision to move forward has served the district, our customers, and himself very well.

“When the new Southmore Station was built about five years ago I really tried to make a difference in ensuring my customers had a good experience each and every time they choose to do business with us. I can honestly say I believe my efforts paid off.”

We here, in the Houston District believe you are right Solomon; we will truly miss you and your contagious smile.

April 1, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Avoid the App

AppThrift Savings Plan (TSP) officials are urging federal employees to steer clear of a new third-party application that may be phishing for personal information about their TSP government retirement accounts.

A free iPhone app called TSP Funds, currently being offered through the Apple App store, asks TSP participants for their account login information. “This app is not being offered through the TSP and the TSP does not recommend using this application to access your TSP account,” said a TSP statement. “Providing this information could result in a security risk to your account.”

For employees who have downloaded TSP Funds, the Postal Service recommends deleting the app and changing the passwords to their TSP accounts.

The Government Executive’s app for iPhone and Android, which features a TSP ticker with up-to-date information on all TSP funds, does not ask for account information.

April 1, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Just where does April Fools Day come from

aprilFoolHave you ever wondered what is with certain days of the year? Let’s take, for instance, April Fools’ Day. All Fools’ Day, more widely known as April Fools’ Day, is not a National holiday; but, it is recognized and celebrated in many countries.

There are many different legends about the origin of the holiday. One popular thought on its origin is that it started somewhere in France in the mid-1500s, when the people adopted the Gregorian calendar in the place of the Julian calendar. This adjustment of the calendar changed the New Year date from April 1 to January 1.

Not everyone heard about the date change. Some of those who knew about it were not happy with the change. Some continued to celebrate on April 1, and continued their customs of visiting neighbors and friends and exchanging gifts. People who did accept the change began making fun of those who refused to accept the new date. They would play practical jokes on the April 1 devotees by inviting them to fake celebrations. The people who refused to accept the new calendar became known as April Fools. Over the years, the tradition has spread to many countries and has become a day of harmless pranks and hoaxes on friends and family.

Currently many websites list some of the most famous April Fools’ Day pranks. Even the media have jumped into the fun on occasion. In 1957, a British television show ran a small segment about the spaghetti weevil being mild for the year and stated it would be a bumper crop for spaghetti that year. They showed strands of spaghetti hanging from a tree and received hundreds of inquiries from viewers asking how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. Read some of the most famous hoaxes pulled off here:

April 1, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Houston District’s Barbara Pierce has won the 2012 “Volunteer of the Year” award, presented by the Texas Gulf Coast Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). The coveted award which was first bestowed in 2006 to a former coordinator employed by the Houston Passport Office, honors coordinators whose actions go above and beyond the call of duty to secure contributions for the CFC.

Barbara’s efforts surpassed those of 111 coordinators from other federal agencies in the Texas Gulf region to earn the award. She was cited for her leadership and commitment in running a successful campaign that netted $146,000 in employee contributions from the North Houston Plant; accounting for 26% of all contributions by Houston District employees

April 1, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment