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One day during his tenure as America's Postmaster general, Winton Blount called a meeting of senior United States Postal Service (USPS) executives demanding an explanation for a growing number of delivery problems.

"I've been listening patiently for three hours," Blount finally exclaimed, "and all I want is a simple answer to a simple question:

"If it is neither snow nor rain nor heat for gloom of night that stays the couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds, then precisely what is the trouble!?"

[The apartment of a Chicago postman was once found to contain dozens of bags of undelivered mail, countless books and magazines, and more than 10,000 CDs from music clubs. Undeliverable mail is also a problem: some 100 million letters and more than 1 million parcels end up at the USPS Mail Recovery Center in St. Paul, Minnesota every year; 3,600 pounds of mail is shredded every day. "If you could see the love letters that end up in the shredder!" mail-recovery clerk Vera Schneider once told Smithsonian magazine. "The romances that are lost! Sometimes, they'll be signed, 'Guess Who?' Well guess what? Shredder!"]

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