Sign of the times

The Postal Service has modified procedures for letter carriers to help them practice social distancing while delivering mail and packages.

For example, carriers should avoid ringing a customer’s doorbell when possible. When knocking on a customer’s door, the carrier should avoid areas that may be frequently touched.

When a carrier delivers an item that requires a customer’s signature, USPS is advising the carrier to maintain a safe, appropriate distance.

The carrier should then ask the customer for his or her first initial and last name and enter this information in the carrier’s Mobile Delivery Device. When prompted, the carrier should print his or her initials, route number and the notation C19 instead of asking the customer to enter a signature.

Additionally, carriers should politely ask the customer to step back a safe distance or close the door so the carrier can leave the item in the mail receptacle or another appropriate location.

Also, if there are delivery points on a carrier’s route where social distancing recommendations are difficult to follow, the carrier should alert his or her supervisor so alternative delivery methods can be explored.

USPS managers and supervisors began delivering a mandatory stand-up talk last week to explain the new procedures to carriers and other employees.

The Postal Service’s COVID-19 Blue and LiteBlue pages have additional resources for employees.

Every contribution counts

Now that Clerks Care has crossed the $1 billion sales threshold, the Postal Service is looking toward the next milestone for the program: $2 billion.

Clerks Care, one of several programs that encourage employees to provide sales leads that can help USPS win new business, hit the $1 billion mark this month. This means the program has generated more than $1 billion in estimated annualized revenue since its launch in 2013.

The Postal Service now wants to double that amount — and it’s relying on employees like Claudia Chan to make it happen.

Chan, a retail associate at the Montgomery Post Office near Houston, recently served the owner of an automotive business who mentioned he was looking for a new way to ship his products.

Chan used Clerks Care to submit the owner’s contact information to a Houston District business development specialist, who followed up with him. After their discussion, the owner decided to begin shipping his products through USPS — a sale that will generate more than $36,000 in estimated annualized revenue for the Postal Service.

“Employees like Claudia Chan make a difference,” said Mary Anderson, small-business engagement director at USPS headquarters in Washington, DC. “She demonstrates that when everyone does their part, we can attract new customers and build our business.”

In addition to helping Clerks Care reach its next milestone, the Postal Service wants all of its lead-sharing programs to bring in $1 billion in estimated annualized revenue before the current fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

This initiative, called the Race for a $Billion campaign, has generated more than $447 million so far.

The Sales Blue page has more information about each program, as well as the latest district rankings in Race for a $Billion.

Fore to pour

Before there was an Arnold Palmer stamp, there was an Arnold Palmer drink.

The iconic golfer who was honored with a Forever stamp this month also has a beverage named after him — a classic concoction that combines iced tea and lemonade.

For years, there were different stories about how the beverage came to carry Palmer’s name, including one theory that he invented the drink in the dining hall at his alma mater, Wake Forest University.

Palmer set the record straight in a 2012 edition of ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary series, explaining that his late wife, Winnie, was making iced tea one day when he had a flash of inspiration.

“‘Hey babe, I’ve got an idea,’” he recalls telling Winnie. “‘You make the iced tea and make a big pitcher, and we’ll just put a little lemonade in it and see how that works.’”

Palmer loved the combination — and so did his fans, who helped popularize it.

One day in the late 1960s, while ordering lunch in a restaurant, Palmer asked the waitress for a mixture of iced tea and lemonade. A woman sitting nearby overheard the order and requested the same thing: “I’ll have that Arnold Palmer drink.”

Palmer, who also was a successful businessman and philanthropist, later established a long-term licensing arrangement with Arizona Beverages for the production of a commercial version of the drink in a variety of flavors.

Today, the company produces more than 400 million cans a year, according to Palmer’s website.

When making the drink at home, fans have their own preferences — some use unsweetened iced tea, while others like sweet tea — and there’s also a debate about how much lemonade to use.

Palmer had his opinions, too.

“Iced tea dominates the drink,” he says in the ESPN documentary. “And if it doesn’t, it’s not really right.”