Archive for January 17th, 2022

Here comes the USPS … with 500 million free test kits.

January 17, 2022

Just wondering: What could possibly go wrong?
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OK, as the omicron shockwave is showing some signs of peaking, Biden’s mass ordering of in-home rapid test kits is going to launch this week.

A simple plan: Tens of millions of Americans place online orders for free test kits (maximum 4 per “address”) …  7 to 12 days later, the order gets shipped via the USPS … a couple of days later the kits start hitting mailboxes around the country … and over 100 million sharp-as-tack Americans try to figure out when and how to use the kits.

Might work…

Call me cynical, but I think there may be some potential holes in this plan:

> Web site crashes: According to the AP, “Administration officials say they are cognizant that any launch of a website carries some risks”. You don’t say. Envision Obama’s Healthcare.gov web site getting as many as 100 million front-ended hits.

> The Supply Chain: Since purchase orders have just been placed (or are still in process), who knows when the 500 million will actually hit government warehouses?

> Snail mail: Again, successful online orders “will be shipped in 7 to 12 days” … delivery “a couple of days later” — may be optimistic with 500 million test kits floating around an erratic postal system

> Lost in the mail: Any chance some of the kits fall into some USPS dark hole or get misdirected?

> Hijacked mail: The test kits will be the most valuable “bulk rate” mailing since the 2020 mail-in election ballots. Act surprised when people start reporting that they didn’t get their test kits.

> Black market resales: The kits will have value for people who need them but, for whatever reason, can’t score enough for their household. Watch for “free” government supplied test kits showing up on the internet “not for free”.

> Customer service: What if your kits don’t arrive in your mailbox? Who do you call to resolve the problem? Good luck.

> Counterfeits: Once the internet black market starts up (and it will!), the counterfeit and unregulated kits from China are sure to follow.

> Too Late to Matter: Since the kits won’t be arriving until late January – more likely February – omicron will hopefully be past us. What to do with the kits? Will they be able to detect the omega variant?

Note: Omega is the last of the 24  letters in the Greek alphabet, but not necessarily the last covid variant.

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Bottom line: High likelihood that this rollout will make the Afghan evacuation look like a Swiss watch.

Hope I’m wrong, I’d like to score a couple of kits … especially if my fellow taxpayers are footing the bill.

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P.S. I would have drafted Amazon to do order processing and fulfillment.  They could handle the volume and the 1-per-address rule. Why craft a new government system on-the-fly? Dumb.


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