February 21, 2013

The Postal Service is releasing a new clothing line: “Rain Heat & Snow.”

You read that correctly. I am not making this up. Because nothing says Fashion like “Nearly-Broke Federal Agency.” Hey, they needed any excuse to send catalogues, I suppose.

Everyone go home, because satire is dead. The Onion had to remove this story from its late editions after the facts caught up with it.

This was the good idea? What were the ideas they rejected? Leaving aside the fact that “Rain Heat & Snow” sounds like a terrible Earth, Wind & Fire cover band, how did this happen?

“I think we should go with fashion line,” someone said in a meeting. “I like this bake sale idea, but I don’t know where we’re going to get $1.3 billion worth of cookies.”

“We could sneak up behind some Girl Scouts with nets,” Carl volunteered from the corner. “We are stronger and have longer reach, and we could use our uniforms as camouflage.”

Everyone sighed. “Carl.”

“I still think a car wash would be a good idea,” Carl mutters. “No, wait: Dunk tank! Kickstarter! Let’s sell our hair, like those people in that O. Henry story!”

But this is probably less ridiculous than what actually happened. Allow me to quote from the Post’s article on the subject:

“This agreement will put the Postal Service on the cutting edge of functional fashion,” agency licensing manager Steven Mills said in a statement.

Who are you wearing?

“I’m wearing Postal Service.”

“Oh.”

“Yes — first-class designs at third-class prices! With a stamp of authenticity! These outfits will raise the flag on your mailbox any time, although tampering with the large blue ones is a felony.”

“Just stop.”

The Postal Service is just messing with us now, I think. They know they’re running out of money, and they are taking the You Only Live Once approach to things, crossing out as many bucket-list items as possible. “I’ve always wanted to go to France,” Carl says. “Let’s sponsor a cycling team.”

“Yeah,” the meeting says. “Hey, you know what’s on my bucket list? Fashion Week.”

Next we’ll see a bunch of Postal Service employees going sky-diving to “test new methods of delivery,” writing novels to “generate new streams of revenue,” and sending thoughtful cards to their families, daily, to explain how much they love them. Actually, that third one might be a sound company policy. Maybe they’re actually behind the indie band of the same name! Maybe “X-Men: First Class” was actually sponsored by an entire category of mail.

I understand that this is a slight exaggeration — it’s hardy outerwear, designed to incorporate electronics into your clothes, and it is by no means haute couture. And it’s not costing anything, according to what spokesman Roy A. Betts told the L. A. Times. The USPS is just collecting royalties; the actual clothes come from Wahconah Apparel Group, based in Cleveland. But it’s still going to be showcased in New York City’s Warehouse District!

The Postal Service is here with the cutting edge of functional fashion – outerwear, sportswear, casual wear, athletic wear and seasonal wear. And it won’t be sold in post offices. But, heck, if it costs nothing and makes money, it’s worth a shot. Anything is worth a shot, at this point.

I got a peek at their catalogue.


Dog included!

The clothing line is inspired by the Postal Service’s old motto — “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” Although now you can’t wear them on Saturdays.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day.