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How to save the post office? Cliff from TV’s ‘Cheers’ has a good idea

John Ratzenberger, left, and George Wendt on "Cheers"
John Ratzenberger, left, as Cliff and George Wendt as Norm on the TV show “Cheers.”
(Mark J. Terrill)

Scratch the mall. “Cheers” star John Ratzenberger thinks we should shop for Christmas gifts at the post office.

When indie-rock musician Tim Kasher reached out to Ratzenberger, who played know-it-all postal worker Cliff Clavin on the beloved 1980s sitcom, on the Cameo video shout-out service, the actor came up with a proposal.

“The post office is in a little bit of a pickle right now,” Ratzenberger said. “So I had an idea: Why not do all your Christmas shopping early at the post office store?”

Kasher asked America’s favorite postal worker to “make a plea to the American people to help save the post office” and was surprised to see Ratzenberger respond.

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“How many times is Aunt Tilly gonna be wearing that hat?” Ratzenberger quipped about bad holiday presents. “Once. Twice. But how many times will she be using those stamps?”

Ratzenberger’s suggestion comes amid “chaos and confusion” surrounding the United States Postal Service as the nation rapidly approaches the presidential election in November.

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The post office faces twin obstacles due to the coronavirus crisis: staff shortages and a drastic drop in letter mail, followed by a pivot toward mail-in voting. But Louis DeJoy, Republican Party fundraiser turned postmaster general, has shepherded in policies that have delayed mail.

The U.S. Postal Service, as well as various lawmakers, has warned states that ballots cast by mail might not arrive in time to be counted — even if they’re mailed on time. DeJoy is set to testify before the Senate on Friday about the potential for voter suppression.

On Monday, the first night of the virtual Democratic National Convention, Sen. Bernie Sanders addressed the issue.

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“At its most basic, this election is about preserving our democracy,” Sanders said. “During this president’s term, the unthinkable has become normal. He has tried to prevent people from voting, undermined the U.S. Postal Service.”

Americans began to buy stamps en masse in April, hoping to “save the post office.” And perhaps Ratzenberger knows what he’s talking about: The Cliff Clavin character, it turns out, was originally written as a security guard.

Two days before the series began shooting, that changed. A postal worker, the producers thought, would be more knowledgeable.


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