I was going to limit this post to praising the US Post Office, but that doesn't really fit my rambling style, so I'll comment on a few other government agencies that seem to do a pretty good job. In general, people don't enjoy having to interface with government. When was the last time you heard someone talk joyfully about the last time they had to get a building permit, went to the DMV, spoke with the IRS or has an impromptu meeting with the police? It's pretty rare.
But some of my experiences contrast with this. My local post office is fantastic. The lines are never long, and yesterday I sent two small packages out, one to either coast. Including the cost to use their packaging the total cost was less than $10. That's pretty impressive, and I'm relatively sure they will get to their destination in a couple days. UPS would have cost me double that. That's one way the Post Office still is the leader, cost effective mailing of letters and small packages. They do a great job for a very affordable price.
Now yes, sometimes the post office loses stuff. Sometimes UPS and Fed-Ex do as well. But the last time I looked at the stats, all have very low rates of loss or damage.
Another way my post office is great is the lobby is open 24 hours. If I want to mail a package at 11pm, I can walk in and use the automated machine to buy postage and drop it in the bin to be sent out the next day. It's very handy. Their little kiosk also allows for buying of stamps and you can get at your PO Box any time you like. Bravo! For the person who mails an occasional package and runs out of time before he can make it out to the shops when they close, it's perfect. I'm a big fan.
I also really like my local DMV. The people there are all friendly and helpful. Now, technically it's not a government office, it's a privately owned business doing the Dept of Revenue work. But, most of the DMV's in my state are, and not all are pleasant. It's a pain to have to jump through hoops just to own stuff, but the act is always pleasant at my local DMV. It makes me hopeful that other offices are run just as well.
Lastly, my state conservation department does a lot of great work for a tiny budget compared to most agencies. They offer classes on a variety of outdoor topics, training for landowners, maintain public hunting land, rivers and shooting ranges, issue affordable hunting and fishing licenses and work to keep poaching down. They truly help make my state a better place and for a very reasonable cost.
Anyway, I just wanted to take a moment to offer some positive experiences I've had with government, since too often I tend to only advertise the times when they are failing us. The agencies that work well give me hope for the ones that don't.