Mail tubs, and milk crates

There was an article in the Washington Post (which I would link to, but they don't have free archives) noting that the post office had lost an amazing number of mail tubs. They started out with 2 million of them a couple of years ago, and now they are down to 20,000. They would appreciate it if people gave them back. They are easily recognized by the "property of US Postal System" printed on them.

They are certainly nice tubs. They are very heavy corrugated plastic with a metal wire in the rim. Light, durable, with convenient handles. I would like to have a couple, personally. Unfortunately, there is no legal way to buy anything like them. The ones which mere mortals can purchase are generally cheap flimsy junk.

So, my suggestion is: Sell the miserable things! Not cheap knock-offs, the real thing, only without the "property of..." label. Given the option, I bet a lot of people would obey the law.

Milk crates have the same problem. The real ones are heavy and indestructible. They must be, milk weighs 8 pounds per gallon, with generally 4 gallons per crate. But, they are all stamped "property of..." and even more illegal to steal than regular stuff. (There are specific laws to defend milk crates, for some reason.) The ones which mortals can buy are flimsy light plastic, and would never survive being filled with books and stacked eight high. (They would otherwise make perfect bookcases.)

So: will someone please demonstrate that this capitalism thing works, and manufacture the product which people want so much they are willing to steal it?