Thursday, February 7, 2013

U.S. Postal Service is going away – Deal with it

The U.S. Postal Service has been dying a slow death for years. But you can tell the end is near.
This week, the postal service announced that it will stop delivering mail on Saturdays in a cost-saving move, starting in August. It will continue to deliver packages on Saturdays, but not regular mail. Congress could still step in and force the post office to deliver mail on Saturdays though, but they’d be missing the point.
The U.S. Postal Service is no longer needed. It’s been replaced by the Internet for many uses. Email has replaced letters and online payments have replaced paper bills. Magazines and DVDs by mail are being replaced by digital alternatives. And UPS and FedEx have taken up the businesses of package and express delivery. What’s left is a lot of junk mail.
The U.S. Postal Service won’t go away overnight. But if it did, Americans would get by. They’d adapt. Still, legislators will prop it up for years to come to get the votes of nostalgic voters and postal workers.
A poll on Yahoo News today showed that most online readers (81%) wouldn’t be upset if the postal service stopped Saturday delivery. They see the writing on the wall. The postal service lost $15.9 billion last year. It will have to make drastic changes to survive, including closing thousands of post office branches nationwide.

Related reading:

U.S. Post Office Plans to Stop Saturday Mail Deliveries (Bloomberg; Feb. 7, 2013)

Goodbye Saturday Mail? Postal Service Plans Cuts (AP, ABC News; Feb. 6, 2013)

Photo: Mail delivery trucks by photographer Kristoffer Tripplaar. He’s made a hobby out of taking pictures of old post offices. He posts them on his webpage for the Post Office Project.
Tripplaar told the New York Times that he’s drawn to the “modern-day ruin” of the postal service. “I’ve always been fascinated with broken-down things that are fading away,” he said. “It’s slowly dying.” 

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