Technology is slowly killing the U.S. Postal Service

July 26, 2009

Technology is slowly killing the U.S. Postal ServiceHave you noticed the volume of mail you receive has been steadily declining? Well, even if you haven’t, the United States Postal Service certainly has, and it’s forcing them in to making some tough decisions about the future.

The Postal Service says that it expects mail volume to fall from an all time high of 213 billion pieces of mail in 2006 to a projected 170 billion in 2010.  This reduction in volume is for all of the reasons one could easily suspect such as people paying bills online, no longer sending birthday cards or anniversary cards in the mail, even some people are now asking for RSVPs to weddings to be done online as opposed to the old method of including a pre-stamped envelope.

To combat this reduction in volume, the service is taking some extreme measures to try to stem the financial loss.  According to The Washington Post, the most visible of these steps is the removal of hundreds of thousands of under performing drop off boxes around the country.  Any drop box that is receiving less than 25 pieces of mail a day has been marked for removal and will either be stored in a warehouse or sold off for scrap.  Some of the other things that are being done is a consolidation of routes and a reduction in the number of hours some offices are open, hiring and raise freezes.  The biggest change may come after postal officials go before congress next month to ask for home delivery to be reduced form six days a week to five, a tactic that has been mentioned for decades, but it has never been successful.

One of the new approaches that are being taken to try to reduce cost as a major push to get more people to print postage and mail items from their homes as opposed to using drop boxes or going to various post offices.

Will the postal service go away?  Doubtful, but you may continue to see a reduction in services as the entity continues to tighten its belt in the face of the modern Internet age.

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5 Responses to “Technology is slowly killing the U.S. Postal Service”

  1. GoingLikeSixty:

    At least the USPS is taking steps to react.

    Home Delivery of main 6 days a week isn’t needed. But that is such a political hot potato it probably won’t change for another decade.

  2. GoingLikeSixty:


  3. JohnJ:

    While tech is certainly having an impact, the floundering economy is also impacting the mail biz. Specifically, the bank’s tightened credit roles have reduced the number of “pre-approved” credit offers they mail. Physical mailings of advertisements seems to be down (comparable to the reduction of print advertisement supplements in the newspaper).

    You can now opt out of most mailed advertisements as well via the direct marketing association’s web site.

    I think that, like many things, there is no one cause. It is a cumulative effect of may factors.

    Personally, I see no reason to not drop from 6 days to 5 for home delivery, but I would prefer to keep Saturdays so dropping Wednesday or Thursday would be my suggestion.

    And if the PO would stop selling valued stamps and only sell the “forever” stamps for first class postage, I’d see no problem with simply anticipating a 1-2 cent hike every year. Having to buy those 1 or 2 cent stamps in order to use up a surplus is frickin’ annoying.

  4. Aquaadverse:

    The fact that not just one, but two companies enjoyed explosive growth while a government backed monopoly has been in a couple of decade slide into insolvency is a good example of why so many hesitate to hand over direct management of the health care system to the federal government.

    Spending money you haven’t earned to manage processes and make decisions that don’t directly effect your pay or job security invites sloppiness even more than it does greed.

    It’s not like UPS and Fedex had some kind of huge advantage in resources, a smaller coverage area or took exotic packages for most of the time they’ve existed.

    Yeah, the Postal Service had a huge load of cheap letters and junk mail they had to deliver but it’s not like email is a new thing.

  5. lorraine drake:


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