February 06, 2013

Post Office: Stamps go up & Saturday delivery goes down

The big news today is that the Post office continues to go through changes, adapting their services to the way we live now.

First developed when the only way to get communication to someone else in the country was by writing a real letter (yes, by hand. Usually with a quill dip pen or something equally charming) they pioneered methods of carrying those letters by hand to their intended recipients, including the days of the Pony Express.  Today things have changed dramatically with people using email for mid to long-form communications and SMS texting for shorter messages. It's no secret that many have thought of the post office and letters in general as outdated and passe. Many young adults today haven't mailed anything hand-written in years, maybe even since their last letter to Santa. And so the recent announcement that the Post Office will be eliminating Saturday delivery service doesn't come as much of a shock. It is a bit puzzling though, as they maintain that "some things" will still be delivered. So how much of a savings is it if there will still be some delivery on Saturdays?

In all of this decline in their business, there is one bright spot: the one place the Post Office still shines is with package delivery and it makes sense: we're ordering more things from greater distances than ever before and while it's digital transactions that make it all happen you still need a carrier to get that item physically to your door. 

Let's hope these latest changes, including the cost of a stamp going up by one cent (a stamp now costs 46 cents which apparently many people don't pay attention to; check out this video of people being quizzed about the current stamp prices) help the Post Office survive these challenges and even thrive. For them to close their doors would be a terribly short-sighted and we would lose an important American institution.

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