mailIf you’re to believe senior officials at the United States Postal Service, we are in the end times and that nasty, evil Internet is to blame!

According to an article from The Washington Post, the United States Postal Service is seeing its volume drop off so fast that even after an increase in rates earlier this year, there will be a loss posted for this year.  To try to combat these losses the service is removing over 100,000 drop off boxes that receive less than 25 pieces of mail per day, cutting office hours, combining delivery routes, placing hiring and raise freezes and lobbying congress to let them reduce home delivery days from six days a week to just five.

While the tone of the article, and various statements by senior postal officials, all seem to point to the reason being the Internet and email, but I think that is disingenuous at best.  There is no denying that it is indeed having some effect as people are paying bills online, sending ecards as opposed to physical birthday cards and so on, but there are also a lot of financial reasons for people to no longer send mail.

Big Dogs, one of the advertisers here on StarterTech, has stopped mailing out printed catalogs citing printing and postage costs.  Banks are reducing mailing volume in droves, and are even mentioned in the original article we linked to as desperately trying to get away from sending any mail at all.  I can speak from a personal point of view that just yesterday the only piece of snail mail I received was my copy of The Wall Street Journal.  I can not tell you the last time I received only 1 piece of mail or none at all.  We normally are drowning in the amount of mail we receive here at the StarterTech office, but the volume has been steadily declining.

There is also the aspect that companies are making an effort to go more green, and any reduction in the amount of paper used is certainly a step in that direction.

Something the Postal Service needs to consider is that raising the price for postage while also reducing the number of services customers get for their money may also be a factor.  Reducing the number of delivery days?  That’s another factor that certainly will factor into how much people want to use the service.  ”Gee, I can send an email that will get there in seconds, or can I send it by snail mail and… oops, my drop box is gone… oops, my office closed before I got there… oops, it didn’t make it there before the weekend.”

Increasing prices will reducing services is not usually a formula for success when you have a competitor that is about as close to free as you can get.

Categories: Internet, Opinion   

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