You’ve Got Mail! On Second Thought, Maybe Not.
July 27, 2011 Leave a comment
“You’ve Got Mail.” No, not that kind of mail. Snail mail, delivered to your mailbox via the United States Postal Service. However, according to the Postmaster General you’re not getting enough snail mail and the USPS may be forced to shutter some 3,700 post offices around the U.S. A list of possible closure sites was released, Connecticut has 15 offices on the chopping block, however most locations were the second or even third (or more) locations within a single city.
But, is this a bad thing? They are closing post offices because folks aren’t flocking to them.
The Postmaster General has lamented that Americans are sending less first class mail and turning more to email and other forms of communication. Thinking this is deja vu all over again? You’re right. As recently as 2009, the USPS had big plans for closing under-utilized post offices in an effort to close a growing budget gap. And National Public Radio recently reported that the mail service hadn’t posted a profit since 2006.
As with the last round of threatened closures, it ain’t over until it’s over. The New Haven Independent reports that area residents have a 60-day period to chime in on the planned closures and no final closure decisions will be made until December.
The recent news has people waxing nostalgic of times gone by when they’d visit their local post office. However, that’s the problem. For many, a visit to the post office is no longer part of the routine, rather its a memory of a time in the past. Going to the post office to mail a letter, buy stamps and pick up a package. Now you can buy stamps online, have the letter carrier pick your package up from your doorstep and if you need to go to the post office, you may be guided to use an automated machine for basic services.
As a child the post office was a spacious and curious place. It seemed like an endless amount of post office boxes were there, they provided so much mystery. Now, I associate the post office with an endless line. Waiting and hoping I didn’t mess up on the form I need to fill out to send a package to a friend, regretting having not printed a shipping label from my home computer. The mystery is gone, the fun is no more. The post office has turned from an adventure into agony. I wonder if mini post offices inside of the places you go every day isn’t a better and more convenient way. Maybe change isn’t so bad. So long as I don’t need exact change for one of those automated machines.
I’m not even going to touch on the desire for Saturday delivery elimination. But with regard to the closures, I get the closure hurt rural areas. Maybe a closer look needs to be given to areas where a smattering of post officers are within minutes of each other and let the rural locations stand, so long as they get some kind of traffic that justifies their existence. If not… You’ve got no mail.