Is Email Killing the Post Office?

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Is Email Killing the Post Office?
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Is email killing the post office? It’s not a new question. In fact, it’s been around nearly as long as the mainstream use of email itself, but it’s also not gone away, and the USPS has seen better days. I’m not normally one to buy too much into the typical x is killing y kind of hype, but the Postal Service is clearly severely injured.

Do you think email is killing the post office, or at least contributing to its demise? Share your thoughts here.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek has put out a lengthy report looking at the decline of the USPS and its contributing factors. While the seven-page pice just briefly touches upon the subject of email, comparing the performance of the USPS to that of FedEx, UPS, and DHL, as well as counterparts in other countries, there’s no question that email and online communication in general have done their fair share of damage.

People have been using email for years now, and despite some predicting the death of email (at the hands of social media), it’s clear that it’s hear to stay for quite some time. Even if email were to die, it wouldn’t do much to help the postal service.

As we’ve seen just in the past week alone, email is an incredibly important part of business for companies like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Twitter. Even Facebook has its own email now, and social networks all still rely on email to keep users engaged – that goes for the professionals too (ie: the newly public LinkedIn).

In a recent study, 45% said that their use of email at work will most likely increase in the next five years. 51% said that it would likely stay the same. Only 4% thought it would decrease. At home, 36% of those surveyed thought their email use will increase, 55% said it will stand pat and 6% said it will likely decrease.

The majority of important online communication still takes place through email, whether that be B2B or B2C. C2C online communication may be trending more toward social media, but again, email still plays a role here, in terms of notifications, and there is still plenty of C2C communication through email. Even from heavy users of social media. Not everyone is on the same social network. That even goes for Facebook. Email is universal. You pretty much need an email address to have any kind of account online.

The rise of mobile, and smartphones in particular, must also play a role, as it caters to increased use in email and social media, not to mention text messaging, and even….the phone call! The point is, communication is always as close as your pocket. It’s a lot easier and cheaper (at least on an individual interaction basis) than writing letters. And it’s in real time.

“With the rise of e-mail and the decline of letters, mail volume is falling at a staggering rate, and the postal service’s survival plan isn’t reassuring,” Devin Leonard says in the Bloomberg BusinessWeek report, noting that the USPS is the country’s second-largest civilian employer after Walmart (with more post offices than the retail outlets of Walmart, Starbucks and McDonald’s combined). Last year its revenues were $67 billion, with even greater expenses, he says.

According to the report, first-class mail, which the USPS gets the majority of its money from, has been steadily declining, and in 2005 fell below junk mail for the first time. Total mail volume has decreased 20% just from 2006 to 2010. The USPS hasn’t been able to cover its annual budget in three years.

Well, there’s still packages right? Sure, but there’s also stiff competition from companies like FedEx, UPS, and DHL, along with an increase in digital goods replacing physical goods. Think movies, music, and books. Amazon, the largest retailer on the web, announced last week that Kindle books are outselling print books. Never mind that there are a bunch of free ones too.

Plus, everybody’s going paperless these days. The Director of Physical Infrastructure at the U.S. Government Accountability Office is quoted as saying, “What happens when Bank of America or Citigroup says you are going to have to pay to get your statement on paper? That’s going to change a lot of behavior. It’s going to affect the postal service. That’s how they make most of their money.”

The Bloomberg BusinessWeek report includes some interesting ideas on how the Postal Service could get back on track, at least to some extent, but the outlook is looking pretty bleak. You have to wonder what this will mean for the future of digital communication like email.

Are email taxes on the horizon? Tell us what you think.

Is Email Killing the Post Office?
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  • http://thewebsensesolution.com Jon

    If the postal services of the world are worried, they need to get ahead of the trend and introduce groundbreaking new services. I feel no sympathy for businesses that stand idly by and watch themselves fail. Be creative, try some new things and get back on track.

  • http://www.winarto.in Winarto

    I don’t think so because it is very fascinated to write and read a handwriting letter. I feel happy to do that.

  • Martin

    If the Post Office could deliver a first class letter as promised, next day, undamaged, reliably, then maybe just maybe they could survive. So no chance then.

  • sniper

    As an internet retailer. All I can say is that it used to pay to use postal priority for 3.95. But rate hike after rate hike. Shipping a small item I might as well use ups. At least I get tracking. And ups is always on time. Why can’t postal promise delivery times when charging ups rates. Also. All. I mean all of our packages for postal get stolen somewhere when picked up. I contacted evveryone. No one cares. To ship postal we have to drop it off to the post office. What a pain. We do this only for po and international shipments. The post office did this to themselves. Subpar service. Theft. And raising rates to ups levels. I mean come on. How can you charge ups rates for an inferior product. Supplies also takes 3 weeks to come and if in a hurry even going to the local post office they are out of supplies. The local post office always have long lines because every form is hand filled and you need 5 forms to do a few things ups handles on one. Us postal is a joke and no one cares. And they just want to keep blaming email.

  • http://www.mybabygiftbasketsandmore.com Joyce

    Yes, I also think email is killing the post office. I know I personally do not use the post office except at Christmas for mailing a package on occasion. With email and social media(Facebook, MySpace, etc) just sending out letters is almost obsolete.

  • Jeff Davies

    They have it coming to them and have only themselves to blame. Continual extortionate rises in the cost of postage stamps coupled with the biggest rip-off of all, double charging for the same service; Postage costs charged according to not only the weight of the package but the size of the envelope as well!!! Pure, pure greed!

    I am a member of several voluntary organisations and we now only use email to broadcast messages because to use the postal service would mean the costs would be far too much, forcing continual member subscription rises and I’m sure this would then lead to us having less members and eventually the organisations would break up!

  • leffrey

    I feel that the Post Office is partly killing themselves. I am missing at least 1 financial statement from my mail every month and I get at least 10 letters addressed to other people. I have switched almost all of my billing to paperless because of this.

    1. As far as personal friendly emails, I don’t think that this has taken much volume away from the post office, because it was probably a small part of the volume.
    2. Business contracts, statements, invoices, etc will take much of the mail volume away. But I myself would have preferred getting a paper invoice by mail until paperless methods are perfected – but I will not risk my statements getting into other peoples hands and I also won’t risk missing a credit card payment if the bill never shows up (this has happened 5 or 6 times in the last year from 5 monthly credit card statements).
    3. But the article is playing down the increase in parcel volume. It must be tremendous. They don’t even need to be so competitive to keep much of that increased volume. But here also, with our company they will lose it. They are missing key ingredients. Point to point tracking with 1st class and Priority. Consistent delivery times (UPS and Fedex gaurantee this too). Not business sensitive on the delivery side…if they try to deliver and the business is not open, they leave a note to come pick it up instead of trying to redeliver….where UPS and Fedex will re-try 2 more times. Our delivery person is lazy and will not bring anything that needs to be signed up one flight and just leaves the orange note causing us to have to go to the post office, pay for parking and then wait in a 30 minute line to get it. And last but not least they make it very difficult for a company to setup daily pickups. Also, try navigating their phone menus to get some help when an Express package doesn’t make it to it’s destination….you will hangup in frustration. But when you call their competitors, it is simple.

    USPS has a foot into every door. If they just got their act together, they could easily STEAL the delivery business. But I guess from seeing the failure of DHL taking over Airborne Express, it shows how difficult it must be to re-invent itself. I still think that with 4 or 5 changes, USPS can steal the market – but maybe they just don’t want the market???

  • http://www.rwrinnovations.com Ron Nixon

    Yes it is.

    Years ago the Post Office lost a golden opportunity. Imagine if the post office had setup a Western Union type of system where a postcard could be sent from one post office to another. They had offices all over the country, an established delivery system, a market for the service and very little competition.

    Unfortunately they got bogged down in privacy issues. (I never understood this since there is nothing private about a postcard.)

    The post office still has dedicated people on its payroll. Unfortunately they are saddled with rules and regulations that make it difficult for them to make a profit. And, based on my own experience and that of my dad who retired from the post office; they have many incompetent political appointees and managers who should be fired and replaced.

    I hope someone finds a way to save the post office and the loyal, hard-working empolyees who faithfully deliver our mail.

  • Gary Spencer

    The answer is No, email is not killing the post office, in fact in the last 10 years mail has actually increased thanks to more marketing junk, ebay sales and internet ordering. The thing that is killing the PO is more to do with outdated practices and also their insistence to increase prices way beyond inflation thereby encouraging more and more companies and ebay sellers to use courier services. It is their OWN FAULT

  • http://na Doug D.

    My 2 cents.. Kudos to the mail carriers, it is a hard job, door to door in all weather, but on the flip side every time i walk into a post office, they are slow, very slow, and you feel a sense of .. how do i put it.. they are not there for the customer, that its a bother for them to help you.. never a sense of urgency to speed up to make the line go away.. all in all, i feel they feel.. they have a government job and they are going to milk it to the end.. which is very close, which indecently makes me very angry, because i am retired military and always had to produce.

  • BRDolz

    I agree with sniper, I am also in internet sales and would much rather use FedEx to ship our packages, delivery is done within 4 days and they can be tracked. The business in sending personal letters may have shrunk, however there is a new business in internet sale of products and that has grown. As with all government run business the USPS does not run for profit instead run by the Unions, it is killing itself.

  • http://www.citycats.biz Bev

    There is no doubt in my mind that email is behind the huge postage increases we have seen in the past couple of years. Will it be the demise of the USPS? Only time will tell.

    But, one thing is clear. The huge postage increases will likely be one of the reasons behind the demise of small businesses that depend upon reasonable shipping rates.

  • mintjulep

    I do a fair amount of shipping and would choose USPS over FedX and certainly UPS any day. My packages are small and the rates, until this last increase for 2nd oz, have been extremely reasonable. But I agree there appears to be a lot of mismanagement at USPS. They’ve been tossing around non-delivery on Sat for a long time. Just do it, I can’t imagine we can’t get by with 5 day delivery. As far as standing in lines, I can’t remember the last time I had to do that, with on-line postage thru USPS and Pay-Pal and with USPS pick up at your door with an email request, I never go to the post office except for international shipping. An inexpensive digital scale and the USPS web site make it a snap. If you only ship at Christmas, then standing in line 1 day a year is fairly tolerable, I would think.

    UPS wouldn’t deliver a $6 package to my front door a couple of week ago because their new driver was afraid of our sandy road. They wanted me to drive 52 miles round trip to their warehousing facility to pick it up! So there are pros and cons to all delivery services.I still believe USPS to be the better service, yes they need tracking on regular first class mail. Pay Pal beats them hand over first for that service.

    • David Cook

      When I order stuff online, I will only use vendors who send stuff by mail. I can’t stand using UPS. If I am not here, the postman will leave the package in the mail box or put a key in the box to use on of the bigger boxes that our trailer park shares. If UPS delivers, and I am not here, I have to go get it from UPS office. I am never home to sign for UPS.

      Also, if they close one day a week, it should be Tuesday or Wednesday, because the Post Office being open on Saturday is really convenient for people who have M-F 9-5 jobs.

  • Gary

    I had been using both e-mail and snail mail for many years but as of the last few stamp increases, I have been doing more and more online bill paying.

  • Gary

    Your right, even you required an email address to leave a reply. I don’t remember when a letter was free but I do remember penny pastcards and 3 cents for letters. Up until quite recently ALL of their rate hikes were due to the volume of mail they had to handle. It took them until the twenty fisrt century to start complaining about email hurting their business. They are like most businesses that go under. When business slows down and they don’t make their 30% profit or whatever, they raise their price and layoff people. Then what do you get due to higher prices and poor service, even LESS profit. Dang, gotta rasies prices again. Sounds like congress and their stupid tax ideas. You raise prices (taxes) too high and we’ll find somewhere else to spend what money we do have left.
    Trust me, I’m only 70, but I learned long ago that if the people have something they use a lot and the feds aren’t getting any money from it, they WILL tax it! It may take them awhile to catch on and a while longer to figure out how. BUT, they will and we will just figure out something else to use. I probably won’t be around to see that one though at the speed they work.

  • TAM

    First off, most probably didn’t send as many letters as they do e-mail. I hardly ever sent any letters to anyone because of the trouble of getting stamps, sending the letter etc. (And hoping it actually got there in one piece and in a timely fashion.) E-mail makes it much simpler and of course with cell phones so prevalent in people’s lives the quick call to mom rather than a letter or even e-mail is easier and more conveient than ever. The problem with the post office is they really need to recruit someone from FedEx or UPS to help them compete in the package delievery realm. That is what will save them.

    On another note, please get an editor to look over your articles, Chris! I found at least half a dozen mistakes and I’m not a picky reader. Perhaps the question should be, is e-mail and social media degrading our grammar and education? Because I find SO many mistakes in online articles and e-mails it isn’t even funny anymore.

  • Roger Uriarte

    The Postal service has done it to themselves with poor service and yearly price increases, I’ve had to look to electronic means.

  • elwyatt

    The answer is no. Very few people are going to pull out pen and paper and look for an overpriced stamp in order to send a handwritten note to somebody. There are too many new, more efficient ways to send a message now. The post office will have to get by on commercial mail or die.

  • Lori

    You’d think with the decreased volume, the service would improve. But, no! I sent my tax return to the IRS, unfortunately for me it didn’t have enough postage. It took 3 weeks for the USPS to return it to me and of course that made me late in filing. Now I have to pay late fees to the IRS. Somehow, this doesn’t seem fair to me. You’d think at tax time anything addressed to the IRS would have a little priority.
    We also received a piece of mail with an “undeliverable address” 1 YEAR later. If I didn’t have to use the USPS for some things I wouldn’t, the service is totally unacceptable. I have to mail my tax returns, because its for my business and you can’t overnight (UPS, Fedex) to the IRS, so I have to use USPS. Thanks Uncle Sam for helping out SMBs!

  • http://www.thepostaloffice.com/ Digital Matrixx

    It’s not killing me

  • http://It'saboutcustomerservice Joyce

    For a week my mail wasn’t delivered because my contracted carrier was on vacation. A WEEK and I live in a urban area (my PO is a block away)! When I asked others in my apt building if they had received their mail, my suspicions had been confirmed. I called and complained, and was met with a surly and rude USPS supervisor. But low and behold a weeks worth of mail showed up at the end of the end of the day. Can you imagine if I had had this problem with my email provider? I would have fired them and found a better service. This is why people choose email over the USPS (and other internet transfer services) whenever it’s possible to do so.

    So, is email killing the Post Office? NO! The Post Office IS killing the Post Office. AND the continued USPS hubris tells me they still haven’t figured this out!

  • mike

    companies / services that cannot keep up with the times (and offer sub par services for the money), should be put down like a lame horse. I don’t think any average consumer has any love for USPS services.

    Oh wait— these “dinosaurs” just get bailed out by the US Government using our taxpayer money… So I wouldn’t expect USPS to go away anytime soon, let alone offer any improvements to services / offerings. sad sad sad.

  • Richard

    Email and shipping are one thing that has hurt the USPS and paperless and online bill payment is another thing they are loosing revenue to as well. Funny thing is that the Federal Government is responsible for maintaining the Post Office and post roads to support it. The WWW in general offers an improvement on that.

  • http://connectionsplanet.com Carl

    The mentality of the post office is best shown by the week long workshop they held a few years ago. The workshop was to address the hostility that was being generated by the long wait time in post offices.

    After a week of brainstorming, discussions, and who knows what else, a sloution was developed. All clocks were removed from post office lobbies. Nothing was done to speed up service.

    To be fair, I did not attend the workshop, but I did ask a postal employee why the clock had been removed from the lobby. The USPO employee told me about the workshop.

    Maybe in their minds, removing the clocks ws a groundbreaking solution. I think “NOT!”.

    • http://www.sfpincchicago.com Shadow Fire Promotions, Inc.

      It would have been a TERRIFFIC solution, if they had similarly banned wristwatches, pagers, cell phones and any other device that allows people to check and see how long they have been waiting while “Wanda” sits painting her nails and gossiping to her neighbour about “some rude bitch”, while failing to realise she IS the very same thing she complains about.

  • http://www.hoteldealsireland.co.uk/ Gary Halpin

    I imagine that where the mailing companies have lost out on personel letters being sent to and fro, it must surely have gained from the likes of e.bay and online shopping. I would think the biggest loosers are the high street as more and more people shop online!

    The parcels divisions of the post office surely have seen a dramatic increase in turnover since the advent of the internet and whilst e.mail has killed off nearly most personel correspondence, it is left for them to diversify in face of change and I think they have!


    Medium Priced Accommodation Guide to Great Britain and Ireland

  • Randy Yanagawa

    What always amazes me is how people are always pointing their fingers at the postal system and criticizing them each time the post office is forced to raise its rates in order to balance its budget, while at the same time are the reason the post office needs to raise its rates!

    As your article points out, is how the volume of mail has decreased as the volume of e-mail has increased. But, when you need to send a paper document, photo, or whatever to someone across the country…its still a bargain to be able to do so for under 50 cents!

    I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not thrilled to hear of any increase in postal rates, but it probably affects my annual budget the less than the extra cost of filling my gas tank ONCE when the oil companies raise their prices. Yet, you don’t hear them catching flak when an increase in the price of oil hits the pumps within 48-hours (usually less), but any decrease in the price of oil takes 3-4 weeks to work its way to the pumps. Why is that?

    By the way, if you live in an area where you are serviced by rural carriers, they must pay those same higher gas prices and they go through a lot of gas on a weekly basis bringing the mail to your driveway.

    As for comparing them with UPS or FedEx, neither of them are saddled with all the regulatory rules that the USPS operates under. Gas prices go up, ADD a fuel surcharge. USPS can’t do that. Want to raise rates across the board…do it! USPS can’t do that without going thru all the red tape and bureaucracy.

    Personally, I have had more damaged goods delivered to me via UPS than I have ever had with the USPS. I have had more than my share of instances where shipments did not arrive in 2-days as promised by UPS. So, apparently, I have a unique problem with UPS here.

    • http://www.sfpincchicago.com Shadow Fire Promotions, Inc.

      I would disagree that people aren’t complaining about the oil companies and the dependence on gas! Unless you’ve not been paying attention, that’s been going on for a while!

  • Richard

    There is another problem however, the National APWU tentative Collecting Bargaining Agreement was ratified by their members on May 11, 2011. see it here – http://www.apwu.org/dept/ind-rel/sc/APWU%20Contract%202010-2015.pdf

    The 2006-2010 agreement was scheduled to expire Nov. 20, 2010, but it remains in effect until a new agreement is reached through negotiation, mediation, or arbitration. Is anyone here involved with this process? I don’t think the USPS, as long as it is run by the Union, will be going away for a long, long time.

  • John N. Ashe

    The USPS is a victim of its unsuccessful attempt to start email in the early nineties.

  • David

    As a UK Internet retailer, I suggest that the reliability of our Royal Mail service is second to none. In the last ten years, my packages have been safely delivered at home and accurately tracked worldwide, with only two losses out of thousands of deliveries. Neither the fault of Royal Mail.

    But, the popularity of e-mail and electronic communications has had a considerable effect on the rising numbers of rural post office closures and on their pricing, with regular postage rate increases.

    Their latest 80% inexplicable increase ( from £97 to £170 per annum ) to have one of their P.O. Box addresses, is especially painful !!

    But in comparison to the equivalent courier delivery costs, for the moment, our Royal Mail postal service is still the best to use !!

  • http://www.youngsebooks.com Jim Young

    I think the Post Office did themselves in for a number of reasons.
    Sure, email is used by most everyone but a handwritten or typed letter also serves it’s purpose. The Post Office put themselves out of the market by continually and rapidly increasing prices to the consumer and businesses. They have also eliminated some services that were a benefit to consumers and businesses. You can’t really compare them to UPS, FedEx that directly because they are offering an entirely different brand. The direct mail industry is still a gigantic industry with millions of direct mail pieces being mailed all of the time by small and big businesses alike. The Post Offices big error was by not being competetive on prices against emails. Emails cost nothing, but sending a direct mail paper letter with all of the trimmings gets better results. But the cost has gone up so high for bulk mail that companies have entirely eliminated that segment or have cut back a lot. Why doesn’t the Post Office take off their dunce cap?
    They also eliminated economy mail to send to foreign countries. Don’t they think that this could have a huge negative impact on small businesses in this country? They eliminated mail by ship. Wow, that seems really dumb. Why can’t the Post Office get some sort of Social Media program going? It’s true that the Post Office hires out of government executives to run it, but maybe they should look for someone who has common sense and can understand the needs of the U.S. citizen and the millions of businesses in this country.

    Jim Young

  • Bango

    One option is that they go the route that the UK took in many smaller towns and turn post office services over to local shops.

  • Gary Fleeger

    Email is not killing the post office, the post office is killing the post office. Their service has become unreliable & inefficient, and their staff has become increasingly unhelpful. They are now close to being completely irrelevant, a situation the USPS has created for itself. Putting the right letter in the right box and providing service with a smile isn’t really that difficult – but they sure seem to be beyond the abilities of my local postal workers.

  • http://wwwench.com Bri Ryan

    The demise of USPS rests purely with it’s people. I shivver when forced to use USPS for online ordering. UPS or Fedex are so far superior with service and attitude.
    The days of “working” postal workers are long gone. They nap in the mini trucks at my local park and rarely deliver anything but a note for me to go get it at the local office.
    So I feel no sadness, they have created the situation themselves.

  • http://www.jeannerhea.com Jeanne Rhea

    This is what I think.
    You need to check your spelling. (Pice should be piece.)
    You need to learn how to write more clearly. (Several errors in this post.)
    You need to use the proper words. (In “it’s clear that it’s hear to stay for quite some time” should be here and not hear.)
    Grammar and puctuation are incorrect in several places.

    The point I am making is that no wonder people do not send letters very often. Maybe they are worried about having their name attached to their writings. In one’s own handwriting, it is difficult to deny one wrote something so poorly. I fear we have lost the ability to write anything more than LOL, IMHO, FWIW…

    There is so much incorrect written communication online, it has become acceptable to write haphazardly with little concern for proper grammar and punctuation. I am not talking about chat or Facebook. I am referring to posts to a professional online site such as this one.

    • Beamer

      Absolutely agree. I cringe when I see “your” for “you’re”, “than” for “then”, etc.

  • JR

    No Email is not killing the Post Office………The Post Office GREED is killing the Post Office………Try reading the POSTAL REGULATIONS, you’ll know what I mean. And what about all the money they spend on Specialized stamps……..Those designs are not cheap…..They simply don’t know how to run a Business.

  • http://www.l655laptop.com/ Ary I

    Since email come to my life, i never use paper mail again, because email is very simple and fast

  • Richard R. Allen

    I suppose it is a contributor to its demise, But an even bigger one is the extremely poor management of that government business. (Ya, I know it is supposed to be a private corp.) When will the government learn that they just can’t do it with bureaucrats? I was in corp. management for some time and if I had run that business this wy I wouldn’t have lasted very long.

  • http://pvariel.blogspot.com Philip V Ariel

    No. No Chance, It has its on value and it will continue to live. Whatever may be the advancement of technology, it has its own merit.
    and of course the new tech has its other advantages.

  • http://www.LoftLivingLA.com Ted Trent

    I think they are killing themselves. I tried to call them to figure out how to do a bulk mail piece for my real estate company. They tell me that they can’t help me with that. They tell me I have to use an outside company to figure that stuff out. They have one person who will tell me if the postcard has been printed correctly, but they won’t help me with any other services. I told them, “I’m willing to pay you whatever you want.” They told me they don’t provide those services. They are the freaking POST OFFICE. If they don’t provide MAILING SERVICES, THIS IS WHY THEY ARE DOING POORLY! The Post Office needs to change with the times and figure out services to provide their customers that are helpful and useful to THEIR needs. It’s not the other way around.

    • Charley

      Why should the USPS expend their resources and employees to have to take time to teach you or your business how to mail at a discounted rate? Why the heck do you think the rate is discounted? Because it it called ‘work-sharing’, you idiot – YOU have to do at least half of the work to get the discount…otherwise, put a stamp on it, and quit whining..

      • Charley

        It’s not a ‘freebie’ – it means YOU do the work! Perfect example of a moron wanting something for nothing…

  • Jim

    There is no question the use of email and push by companies to go paperless is having a major impact on USPS revenues. I work for a major financial instituation that used to send out millions of pieces mail daily. We are not pushing our customers to switch to paperless and accept electronic letters and email to reduces expenses.
    So for every dollar my company saves is lost revenue for the Post Office. And lost revenue to the Post Office me more of my tax dollars in subsidies.

    This is a no win situation for everyone at this time.

  • http://everythingvintagesteph.com steph

    I think they are more than making up for it in the increased amount of packages that are going out due to internet sales. I used to spend a few dollars for a book of stamps every few weeks. Now I spend about 20.00 a DAY just mailing packages I sell on eBay.

  • http://www.mylatestidea.com max

    No big deal. USPS is simply a service, one that is supported by taxes. If there is diminishing need for such a service taxpayers should be happy. Taxing email would be unethical but would not surprise me. Read Atlas Shrugged and see.

    • Charley

      USPS has not been supported by taxes since their re-organization in 1971…However, they may be entitled to a ‘bail-out’ soon, since Federal Law requires their existence…Can’t wait to hear your cries if the USPS is diminished, and you’ll have to rely on any ‘Tom, Dick or Harry’ that decides to get into mail delivery..with NO regulations…Do you know that UPS can open or inspect ANY package they choose vs.USPS requiring a federal warrant? Give up that right to the govt…They would love it!

  • http://www.mindmagic123.com Hypnosis & Hypnotherapy Los Angeles

    Hi. There are some things the post office cannot alter, no more than the manufacturors of horse drawn carraiges could with the advent of the automobile. Technological advances alter social infrastuctures, and perhaps none more so than the rise of electronics. The progressive huge collapse in volume of letter post, one of their major sources of income, must be primarily due to rising online communication, which is still on the increase.

    The traditional publishing and advertizing industries are being decimated, as so much of their business has migrated online.

    With the huge increase in size of UPS and Fedex, they obviously missed the boat. Only recently have they started to offer pick ups. Email must force the Post Office to alter it’s business model. With it’s multiple locations and huge employee base it must either shrink or change, like IBM when it became an antiquated behemoth. Further increases in charges will likely move clients away still faster, as they are already sky high, so that method has it’s limits. Post offices in rural areas are not profitable, but are a center for other activities. One alternative would be for a Federal subsidy for services deemed socially necessary, but that are not profitable, rather than expecting the Post Office to cover all it’s costs commercially. Many countries use such methods. “What, that’s Socialism!!” Best hypnohotshot.

  • http://www.goopla.net/ Grey Olltwit

    If the USPS is adopting the same attitude as the UK postal service here, and judging by the comments made, they seem to be, then they are killing themselves. OK so small letter mail is declining but with everyone starting to order more stuff online then parcel and small package deliveries must be up in a big way. Putting the prices up again and again was just signing their own death warrant allowing competitors to take away more of their business. They had a golden opportunity to readjust themselves to the shifting market but it seems they’ve blown it by sticking their head in the sand!

  • http://www.ozzbooks.com Jim Owens

    If its bad in the United States then think again. Here in Australia I can buy a book from the UK or USA & usually get postage at about half of the cost local mail. With the advent of digital books will see even less books being posted. More bad news for postal services around the world. If properly planned then the government could cope, but being busy developing new weapons & surveillance methods will stop progress in lots of other areas, and local citizens always take a back seat.

  • http://postalinspectors.uspis.gov Tony Robinson

    Direct deposits have hurt the postal service more than email. Consider that at one time most government employees received their paycheck via U.S. mail and everyone paid at least one regular bill via the mail, that’s is a lot of revenue that has dried up. Besides, many of the people sending quick email notes would not have the patience to write out a letter, fold it up, put it into an envelope, put a stamp on it and then take a walk to their mail receptacle to send it on its journey.

    Parcels? USPS made a bad business decision a long time ago when they conceded to the demands of allowing the likes of UPS and FedEx to come onto the scene (USPS had virtual monopoly) stating that the real money was in 1st class mail.

    You covered several things except two major items that negatively impacts the postal service. 1) While mail volume is decreasing, the housing industry hasn’t. More delivery addresses to deliver to means more employees and more miles to burn fuel upon. 2) There are plenty of small offices out in the middle of no where with another office fairly close by at some other hole in the wall. Business sense would say, close one or both of them down (Ever see a Wal~Mart lose money every time they open the door – year after year?). There is so much red tape that is almost takes an act of Congress to close one leaching office, not to mention all of them.

    Unlike UPS and FedEx, USPS has to deliver to every address in the U.S. Try to UPS or FedEx something to some remote location in the middle of no where. If you can actually find one of them to make the delivery, it won’t be the equivalent of a First Class stamp cost for the service.

    Political appointees? I don’t think there has been any since 1970’s.

    Don’t forget the clerk, mail handler, letter carrier, rural carrier unions. Ever wonder why they can’t be flexible like most businesses, especially when it comes to staff to cut down long lines? You won’t have to look very far to find more red tape in this department.

    Regarding delivery of 1st Class Mail on time, their delivery scores are better now than they were 20 years ago.

  • ALAN

    I was talking to the manager at our local Post Office Business Centre here in Hobart, Tasmania. He told me that Australia Post in the last financial year on Letter Post had lost $17 million, as a result the business centre is scheduled to be closed this year.
    As he said email was killing their business. I used to send out about 50 monthly statements now I only send a handful, the rest are emailed

  • http://www.jubejube.net Marc

    Email simply cuts into personal mail delivery. I have countlessly sent referrals to USPS for the shipment of mobile phone replacements or new devices. It has been a slower but reliable service. As all the posts here describe, their financial trouble is that of poor business practice and horrible management, crippled by Union induced laziness.

    They will only feel the crunch when all bills are electronic. Product shipment due to online shopping should more then cover lack of personal hand written letters! Oh and Canada post already tried charging for emails into the country… That was a joke and a stain of tarnish on Cdn ppl as the world laughed. If the US or Canada tries to charge for email I will personally create a work around system to continue online msg communication as it were. The internet should be ‘free cyberspace’ forever but much of it is ‘staked’ by Corporations and Government. The only thing you should have to pay for is ISP access, fancy communication (example-computer to landline/mobile) but there will always be a free alternative and it should not be blocked or hindered by Corporate Government circles. They don’t own the internet, only the land users reside on. ‘Cyberspace’ is international waters you greedy corporate wh0r€M0NG€Rs. Just my thoughts though…

  • http://www.creditscoresandcredit.com Jeff

    This is good conversation, most of the postal service will be most likely go under because they need to adapt, hire someone with a brain to figure out how they can still make money. If they think our big goverment is going to bail them out then this is another example of golden parachutes given to the brain dead. Giving the competition of mail through Ups,
    Fedex, etc. I’m sure if they just make an effort to think outside the box something could work. But I’m not crossing my fingers when others are working hard to stay innovative.

    • Charley

      Do you not realize that FedEx & UPS make drops daily at every Post Office, because it is more cost-efficient for them for the USPS to deliver packages at a delay vs. what the USPS is federally mandated to do – which is to deliver to EVERY address in the United States EVERY DAY, without delay. Instead of delivering their packages today, they drop them at a Post Office @ 4pm to be delivered TOMORROW…

  • http://www.home-herb-garden.com Patrick

    In Australia, the Post Offices deserve little support. You can pay just about every bill you get there, but in most of them you have to stand in a long queue to get any service. The PO’s are filled with all sorts of junk, some dont have room for even a little shelf to address any letters. Postage costs are high, if it costs $5 AU to mail a parcel from HongKong to Australia, it would cost $20 AU to mail the same parcel from Aussie to HongKong. In most Aussie PO’s the service is disgraceful. VIVA! le Email!

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