Post Office 2012: Slower Mail, Fewer Workers, Higher Cost
The United States postal service will give a whole new meaning to the term 'snail mail' after it implements cutbacks meant to right a $5 billion deficit in the 2011 fiscal year. Attributing the shortage to new pension demands imposed by Congress, the Post Office announced on Monday that it will take proactive steps to reduce operational costs by $20 billion by 2015.
The closing of 3,700 post offices nationwide will result in the unemployment of thousands of Post Office employees, which will help balance the USPS's budget in more ways than one: less employees, fewer paychecks - as well as less pensions to worry about.
Other measures discussed include raising the cost of a first-class stamp to 45 cents as of January 22nd, and the closing of over 50% of its mail processing facilities - from 487 down to 252).
What does this mean to consumers?
Simply, it means slower mail.
The delivery time of first class mail will slow down to a 2 - 3 day window, from the previous 1 - 3 day estimated time. Though seemingly a small change, the new timeframe will significantly alter the delivery time of mail. According to the Associated Press, 42% of first-class mail arrives the next day, and post office users have, in a sense, planned their post office trips around that schedule. Now, procrastinators will have to make sure that a doubling of the mail delivery time does not foil their plans. Rent and birthday greetings will not be denied - and most time sensitive letters will now have to allow for a 3-day delivery time.
It's official, then. In 2012 mailing a letter will cost more and take longer. The internet has mostly done away with the original intent of mail, but until we can figure out how to teleport large packages and other important material, we will just have to adjust to the new postal realities.