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The Future of US Mail

The debate and discussions on the future of US mail has been in the news for the past few years. No one seems to know exactly what direction it will take. Some extreme pessimists see the United States Postal Service completely going under in just a matter of time. While others, brightly optimistic, see it continuing to exist as it has.

Admittedly, with the rise in postal prices and the extension of delivery times, along with the continual debt the postal service is accumulating, it does look less than happy for US mail. However, the USPS has existed since Benjamin Franklin proposed its establishment in the 1700s, and it has continued to morph from the Pony Express to delivering nearly a quarter of the world’s mail. And all right here in the United States. If the US mail can survive the changes that over three centuries has brought, there is still hope that the US mail can continue to have a future.

The United States Postal Service hosted a conference in 2010, ‘Envisioning America’s Future Postal Service,’ in which they discussed their business plan for the next 10 years, ‘Ensuring a Viable Postal Service for America.’ They also have in place ‘Vision 2013,’ which works to implement three different plans to work together to make sure the postal service can survive while continuing to provide quality service to their customers. 

Part of the plans involves cutting costs within the postal service in order to limit the massive amount of debt the USPS has been accumulating. This includes eliminating employee hours and even jobs, as well as possibly delivering mail one less day a week.

Another step was to raise postal prices slightly while lengthening the delivery times. While this is a frustrating combination, but when the flip side is the possibility of no USPS at all, it appears less difficult to handle.

Yet another method is to make more use of the internet. The USPS fully realizes our world is not stuck in the 1700s, when it began. People no longer send every single communication through the mail. The internet has drastically cut down on personal and business snail mail. In an attempt to keep up with technological changes which have decreased the apparent need of the post office, the USPS is seeking to experiment with and provide various services online. They also hope to give customers more ease of service by placing kiosks in high-traffic areas and also through placing access to postal services in locations people regularly visit.

The USPS realizes we are moving into a more and more internet-based society. They desire to keep up with the current technology while still maintaining a mail-based system. Ultimately, their goal is to combine progress with the ability to serve the customer with the best possible service.

They also realize that individuals, regardless of how much they use email, social networking sites, and texting, still love to get mail in their mailboxes. Whether it is a personal letter from a friend, a package from an eBay purchase, or even an advertisement postcard from a local business, people love the tangible part of snail mail which simply does not exist online.

While the USPS is struggling to see exactly how it can get financially stable and move ahead with advancing technology, it still has a future. Perhaps shaky and unsure, it is still working to make headway in today’s world. And Americans can still plan on checking their mailboxes when they get home from work and seeing who was thinking of them today.

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