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Changing times for the U.S. Postal Service

December 5, 2011 - Andrea Johnson
The last time I visited the local post office, I stood in a line about 10 people deep and there was one person working at the window. It might be a sign of the times, since Minot is still recovering from this summer's disastrous flood, but I know that the postal service is also hurting nationwide.

The U.S. Postal Service announced cutbacks this week that will mean closing more than 200 mail processing centers and adding at least a day's wait to a lot of first class mail deliveries.

That will add up to more inconveniences for people who use the postal service even occasionally. On a personal level, the mail cutbacks mean that certain things like magazines I subscribe to will arrive later than they ought to and it will take longer for items that I've sold online to be shipped. We only have ourselves to blame for a lot of this since most of us don't use the post office as much as we used to and the U.S. Postal Service is losing money as a result.

Years ago I paid most of my bills through the mail, but for a long time now most of my bills have been paid electronically through my checking account and I've arranged to have my paychecks deposited directly into my checking account. These days I use e-mail instead of mailing letters or birthday cards that I might once have sent through snail mail. At one time I might have mailed items at the post office every week; now it's more like three or four times a year.

Still, the post office is still an important part of many people's lives. It is important for the newspaper business, which mails some newspapers to customers out of town. It's important for people who subscribe to places like Netflix, which lets people rent DVDs and return them through the mail.

What will these cutbacks mean for you personally? What do you think the U.S. Postal Service should do to adapt to the changing times?


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