The United States Postal Service–that thing that puts L.L. Bean catalogs in your mailbox–is preparing to make massive cuts that will go into effect next spring. The changes will amount to around $3 billion worth of savings for the USPS and only mark the start of what is going to be a long cost-cutting process. A fully-detailed report on the reductions will be released tomorrow, but the Associated Press has some information on what to expect. SPOILER ALERT: Buying those “Legends of Jazz” Forever stamps didn’t save the postal service.
Because almost 50% of mail processing centers will close due to the cuts, next-day delivery through the USPS will become a thing of the past. The expected delivery time for first-class mail will take two to three days, starting as early as March:
About 42 percent of first-class mail is now delivered the following day. An additional 27 percent arrives in two days, about 31 percent in three days and less than 1 percent in four days to five days. Following the change next spring, about 51 percent of all first-class mail is expected to arrive in two days, with most of the remainder delivered in three days.
One day may not seem like a huge deal, but for many businesses it compromises large facets of their operations that were dependent on the next-day service that has been guaranteed since 1971:
Of course, Netflix is screwed
Man, Reed Hastings keeps getting hosed. Because Netflix is reliant on first-class mail to quickly deliver DVDs, “longer delivery times would mean fewer opportunities to receive discs each month” which effectively is a price increase for customers.
Newspapers and magazines will be hurt, too
As it will take longer to deliver newspapers and magazines to far-reaching suburbs or rural areas, the term “news” will be stretched to its limit. This shouldn’t be too serious, however, as the golden age of print media will never end.
Bills will come more slowly
Meaning more deliquent payments. (Not that anyone pays that first bill, but still.)
Because the USPS needs Congressional permission to make large changes to their operation, they can’t enact any of the cuts they really want to make. In order to reduce costs by $20 billion before 2015 (the estimated amount for the USPS to become profitable again), they want to “reduce delivery to five days a week, raise stamp prices and reduce health care and other labor costs.”
To think, future generations won’t have next-day mail. They also won’t have jobs, housing, or weather, but that’s beside the point.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 4, 2011