August 3 2009

Post Office Closings List

usps LogoAs if it wasn’t difficult enough already making sure you get to the post office now, imagine what it’ll be like with 1,000 less of them.

There is no doubt that the United States Postal Service is having financial problems, and recently they announced that they are removing over 100,000 drop
off boxes
s from the streets of the United States. They have also been looking at reducing the number of hours at some offices and placing a freeze on new hires and any raises for existing employees. Unfortunately it looks like those measures still aren’t enough to bring down the organizations expenses as much as they want, and now come the drastic measures.

As it currently stands, the postal service is looking at a $7 billion loss for the fiscal year closing on September 30th, and this is even with a postal rate increase that happened in May. So, the only solution at this point is to look at closing and consolidating some of the existing offices. There are currently 32,741 post offices, and after putting together a list of 3,243 potential closure sites, they are now looking at a list of around 677. You can see the post office closings list (PDF link) for yourself, and it looks to me to be mostly urban areas that are are serviced by numerous offices to begin with.

In case you’re wondering what is going to so wrong with the postal service… do you really need to think about it very hard? Yes, email is one of the biggest culprits, but you also have to keep in mind that companies are cutting out printed catalogs left and right. (Although today I got four copies of the same catalog from Paper Direct…) Mail volume fallen from an all time high of 213 billion pieces of mail in 2006 to a projected 170 billion in 2010, and it’s probably going to fall even further as companies look to cut their costs for printing and mailing. This is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

My one thought on this whole thing from a business perspective is if you make a service less convenient to use, won’t that cut people’s willingness to use the service? “Well, I could drive that extra mile to the post office I have to go to now… or I can scan the document and email it… let me fire up that scanner.” If you make something harder for people to use, they’ll just stop using it.

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