Snail Mail

US-Mail-Box_webDid you know this well-known, reliable blue drop box is becoming an endangered species?  Across the country, stalwart blue “collection boxes” are disappearing. In the past 20 years, 200,000 mailboxes have vanished from city streets, rural routes and suburban neighborhoods — more than the 175,000 that remain, according to an article in The Washington Post.

The U.S. Postal Service says it removes “underperforming” mailboxes — those that collect fewer than 25 pieces of mail a day — after a week-long “density test.” Snail mail is a dying enterprise because Americans increasingly pay bills online, send Evites for parties and text or give a quick call on a cellphone rather than write a letter.

The situation is so dire that the Postal Service, which is projecting a $6 billion shortfall by the end of September despite a recent postage rate increase, will go to Congress this month to seek emergency relief, looking to cut home mail delivery from six days a week to five.

“We’re like air,” said Postal Service spokeswoman Deborah Yackley. “People just take it for granted that we’re always going to be there. Well, if you want to keep your collection box, would you mail a letter, please!”

Do you write letters to anyone?  Do you still write out checks to pay your bills and post them?  Do you think we’ll see an end to snail mail?



Filed under Economics, History, Technology

7 responses to “Snail Mail

  1. Snail mail is becoming less and less part of our culture. It’s sad. It just delivers packages, bills and ads to my place.

    One of the casualties of the end of letter writing and the rise of computers is good old fashioned writing – penmanship. My son can write things that really turn my head, but I’ll never see it in pen and ink.

    • wicked

      My penmanship is horrid. I can’t even read the notes I take! But I do have to write (or type) things out. I’m very visual and need to see the words to remember.

      I had several penpals while growing up. One in Alaska, one in the Netherlands, along with several school friends who moved away or I moved away from later. When I look back at how long it took a letter to get from here to Lily in the Netherlands, and then her reply, the mind boggles. Now it’s instant. The world is shrinking, and maybe that isn’t so bad.

  2. Thank you cards, birthday cards and holiday cards are all that I send. But that seems more than others.

    • Do you write a personal message on the birthday and holiday cards? That is waaaay more than others!

      I try to always send handwritten thank yous, but I fail sometimes and will whip out an email. Shame on me! I need to try harder.

      • I don’t care if someone emails, texts, smoke signals or what…just acknowledge that you recieved it.

        Holiday cards depends on the person. 75% I write at least one line…25% just get the presigned card.

  3. My Mother still has the letters her two brothers wrote home from Korea. In fact, she has letters written to her Mother during WWI and II.

    I know today’s soldiers have access to modern technology and email. I’m glad of the more instantaneous communication but in many ways something valuable and worthwhile was lost when we quit writing letters.

    Oma, I have a grandson who is a writer and if he wasn’t able to type his words no one could read them. His penmanship can’t be called anything but atrocious!

  4. wicked

    It wouldn’t bother me if they ditched a mail day during the week. I’ve noticed more and more days that nothing arrives, especially when I’m waiting for something. The ads that used to come in the mail are now often strewn in my driveway, thanks to the grandkids “taking a look” at them. Not that I ever paid much attention to them when they came in the mail.

    My mother was a letter carrier here for many years. One of her biggest rants (yes, I probably get it from her) was against the privatization of the postal system. Considering the greed of our corporations, can you imagine what the price of postage would be? Market driven economics? More like greedy. And I don’t mind paying those few cents more every year. I’ve worked for the USPS and deserved every penny I made. Ah, “government work.” 🙂