Postal mail has been on a slow downward spiral for some time, but it seems to me these new postal rates represent the acceleration of that process.
As email eats away at one end of the service and FedEx, UPS et al. chomp away at the other, the Postal Service’s business shrinks to the center — remnant bills that can’t be paid electronically, personal cards, and commercial messages (mostly unwanted credit card pitches that can become identity-theft bait and forest-devastating catalogs).
I suppose the new rules doubling the fees for bigger envelopes and so on represent the Post Office’s desperate effort to keep bringing revenue in on a dwindling base of use. But it’s a sure way to drive people away: Now there’s one less reason to hesitate about overnighting that full-size 8 1/2 x 11 envelope — who’ll want to scratch their heads and figure out how much to pay?
Too bad. As a teenaged publisher of mimeographed magazines in the 1970s, I was a bulk user of postal services, and there was something wonderful about how you could count on your six-sheets-stapled zine getting where it was going in the continental U.S. with a single stamp. Who knows how such publications would fit into this new postage world — but they’ve pretty much all gone Web anyway.
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