How important to you is the U.S. mail in the Internet age?

The U.S. Postal Service is considering the closure of thousands of post offices around the country, including two dozen in Minnesota. Officials blame sharply declining mail volume, due in part to the rise in Web-based alternatives to traditional mail. How important to you is the U.S. mail in the Internet age?

Having grown up in the internet age, I find the USPS to be mostly useless. These closings are to be expected and welcomed. -Nick, Inver Grove Heights, MN

I am 23, and the only time writing letters was important to me was basic training. Nowadays when friends go away, they say Facebook me, not write me. -Durrell, Minneapolis, MN

Close them. We don’t need a office in every town. -Mike Rowan, Big Lake, MN

Even though I’m a Net junkie, there’s still nothing like getting a real letter in the mail. The Post Office needs to stay. -John Charles Wilson, Minneapolis, MN

Holding a letter in my hands and knowing that person took the time and effort to write it and send it to me is an experience not possible through email. -Noah, Hastings, MN

Close them and go to THREE day a week delivery. -anonymous text message

Share your reply in the comments: How important to you is the U.S. mail in the Internet age?

  • Deb Staley

    I rely on the USPS for many things. Having lived in a small town over the years, the USPS played a large part of my ability to communicate.

    In a small town, many people use the USPS and many have rental mail boxes, the closing of small town post offices would result in people having to travel to another town to use a Post Office. Some of these communities do not have another business that could serve as a place where people could purchase postage, etc.

    Even living in Rochester, I rely on the USPS a good deal.

  • bill

    Not very important. I’ve had arthritis in my thumbs since 8th grade. Holding a pen or pencil was painful, so creating a note was difficult. Then getting a stamp and mailing the note was sometimes days.

    When my aged parents got email, there was suddenly more contact between us. We’ve had great exchanges of family histories and debates on issues. Something that never could occur by mail partially due to the latency of delivery.

  • Chad

    The US Postal Service means a great deal to me. I have lived my entire life in a small town of just over 1800 people. If we lost our post office, I don’t know what our town would do. My great-grandfather was a rural route mail carrier, I collect stamps, and I enjoy sending and receiving mail. The USPS is a staple of American History, but the once vital path of communication that the USPS sustained, is slowly fading away into the past due to internet billing, online newspaper subscriptions, and more expedient shipping services. A sad day indeed.

  • Julie Viken

    Receiving postcards or greeting cards in the mail are still a treat. We have a Netflix account and unless all of their movies are available online in the future, I don’t know how else we’d get our movies sent to us. There is still way too much junk mail, and when we pay directly through our bank account for bills, I don’t see the need to be sent a statement but only some places allow us to request emailed statements (our insurance company, banks and retirement accounts).

  • Fred Marx

    We still send some greeting cards the old fashioned way. Otherwise, correspondence is almost exclusively done by e-mail, and 90% of our bills are paid online.

  • kennedy

    US mail is very useful, as is e-mail. Going without either would be a loss. Speaking specifically about US mail, there is an authenticity and substantiality that goes along with receiving an actual physical item. It has been in the senders hands. They took the time to create a physical item and ensure it got to you. I have not heard of an electronic equivalent that evokes the same feeling as a perfumed love letter.

  • Steve Dufault

    I live in rural NW Mn the mail is our life line to the stuff people in the big cities can get at the malls. We only have dial up with only relatively expensive micro wave type broad band. I would prefer to give up Tuesday delivery rather than see more small post offices close.

  • Gwen Rohwer

    US Mail is very important to me. There is nothing better than opening your mailbox and finding a letter from a friend. Ask anyone young or old whether they would rather have an e-mail or real in-your-hand mail and I think they would agree.

    I also wonder how we will keep records of our families when we no longer have tangible letters from them , in their own handwriting with their postmarks from wherever. I still enjoy reading my father’s letters from college in Chicago in 1930 with his drawings of Al Capone in the margin. It bothers me to think that if he had used e-mail, someone might have hit “delete” and this would have been lost forever. Mail is a part of our legacy to our children.

  • Gordon Keeler

    I think the USPS is one of the very best bargains in the United States, considering That it only costs $0.44 to deliver a letter or check anywhere in the country.

  • Rich

    This is a classic example of how technology changes the way we live and communicate.

    That aside, I have to wonder what will happen to the more than 500,000 that are employed @ the USPS, if they go to a five day work week. It is estimated that they could lose up to 20% of their workforce. What becomes of these individuals that now make a livable wage but will no longer have that opportunity once they see the reductions in the workforce?

    Technology is a beautiful thing and you should never stop its march into the future. I have no doubt that the USPS will adapt to the future needs of it’s customers. But and there always is a but…. What are the external costs that accompany it?

  • http://youcallthisinteresting.blogspot.com craig

    The only time I use the postal system now is to return my movies from Netfilx. Which I of course order online. And the bills I do get in the mail I’m able to pay online. I think it would save in many areas if we can reduce the amount of paper mail we get. It is sad that many people will be losing jobs with the closure of the offices. But these are the sign of the times.

  • http://handaesthetic.blogspot.com/ Arielle

    I had heard a while back that although letter post is down, online sales had helped the post office. Perhaps I was misinformed?

    I, for one, will greatly miss post offices should many of them close. I love both sending and receiving mail.

  • Judie

    I love sending and receiving cards for special occasions. I like having a tangible remembrance to savor. I have saved letters from loved friends who are now gone which I re-read. Not all good things are wrapped in speed.

  • Zach Marshall

    The trend towards exclusively electronic communication is a bit too utilitarian for me. I’m 22 years old, and I frequently use USPS to send letters to friends and family. There is something very thrilling and special about recieving a letter in the mail. You have to wait for a tangible letter and pay for it, whereas most email is free and instant. Email is like microwavable communication; it’s fast and easy, but it doesn’t taste as good.

  • http://www.pfhyper.com/blog Peter Fleck

    Until we figure out how to get everyone on low-cost internet (including how to cheaply connect households both in low-income urban environments and rural areas), we should continue a high level of US Mail service. Closing branches and making it harder for people to use the Post Office is (in my opinion) stupid and hurts poor people the most.

    People, especially people who don’t make so much money, rely on the USPS.

  • Chris K

    Not very important at all! Nothing important arrives by mail. Astonishingly, junk mail comprises more than an eighth of my family’s household refuse. If the postal service was dissolved, it would equate to my family contributing nothing to the local landfill for almost two months of every year.

    I’m disappointed by the nostalgic reasons selfish people have posted for why they think I should share the burdens of maintaining such an obsolete institution.

  • Clarence White

    The US Postal service has a mandate that is more permanent than the ephemeral nature of e-communications. No matter what kind of technology you have access to, you can take a pen and paper, get a stamp and an envelope and send something anywhere in the country–and the world.

    We can’t ignore the advantages of e-communications, but when the technology is not profitable or meets the needs of the creators or the people who hold the technology, then it can go away. We, as a society, have committed ourselves to keeping the mail.

  • http://www.creaturecomfortsbodywork.com Shanna Schultz

    I am slightly biased as my husband is a postal service employee, but I think that mail delivery is a great value.

    Also, many people do not realize that the postal service offers many of the same package delivery services as Fed Ex or UPS, but at a fraction of the cost!

  • midori

    I pay almost all my bills online and have signed up for the paperless option with my banks and credit card companies. Receiving letters in my mail or via email makes no difference to me. However, as long as we can’t beam substances like in Start Trek, we still need USPS. And I prefer sending packages via USPS over other couriers. I hope they rethink their business strategy and become a true competitor with FedEx or UPS.

  • Shanna Schultz

    In response to ealier post by Chris K, who stated: “I’m disappointed by the nostalgic reasons selfish people have posted for why they think I should share the burdens of maintaining such an obsolete institution.”

    Reply: If you do not use the service, you are not sharing the burden of maintaining it. Many people don’t realize that the postal service is not subsidized by the government…they pay all of their operational costs from the revenue they make from postage.

  • Lara

    There is nothing like getting a handwritten letter–it’s a beautiful thing. Letters typically use better language and prose than electronic communication devices do. Decrease the hours and charge more, but don’t take away the privilege of sending and receiving letters altogether. I realize I’ll have to ween off paper eventually, but I also like getting the occasional catalog, journal, or alumni magazine in the mail. Besides, what will my dogs do all morning if they can’t await the postal carrier and heroically defend the house from postal attack?! As for junk mail and bills, however, I would welcome a decline in volume and I prefer the ease of dealing with bills online.

  • Sarah

    Of course, the USPS still serves a purpose. We can’t email packages to one another. Scottie can’t beam me my catalog order from Lands End. I suppose we have other package carriers/services–UPS, FedEx, etc. but those services are often times not affordable to everyone. Today I had to mail some forms to an insurance agent because they had to have my original signature on them. No copies or scans. I had to send checks with the forms. The fastest way to do that is still by USPS. Also, as much as I use email and Facebook, I am an old-fashioned letter writer. It is a dying art. I love writing and sending notes and letters to my friends and family and they tell me they enjoy getting them.

  • jan

    i live in rural mn. the po is critical for me. i get my strib via the po. i have lost tv with the digital switch; i don’t want to lose another source of news. mpr has terrible reception out here. internet is dial up only so that way of getting info is out. don’t cut me off completely!

  • fred

    The census is coming and the USPS is the one who knows where you live and all the address. Can the internet do that?

  • Leslie Hittner

    My wife loves to get catalogs. Although we always order via the internet, we can browse the catalogs while away from a computer – like when in the bathroom.

    Most of our USPS mail consists of catalogs and magazines. Letters are rare nowdays.

    Since catalogs and magazines are large and heavy, it is probably good to continue daily deliveries – well maybe they could drop Saturdays.

  • james

    We need to remember that the Post Office was formed to increase communication in the early days of our history, prior to becoming a nation. It was also part of the education of people.

    It is wonderful to read the letters written by the founding “fathers” to their spouses.

    I suggest that the Post Office close onThursday — and continue to be open on Sat. with longer hours.

    The Congresss needs to allow the PO to make a profit. The PO should provide internet cafes on site — they should continue to provide shipping — they need to combine the new and the old and compete.

    If the PO closes completely, the loss will be huge.

    Have a great week.

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