On a recent afternoon, a few of people milled around inside the Elmwood post office, waiting their turn to approach the single cashier — who was bundled up in a coat and hat behind the counter. One customer asked why the heating wasn't on. Another marveled at how quiet it was for a post office at lunchtime. A third said he couldn't remember the last time he mailed anything — other than an email.
The dwindling popularity of the United States Postal Service (USPS) has led to a number of cutbacks and branch closures in recent years. Now, for the first time in two-and-a-half years, USPS has increased the cost of stamps to help generate much-needed revenue.
“The overall average price increase is small and is needed to help address our current financial crisis,” said USPS Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe in a press release.
The price changes went into effect Sunday, Jan.22. The new costs include:
- Letters (1 oz.): 1-cent increase to 45 cents
- Postcards: 3-cent increase to 32 cents
- Letters to Canada or Mexico (1 oz.): 5-cent increase to 85 cents.
- Letters to other international destinations: 7-cent increase to $1.05
Prices will also change for other mailing services, including Standard Mail, Periodicals, Package Services and Extra Services, according to the USPS. Express and Priority Mail prices won't be affected, according to a news release. More information on the new USPS pricing can be found here.
The agency is facing a projected $238-billion deficit over the next decade, and is considering closing more post offices as well as cutting Saturday and over-night mail delivery. In 2011, USPS saw a 21 percent decline in mail compared to 2007 and lost more than $5 billion in revenue, according to the agency's financial report.
Do you still use the post office? If so, what for? If not, why not? Take the poll and let us know in the comments how your habits and needs have changed.