Postal Service faces major societal shift

What is the right thing to do with smalltown post offices? With the Postal Service losing money, plans had called for some of these post offices to be closed. But that created worries about how to serve residents who live in those towns, some of whom may be older and less savvy with the Internet, which has fundamentally changed the way Americans communicate and pay bills.

In the Fairmont area, post offices in Alpha, Ormsby, Granada and Ledyard, Iowa, were facing closure. Upon reconsideration, the Postal Service decided to keep them open four hours on weekdays. While it can be easy to guffaw about the necessity of these post offices, we believe the Postal Service has found a nice compromise, for now. It continues to offer service in these communities but the shorter hours at such sites, spread across the country, will save an estimated $500 million.

Over time, we anticipate that natural attrition will take place at the smallest post offices. So those now operating four hours per day will probably close. Post offices in towns that are a little larger will probably see their hours reduced, and then go down the path toward shutting their doors. Eventually, as less and less paper mail is sent, there will be a major transformation in postal service in cities large and small. The changes at the smallest post offices portend this revolution. In many ways, it is already here, and it can’t be stopped.