89 Post Offices Close

The weather has finally caught up with the US Postal Service. The agency prides itself on the fact that its offices are always open, and it delivers mail six days a week and delivers over 95% of the mail it handles on time. “On-time” measurements are something the Post Office determines for itself. The huge winter storm that has hit most of America has shuttered 89 Post Office locations.

The Post Office locations that have closed are mostly in northern Plains states. CNN reports the number includes “53 in South Dakota, 20 in North Dakota, as well as six in Nebraska and five each in Minnesota and Iowa.” Presumably, some people will not get mail or Christmas packages on time. But does it matter?

Since these shuttered Post Offices are likely to be in small towns, the number of Americans affected has to be only a tiny fraction of 1%. That is not enough people to justify the existence of these locations or any of the locations of hundreds, if not thousands, of others. The USPS has over 34,000 offices. Some are in towns of just a few thousand people. Keeping these open costs a small fortune each year. There is no justification for their existence.

The holidays are unique and should not be a yardstick for how the USPS is operated year-round. Six days a week delivery is an anachronism. Most people get important mail via email, which can also carry large attachments. A huge number of Americans pay bills online. If postal delivery days were cut, more people would move to online payments out of necessity.

There are alternatives to the Postal Service. UPS and FedEx have delivery networks that can reach almost every house in the country, and nearly all businesses. If they are affected by the weather, it is not more or less than the USPS.

Eighty-nine Post Offices were closed because of the weather. It doesn’t matter.

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