Have you noticed that your mail delivery isn’t what it used to be? Has your regular carrier seemingly vanished, replaced by two or three other people who rotate in no particular order? Get used to it, because it’s just going to get worse.

The Postal Service officially admitted it can’t do its job yesterday, when the postmaster general told Congress the agency can’t afford to deliver the mail six days a week. Mail volume dropped 9 billion pieces last year, the largest single volume drop in history. And, despite another rate increase, 2009 could be the first year since 1946 that the actual amount of money collected by the post office declines. In other words, it doesn’t have enough money to deliver the mail, even though there is less mail to deliver.

After the jump, how this will affect you:
I was actually given the heads up on this by a friend who is retired post office and who knows of my interest in these things (and we’ve had several discussions about the postal service and its various inabilities – and the postal service’s refusal to discuss the issue). What’s going on, said my friend, is that carriers are expected to deliver a certain number of pieces of mail a day. But since each route has fewer pieces than it did a couple of years ago, each carrier has to work a larger route or work part of someone else’s route to make up the difference.

The end result? You get your mail later in the day, later in the week, or not at all. Substitute carriers, who aren’t familiar with the route, will make more mistakes.

Yes, the mail is less important that it used to be, as many of us use direct deposit, Internet bill pay and the like. But it’s still something that needs to be done. I just wish it could be done effectively.

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