In the first of a series of expected draconian cuts, the U.S. Postal Service will slow first-class delivery of the mail next spring. Simply put, that means stamped letters sent within the same region should no longer be expected to arrive the next day.
More than $3 billion in Postal Service reductions are expected to be unveiled today as part of a wide-ranging effort to keep one of the nation's oldest institutions from going into bankruptcy. The impact of the slowdown is expected to result in added costs to mail-order prescription drugs and threaten the existence of time-sensitive magazines.
"Over time, to the extent the customer service experience gets worse, it will only increase the shift away from mail to alternatives," said Jim Corridore of S&P Capital IQ. "There's almost nothing you can't do online that you can do my mail."
Today's cuts are also expected to include the shutdown of nearly half of the nation's mail processing centers as early as next march. Currently, first-class mail is designed to be delivered to homes and businesses within the continental U.S. in one to three days; that will be lengthened to two to three days, or even more. Periodicals could take between two and nine days.