Friday, February 15, 2013

Mail boxes, stamp collecting threatened by Post Office demise

The eventual extinction of the Post Office threatens a lot of things. Some of those things already are moving to digital alternatives, such as personal letters and cards, bills, magazines and catalogs.
Other things will become museum pieces and anachronisms.
Here’s a list of 10 things that will go away or be dramatically changed by the end of the U.S. Postal Service:

Mail collection boxes

When the U.S. Postal Service inevitably recedes from the American way of life, so will those ubiquitous blue metal mail collection boxes on street corners.

U.S. Mail trucks

Also going bye-bye will be those cute white U.S. Mail trucks with blue and red trim.

‘Mailbox baseball’

Gradually homes won’t need mail boxes either. So vandals who like to play “mailbox baseball” will have to find a new target for their aggression.

Stamp collecting

Stamp collecting will continue, but as a rich person’s hobby, not as a pastime for average Americans. Children won’t be starting new collections because there won’t be any new stamps produced. And artists won’t have the Postal Service as an outlet for their work.


When the Post Office goes away, so will postcards. Picture postcards from vacation spots like Las Vegas, Hollywood, Miami and New York City will become simply collector’s items.

The expression ‘going postal’

Someday we’ll have to explain to our kids what the expression “going postal” means. Maybe some other location will get a reputation for workplace violence and get its own expression.

Computer icons of letter envelopes and mail boxes

In the near future, it won’t make sense to use icons like letter envelopes and mail boxes for email programs. They will make about as much sense as using an LP record player as an icon for music application.

Netflix DVDs by mail

Netflix sees the writing on the wall. It knows that the future of its business is in streaming video, not DVDs by mail. It has stopped advertising its U.S.-only DVD service in favor of streaming. The number of DVD subscribers has plummeted in the last two years. Changes at the post office, such as stopping Saturday delivery and raising postage prices, will only accelerate this decline.

Letter-sized envelopes

If people no longer send letters, there can’t be much of a market for letter-sized envelopes.

Post Offices as objects of civic pride

Getting a post office in your small town used to be a sign that your village had arrived. Soon many of those rural post offices will be shut down to save money.

Photos: U.S. Mail truck from Wikimedia Commons; U.S. Postal Service mail boxes from Wikimedia Commons; Stamp collecting stamp photo from Encyclopedia Britannica Blog; Netflix mail envelopes from Netflix PR.

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