By now, you've probably heard that thousands of post offices are set to close this year. About 2,000 closings will start in March (in addition to the 491 the USPS said they would shut down last year), and another 16,000 are in review, according to the Wall Street Journal. For some, this may mean a minor inconvenience of having to travel a little bit further to mail packages, but for the elderly in rural areas, it's akin to cutting off one of their main lines of communication as there are those who still don't use computers.
One of the main reasons why the US Postal Service is in the red is because of the generous benefits package it offers to employees. Instead of closing postal offices, Sen. Susan Collins says, "It needs to tackle a benefit structure that is too expensive, and it needs to look for ways to stay in business and deal with the digital age."
Read my tips to better prepare for the postal closings.
- Check the List: First of all, take a look at the list of offices that are closing to see if you'll be affected. The list only includes the 491 locations that the USPS announced it would shut down late last year. Keep watching the news for updates on which ones will be closing next, and check the USPS site for the latest news. The local news coverage of the postal closings will usually reveal which post offices will close near you.
- Appeal the Closing: If you think this is unjust and the office in a particular location is essential, contest the closing by writing to the Postal Regulatory Commission, an independent agency that regulates the postal service. You can even submit your appeal online.
- Plan Earlier: Now that the post office isn't as conveniently near as it used to be, don't drop off your packages at the last moment, and set a date to go. Since there will be fewer locations, there might be more of a line as well, so remember to keep that in mind. If you're good about organizing, you can also group your deliveries into one instead of taking multiple trips to the postal office, which will save you a lot of hassle.
- Use Alternatives: Instead of going to the post office, you can also choose to send your package at a dropbox or service center. You can check out other services such as DHL, UPS, and FedEx.
- Request a Pickup: Take advantage of the no-fee pickup services by the postal service. Prepare your package by using boxes that fit the shipping requirements, paying for the postage costs online, and printing out the shipping label. Then, schedule a delivery online at the USPS website.