I have read 2 stories lately about the US Postal Service being in major financial trouble. Months ago there was talk about going from 6 day delivery to 5 day. The problem there is that they are talking about dropping Tuesday since that is a light mail day. Everyone in the US knows that the Post Office takes their holidays on Mondays. If that were the case, every time there is a holiday, the post office would be closed for 3 straight days!
In the article I just read, they are talking about closing a number of post offices all over the country and making do with fewer offices. This will just slow down delivery times, which will impact all of us since we all buy and or sell on eBay.
I haven't heard anything from Congress on dropping 1 day of mail delivery, but it looks like the USPS won't be able to pay their bills without some adjustments. This could definitely add to the shipping time for cards and other mail order purchases.
A while back I was at the post office mailing some boxes. After the postal worker had weighed everything and given me the total, he asked if I needed any stamps. I said, "No, I rarely use stamps anymore. I just pay all of my bills online now." You should have seen the dirty look I got from that guy!
The US Postal Service is easily the most inefficient organization in the world. If it wasn't a gov't run business, it would have closed decades ago. I live in the suburbs, and there 8 post offices within 5 miles of my house, and 29 within 10 miles. I don't have that many gas stations or convienent stores that close. According to the government's own study, there are twice as many post offices than are necessary and post office employees are paid too much. 1/3 of all postal employess make over $125,000, while the median salary is $78,000. I know that it's not the most exciting job in the world, but that is a ton of money for the delivering mail.
I have to agree that the USPS has too many offices. We have home delivery, but there are a number of post offices. Postal Workers just have to take a basic test when applying for a job. There really aren't any education requirements beyond a high school diploma. I read that they start out at $40K with benefits and go up from there. I didn't realize that they could earn $125K! I'm a high school teacher with a masters degree and 14 years experience and I won't ever earn $100K.
In addition, this week I have had 2 pieces of mail returned to me by neighbors who got my mail by mistake.
That being said, I hate to see them drop down to 5 day delivery. It really sucks when you are looking forward to getting a really special card in the mail and it takes longer than it should. This will just make it worse!
Up in Canada we have been on the 5 day mail delivery since the 60's.
Also, like Dan said every year the mail price increases every January - last increase (Jan. 2009) it went up 2 cents from $0.52 to $0.54.
Also, prices went up going to the US and overseas did go up quite a bit.