Though there has been a steady decline of customers’ usage of First-Class Mail™ over the last decade, writing and sending letters through the U.S. mail used to be very popular ways of letting someone know you cared. For example, many of us remember when we were kids waiting anxiously for the delivery of the mail to see whether that special birthday present from Grandma and Granddad had arrived. And, with sincere gratitude, many of us remember penning a letter to Grandma and Granddad, thanking them for that special birthday present. Family members often read, reflect on, and cherish letters exchanged decades ago between family, lovers, and friends. These letters often serve as time machines, transporting younger generations back to an era where they can gain fascinating insight into their loved ones’ lives or valuable information about the family dynamics of previous generations.

Writing and sending letters is a time honored tradition that offers tangible evidence that the writer cares or doesn’t care about the recipient of the letter. Letters and greeting cards visually connect the receiver to the sender through handwriting, images, or messages in the letter or greeting card. Experian QAS, a provider of address management solutions, found that most people prefer to receive greeting cards. The company surveyed 500 respondents about their greeting card preferences, and 92 percent preferred receiving greeting cards mailed through the postal services over receiving e-cards.
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Email messages, on the other hand, have their advantages. For example, emails can be sent and received instantly wherever there is Internet service. Email does not require physical storage and if the receiver doesn’t want anyone to read the email, it can be password protected or discarded with a click of the mouse. Yet, with all the modern conveniences of emails, how many people remember the first email they ever sent or received? How many people can appreciate the sensory connection to a loved one through an email?

This blog is hosted by the OIG's Office of Audit.

Comments (6)

  • anon

    Having been a rural carrier for 20 years i want to know who was the executive idiot who ordered the rural carriers to take the fss flats to the street.That action has taken more gas and time for me to deliver on the street because the length of my route is to long to achieve any cost savings.Pmg Donahue stop the stupidity, cancel the order let them case the flats!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Jun 10, 2012
  • anon

    Im a sub at a rural office here in AZ if we get FSS flats that would make me quit because we roast enough out there in the summertime I know other offices have FSS flats but we don't ,yet...

    Sep 03, 2012
  • anon

    has any one explored the idea of setting up computer hubs inside post offices and allowing emailers to send email to the hub where by the cerks then print and mail a hard copy letter to a customer that has no email capability? this i think would create a transitional bridge and increse mail volume. it would also open up the possibility to expand the service to incorporate things like holiday cards, money orders and a wide range of services.

    Jun 08, 2012
  • anon

    we have to get used to using e-cards because we can save paper (go green), and a growing number of internet users with a smartphone (very simple)

    May 28, 2012
  • anon

    Why is the post office restricting mail lithium ion batteries (and electronics with these batteries)? Hundreds of thousands of people fly continent to continent daily with these batteries in their phones, ipads, laptops, etc -- another instance of USPS stupidity?

    May 28, 2012
  • anon

    Low tech may or may not be the way to go, but, given that there are purported low cost ideas out there that may save the USPS billions, and save lives, and cost virtually nothing to test... Please follow me on Twitter to find out more info, Please prove me wrong. I know this wasn't responsive to the question asked, but eIDEAS is worse than useless. Thanks

    May 21, 2012

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