Imagine a world without junk mail. Now stop, because the one real one is about to have a lot more of it.
The United States Postal Service is cutting new deals with businesses and marketers in an effort to boost its junk mail, or standard mail business as it's more nicely known, The New York Times reports. With the postal service losing billions this year, the hope is that more junk mail will equal more revenue, building on the $17 billion its direct mail delivery service pulled in last year.
While postmaster general Patrick Donahoe defends standard mail as “the best way to reach your customer,” not everybody is thrilled. Junk mail already accounts for 48 percent of total mail volume, with first-class mail comprising less and less of the total, The Wall Street Journal reported last year, and the idea of even more has some perturbed.
“One of the biggest complaints that we get... is about the amount of junk mail clogging up their mailboxes,” Ed Gilbert, a solid waste manager in Brookline, Massachusetts, told The New York Times.
Just last month, the Postal Service proposed allowing Valassis Communications, a marketing company, the ability to send junk mail at discounted rates, a move that would hurt the newspaper industry but help the U.S. Postal Service to the tune of an estimated extra $15 million in profits over the course of three years, according to The Detroit News.
This likely won't be the idea that saves the U.S. Postal Service though. A few more parcels of recycled paper in everyone’s mailbox isn’t likely to make up for the estimated $25 million the agency loses daily, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Several plants have already been shuttered, with many other Post Offices around the country implementing service cuts to save on costs.
One Post Office in Sugar Hill, New Hampshire, for example, has cut operating hours to just 30 minutes a day. That hasn't been enough either. The government agency defaulted on a $5.5 billion retiree benefit payment in August.