It wasn’t long ago, before texting, instant messaging, email, web chat and cheap long-distance phone calls, that a trip to the mailbox was a highly anticipated event. Letters from family and friends and surprise packages awaited. And sending a check in the mail was one of the only ways to pay your bills.
That all has changed, of course, with mobile phones, tablets and laptop computers instantly passing around messages and pictures, and online bill paying taking care of much of the rest.
As the Senate debates the fate of the venerable U.S. Postal Service, many msnbc.com users on Facebook think they could do without “snail mail.” Others say it's become more a delivery mechanism for the advertising fliers, credit-card offerings and sweepstakes invitations that stuff their mailbox each day (and for which no software filter is available).
“If it wasn’t for crap junk mail, I wouldn’t get mail at all,” said Liza Roosa. “Everything I do is online.”
“All I get these days is junk mail,” lamented Peggy Brent Finnegan.
And Don Hodge suggested, “Yawn. Turn it over to private enterprise, have advertisers who still believe in direct mail subsidize the whole thing.”
Other see the winding down of the Postal Service as an inevitable evolution of technology.
Hundreds of thousands of jobs are at stake in the GOP assault on the post office. The Senate took up a bill to postpone the agony of cuts, but it's not a long-term solution. Ed Schultz thinks Democrats should take a page out of the Michele Bachmann playbook on this fight.
“Cassettes killed Records, CDs killed Cassettes, MP3 players killed CDs and the Internet (and email and online bill paying) killed the United States Postal Service!” said Jorma J. Takala.
Still, many point out that the postal delivery is a vital lifeline for poor people without Internet service, patients who receive medications through the mail and for those living in rural areas without broadband.
“There still are people who don't have internet,” Lisa McGee of Allentown, Pa., said on Facebook. “What of them?”
“I don't know but why would anybody want to get rid of the Postal Service. There are people out there still depend on the mail because of bills and checks that old people received because they don't have computers or they don't have access or don't know to use,” said Paul Thompson.
One thing is for certain. Many think Congress should be able to figure out a way to save a federal agency that reaches all Americans.
“The postal service is a vital part of the American economy and it should be kept,” said Annette Pratt Mansaray of Puyallup, Wash.
“We need our post offices,” said Christy Robin Golden, of Bassett, Va.
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