Quote from USPS OIG article

News about disappearing collection boxes is everywhere these days. Even BBC News ran a story on the decline of the blue collection box in the United States.

The Postal Service argues that picking up mail from collection boxes is expensive. Removing underused boxes is a cost savings move and a reasonable response to the economic crisis. The Postal Service is removing boxes with less than 25 stamped mail pieces per day.

Critics wonder if there is adequate analysis to support the 25-piece minimum and whether one reason for removing collection boxes — in addition to the minimal cost savings — is that the Postal Service does not want to be criticized for poor service.

Over the last years increased identity theft has resulted in reluctance to put sensible mailings, like bill payments, in mailboxes for carrier pickup. Some people have resorted to mail such items from their workplace. Mailing from work is not possible for all, so a good part has to rely on collection boxes to drop off sensitive mailings.

It could be argued that a substantial decrease of conveniently located collection boxes may increase some consumer’s willingness to switch to online payments/transactions. The other options for the consumer are increased inconvenience, in order to get to a more remote collection box, or to return using their potentially unsafe mail box. And increased mail box use for sending items might lead to a higher carrier work load, thus lowering the anticipated savings.

It is a decision where “minimal savings” have to be balanced against consumer’s perception of USPS. It would be interesting to know how the 25 piece cut-off threshold has been calculated. Is it only based on a daily average? Or are monthly occurring peaks part of the equation?

This secret knowledge is embedded deeply within the belly of USPS, and the consumer, which in fact is a customer, seems not to be part of this USPS decision process. However, many National Postal Operators are really trying to increase customer satisfaction. One way could be to send out small postcard surveys, return postage prepaid of course. USPS is certainly well equipped to execute this little exercise, which may yield valuable insights and shows the customer that USPS cares. As of this moment we are not aware that such efforts have taken place. Otherwise we would be delighted, with a little blood mounting to our cheeks and in abashment for writing this last paragraph.