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Campbell column: Could the mail fail?

By Sarah Campbell
scampbell@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — I love receiving mail. It’s one of the little joys in life. Although most of the time my mailbox is stuffed full of bills and junk, it’s always exciting when a card from a friend sneaks in.
A couple of months ago I went to the mailbox to find a card from my dear friend Kim. After having the most horrendous day, it was so comforting to have that card, with a kind note inside.
Last week I received two Halloween cards. A nice reminder that the holiday was just around the corner. Monday, Halloween Day, a card from my friend Tracey arrived. It was quite a treat to open it up and realize it played music from “The Wizard of Oz.”
But I don’t just like to receive mail, I enjoy sending it too. I take great pride in purchasing Valentines, Halloween and Christmas cards to mail out each year. I send them to the same group of about eight people.
It’s always fun to sit down and write out a silly message in my neatest penmanship, which I rarely get to practice considering I do most of my work via iBook.
When I know a birthday is coming up, I head to the store to pick out the perfect card get in the mail before the big day.
Sure, I could just write on someone’s Facebook wall, send a text message or give them a phone call. But I think taking the time to find the right card, write a thoughtful message and put it in mailbox says a little more. It says, “I actually remembered your birthday and I took the time to acknowledge it.”
Earlier this week during lunch with my co-workers we were talking about things that are going out of style. You know, things like home telephones, email (apparently high schoolers prefer Facebook), portable CD players. And then the terrible thought entered my mind…what about the mail?
The U.S. Postal Service is struggling to stay afloat with more and more people switching to paperless billing statements. I admit that I’ve done the same out of convenience.
And with so many forms of electronic communication, people hardly ever write letters anymore. The message just wouldn’t get there fast enough for us.
“The Postal Service projects a $9 billion loss next year, as well as mounting losses which could reach an estimated $16 billion by 2015 and exceed $20 billion by 2020,” Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe said during a speech in September.
Reading that statement made my heart sink.
But the Postal Services is looking for ways to cut operational expenses and work with the government to ensure mail still arrives at every doorstep.
Maybe each of us can work to make sure mail doesn’t become extinct.
Mail out invitations instead of sending evites. Write an old-fashioned thank-you letter. Send out cards for silly occasions. I know a couple of my friends have half birthdays coming up.
Picking up a book of stamps and sending out a piece of mail will not only help the Postal Service economically, it will probably add a little sunshine to someone’s day when it shows up amid all the bad news.
Sarah Campbell covers education for the Salisbury Post.
Reach her at 704-797-7683.
Twitter: twitter.com/posteducation
Facebook: facebook.com/Sarah.SalisburyPost

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