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The mail is getting slower this week: Here’s why and what it means for your deliveries

Fast Company: “After a year plagued with pandemic slowdowns, the United States Postal Service could hardly be called the class overachiever. But this Friday, it’s making that lax approach to deadlines official by loosening some of its mail delivery guarantees by roughly 30%. Here’s what to know: What’s changing? Starting Friday, October 1, the delivery standard for First Class Mail and Periodicals will extend from 1-3 business days to 1-5 business days, giving the postal carrier an extra two days to schlep your birthday cards, tax documents, and glossy magazines cross-country. Does that mean everything will take longer? Not necessarily, is what the Postal Service is saying. According to the agency, service times should stay the same for 61% of first-class mail (defined as regular-sized envelopes, letters, postcards, and flats), as well as 93% of periodicals (newspapers, magazines, etc.). Single pieces of mail traveling within the same region should still take roughly two days to arrive. However, mail traveling longer distances, such as from New York to California, will move slower than before and could take the full five days. Ok. What’s the big idea? The agency claims the changes will counterintuitively improve the courier’s service, by increasing the mail’s predictability and reliability (as it sticks to its lowered target times). It’s also hoping that shakeups will help it juggle its resources more effectively overall: For example, a USPS spokesperson told Fast Company that “the current standard [for lightweight package delivery] requires 3-day service for any destination within the contiguous U.S. with a drive time greater than six hours . . . This is unattainable and forces us to overly rely on air transportation,” which the spokesperson said can be inconsistent due to “weather, flight traffic, competition for space, and the added hand-offs involved.”…

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