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Old 08-27-2008, 10:11 AM   #1
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LXer: The Death of the Letter?

Published at LXer:

Mailboxes are going the way of phone booths. More of us are paying our bills online and using the Internet to send our correspondence, so the U.S. Postal Service has decided it needs fewer mailboxes. (WTOP) The first question that jumped to my mind is how does the USPS expect me to mail a letter when I cannot find a mail box? The second question is, will there be any letters twenty years from now? Or less? This is not as trivial a concern as you might expect.

Old 08-27-2008, 10:36 AM   #2
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I would expect it to be a somewhat trivial concern for two reasons:
1) Phone booths disappeared because they just get wrecked and most people have cellulars these days; using either is essentially the same thing, cellular is just capable of moving (people still do make calls)
2) Writing a letter is much different from doing the same electronically; it can't be compared to phone booths vs. cellulars competition (in comparison it would be more like running messenger vs. cellular). Even though some things can be made easier electronically, not everything can (like sending physical [small] objects), and even if some could be, not all will be. For example I can't think of a romantic person that would send a love letter by e-mail Or (legal) money for that matter.
Old 08-27-2008, 11:37 AM   #3
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Phone booths are very different to postboxes. A public phone booth gets vandalised, used as a toilet or other non-legal/polite uses. You can also track it's use and decide whether it is worth keeping - as more public services get privatised, the "provided for the use of the public" thing goes by the wayside. Postboxes are pretty much the only way many people can send documents/letters/cards - while it would be nice to think that everyone has a PC and a regular fast connection, the reality is very different.


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