Expect longer USPS delivery times for the holidays

Without a magic sleigh and reindeer at our disposal, many of us rely on the US Postal Service for our gift delivery needs. This is bad news for anyone waiting until the last minute to shop for the holidays online. This year, mail will take longer to reach its destination and cost more to send. To avoid mail-related disasters in the run-up to Hanukkah and Christmas, be sure to plan ahead.

As Lifehacker reports, the USPS adopted new standards for its first-class services on Oct. 1. Previously, first class mail was delivered within two to three days, regardless of its destination. Under the new policy, letters will take two days to arrive when delivered within a 139 mile radius, three days if the radius is 140 to 930 miles, four days for 931 to 1,907 miles, and five days if the radius is 140 to 930 miles, and five days for 931 to 1,907 miles. it is greater than 1908 miles.

Customers may also end up paying more for slower service. Until December 25, the cost of most packages will include an additional $ 0.25 to $ 5 depending on their weight and how far they have to travel. Even your greeting cards may be more expensive to send in 2021. Earlier this year, the USPS increased the price of a Forever stamp from $ 0.55 to $ 0.58.

These changes may seem like a headache, but they are designed to improve service for customers in the long run. After losing $ 87 billion [PDF] during the last 14 financial years, the USPS hopes longer delivery times and price increases will help reverse debt by 2031. The new policy should also make it easier for customers to plan their holiday gifts. Like anyone who has shipped gifts through the USPS last December knows, the service hasn’t always lived up to its shorter delivery standards. The historic volume combined with worker shortages has resulted in unpredictable delays that have made it difficult for many people to vacation in 2020. Under the new distance-based policy, customers will hopefully have a more accurate estimate of when where the packages will reach their recipients.

The best way to make sure everyone on your list receives a gift on time is to do your holiday shopping and shipping as early as possible. If you’re worried about timing, another tip is to prioritize. If you have loved ones living across the country, send their packages first as they will take the longest time to ship. In the next wave, send articles to friends and family who live a little closer, and save for recipients who live a drive away. Beyond that, the only way to ensure that your gifts arrive quickly and safely is to put on a Santa hat and deliver them in person.

[h/t Lifehacker]

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