Just read this story at CSM:
Postmaster General: focus on customers, not struggling downtowns
In it the Postmaster General discusses shutting down 26,000 out of 32,000 post offices that he calls "money-losing" and moving post office products to malls and shopping centers, where they will be sold by non-PO employees.
While I can see the positive economic impacts to the postal service of closing 26,000 locations, laying off reasonably-paid employees with benefits and pensions, and shifting sales duties to minimum-wage workers at pharmacies and grocery stores, I wonder what the impact will be on areas that currently host post offices.
And while it's true that the postal service is not in business to help out downtown areas, I'm still disturbed by the Postmaster General's sttement that “[w]e don’t want to be the anchor for the revitalization of some downtown area that is pretty much vacant because some big strip malls have been built up outside of the downtown area. We need to be where the people are.”
The flip side, according to the article, is that "[t]he average post office foot traffic of 600 people per week compares to 10,000 per week at the average pharmacy, and 20,000 at the average grocery store." So I'm not sure what positive effect a relatively small amount of postal customers really has on a downtown.