Mickey D. Barnett

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

The U.S. Postal Service removed all doubt Tuesday. "Letters are going away, as the 10-year trend below so clearly illustrates," writes a USPS spokeswoman

Quite the quandary is shaping up for the U.S. Postal Service, which may affect direct (and all) mail service. Friday afternoon's 15-minute meeting may have been the last gathering of the USPS Board of Governors for the foreseeable future. The Senate needs to confirm nominees by today or board quorums will be impossible, USPS Media Relations Manager Dave Partenheimer tells Target Marketing.

The U.S. Postal Service needs to compete to survive and that means acting more like a private business, says Megan J. Brennan. To that end, the USPS needs to concentrate on direct mail and package delivery, says the first female postmaster general who will take over after Patrick R. Donahoe retires on Feb. 1. Brennan details a few of her plans for the USPS in a Sunday article in The Wall Street Journal.

It's now almost a 24/7 postal service. For the holidays, the U.S. Postal Service will be delivering packages seven days a week, USPS says. The postal service's Thursday announcement comes a day after Americans learned Amazon plans to deliver some packages via taxi, a service that does run 24/7. Fortune also hypothesized that the USPS made this move in order to

First, the U.S. Postal Service delivered groceries for AmazonFresh in San Francisco. Then on Friday, USPS expanded the delivery area to "additional major metropolitan markets nationwide." At 4:19 p.m. on Thursday, the Postal Regulatory Commission issued an "Order Authorizing Customized Delivery Market Test." In other words, the PRC is allowing USPS to conduct an expanded market test for the next two years, beyond what the postal service has already done in San Francisco. What USPS did there was load up on AmazonFresh bags—delivered to USPS by AmazonFresh's participating retailers—and drop them off at the doors of San Franciscans who had ordered groceries online.

Talk about baking a surprise inside of the cake—the U.S. Postal Service testing grocery delivery in San Francisco was only the outer layer. The surprise inside was how fast USPS wants to start nationwide deliveries to major metropolitan areas. It may happen for retailers of grocery and pre-packaged goods after this next 2-year-long test is complete.

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