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The Kid Should See This

United States Postal Service: Systems at Work

In an incredible display of high-tech machinery, United States Postal Service: Systems at Work takes us step-by-step through their assembly lines, from the Advanced Facer-Canceller System (AFCS) — capable of processing 30,000 pieces of mail per hour — to the men and women of the USPS who keep things running smoothly from mailbox to mailbox.

stacks of letters at the usps
sorting machine
The high-drama music might feel like an action movie a first, but by halfway through, the music makes sense. It’s pretty riveting to see the high-speed, clockwork capabilities of how mail, magazines, and packages of all sizes are sorted and delivered all across the country, all thanks to the United States Postal Service.

Update 2020: A few facts via USPS:

• Affordability. For 55 cents, anyone can send a letter, regardless of geographic location, to anywhere in the United States.

• Each day the Postal Service processes and delivers 181.9 million pieces of First-Class Mail.

• The Postal Service processes and delivers 472.1 million mail pieces each day.

• There were 496,934 career employees in 2019. The number of non-career employees was 136,174.

• The United States Postal Service has a long history of providing career opportunities to veterans, reservists, and their family members. In fact, we currently employ nearly 100,000 Military members and Veterans in our organization.

• Zero tax dollars used. The Postal Service receives NO tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

• The Postal Service provides a vital public service that is a part of the nation’s critical infrastructure. The statute that created the Postal Service begins with the following sentence: “The United States Postal Service shall be operated as a basic and fundamental service provided to the people by the Government of the United States, authorized by the Constitution, created by an Act of Congress, and supported by the people.” 39 U.S.C. §101(a).

We also love these map facts, including this one: “The most unusual delivery method used by USPS is a mule train in Arizona. The mules carry mail, food, and supplies down an 8-mile trail to the Havasupai Indians at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.”

Their Peach Springs, AZ post office also has a walk-in freezer for food deliveries.

United States Postal Service zip codes
Favorite kid activity: Choosing stamps to buy and then sending a letter to a penpal.

Related mail videos on TKSST:
• How zip codes helped organize America
• From A to B: A package’s journey through the postal system
• Journey of a Letter: How a birthday card is sent and delivered in London

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