Technically, the U.S. Postal Service doesn't have an official motto, but it does have an unofficial one, culled from an engraving outside a New York post office, that reads as follows: "Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." The words are of course meant to describe the postal carriers' commitment to delivering the mail, no matter what occurs (and that presumably includes unruly dogs born and bred to chase postal workers). The engraved words were adapted from the work of the ancient Greek historian and traveler, Herodotus, who was writing about Persia's early version of a letter carrier service [source: Smithsonian Institution Postal Museum].
That engraved motto was part of the James A. Farley Post Office, which was built in 1912. One thing's for sure: The postal carrier of today has a lot more to think about than he did back back then, which must make the motto tougher than ever to live up to. Consider that the postal service offers five basic types of delivery service, broken down by speed of delivery and type of mail being sent. And then each category has subcategories, some varying in the sizes/weights of the pieces of mail that can be sent. Essentially, the faster the delivery time offered, the more expensive the delivery option. The five general delivery types are:
- Express mail is for letters or large envelopes. You can insure your letter with this service.
- Priority mail usually allows for delivery within 2-3 days for U.S. destinations.
- First Class mail is the standard mailing type, of course. Letters usually arrive within one to three days, but no time period is guaranteed.
- Parcel Post is used when you want to send a package. Delivery times can range from two to nine days.
- Media Mail can be used to send books, manuscripts, sound recordings and other recorded media. Delivery times range from two to nine days, but this delivery option can often be less expensive than sending the package through the Parcel Post.
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