EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - The closure of the East Texas Processing and Distribution Center is going to affect the length of time it takes you to send and receive mail.
We first told you back in February that theEast Texas Processing and Distribution Center would be closing its doors by June 1.
Mail has gradually been moving out of the center since April, and last Saturday, May 18, the last pieces of mail were processed here in East Texas.
Mail starting with the 756 zip code is now being processed in Shreveport and mail starting with the 757, 758, and 759 zip codes is now being processed in the North Texas center in Coppell.
USPS officials are asking postal customers in East Texas to be patient with them as they make the transition.
"We ask those customers to understand that we are a part of the economy. We are a fabric of this nation. While we would love to remain in every neighborhood, we want those customers to understand that we will continue to deliver mail," said USPS spokesperson McKinney Boyd. "We'll continue to process mail, and we will process mail longer hours during the day."
What bothers postal employees most about the Processing and Distribution Center's closure is how it's going to affect customers.
"The general public is not going to recognize this until the full change takes effect," said one East Texas postal contractor, who asked to remain anonymous to protect his job. "The way you're going to see it is the way your credit card statements and bank statements and all the mail that you get in that's important, you're going to see it's taking longer to reach you."
"There's no reason now to mail bills," the contractor said. "You might as well do like everybody else and get online."
We wanted to see how the closure would affect our own mail delivery, so we put the postal system to the test... preparing four letters and four small packages for delivery both before and after the center closed.
We mailed the packages from a 756 post office in Henderson, a 757 post office in Tyler, a 758 post office in Palestine, and a759 post office in Alto.
Back in March, the results were pretty good.
We got all four of our letters and three of our packages back one day after we dropped them off, but the 758 package that was dropped off in Palestine took two days to get back to us.
Two months later, the exact same experiment, preparing four letters and four packages, but this time, knowing most of the mail was out of the center.
But this time, very different results.
Two letters and packages came back the next day. The other two letters and another package came back in two days.
But the last package, the one mailed in Alto,took five days to get back.
And that's something postal employees say you're going to have to get used to.
"The customers are going to pay for it. They're going to pay for this change," said a postal contractor.
One thing that postal employees might affect when you get your mail is when you drop it off.
I did all of my drop-offs in the morning, but postal workers say that mail that's dropped off later in the afternoons is going to take even longer to get back to you.