It might be one of those things you think about very rarely. But when that one time pops up where you need to mail a letter while you're out and about - you're pretty thankful for the various USPS collection boxes that are located around town. Why is the number of boxes set to be reduced without much of a warning or explanation?

An NBC Montana story reports that many places in Montana are seeing the collection boxes disappear, with 13 ordered to be removed in Missoula. The timing seemed to be a bit strange as the mail system has been in the news recently with issues over funding as well as mail-in voting during the upcoming election. Because of the pandemic, more votes than ever are expected to be cast by mail this year. Let's not get too deep in conspiracy theories here - it does seem like an interesting time to remove collection boxes that people would be familiar with and know the location of - but the orders were also reported to be handed down in mid-July.

After reaching out to the USPS for comment on the removals, NBC Montana received the following from a public relations rep:

“For decades, the installation and removal of the Postal Service’s iconic blue collection mail boxes from streets across the country has been based on mail volume received in those boxes.” “It is a fluid process and figures can vary from day-to-day. Historically, mail boxes have been removed for lack of use and installed in growth areas.”

If you're in the habit of quickly dropping letters in the mail in front of Target, in front of the Missoula County Courthouse, next to the YMCA and more, you might need to find a new drop spot. Here's a list of the collection boxes that are known to be affected.

Sen. Steve Daines and Sen. Jon Tester have both sent letters to the Postmaster General asking for details and clarification on the matter.