Mail service in the United States can be expensive and sometimes slow, especially in the large cities where millions of pieces of mail are handled daily. Deliveries are normally made only once a day to private homes, twice a day to offices.
For ordinary mail within the United States, you should have a supply of the required stamps plus a supply of air letter forms, or airgrams as they are called, for letters outside the United States. If you purchase a large supply in advance, you can avoid standing in line at the post office each time you want to mail a letter. Except fro airgrams, which do not require stamps, put a stamp on your letter and drop it in the nearest red and blue mail box, which can be found on many street corners in many locations in the town or city. If you go to a post office in a large city, remember that it will be most crowded during lunch time or late in the afternoon when people are leaving work. Post offices remain open during lunch, but most are closed on Saturday and Sunday.
If you want to be sure that an important letter has been received, send it "Registered, with Return Receipt Requested". This must be done at a post office and there is an extra charge for the service. Most personal mail is sent "first class". Other classes of mail are used to send newspapers and magazines and are less expensive than "first class," but are likely to take longer for delivery. If you are interested in anything besides the usual "first class" mail, ask at the post office for "Special Delivery" （delivered by hand and quite expensive） or rates on mailing "In Bulk" for heavy packages and books. There are many special rules for mailing packages regarding size and how they are packed. You should ask at the post office（by telephone if you like） before you wrap a package for mailing outside the United States, so that you do not arrive at the post office with your package and learn that you have wrapped it improperly.
The United States is a "telephone land". Almost every one uses the telephone to arrange social engagements, visit with friends, conduct business and obtain all kinds of information. It is the chief method for sending and receiving information in the United States. some visitors hesitate to use telephone much at first, either because it is unfamiliar, because they think it is expensive（as it is in many countries）, or because they fear they will be interrupting the person they call from more important business. In fact, local telephone calls are only 10 cents at public phones and less expensive still in private homes, many of which are charged a monthly rate for an unlimited number of local calls. Within normal hours——after 9：00 A.M. and before 9：00 P.M.——people are accustomed to the telephone ringing and most likely will not be interrupted. You need never worry about calling a business office for information, nor will you find businesses closed at lunch time. If the person you are calling is out of the office, leave a message with his or her secretary.
In the United States, most cities have two kinds of telephone books, each providing a special list of telephone numbers. Copies of these books can be found at all public telephones and in most hotel and motel rooms. One book （usually with white pages） is called the "Alphabetical Listing". It lists the names, addressed, and telephone numbers of people in the area. The names are listed alphabetically with the last or surname first. The second book is called the "Classified" or "Yellow Pages" and lists all of the businesses, hotels, restaurants, shops, theaters and services in the area. This listing is arranged according to the type of establishment. You can learn much about the city and what it has to offer by looking through the "Yellow Pages", for example, under the headings of "schools", "repairs", or "special foods". In addition, both kinds of telephone books contain useful information about how to use the telephone, and about special services that are available. For example, there are numbers that you can call to learn the correct time, the weather, and traffic information. You can also learn telephone call rates, and the times of the week when the telephone can be used most cheaply for making calls outside the local area.
It is as easy to find a public telephone in the United States as it is elsewhere in the world.
Public telephones are located in bus and railroad stations, airports, stores, hotels, restaurants, and gasoline stations. However, the visitor may not be accustomed to seeing public telephones outside along the street or road. They have become very popular in America and make it easier than ever to find a public telephone.
General instructions for using public telephones （sometimes called "pay phones"） are found on each telephone. You will need to put in a dime before you can make a call. Calls to places in the United States outside of the local area （called long-distance calls） or calls to other countries can also be made from public telephones, but because these calls are expensive, they require a considerable amount of change（nickels, dimes, and quarters）。 If you would like the person you are calling to pay the charges, that is, if the person agrees, tell the operator that you want to make a "collect call". If you are uncertain how much a long-distance call will cost （they can be expensive and are charged according to the length of the time of the call）, ask the operator what the rate is for the first three minutes of the call before you make the call. Also, ask the operator to signal you when the three minutes have passed. You can talk longer, but you must pay another charge.
There are two types of long-distance calls, either "person-to-person" or "station-to-station". Person-to-person" is more expensive, but you only pay charges from the time you actually begin speaking to the person you ask for. If you are not sure the person you are calling will be at home or at the office, you should call person-to-person. In station-to-station calls, you start to pay from the moment the telephone is answered, regardless of who answers. Generally, this is a better method because it is much cheaper if the person you are calling is likely to be there, or if you merely want to leave a message. In most parts of the United States, if you are making a station-to-station call from a private telephone rather than from a public one, you can make it even more cheaply by calling the number yourself without the assistance of an operator. The telephone book contains the procedure to be followed if you call direct. It is also useful to know at what times of the day it is least expensive to make calls. This information can be obtained from the operator or from the telephone book.This information can be obtained from the operator or from the telephone book. 12This information can be obtained from the operator or from the telephone book.This information can be obtained from the operator or from the telephone book.