Last Friday, Amazon took on the U.S. Post Office and opened a real world locker box service as a delivery portal for the stuff people buy on

The lockers, which come in several sizes, are located on a wall in a 7-11 convenience store in Seattle surrounding an ATM-like device that allows a customer to key in a PIN and pick up their Amazon package.

The boxes are a riff on what Amazon is already doing at big box electronic stores like Best Buy. Currently, if you designated a package be sent to a retail store, the products could only be electronics and games sold at those stores.

We don't have Amazon's confirmation, but it is quite possible that by installing these boxes in convenience stores, Amazon will allow customers to pick up anything that Amazon sells, including books or food.

Amazon is the latest online company to offer services usually offered by shrinking government institutions and to create solutions, a trend spotted in the United States and elsewhere.

Email has for years clawed away at real world mail delivered by carriers dressed in blue uniforms. Now, Amazon is jumping into the increasingly large gaps opening in a U.S. Postal Service whose effectiveness continues to be compromised by increased costs and declining tax revenue.

In fact, it is at the brink of default; it is likely the Post Office will miss a payment of $5.5 billion to the U.S. government on Sept. 30, and the Postmaster General has threatened that the service will need to close 3,700 local offices and fire 120,000 employees.

We have put in a request for more information about the locker system in Seattle and what it will mean for the company as a whole. We will update when we know more.