Still Debating Saturday Mail Delivery

Still Debating Saturday Mail Delivery

Summary: Despite a strong recommendation from the Postmaster General that the USPS eliminate Saturday mail delivery (along with other cost-cutting moves and a rate increase), the issue is far from settled. In late July, Senator Jon Testor (D-Mont) said that the senators who oversee the US Postal Service's budget will block the proposal to stop delivering mail on Saturdays. The USPS cannot cut services without agreement from Congress.

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Despite a strong recommendation from the Postmaster General that the USPS eliminate Saturday mail delivery (along with other cost-cutting moves and a rate increase), the issue is far from settled. In late July, Senator Jon Testor (D-Mont) said that the senators who oversee the US Postal Service's budget will block the proposal to stop delivering mail on Saturdays. The USPS cannot cut services without agreement from Congress.

Doc's a bit on the fence about the Saturday mail delivery conundrum. The USPS is on track to lose $7 billion this fiscal year, so something has to be done. But there is a large concern among direct marketers and transactional printers that eliminating Saturday mail delivery will have a measurable affect on commerce, and hit rural areas particularly hard.

For a good read on the subject, check out this article from the New York Times.

As federal regulators consider a proposal to cut most Saturday postal deliveries, the business community is sharply divided about the consequences of switching to five-day service.

The post office estimates that cutting Saturday delivery would save $3 billion a year. Some, like Donald J. Hall Jr., chief executive of Hallmark Cards, said that eliminating Saturday delivery and raising prices even incrementally would drive more business away from the United States Postal Service, resulting in a "slippery slope."

But others, like Andrew Rendich, the chief service and DVD operations officer at Netflix, said five-day delivery would be a better alternative to significantly higher postal rates. "Big rate increases will absolutely squash business and will absolutely slow growth for a company like Netflix," Mr. Rendich said.

Doc wonders where you stand on the issue, especially if you do a lot of transactional printing and regularly send out customer correspondence. Many people I've talked to wish the USPS would eliminate one of the weekdays, since Saturday is traditionally a good day to get mail directly in people's hands (when they are not at work and have time to deal with it right away). So which is better, elimination of Saturday mail delivery or a big rate increase? The way it's looking now, we may be headed toward a combination of both!

Topics: IT Employment, CXO, Hardware, Printers

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  • RE: Still Debating Saturday Mail Delivery

    Eliminating Saturday delivery will just accelerate the downward spiral of the USPS, and yes I am an employee/Manager/customer. We are the US Postal SERVICE. We need to cut back on overhead and that means in Washington DC, at postal HQ, and no, that doesn't mean just moving the positions office space to some district office, the jobs and people must be eliminated, jobs consolidated. Postal HQ have been consolidating delivery unit staffing and even at Plants, it's time to push this up to Area and HQ, if we in the field have to do more with less (12hr workdays 6 days a week) then the Area and HQ needed to do with less. Over the last year I have seen IT dept reduce technology that we manager and supervisors could use so we could get more done, even, so we could take work home to complete. HQ as eliminated the lobby vending machines and refuse to invest in new APC?s, every lobby should have a vending machine and an APC, it is down right stupid that our customers have to wait in line to buy one stamp to mail a first class letter, or even wait in line to mail a small package when the could just use the APC and then be on there way. It is down right stupid when a customer comes to a plant lobby in the evening to mail important letter and the find no stamp machine, they then have to drive to local grocery store and buy a whole book of stamps, and many times, at a marked up price. We should go back to 24 windows at plants and invest in new vending machines and APC?s to increase our convents to our customers. Not everyone has access to the internet or even wants to use the internet. Why don?t we put internet terminals in our lobbies for customer use?????
    lostmechanic
    • You're making sense. Who's listening?

      @lostmechanic It's sad to me. The top people who run the USPS are uncreative, blind dolts as far as I can see. Your fixes are common sense.

      On your point about lobbys: one relatively minor fix the USPS could attend to is simply to make post office interiors more attractive and consumer-friendly in many ways. Sheesh, it's 2011 and lobbys have hardly changed in a hundred years. Except that these days most interiors are dumps with ugly advertising plastered everywhere, and broken/missing pens on dirty writing surfaces -- a place that customers do not look forward to going to. (Duh.)

      Some may think this point trivial (and they run the USPS), but I feel pretty certain that getting rid of the "warehouse office" interface at post offices across the country would help the USPS bottom line. And it is not an expensive fix, if done by smart people.

      But will this get done by a bureaucracy which stifles innovation as a religion? Same story as Amtrak. And so sad.

      Nevertheless, I feel pretty strongly that stopping Saturday delivery by the USPS would be a boon for private carriers, and nothing more. No, more like a giveaway. And it would accelerate a decline in a great, necessary institution, one that is important to communities in so many barely visible ways (/invisible/ ways to rabid right-wingers). And it would hurt those in the lower economic strata disproportionately.

      But while many clueless consumers will lose out when they lose Saturday delivery, they're conditioned to support higher profits for those invested in package carriers that this change will bring, and that's what it's all about in this era of idiots like Palin, you betcha.
      Schnerdly_McGeek
    • RE: Still Debating Saturday Mail Delivery

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      3shao
  • RE: Still Debating Saturday Mail Delivery

    Privatizing the USPS was just such a bad idea. This is only one example of why. As 'lostmechanic' says, it is a SERVICE, not a profit center.
    mejohnsn
    • Privatizing? Yes!

      @mejohnsn

      But not the entire path from source to destination.

      Let the USPS deal with the first and last miles.

      In-between can be any of the transportation firms; e.g., FedEx, UPS, et al who firms now doing business on their own terms.

      How is it privatized services make a profit and the USPS doesn't?
      Mihi Nomen Est
      • Privatizing? Not so simple...

        @Mihi Nomen Est

        Part of why the private companies make money while the USPS does not is that they have the option of choosing to only do the profitable parts of the service. The USPS offers money losing services: delivery to remote rural areas (note that even UPS and FedEx depend on the USPS to deliver to some of those locations), hand addressed first-class mail sent by individuals, bargain rate Media Mail and second-class (magazines). Oh yes, and Saturday delivery without an extra fee, a day on which mail delivery volume is lower because many businesses don't accept mail.
        mark@...
      • RE: Still Debating Saturday Mail Delivery

        @Mihi Nomen Est

        Exactly!
        billsweb
      • RE: Still Debating Saturday Mail Delivery

        @Mihi Nomen Est Privatizing the shipping of mail from one plant to another is a way to cut cost, but not by much. The plants themselves would cost more to privatize, as would shipping mail from plant to post office. Contracting the shipping and handling of mail to UPS, FedEx, or DHL would end up making the whole process much more expensive.

        As far as privatizing the whole thing? When the German Postal Service was privatized, the cost to do mail went through the roof. Imagine what it would do with the USPS and it's perennial deficit.
        nix_hed
  • The Post Office needs to join the 21st century

    and start to offer e-mail services as well. They could set up secure email servers for each zip code and your email address could be 123.main.street@90210.usps Then email scams and spam could be prosecuted as mail fraud. They could set up the ability to have certified email. They could be set up to only accept mail from other usps addresses on a secure network so that all email can be secure and tracked back to the sender. I would be willing to pay a small postage fee for the advantages that a secure and traceable email system could provide. By not keeping pace with the state of technology they are obsoleting themselves.
    dkramer3
    • RE: Still Debating Saturday Mail Delivery

      @dkramer3

      Why do I need a USPS e-mail account on top of my 5 current address'??? I can secure my own e-mail probably for a lot less then the USPS would charge!!
      jasonemmg
    • RE: Still Debating Saturday Mail Delivery

      @dkramer3 As if the US Govt has enough resources (read: PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY DO THEIR JOBS) to chase down spam too?
      VoiceOfLogic
  • is obsoleting a verb?

    hmmm
    travisspain
    • RE: Still Debating Saturday Mail Delivery

      @travisspain

      Yes, obsoleting is a verb

      obsoleting - 3 dictionary results


      ob?so?lete? ?/??bs??lit, ??bs??lit/ Show Spelled
      [ob-suh-leet, ob-suh-leet] Show IPA
      adjective, verb, -let?ed, -let?ing.


      ?verb (used with object)
      6. to make obsolete by replacing with something newer or better; antiquate: Automation has obsoleted many factory workers.
      john3347
  • RE: Still Debating Saturday Mail Delivery

    The answer is finding what customers want and are willing to pay for, and then deliver it. dkaramer has some good ideas - perhaps he should run the post office. Invest in new services. Do an economic analysis. Adjust prices - for example, charge a premium on Saturday delivery (see private market practices). Cutting down on important services without offering more value is suicidal.

    Most important: The Postal Service may provide the country with an enormous economic value, much more than its losses. Pending an analysis, we the citizens (quaint term) may be better off and have more money at the end of the day by paying off the post office deficits than by closing it because of its losses. Did anybody look lately at UPS Ground rates?
    yishaika@...
    • RE: Still Debating Saturday Mail Delivery

      @yishaika@... <i>"Did anybody look lately at UPS Ground rates?"</i>

      People who call the USPS obsolete fail to see one thing... Show me one private company that can send a card across the country for the price of a 1st class stamp, currently 44 cents.

      Loosing Saturday delivery, is something that I think most people can get used to. DKramer3 did have an interesting idea, I don't know how feasible or how much of a demand there would be, but interesting to say the least.
      Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
      • RE: Still Debating Saturday Mail Delivery

        @Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
        I agree regarding the Saturday delivery thing, and I live in a rural area
        billsweb
  • RE: Still Debating Saturday Mail Delivery

    Nope. Not a verb. Nor an adjective. Nor. . .

    ob?so?lete? ?/??bs??lit, ??bs??lit/ Show Spelled
    [ob-suh-leet, ob-suh-leet] Show IPA
    adjective, verb, -let?ed, -let?ing.
    ?adjective
    1. no longer in general use; fallen into disuse: an obsolete expression.
    2. of a discarded or outmoded type; out of date: an obsolete battleship.
    3. (of a linguistic form) no longer in use, esp., out of use for at least the past century. Compare archaic.
    4. effaced by wearing down or away.
    5. Biology . imperfectly developed or rudimentary in comparison with the corresponding character in other individuals, as of the opposite sex or of a related species.
    ?verb (used with object)
    6. to make obsolete by replacing with something newer or better; antiquate: Automation has obsoleted many factory workers.
    Use obsoleting in a Sentence
    See images of obsoleting
    Search obsoleting on the Web

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Origin:
    1570?80; < L obsol?tus, ptp. of obsol?scere to fall into disuse, perh. equiv. to ob- ob- + sol ( ?re ) to be accustomed to + -?scere -esce

    ?Related forms
    ob?so?lete?ly, adverb
    ob?so?lete?ness, noun
    non?ob?so?lete, adjective
    sub?ob?so?lete, adjective
    sub?ob?so?lete?ly, adverb
    sub?ob?so?lete?ness, noun
    un?ob?so?lete, adjective


    ?Can be confused: ? 1. archaic, obsolescent, obsolete ; 2. obsolescent, obsolete .


    ?Synonyms
    2. antiquated, ancient, old.


    ?Antonyms
    1, 2. new, modern.

    But yes. Saturday delivery should be eliminated. And Mondays too, if necessary!
    VerizonKen
  • RE: Still Debating Saturday Mail Delivery

    Wait. It is an adjective!!
    VerizonKen
  • RE: Still Debating Saturday Mail Delivery

    Or a verb?!?!?!
    VerizonKen
  • RE: Still Debating Saturday Mail Delivery

    Here in Russia, I can go to my local branch post office and buy postage, mail letters, pay utility bills, order and pay for magazine subscriptions, buy all sorts of school supplies and stationery including decorative seasonal envelopes and greeting cards, buy railroad, airplane, and theater tickets, and use one of the Internet workstations. The lines are sometimes long, but I remember some long lines in the USA, too. Sadly, my branch here doesn't accept debit cards ... yet.
    johanpdx@...