July 22, 2011 at 10:13 am #136275
Being a postal guy for 27 years, I can honestly say that I'm torn on this issue. I can see the business side as well as the job-security side. In a recent USA Today interview, Postmaster Donahoe stated that "Falling mail volume and soaring red ink may soon doom Saturday mail delivery" Would you care one way or the other? Let me know your take on this.
July 22, 2011 at 11:36 am #136371
Let me give the simple answer first, then break down a few discussions I've heard on this topic that are worth mentioning: Probably not. Personally, missing out on one day a week, Saturday, of physical mail delivery is not a big deal.
That being said, here are some things to consider:
1.) The proposal is NOT just to suspend Saturday, it's actually to suspend Saturday AND two other days (not identified) leaving only three days a week of mail delivery.
2.) If they are dropping to three days a week, I would think their work force no longer needs to be the size it is, however have heard very little about the USPS being willing to shrink in size.
3.) Again, if dropping to three days a week, is it even justifiable to have full-time employees anymore? (USPS has one of the most solid Federal unions and the BEST benefits package. For those of you who didn't know, USPS employees have bargained for far better benefits than your average Fed. Granted, that's their right, but it points to why their operational costs are so high.)
4.) CARD Act. Some of you probably just said out loud, "what does the CARD act have to do with this?" Answer: Everything. With the passage of the act, a timeline was established for how much time a person has to be informed of their bill and a timeline for when one must pay by upon notification. (I believe its 21 calendar days.) Sure, 21 days sounds like a lot, but when its calendar days that really means under the new USPS plan you would only have 9 mail days if you pay by mail. (Granted I know most of us here probably don't do that, though a lot of people still do and was the point to extending the minimum period between notification and payment.) This move by the USPS would basically undo the work the CARD Act undertook to fix. (The original minimum was 14 days.)
All that being said, if this move is about saving money and becoming more efficient, I keep getting the feeling they are approaching the issue as seriously as they could (should?) However, that being said, I do respect the USPS and the hard working individuals that support this service. We all know hard decisions are coming for government, across the board, I just don't see the benefit here at this time.
July 22, 2011 at 11:53 am #136369
You're absolutely correct Chris. 3-day delivery is on the table as well. This is a highly debated topic both internally and externally. I opted to restrict the topic of this discussion post to just Saturday delivery only. But,it's good to know that others are equally as informed as myself. Thanks for sharing your take on this.
July 22, 2011 at 11:57 am #136367
I think a shortened mail week will affect alot of business processes negatively, everything from bill payment, payroll and notices that are time sensitive. Alot of citizens probably won't care until it happens. Postal employees should use the media on a broad scale to ask public opinion on the matter.
July 22, 2011 at 12:01 pm #136365
I have thought for some time that I could easily do without a Saturday delivery of mail. To be honest, I often even forget to check the mail. All important correspondence now comes to me electronically (bills, e-mails, etc.). I can wait another day for packages. There is no reason why we should expect postal workers to work on Saturday.
By the way, I like that "PollDaddy" app! I added it to my page.
July 22, 2011 at 12:17 pm #136363
Fair enough my friend, then in the spirit of the discussion: I would tend to think that saturday being removed from the delivery schedule would be some what minimal. Though I agree with the concept it could impact businesses, I think one day a week (a non business day for most other than retail) would be minimal. Especially knowing that most companies, of all sizes, have digitized their finances, etc. That and that they are supported primarily by private shipping companes other than the USPS.
It's when we get beyond the saturday discussion things becomes MUCH more complicated.
July 22, 2011 at 12:25 pm #136361
July 22, 2011 at 12:29 pm #136359
I would inevitably miss Saturday mail pick up... not the delivery. Lord knows how many bills or whatevers I mail on Saturday because I finally remember to do it once work is over.
July 22, 2011 at 12:30 pm #136357
I think this speaks to the crux of the issue; and the reason why it's still being debated. How much is alot? Answering this question would move the question from qualitative to quantitative. How many "bill payment, payroll and notices that are time sensitive" would be left behind? How does this balance against:
- Autobill pay vs bill payment
- Direct Deposit vs payroll
Great feedback Terri! Thanks for your input.
July 22, 2011 at 12:31 pm #136355
July 22, 2011 at 1:08 pm #136353
Maybe not delivery... but I need the post office to be open. When you work all week, as many of us do, Saturday is the only time to run around to hit the bank and mail a package. You get a 4 hour window and that's it. They'd lose a lot of package business if they didn't at least open the doors at the post offices on Saturday.
July 22, 2011 at 1:13 pm #136351
Totally agree, I forgot this aspect! Which I shouldn't have, because I'm that guy in the middle of a 50 person line on saturday morning trying to mail one package to someone and only two employees are working anyway. In places like DC this is especially true, it's hard to get to a post office during the week so saturday morning is key.
Question: does the "no saturday" thing mean delivery only or all operations? (I want to say they've only discussed delivery thus far, so we're in the clear.)
July 22, 2011 at 1:14 pm #136349
I'm a bit torn. If they suspend Sat deliveries, how about all those Monday Federal Holidays that we get roughly once a month? That means we'll have weeks when you mail something on thursday and it doesn't get there until almost a week later on Tuesday due to a holiday.
Dont get me wrong, I love the time off - or would if I got it, not a fed employee - yet it's frustrating to have that long of a delay. more and more insurance companies are getting their enrollees to get their meds via the mail - and it's mail not UPS or Fedex, yet bad timing and their insistance that you are not allowed a refill until you're about out means that there will likely be many siuations where patients go without meds because the postal service is having an off day.
more and more companies operate under 'just in time' delivery. Well, if the USPS isn't going to have a reliable and timely delivey schedule, I would imagine that they'll lose business customers. many times mail order places use USPS because they are cheaper, but if things can't be delivered timely, then either the companies will have to add more time in their delivery estimates or they'll move to fedex or ups.
I for one still get credit card bills via the mail...because I honestly do not trust online banking. Like someone said, this would make the credit card companies have to rewrite the CARD act...or what is more likely they won't until they're made to and millions of customers will pay tens of millions of fees because the post office just won't deliver stuff fast enough. And it is the consumer's fault if the post office doesn't deliver.
While I do understand the need to tone down the red ink, I also know that some postal workers retire with packages that give them 80K plus a year in retirement benefits. They literally make more in retirement than many of us do working full time. maybe some of that needs to be looked at. Be reasonable, yes. But I can't have too much more sympathy for them than I do the 'poor' professional sports players complaining that their 6 and 7 figure incomes 'just aren't enough'. Come, live in my world for a while and reset your definition of 'enough'.
Perhaps the post office should look at more efficiency in their operations. Instead of delivering house to house, install block wide mailboxes (like you see in some apartment complexes) locate them in such a way that one person can stop, deliver 4 blocks worth of mail in one stop and then move on. Should drastically speed them up and allow one person to deliver more in less time along with being able to drive from stop to stop, allowing them to carry more and be faster.
Perhaps have windowson any days they don't deliver, have enough staff on hand that people can come and pick up their mail at a post office. Perhaps a focus on customer service and accountability to improve public opinion of the organization.
I respect the work that they do, but I also know that their public image isnt' that great. Limiting themselves and complaining about the bottom line when they are the best compensated federal employees doesn't buy them much sympathy from 'john q public'.
I feel like this is the public being 'held hostage' in an effort to get more funding. Like it's a threat, meant to get the public sympathies behind them, to give them power in budget negotiations. That they're looking for options that effect the public the most and them the least (such as cutting delivery without cutting personnel levels, what will those people do the other 4 days a week if all the hours are cut? will they be paid for 40 hours even if they don't work them? or do they just show up and hang out and go home? If they cut some full time employees maybe they could save money on benefits. The rest of us public employees are looking at paying more for insurance, etc, maybe it's their turn.).
I think if they go all the way through with this they're cutting their own throats and I'll see the end of the Post Office in my life time. Because it doesn't look like they're working to survive, they're working to keep the status quo, even if that status quo is decades out of date.
July 22, 2011 at 1:20 pm #136347
I'm glad i'm not the only one that caught the CARD Act issue, I think that's one of the largest drawbacks to this and is not being well thought through.
July 22, 2011 at 2:10 pm #136345
No problem James it's a great discussion. You know what they say you don't miss a good thing until it's gone!
July 22, 2011 at 5:07 pm #136343
Believe it not, I do all of my "postal stuff" on Saturday as well. And, I work in a building with a post office. Keep in mind that, I believe, the discussion is around Saturday delivery only. I have not heard any discussion around closing the post offices on Saturday; just delivery.
July 22, 2011 at 5:08 pm #136341
I think it's just delivery only.
July 22, 2011 at 5:49 pm #136339
I honestly would miss it but I think I'd get over it after a few months. Also I think as Chris pointed out there's a big difference cancelling one day vs moving to 3 days a week.
There was a great blog post by USPS OIG a few months ago on Govloop on taking USPS to digital world - https://www.govloop.com/profiles/blogs/taking-the-postal-platform-to
I think that's where they need to be going. Not just focused on cutting expenses but adding value and creating new services and revenue streams.
July 22, 2011 at 6:30 pm #136337
Victoria A. RunkleParticipant
Don't you have those independent mail box stores around? I so recommend them for their efficiency. It might cost a bit more, but they are opened on Saturday and can do everything from just getting your package stamped to taking the original item and packing it. The independent ones work with every delivery service - including the USPS. An effort to change the federal system will create a void that will be filled by someone.
July 22, 2011 at 10:17 pm #136335
Yes but only because I order music & I'm usually anxious to receive it - I know I can always pay extra for other mailing options & yes it's only one day but I for one would actually miss it - I do see both sides but I too am torn.
July 22, 2011 at 11:34 pm #136333
Ah yes... the media factor. If Netflix is going to charge me $9 to get DVDs I'd like to be able to get them on a Saturday. 🙂
July 22, 2011 at 11:59 pm #136331
I read this article. I like what it has to offer. The only problem that I have with some of the OIG offerings is the timing. There's still a large enough portion of individuals who are not internet saavy. Strategies such a eMailbox would not work for them. If processes such as eMailbox would be executed now, it would have to run in conjunction with regular mail service. There's still too many users that are not internet savvy.
But the idea's being offered by the OIG make sense.
July 23, 2011 at 12:28 am #136329
The overarching action here would be that the individual would have to travel to pickup their mail. In your example, it would be an independent mail box store. How about this? A recent OIG study (dated July 7th 2011) suggests that USPS could save 4.5 billion/year by "moving from door-to-door delivery to curbside delivery". This means that instead of USPS delivering mail to your home, individuals would have to travel to a centralized location to pickup their mail.
So, instead of traveling to a independent mail box store, you would travel to this centralized location. What do you think?
Poll has been updated to reflect this new option. (Click here).
July 23, 2011 at 12:29 am #136327
Or dont have good internet access. too many people take their cable or high speed for granted. In the midwest there are hundreds of square miles where all people can get is dial up.
and I do agree, a good chunk of our population does not live on the net or find getting e-mail to be a challenge, much less anything more difficult.
July 23, 2011 at 12:52 am #136325
There's also our international side. We receive mail from 229 countries; (Afghanistan to Zimbabwe). The bigger countries (e.g., Japan, UK, Canada) can embrace the eMailbox concept. But the 3rd world countries (e.g., Uganda, Benin, Angola) are not internet connected. Their family members, colleagues, students studying here in the U.S. could not receive their correspondence from their native country dwellers. These are not military folk. Just people who have business dealings here in the U.S. but are from these smaller countries.
Food for thought.
July 25, 2011 at 12:15 pm #136323
Why not allow the post office to set its own rates for stamps? Its supposed to be run like a private company with oversight by the feds. They should have raised the stamp price to $.50 years ago but Congress would not allow it. By allowing the post office to control the stamp price they could raise or lower (fat chance) the stamp price to meet their needs. I also could see the consolidation of post offices as cost cutting.
July 25, 2011 at 12:28 pm #136321
July 25, 2011 at 1:04 pm #136319
You mean $16? Starting in August Netflix sticks it to us yet again for even just the one DVD at a time and their primary excuse: Mail cost... *facepalm*
July 25, 2011 at 1:08 pm #136317
I am coming late to this discussion, but I think giving up mail delivery on Saturdays is a reasonable sacrifice to make.
July 25, 2011 at 4:10 pm #136315
Yes, congress has to approve it. And I know they've approved some graduated increase in the last several years. Not sure if we've hit the top or not. But part of the negotiations was the intro of the 'forever' stamp. Theoretically, you can pay .44 forever for your postage.....just buy a lifetime supply of stamps now (or then) and use them the rest of your life. the stamps were a win/win because the post office isn't stuck with a large quantity of defunkt stamps imprinted with the wrong postage amount every increase, nor do they have to print a bunch of 1-3 cent stamps to make up the difference.
however, I'm sure in every debate about raising the price of postage you have representatives from various corporations that mail stuff out that will cite a rise in postage affecting their bottom line as a reason not to. And i'm sure other things are brought up, such as has and will or does the post office practice smart business practices such as downsizing their work force, lowering benefits, etc....which I'm sure is another element of any postal increase.
By and large, while many of us and public sector employees have had to live with salary freezes, benefits eliminations, furloughs and layoffs, the postal service has been relatively unscathed.
So while they want to raise postage, corporations find it a threat and there are employee representatives making sure that any attempt to streamline operations has as little effect on employees as possible. So it is a long drawn out battle every time. Sometimes the postal service 'wins' sometimes they don't.
The biggest thing about eliminating any delivery days is the ripple effect it will have. It won't just be greeting cards that will be effected. it'll be paychecks and welfare and unemployment checks and prescriptions and a wealth of other things that are delivey dependant. There are thousands of organizations that will have to alter how they do things if we were go to go fewer delivery days.
July 25, 2011 at 4:23 pm #136313
I can't remember the last time there was Saturday mail delivery on Canada. Frankly, I'm surprised you folks still have it.
July 25, 2011 at 4:28 pm #136311
Not really! I've been having problems with mail delivery for the last year - it seems the postal service just can't get it right! I'm contstantly playing the role of postman...chasing down my mail and delivering mail that's constantly being placed in my mailbox which isn't mine. Having Saturday's off from making the rounds would be great for me!!
July 25, 2011 at 6:08 pm #136309
Marie E. HardyParticipant
I live in a major city and I would actually miss Saturday mail delivery. Saturday is the only day that I am home during the day whereas I can actually chat with the postal worker who delivers the mail and build upon our rapport. My postal worker actually makes me aware of certain community issues since he is out and about in the neighborhoods. He would let me know that criminals are stealing central air units before the crime statistics hit the everyblock.com website or my monthly local community police meeting. He also is another set of eyes and ears in the community when there are issues or when seniors need well being checks. He knows what's normal in a neighborhood and what is not.
I hate to see anyone without a job, but I know change is necessary in order to become more efficient. Since I work during the weekdays, I wouldn't miss mail delivery during the week. I would prefer to have Saturday delivery and miss 1 or 2 weekdays. So mail delivery on Tues, Wed, Thurs, and Saturday would be the best scenario for me.
July 25, 2011 at 9:23 pm #136307
July 25, 2011 at 11:07 pm #136305
For our family, we wouldn't miss the mail if it was completely eliminated. But I realize we are not the norm. From the perspective of my employer, a city, the staff in my department wouldn't miss it, but I think the billing department would. Although we've always been surprised at how many people still visit the billing department to pay in person instead of mailing in their bill.
July 26, 2011 at 12:36 pm #136303
Shannon E. CunniffParticipant
I wouldn't mind losing another day of home deliveries but Saturday the Post office buildings need to be open for business. Folks that work traditional 40 hour works weeks can't get to the post office very easily - and cutbacks have made it even harder.
I think the life cycle costs of home delivery need to be weighed alongside the costs of individuals, many driving, to pickup their mail. Other ways to reduce delivery staff and driving could be explored such as expanding use of collocated mailboxes in suburban neighborhoods (like townhouses often have).
Lastly I think the USPS needs to re-evaluate its service which is dominated by a one way direction (providing mail to an addressee) -- They could be offerring other services (picking up packages, collecting used cell phones and other electronics for recycling, collecting CFLs, collecting clothing/small goods for charity-- I'm sure a creative person could think of others)
July 26, 2011 at 12:51 pm #136301
No mail delivery on Saturday is fine. However since most people work during the week, post offices should be open to customers on Saturday.
Picking up our own mail is a ridiculous proposition. It would increase the time, traffic, pollution, global warming, ANGRY CUSTOMERS, and employees necessary to serve customers. Right now our mailboxes are the equivalent of our atms. Asking us to drive to the post office is like asking us to get back in line at the bank. How would miles of traffic snaked around a post office lower costs? Imagine how angry customers would be when they finally get to the letter carrier serving them. THEY would be "going postal". I sure don't want to be the next person in line.
It might be cheaper to have the Post Office encourage customers to go digital instead.
As for Congress controlling stamp prices, ridiculous also. Why not let the post office market sell stamps at market price? Its like those coins they make Treasury make that sit in vaults because no one wants them.
July 26, 2011 at 1:09 pm #136299
I am okay with losing Saturday delivery. However, I'm not okay with losing 2 additional days of delivery. I'd like to see the USPS take control of this process by actually finding ways to cut resources. Also, the answer is not increasing the cost of stamps yet again. We already know that mail volume is way down and will likely never return to the days before internet banking & bill pay.
July 26, 2011 at 1:29 pm #136297
Is Saturday delivery goes away - and/or other days - it certainly won't be the end of the world. however, thousands, millions of people will need to adjust. things like welfare and unemployment checks. Insurance companies will need to alter their time allotments on mail order drugs. credit card companies will have to allow more time to mail out statements and for people to mail back payment. mail order companies will need to alter their delivery promises. And, if anything like this would happen, I would imagine that FedEx and UPS and DHL will be discussing what they can to do take up the slack and step in to fill the void.
Allowing people to come in and pick up their mail in lieu of it being delivered....hopeless unless facilities build enough post boxes for everyone in their delivery area, not to mention the frustration of having to pay to pick up your mail in renting a post office box. The lines to pick up mail at the window would just be patheticaly long and the frustration of waiting would just sow so much ill will that 'going postal' would soon mean 'postal customer tired of waiting 3 hours to pick up their mail acts out'.
If I were to cut a day, it wouldn't be saturday. It'd be Wednesday. If days are to be limited, spread them out to minimize interruption as much as possible. Make it so that there's never more than one day without delivery. In cutting Saturday, you set yourself up for almost monthly situations where there is no mail for three days in a row.
I think the postal service needs to look internally. Ways to be leaner and meaner. Is there fluff? maybe find ways to streamline delivery to make delivery personnel more efficient.
I think, the combo of cutting delivery and raising postage, it's just hurting the postal service in the long run. Yes, mail volume is down and likely will always be down. however I'm reminded of a local fast food restaurant. The manager was having a hard time making the bottom line, so, while he had daily .99 specials, the prices of everything raised several times a year. 15 years ago, to eat at his restaurant, a burger, fries and drink were 6-7 dollars, tremendously high back then when you could get a big mac, drink and fries for 2.99. I'd see, daily, people came in for the daily special and then leave. And he just kept raising prices, expecting fewer and fewer customers to keep paying more and more. but, what he was really doing was chasing away those few loyal customers until they literally couldn't afford to eat there and he shut down.
In some ways I see the postal service doing the same thing. Cutting services, raising prices, both of which just serve to drive people to find new ways to accomplish the same thing they used to depend on the postal service for.
Any and every business is a balancing act and there's likely no singular solution, but I do think acting too hastily will not serve them well in the long run. The public perception of the postal service, in general, is 'you will do things our way' and when you add that attitude to expecting customers to pay more to get less, you lose all sympathy for the organization and people start to get an attitude of 'good riddance'.
July 26, 2011 at 1:58 pm #136295
I think the Postal Service is on a slow downward trend toward the inevitable. But think about it, I get one piece of "real" mail for every 50 pieces of junk mail and 50 bills. I could honestly go down to mail delivery one day a week and be completely fine with it. Honestly, the idea of having postal delivery at every house in America 6 days a week is really a 19th century idea whose time has probably come to an end.
I visit a post office exactly once a year: to mail my taxes and to buy stamps. I can file taxes online if I was willing to pay the service charge, and can buy stamps at grocery stores and kiosks and online, if I even need them.
I use the internet for all of my bill paying, and would be just fine if I got most of the rest of my deliveries through FedEx or UPS. Honestly, I would not miss the postman much at all. I also wouldn't mind driving and picking up my mail, which I'd probably end up doing once a week.
July 26, 2011 at 3:13 pm #136293
I am really annoyed w/the idea of cutting postal service...and also closing rural post offices because the post office reportedly lost $8 Billion dollars last year. BUT, how does that loss of $8 Billion for the year...compare with the $8 Billion A MONTH being spent in Iraq and the other $7 Billion A MONTH being spent in Afghanistan...and a reported $2 MILLION a day being spent providing NATO with US bombs to bomb Libya. There is something very wrong w/the priorities in this country.
July 26, 2011 at 3:31 pm #136291
Can't disagree with raising my eyebrows at how money is being spent and questioning the wiseness of that expendature, but, as far as I know, the postal service is financed solely through sales of stamps. So taking money from the federal budget and shunting it towards the postal service...well amending the constitution would likely be easier and go faster. 🙂
Because, even if government groups as a whole thought it was a good idea, it'd be a case of 'sure, fund it, just not with MY money' and it'd probably be a debate worse than the whole debt mess we're all sick of.
July 26, 2011 at 3:40 pm #136289
The Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 abolished the United States Post Office Department, a part of the cabinet, and created the United States Postal Service, a corporation-like independent agency with an official monopoly on the delivery of mail in the United States. Pub.L. 91-375 was signed by President Richard Nixon on August 12, 1970.
The legislation was a direct outcome of the U.S. Postal Service strike of 1970.
July 26, 2011 at 4:19 pm #136287
Nope - not a bit. It is usually junk mail anyway!
September 10, 2011 at 9:55 pm #136285
What happens when saturday or any other day that is selected not to deliver mail and it happens to fall on the first of the month there are still a considerable number of seniors who do not have direct deposit that depend on receiving their ss checks.
September 10, 2011 at 10:38 pm #136283
That's a good question. But, the answer falls outside of my area of expertise. While i am a postal guy, I work in accounting. This is more of a question better answered by someone much higher up the food chain than myself. I am certain that Congress would ask this same question before approval is considered. Thanks - James.
September 11, 2011 at 1:37 am #136281
Don't they get paid early? I"ve always been under the impression that if the first falls on a sunday, for example, or like New Years Day, that the checks are mailed to arrive on the last business day before the first.
Stuff like this will have to be taken into consideration if they cut any days.
September 11, 2011 at 11:54 am #136279
98% of the mail in our box is "business" (junk) mail. Why don't they raise the cost of that?
I agree that some restructuring is needed, the whole paradigm of mail has changed with the dawn of instant electronic communication. Does any one send telegrams anymore?
The post office, like Western Union, will have to find it's place in the new world order. However, it should not go away. Being without power for some hours in the recent storms has taught me, and I vainly hope our elected officials, that older technology alternatives need to be preserved and at the ready for use when the new technology fails. Otherwise we all need to keep pigeons.
September 13, 2011 at 1:10 pm #136277
In terms of my personal mail, I don't think this would affect me that much. Most of the mail I receive are ads/junk, birthday cards and holiday cards, and it doesn't quite matter what day they arrive. My bills all come electronically, and if you wanted to write me a letter email usually works out better.
It is understandable though that businesses may feel differently about the issue. But honestly, considering how many offices are open from Mon-Fri, how much of an impact would it ACTUALLY make? Please feel free to correct me on this because I have no personal experience, but if no one is there to collect the mail on Sat anyways I can't imagine this change having that big of an impact.
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