USPS Saturday Service Cut: The Revolution Will Not Be Sitting in Your Saturday Mailbox

USPS Saturday Service Cut

USPS Saturday service cut; Are you okay with that?

For as long as anyone alive can remember, the mail has come on Saturday. Since 1863 the mail service has offered delivery six days a week, through rain, snow, sleet or hail! Well, that last bit has softened, and we have already missed one day this winter since our local carrier couldn’t get into our neighborhood safely. But in the same way the post office itself is open on Saturday to get out letters or mail back those Netflix DVDs, delivery came on the weekend which gave you a chance to grab a movie from Netflix or a game from Goozex.

But like everything else, things change. Last year USPS lost $16 billion, and the Saturday delivery was only maintained through a mandate from congress. The estimate is that the USPS will save at least $2 billion a year by doing away with Saturday delivery … which sounds great until you realize that the USPS lost $16 billion last year alone! Those crippling numbers are partly due to a number of bizarre measures from Congress through the years, including one that requires the USPS to prepay 75 years worth of retirees health benefits, in effect paying on benefits for employees who haven’t been born yet!

The other problem is that the cost of mailing a letter is a tremendous bargain. That you can mail a letter anywhere for a nominal fee, or that I can send a complete XBOX360 game anywhere in the country with tracking for about $2 is just amazing – especially when you think about what has happened with fuel costs over the past 5 years or so. So in reality, the USPS has no possible way to break even unless they started charging $1.50 or so per letter!

Many other countries have long since dropped Saturday delivery, and there hasn’t been a problem. When you think about what comes through the mail these days, the justification seems even weaker. Even listening to reasons given by those opposed to dropping the service seems to amount to they are opposed to service stopping because ‘that’s the way it has always been’.

Even the big reasons I was a weekly post office visitor before – Netflix for DVDs and Goozex for games – has dried up. We use the Roku for Amazon, Netflix and Hulu streaming exclusively at this point. Game companies have more or less killed off second-hand game trading for the PC, and since my mobile gaming has moved to iOS and Android, I no longer get any DS or PSP games. Even for my kids there isn’t a ton of use – I probably got ~6 XBOX360 games for my older son last year, and my younger son has pretty much switched to iOS and PC for his occasional gaming.

What do you think? Should the USPS cut Saturday service? Or should those losses just get sucked up by the government (i.e. us)? Do you even care about the mail anymore?

You can read the official press release here.

And since I raised the subject with my title … here is some Gil Scott Heron …

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About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!

4 Comments on "USPS Saturday Service Cut: The Revolution Will Not Be Sitting in Your Saturday Mailbox"

  1. Doug Miller | February 8, 2013 at 3:27 pm |

    If I’m not mistaken, I believe I read that the postmaster general does not even have the authority to end Saturday delivery without congressional approval, which has no happened yet. I believe that this announcement was made in part to embarrass Congress for ignoring any changes the postal service wants to put in place.

    I think the country will survive the lack of Saturday delivery…

  2. Considering the fact that the main reason that USPS is in the hole it’s in is because of a Congressional mandate to fund its pension plan for people who aren’t even born yet, I doubt there’s little the Postmaster can do to embarrass Congress.

  3. USPS also has way too many post offices too, and are trying to shut some down, but again, it requires congressional approval. The town I work in has 3 post offices, which is easily 2 too many for a 3×3 mile town.

    In addition, many post offices try to do everything, when instead they should be using the UPS or FedEx model, where there is only a few big warehouses in the entire state, and all local offices are just drop off desks. No sorting or delivery occurs from a local office; they just feed the warehouse.

  4. The scary thing is that this should be EASY. I read something that basically said that this is the reason America is doomed … if our braindead congress can’t even manage THIS – and it is generally supported and non-controversial, then how can we expect them to do anything real?

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