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Saturday Mail Delivery to End, Postal Service Announces

The U.S. Postal Service announced it will end Saturday mail delivery by Aug. 1. Speak out: How will this affect you?

Calling the six-days-per-week mail delivery business model “no longer sustainable,” the U.S. Postal Service Wednesday morning announced it will eliminate Saturday delivery of mail by Aug. 1.

The plan to change delivery from six days a week to five would only affect first-class mail.

Packages, mail-order medicines, priority and express mail would still be delivered on Saturdays, and local post offices will remain open for business Saturdays. This includes local post offices in Algonquin, at 801 West Algonquin Road, and in Crystal Lake, at 301 East Congress Parkway. 

According to the U.S. Postal Service, the reasons for nixing Saturday delivery have to do with continued economic struggles and the increasing use of the Internet for communications and bill paying by consumers.

The U.S. Postal Service is also the only federal agency required to pre-fund health benefits for retirees, and those costs are escalating quickly.

“Our current business model of delivering mail six days a week is no longer sustainable. We must change in order to remain an integral part of the American community for decades to come," according to information posted on the U.S. Postal website

Saturday is the lightest mail delivery day by volume and many businesses are closed on Saturdays, according to the U.S. Postal Service. However, many residents receive print magazines and ads on Saturdays in the mail that may be shifted to another day.

A Rasmussen poll on mail delivery in 2012 showed “Three-out-of-four Americans (75 percent) would prefer the U.S. Postal Service cut mail delivery to five days a week rather than receive government subsidies to cover ongoing losses.”

A USA Today/Gallup poll in 2010 found the majority of U.S. residents surveyed were ok with eliminating Saturday delivery.

The March 2010 telephone survey of 999 adults revealed people age 55 and older were more likely than younger people to have used the mail to pay a bill or send a letter in the past two weeks.

Speak out: How will this change affect you? Will you miss getting mail on Saturdays?

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Guy Brownson February 07, 2013 at 03:13 PM
greeting card cos willfold if there is noone to deliver their product
Tony Pedretti February 07, 2013 at 09:24 PM
While I haven't crunched the numbers, I think if we can get standard (First Class and lower) USPS delivery down to three times a week its service would be a better value. Over the past few years I can't think of a single First Class-item that could not have waited a couple more days to receive. UPS and FedEx consistently do an excellent job and deliver the vast majority of the items I want to receive or who I reach out to when I need faster service.
Mary Hoberg February 07, 2013 at 10:17 PM
Tony, I think that's a great idea. The only problem I see with that is the mail carrier jobs. 3 days a week would make the jobs part time. I would hate to see all those people lose their income and benefits. On the other hand, it would not be the first industry to be affected that way by poor management. My idea is for the PO to merge with UPS or Fed Ex. No clue if that is feasible but it from a consumer standpoint, it sounds beneficial. We could drop off and pick up packages at the PO right in our own town.
Kent Frederick February 08, 2013 at 04:32 AM
If you're a company that expects daily delivery of mail, whether it's a financial institution receiving payments or a law firm that does a lot of litigation and expects court documents in the mail, then mail only 3 days a week is a bad idea. Considering that a lot of people get medications via mail order, it would be a problem for a company to ship on Thursday from a location in, say, the north suburbs, and it takes until Monday to get to the south suburbs. That's just going to encourage companies to increase shipping and handling, in order to get expedited service. And if you're birthday falls on a day with no mail delivery, well, that's just a bummer. If mail service goes to 3 days a week, then weekly magazines like Time and Sports Illustrated could be very out of date, by the time they get delivered. In fact, in more rural areas, newspapers are often delivered by mail. Friends of ours who live about 40 miles outside of Atlanta got their Wall Street Journal by mail, because it was cost prohibitive for Dow Jones to arrange for delivery by carrier.
Tony Pedretti February 11, 2013 at 05:35 PM
Kent - Thank you for your reply. Your examples can each be addressed practically with some investment. Most industries are well into an electronic document management migration. With the maturing of these services I would expect over the next decade it to address most if not all business needs. We can fallback to the option of second- and next-day service provided by both USPS and private carriers today. I'm not aware how the Medicaid or Medicare justifies what is appropriate carrier cost and time. As an individual dependent on medication, its their responsibility to find a way to get to a pharmacy or schedule delivery so a delay is not an issue. Its not acceptable to have USPS indirectly subsidizing other public programs. If there are costs (time and money), make them all transparent and directly accountable to the program that uses them. If you are impatient or fail to plan, you should pay for more timely service. No one is entitled. By far the vast majority of gift cards I have received were either hand delivered or received the week of an event. Its desirable to have holiday cards received weeks in advance. There is only emotional value here. Nostalgia does not trump progress. Paper periodicals are the poster child of a fading medium. Electronic media offers information in a more timely manner. The success of Amazon's Kindle shows us that you can present information electronically without compromising the comfort and convenience of paper.
Tony Pedretti February 11, 2013 at 08:03 PM
Respecting the current political climate and job sensitivity it is not going to be effective to call for further changes soon. While a government's role should not include one that requires it to offer permanent employment to individuals, even with reduced service it will be necessary for USPS to maintain a large work force. I'm not familiar with the individual tasks nor the time it takes to execute but I also can imagine some roles would need to be reduced with the decreased delivery frequency. Not sure how that effects benefits but it makes sense for those roles with less hours they would earn less. On the merger suggestion. No private company should take over the USPS with the amount liability, lack of growth or potential for its services. Unfortunately as long as that liability exists, its going to remain a public option.
William Waldack February 11, 2013 at 09:04 PM
The debate about USPS and how much “better” the private sector would be if we were comparing apples to apples. How many private services are strapped with the rulings of a dysfunctional Congress that apparently wants to destroy the USPS. It’s nice to say that all magazines should be delivered electronically, that Grandma should plan her medication supply better or just hop in her car and go to a local pharmacy, or everyone should just plain adjust. Some people not only want, but need the paper. Grandma’s medication needs can change quickly and her insurance may dictate when and how she gets it (privatization and the profit motive). Lastly, there are areas of our great country that are not served electronically, so now you have both an infrastructure problem, requiring people to pay additional for services they may not want and/or may not know how to use (put Grandma on an electronic “ice flow”) USPS is very basic and serves a communication need. It can improve and it can adapt, but it’s challenges are only exacerbated by a dysfunctional Congress, many members of whom have something to gain by pushing off to a for-profit service.
Kent Frederick February 13, 2013 at 03:49 PM
I'm surprised at the number of people who claim they don't need Saturday delivery, or even just delivery three days a week. Doesn't any business try to deliver better service? How many times have we seen ads for various businesses announcing expanded hours? I can remember when grocery stores were closed on Sundays, and you couldn't buy fresh meat after 6pm. The master labor agreement between Chicagoland grocery stores and unionized butchers required a butcher to be present, in order to sell fresh meat. As a kid, car dealers only serviced cars between 7am and 6pm on weekdays. No one had evening or Saturday hours. I also remember when banks and doctors' offices were closed Wednesday afternoons. If you were sick on a Wednesday morning, and the doctor's appointments were booked through unitl noon, you didn't get in until Thursday. So, why should we be so willing to let the Postal Service provide us with less service? Further, what are other industrialized countries doing in terms of mail service? As far as I know, countries such as Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, India, China, and Japan aren't cutting back the days that individuals and businesses receive mail. So, why should the U.S.?

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