Postal Service’s emerging model: Never on Saturday
March 2, 2010.
By: Katie Egan
WASHINGTON — It’s been years since John Donaldson sent out a hand-written letter.
The North Naples resident and his wife, Chris, don’t see how the United States Postal Service’s potential plan to stop home deliveries on Saturday will affect them.
“Lots of European countries such as England and Sweden don’t have home delivery at all,” said Donaldson, a seasonal Collier County resident who also has a home in England.
Dona Knapp of North Naples says it won’t affect her either. “What’s a day really?” Knapp said.
Postmaster General John E. Potter announced Tuesday afternoon that the U.S. Postal Service will adjust delivery days to better reflect current mail volumes and customer habits. Saturday was not mentioned specifically but has been indicated in the past. The Postal Service has previously proposed cutting back from delivery six days a week, but got a cold reception in Congress. The renewed effort comes with a series of consultant reports supporting that idea, as well as changes in the work force and the number of offices.
If the Postal Service took no action it would face a cumulative shortfall of $238 billion by 2020, according to a press release. However, Potter outlined a number of actions that could amount to $123 billion in savings during that same time period. The post office could adjust delivery days to better reflect current mail volumes and customer habits as well as establish a more flexible workforce that is better positioned to respond to changing demand patterns, as more than 300,000 employees become eligible to retire in the coming decade.
But not everyone is so nonchalant about the Postmaster’s recent announcement.
Bill Keller, whose fiancé works for the post office, said the change will affect postal employees at the beginning of the week.
“Everything delivered on Saturday will affect them on Monday because they’ll have twice as much workload from the mail that wasn’t delivered on Saturday and the line at the post office will be twice as long when Monday comes around,” Kellar said.
Like most Collier County residents, the Donaldsons only use regular mail to send out birthday cards and pay their bills.
“Lifestyles and ways of doing business have changed dramatically in the last 40 years, but some of the laws that govern the postal service have not,” Potter said. “These laws need to be modernized to reflect today’s economic and business challenges and the dramatic impact the Internet has had on American life,”
However, the Postal Service is not going anywhere.
“If given the flexibility to respond to an evolving marketplace, the Postal Service will continue to be an integral part of the fabric of American life,” Potter said.