Deliver the letter, the sooner the better

Okay, fine, cut out Saturday mail delivery. I won’t lose any sleep over it.

Until the next Monday holiday, when it will dawn on me that I will have gotten no mail for three days, and I will utter all manner of unpleasantries. (Especially if I have to work that day, which I usually do.)

Although James Joyner, as usual, seems quite a bit less agitated than I:

The irony of course is that people are increasingly accepting of the possibility of losing Saturday mail delivery precisely because of the obsolescence of regular mail. That is, if you absolutely, positively need it overnight, you don’t mail it. So, for the most part, all that comes on Saturday is junk mail and sundry other crap that can wait for Monday.

Perhaps his crap is sundrier than mine.

Compromise: Why not cut out Wednesday mail? One day’s as good as another, right?



  1. fillyjonk »

    3 March 2010 · 6:01 pm

    I agree with Wednesdays. For purely selfish reasons: if there is going to be one day I would be too busy to get to the PO, Wednesday would be it. (Also, some lonely Saturdays the sole solace I get is having a book I ordered come in the mail or a card from a friend)

    But, I quail at the thought of a closure-day: already our lines are terrible and they are going to be 1/6 again as bad if we lose a day. I would hope that even small post offices would make more of an effort to actually man all of the windows they have, rather than having one or two clerks and 20 people in line during busy times.

  2. Jeffro »

    3 March 2010 · 6:59 pm

    Saturday is a poor choice logistically. Every Monday, mail carriers are loaded down with all the weekend junk mail that the processing centers were sitting on. Staff on weekends primarily process backed up junk mail. Now, it won’t just be junk mail they’re hit with to carry. I’d bet the choice of Saturday will really hurt their delivery goals for “Business Class” mail – because it will be deferred until Tuesday by the carriers in order for the backlog of first class mail to be delivered.

    They might stop delivery on a certain day, but the clerks and mailhandlers will still be working seven days a week in mail processing centers as always. Express Mail still must be delivered – on Sundays in smaller offices, clerks rather than carriers deliver. Otherwise, the Post Office will be paying the penalties for late delivery on Express Mail. If you have a post office box, I’m sure it will still get daily delivery. If the management shut down the whole shebang on Saturday (or any other day), the sheer volume of mail backed up would cost any savings by having to burn overtime on a regular basis, plus keep on hand a bunch of temps.

    USPS management might just do it, but I can’t help but feel that it’s all a bunch of posturing. Plus, now they’re finding out that no one really cares if they take their ball home and pout. Kinda takes the steam out of their bluff.

  3. fillyjonk »

    4 March 2010 · 7:28 am

    While I try to stay away from conspiracy theory thinking, I wonder if all of this “we will need to drop a day’s mail service” is some kind of a trial balloon to ask for a HUGE rate increase. As in, “Well, you don’t like the idea of no mail on Saturday; in order for us to keep open six days, plan on paying 75 cents to mail a first-class letter.”

    Which would probably also be a monumental blunder (and would probably be what, finally, got me to go to online bill-pay for everything), but I could see it happening.

  4. CGHill »

    4 March 2010 · 7:51 am

    The Canadians are paying 57 cents already. (A letter to the States costs a loonie; at the moment, the difference between Canadian and US dollars is minimal.)

  5. Jeffro »

    4 March 2010 · 10:24 am

    fillyjonk – I don’t think you are being unnecessarily paranoid as far as conspiracy theories go. Or maybe I’m too personally involved. The whole time I worked for that fine institution the prevailing impression I got from postal management was that they had Divine Rights to their plans and strategies, and anyone interfering was considered a heretic. Not that the unions were any better.

    They haven’t necessarily been ignoring the obvious future of first class mail – it scares the hell out of them. They just seem incapable of actually dealing with it – if they ignore it, maybe it will go away. Rate increases worked in the past, why can’t we do that some more – regardless of how much ill will that fosters with their customers. Let’s keep our pals in mass marketing happy by subsidizing their mailings on the back of first class mail – they actually hire us if we leave the USPS. Let’s not spend any money improving our infrastructure in package delivery like UPS and FedEx have done – let’s limp on with our obsolete shipping methods and hope we can compete. Living in the past seems to be a hallmark of postal management.

    That’s why I think the “let’s take away delivery once a week” is a bit of a bluff – they really think that threat will have the general public trembling in fear. It would have worked twenty years ago – my parents and grandparents would have been aghast. There are still a lot of people who would find that a terrible development. Just not as many as the Postal Service thinks. The rest of us actively campaign the companies who we pay bills by check that maybe they should do that online. Postal management seems to be hastening that development inadvertently.

    Of course, I am biased. I have no love for the unions or management there. I don’t see how we – as a nation – can get by without a Postal Service of some sort. But right now they are like phrenologists just before modern medicine left them behind, hoping they have a future in the new order of things.

  6. fillyjonk »

    4 March 2010 · 1:41 pm

    “Let’s keep our pals in mass marketing happy by subsidizing their mailings on the back of first class mail ”

    I’d happily pay the USPS to NOT deliver the “Weekly Shopper,” the fliers from KFC, and the ads from the “Cash Advance, all we ask is 5000% interest and your left kidney” places to me.

    Maybe they could look into that as a revenue stream.

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