Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Going Post-Postal

WASHINGTON — Faced with billions of dollars in losses, the Postal Service announced on Wednesday that it would seek to stop Saturday delivery of letters, a sweeping change in mail delivery that immediately drew criticism from postal unions, some businesses and lawmakers.

The post office said a five-day mail delivery schedule would begin in August and shave about $2 billion a year from its losses, which were $15.9 billion last year. The Postal Service would continue to deliver packages six days a week, and post offices would still be open on Saturdays. ...

The move raised immediate legal questions on Capitol Hill, where some lawmakers claimed that the Postal Service could not change its delivery schedules without Congressional approval. The post office has made earlier attempts to change the law, only to meet with objections or delays in Congress. ...

Whether it will succeed is difficult to predict. ...

Ah. At last, an issue that is truly nonpartisan. Well, not quite; Democrats' sympathy (perhaps due to postal union support) seems greater, while the House, declining even to act on its own postal funding bill (which would have allowed the USPS to close on Saturdays), seems uninterested.

However that plays out,
  • The Post Office exists by constitutional mandate;
  • The USPS has competition never dreamed of in colonial days;
  • Some of that competition is electronic, also never dreamed of.
My affinity for unions notwithstanding, I do wonder how the USPS can survive, let alone thrive, on decreasing budgets and increasing competition in package delivery. (Stella and I just received two new phones to replace mine [defunct] and hers [quickly going defunct], from Amazon... by UPS, certainly not USPS.) What do you think? Will USPS survive purely as a letter-carrying service, on a budget that a small rodent couldn't live on?


  1. Replies
    1. Eh? Nony, I don't understand. You're not spamming, 'cause there's no link in your comment. You could be a regular who merely neglected to sign in. Enlighten me!

  2. Actually Steve, do you know for a fact that Fedex and UPS are delivering your packages? Because they use USPS for a large amount of their "last mile" delivery services. Fedex calls it "SmartPost" and UPS calls it "UPS Mail Solutions" but all it really is consumers paying Fedex/UPS rates so the USPS can actually delivery the package. I know for a fact that its the case here in South Austin. I do a lot of mail order shopping, UPS and Fedex often the only delivery options (even though USPS is cheaper, but go figure)...but my regular USPS mail carrier is the one actually bringing the packages to my door. The only exception has been furniture and office equipment, because USPS trucks can't carry such large boxes. I work from home so I actually see my carrier doing the delivery work.

    1. Constance, I seldom get to the front door these days: it takes me 5 or 10 minutes to "walker" there (at present, it's not wheelchair-accessible), and I never bother going until I hear a delivery... so I rarely see who actually delivers something.

      If USPS is running that last mile so efficiently, it would be a shame to put them in a situation where they have to shut down.

      This time, the carrier deposited the package between the outer "screen" (Plexiglas) door and the inner wooden house door, just as I had requested... and I couldn't pry the damned thing loose because I can let go of the walker with only one hand while I balance on my one-and-only remaining foot. Eventually my neighbor (and Sierra Club activist friend) George picked them up for me, bless him.

      The phones, low-end Panasonic multi-handset jobs... unfortunately... really suck, but now we will live with them; that's how it is sometime.



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