Postmaster Proposes a Cutback in Mail Delivery

Saying the U.S. Postal Service "is in a severe financial crisis," Postmaster General John E. Potter is asking Congress to allow him to cut mail delivery from six days to five days a week.

In testimony prepared for a Senate hearing this afternoon, Potter said he needs "flexibility in the number of days we deliver mail."

"The ability to suspend delivery on the lightest delivery days, for example, could save dollars in both our delivery and our processing and distribution networks, he said. "I do not make this request lightly, but I am forced to consider every option given the severity of our challenge."

He said the cut in mail delivery would be at least one day a week. Currently, the postal system delivers mail Mondays through Saturdays.

"First, it is possible that the cost of six-day delivery may simply prove to be unaffordable," he said in his statement. " If that should occur, it could become necessary to temporarily reduce mail delivery to only five days a week. We would do this by suspending delivery on the lightest volume days."

Although Potter's prepared testimony referred to a temporary reduction to five days, in response to questions he indicated that the continuing decline in mail volume could require the reduction in service to be open-ended.

Potter also wants congressional approval to change the way the agency's funds its retiree health benefit.

Currently, the Postal Service must pre-fund the retirement benefit for future retirees out of operating revenues. About $2 billion could be saved if that were paid from the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund, Potter said.

Faced with dwindling mail volume and rising costs, the post office recorded a $2.8 billion budget deficit last year.

Getting Congress to agree to Potter's request to allow a reduction in delivery days may not be easy. Members of the Senate subcommittee on federal financial management, government information, federal services and international security questioned him closely, and at times with implicit criticism, on the transparency of his agency's finances.

Sen. Susan M. Collins (R-Maine) said she was "very disappointed" at the prospect of five day delivery. Businesses with time sensitive mail "are going to find other means" to deliver their information, she said.

Potter told Sen. Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii), who also was critical of reducing service days, that the Postal Service would study which day would be the best to cut with particular attention given to the lightest delivery days.

By Eric Pianin  |  January 28, 2009; 4:20 PM ET
Previous: Hearing Focuses on Postal Service Finances | Next: Want to be a Diplomat?

Comments



Heck, they don't seem to bother to deliver the mail on Saturday in my neighborhood, so what difference would it make?

Why do Postal Workers pay lower premiums for health insurance than other Federal workers? Why aren't they look at that too? Obviously, the Federal govt. is paying more toward the premium for Postal than for other Feds.

Posted by: LongtimeFed | January 28, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

I was going to say the same. I never get anything on Saturday except for the junk mail.

Posted by: idiparker | January 28, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Consolidation of post offices might help as well. Here in Vermont, it seems that every hamlet has at least one. E-mail, text messaging and faxes are largely replaced first class mail. It's time we reexamine the whole thing.

Posted by: NotBubba | January 28, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I propose the following:
Priority Mail - daily
First Class - Tuesday and Thursday
All other classes of mail - Wednesday

The only mail I get that matters are the 6 or 7 monthly bills I pay. Almost all of the rest is junk that I throw away. Getting a larger pile of junk mail to toss every Wednesday would actually be more efficient than going through the junk every day to find the one or two envelopes I need each week.

Posted by: DWinFC | January 28, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

People tend to read their Saturday junk mail more than the weekday stuff. Once a stamp crossed 33 cents I knew it was going to slide to half a dollar in no time. I can't decide which segment of the advertising industry is under greater pressure -- journalism or the post office. It'll all work out somehow.

Posted by: blasmaic | January 28, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I have been wondering why they didn't do this sooner. 5 days a week of mail is plenty for me. I wouldn't mind at all, especially if it will keep postage prices down.

Posted by: Laura118 | January 28, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

They need to do like FedEx and all the others...Saturday should be a premium service. We always ran Saturday with about 10% manning.

22 year FedEx retiree.

Posted by: willandjansdad1 | January 28, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse


Long overdue.

A profligate waste of money having postal deliveries on Saturday and in a sense a long denial of the "standard" 5 day work week that most people adhere to.

Further, the consumption of fuel and consequent emissions are not welcome either.

Postmen: enjoy your weekends off!

Posted by: AlanBrowne | January 28, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Five days of real mail delivery would be an improvement in Burke Centre. Presently, we get first class mail 2-3 days a week and only presorted stuff the remaining days.

Posted by: ajlerner1 | January 28, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I say let the Post Office leave the market. Companies like UPS and FedEx are FAR more efficient at doing the same thing as the USPS. It's not profitable just a waste of tax dollars and resources.

Posted by: DirtyDish | January 28, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I certainly agree that Saturday home delivery would be a good place to cut costs. Mail to PO boxes and companies that are fully-staffed on Saturdays might continue. Many companies are closed and so don't get mail on Saturdays as it is.

Posted by: WRE1 | January 28, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

This is exactly why we need to allow competition within the mail delivery services. Why the government has resisted the call for competition is beyond me.

Posted by: mrnoah | January 28, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I think we should do away with the U.S. Postal service - private companies, online billing, and email are taking over anyways. Always had to deal with incompetent post office workers, anyway.

Posted by: lawgirlguru | January 28, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

This could and should have been done 30-40 years ago!!!

Posted by: DorothyfromColumbus | January 28, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Between the times we get mail delivered at 10pm and the times mysteriously no one on our street gets any mail we only get like 3 days a week anyway. But I'll take city living over the soul-killing suburbs any day.

Posted by: rockotodd | January 28, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I want my Saturday mail! I know it's because of what I'm use to receiving but I'm sure I could live without Saturday mail.

What I do want is my mail delivered to my house and not my neighbors and my neighbors delivered to their house and not mine. When the weather is bad (cold, snow or too hot) it seems these "mistakes" happen - coincidence I don't think so. Lazy - yes. Plus they know that we will do their job for them.

Posted by: rlj1 | January 28, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I like sending cards but our postman and office has been a royal pain for years retuning letters that are marked to other address' and all we get is sorry. Withholding mail without permission and an general very poor attitude at almost any post office has left the public with no choice but to can this poorly run agenecy.
SAD! It's not the programs but how there run -this is an excellent example of a poorly run Nation-wide department. SHAME!

Posted by: crrobin | January 28, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Time for serious consideration of leasing the long time, money losing, entitlement driven, Postal Service to a private entity. 850,000 employees seems a bit overdone.

Posted by: falconflight | January 28, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

LONG, long overdue...in fact, I would suggest abolishing the USPS and let FedEx, UPS and others decide the days and prices.

I am sick and tired of dilapidated, filthy understaffed post offices with too little parking in terrible locations and open at hours that are not conveniennt to me at all. If you doubt my observations, try visiting the Herndon, VA post office some time. You too will shake your head in disgust.

Most of my important mail -- statements, invoices, and the like -- all arrive via email. That's free email available 24 x 7.

And, what's not delivered via email I can get on-line -- also for free and at any time --- includding on a day like today when I have received no mail service at all.

Posted by: PostReader007 | January 28, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I would not miss one day fewer each week in mail delivery. The catalogs and charitable organization solicitations I mostly get are hardly time critical. How about skipping Saturday? Give the carriers more time with their families.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | January 28, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

WRE Wrote:

I certainly agree that Saturday home delivery would be a good place to cut costs.

My comment:
Why would cutting Saturday home delivery be a "good place to cut costs". An item, such as a letter which requires a signature for release, has a much better chance of being delivered on Saturday. A check being delivered on Saturday has much less of a chance of being stolen. Mail delivered on Saturday has much less of a chance of being damaged by the elements. Lots of other areas could be targeted.

WRE wrote:
Mail to PO boxes and companies that are fully-staffed on Saturdays might continue. Many companies are closed and so don't get mail on Saturdays as it is.

My comment:
Why should companies that are fully staffed and PO boxes continue to get the mail?

Of greater concern, is that this is the camel's nose under the tent flap. In may area the Post Office no longer picks up after 3 pm and no drop boxes are collected after 3 pm. And then the Post Offices started closing at 5. Eliminate Saturday delivery and soon Post Offices will be closed on Saturday. Okay... tell me how you are going to pick up mail that must be signed for without taking part of a day off of work?

Art Buchwald did a wonderful piece once when such idiotic ideas were trotted out by the Post Office. It suggested that everything had devolved into National Mail Day -- the one day a year people received mail. And you would go to your local Department store to tell the Mail Carrier what you wanted to receive on National Mail Day.
Posted by: WRE

Posted by: dcraven925 | January 28, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Cut Saturdays.

Posted by: blakesouthwood | January 28, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

The USPS is ripe with issues of Fraud, Waste, and Abuse.

Posted by: whocares666 | January 28, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

All I ask of the postal service is that my mail comes to me and not my neighbor.
He "stores" his mail and then flips it over, cuts the envelope open and goes from there. This includes my bank statements, phone bill and God knows what else. What I really "enjoyed" was when he went out of town and had his mail held...It included some of my mail. The Postal Service has caused their own problems. The mail is sorted in my case at Merrified and the postal service carrier doesn't bother to read the name or seemingly, the address.
I don't care to use online bill paying nor banking so I guess I live it it.

Posted by: Bridget2 | January 28, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

There is an old English law that says a bill is considered to be paid when it is mailed (postmarked). This law has been ignored in America for a long time, but will need to be resurrected if there is serious talk about cutting back on mail service.

Posted by: vincepage | January 28, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't the US government have an obligation to have a postal service (see US Constitution, Article I, if I recall correctly)?

I want my mail delivered on Saturdays when I can be home to receive it. Especially since a family member of mine recieves government support checks (she is disabled) which have her SSN printed on them...an ID theif's dream.

Posted by: thetan | January 28, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Before the postal service jumps right to cutting back mail delivery days- it should look at the other business it does. For example, my friend's father is a postal employee and one day metnioned that the postal service was flying him out to California for a meeting that would last less than a day. So I asked him if the postal service was not aware of video-conferncing capabilities and emailing documents in advance of a meeting? He said they are not equipped for that. They should be- it would save a ton of money and be much more efficient.

Posted by: Burggirl652 | January 28, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Cutting Saturday delivery is a great idea. The mail these days consists primarily of junk mail anyway. Other countries that actually have an efficient mail service don't deliver on Saturdays. Frankly, I can make it through the weekend without another catalog.

Posted by: atidwell | January 28, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Cutting a day makes sense, but why does it have to be the same day for everyone?

Stagger the skipped days among the various local routes. Workers will still show up every day, just they will do a different route one day out of the week.

This also makes sense for reducing gasoline/diesel consumption and the resulting carbon emissions.

Posted by: jimk8mr | January 28, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Heck, cut it to once a week. Who uses snail mail anymore? About 90% of most regular mail is adverts anyway.

Posted by: Honest_Abe | January 28, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Yes, let's privatize the postal service. We can be sure that contracting out to private firms will work for everyone. This will be certainly true if you're living in a rural or remote area, where we can be sure that Fed Ex and UPS will provide you with all of the services that the Post Office provides now, even if it is unprofitable to those companies. And of course, because Fed Ex and UPS will have one less competitor to worry about, you can be sure that they'll pass lower prices on to the consumer. Seriously, folks, there are reasons why services like fire departments, police departments, and mail services are in the public sector, in order to maintain a level of fairness in our society that private firms cannot and would not provide.

Posted by: Bill48 | January 28, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Cutting out Saturday mail delivery is fine with me. While they are cutting stuff, how about eliminating all of the cheap-rate mail delivered. It only goes into the trash bin. I don't need any mail that says, a business is going out either. I pay my bill on-line, so I don't need any "paper bills" either. I belong to a credit union that supports on-line banking and statements. So I don't need that banking mail either. Come to think of it, I don't really need the U.S. Post Office for much at all. Oh I almost forgot, I get a few magazines delivered by mail. And those discount coupons for pizza delivery are nice along with my Netflix movie subscription. Only in America! It is hard to imagine how "poor" countries manage mail delivery.

Posted by: rmorris391 | January 28, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

This is the end result of the Bush Administration's fanatical efforts to bust the unions. Look at what they achieved! The same applies to the air traffic controllers union (NATCA)- low morale, low pay, low qualifications... no money savings here. Obama should clean all these agencies out of these Bush affiliates. Get rid of all of them!!

Posted by: pkbishop | January 28, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

From the article:

"Faced with dwindling mail volume and rising costs, the post office recorded a $2.8 billion budget deficit last year."
===============

That's a bunch less than the deficits a lot of large, private businesses recorded last year. And most of them, including UPS and FedEx, wouldn't give you the time of day for forty-three cents. Or twice that amount. Or three times. Wait 'til people living off the beaten path find that the private services won't deliver to their door or will charge $10.00 to deliver a simple letter.

Oh, and your "free" internet email? To the extent that its cost is invisible, you can thank the U.S. government for investing your money back in the 1960s and 1970s in something called ARPANET instead of handing it out in the form of bloated bonuses and golden parachutes to a relatively small handful of executives. Microsoft and Google and Yahoo sure as hell didn't pay to build the backbone of the internet.

Posted by: srb2 | January 28, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Fine with me. Cut their overpaid wages,
benefits, and suffer with the rest of us.
What a bunch a blowhard cry babies.

Posted by: kendrick57 | January 28, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Sure, fine with me if you drop saturdays.

You might want to charge more for junk mail too since it probably makes up the bulk of the weight and volume handled.

Posted by: Heerman532 | January 28, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Cut back to 5 days a week. This would allow the government to save so much money; on salaries, gas, etc... This would help with the economy overall.

Posted by: mcscully | January 28, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I run out of DVDs to watch before Sunday night is over as it is; what would I do without a replenishment on Saturday?

Posted by: LoveDC2 | January 28, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I for one believe its time for the Post Office to step aside and let the folks that can delivery (Fed-EX, UPS, etc) take over. I know for myself I go out of my way to ship or receive something by any any other means that the US Postal Service. All my bills are electronic and paid that way. Please take Saturday off and, Oh, By the way take the rest of the year off!

Posted by: ka101 | January 28, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I say just eliminate the Postal "Service" altogether. Most of what they deliver is junk mail anyway. UPS, FedEx, and others do a fine job of delivering packages. Most personal mail, i.e. letters, bills, etc. now are handled electronically. The USPS and its overpaid employees are an anachronism that should be ended.

Posted by: Blue_Moose | January 28, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I say let the Post Office leave the market. Companies like UPS and FedEx are FAR more efficient at doing the same thing as the USPS. It's not profitable just a waste of tax dollars and resources.

Posted by: DirtyDish | January 28, 2009 3:58 PM


While I have no issues with cutting back, maybe even to three days per week, MWF I do not agree with letting FedEx or UPS take over, regardless of how well suited they are. I’d rather give my money to the government for this service than to a company that is only out to profit from my business. I don’t think it’s a waste, although I do think the USPS needs to come into the new millennium. Also, if the USPS were allowed to compete (for profit) against UPS and FedEx and use those government resources (trucks, planes and trains) to transfer and deliver mail, there would be no argument here, FedEx and UPS would cease to exist, they are their only competition.

Posted by: 82AllAmericans | January 28, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

How about charging more postage for all those mountains of unsolicited junk mail we get??? The USPS would make more money and cut down on the volume of mail. It's a win-win situation.

Posted by: MrDarwin | January 28, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

We might as well close the government entirely. Give the money to the banking cartel and to the vultures of Wall Street and to our beloved politicians .

THe rest of you, just drop dead.

Posted by: cintronlourdes | January 28, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

how's about ending the corporate welfare and charging business folks a rate that does not lose the post office money for all of that junkmail that i wind up immediately throwing away..if they keep using the post office at least the cost of them doing so will not be subsidized by me, and if they don't the landfills will take longer to fill..

Posted by: w04equals666 | January 28, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm for it...one less day of auto pollution.

Posted by: govtmule1 | January 28, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

The Postal Service receives no taxpayer dollars for routine operations, but derives its operating revenues solely from the sale of postage, products and services.

Posted by: bforeman | January 28, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Drop Saturday service for starters. I understand the clamor to abolish USPS but that leaves folks who live in rural areas in a world of hurt.

Posted by: novaescapee | January 28, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

It only makes sense to cut the number of days since so many of us have gone paperless with as much of our mail as possible. I originally went paperless because the post office (greater Philadelphia area) was frequently misdelivering, losing or destroying our mail. Except for junk mail and unsolicited catalogs, I get at most 3-4 pieces of legit mail per month. I also pay my bills online through my bank's Billpay system so I don't have a lot to mail out, either.

Posted by: TwoEvils | January 28, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

OK, 2 questions:

One, he proposes to suspend mail delivery "on the lightest delivery days". Will this be the same day every week, or do they get to choose? So this week on Monday there's not much mail, no delivery; next week it could be Wednesday, and so forth? That would be frustrating for many people.

Two, "he indicated that the continuing decline in mail volume could require the reduction in service to be open-ended." Wait a minute, if there's less mail, then why is it harder to deliver it? Does the USPS make money on each additional piece of mail, or does it lose money if there's more mail?

They are going to need to have a lot of public hearings -- and online hearings -- about this.

Posted by: pxl4 | January 28, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

I only get mail three times a week anyway. In my neighborhood in Brooklyn, the Postal workers don't want to walk up all of the brownstone stoops to put the mail through the slot in the door, so they skip houses when they are feeling lazy. Which is just about every day. I complained and it got better for about a week.

Posted by: LilyBell | January 28, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Please propose stopping all the junk mail deliveries and discount coupons for stores instead of our needed mail. Most of this goes into the garbage where we pay again to have it removed. Our post office wasn't set up to be for all this advertising. Also, such a waste of paper and trees.
If the stores prices were right there shouldn't be a need for coupons. The postage continues to go up and still not enough. Then propose cutting the excess in your budget, get a balance.

Posted by: LAM2 | January 28, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Why does anyone who ships anything of value use Fedex or UPS?

Who likes to stand in line to hear USPS employees chit chatting about the weather with someone at the counter?

Why do some post offices not have kiosks that allow the customer to do everything himself?

The post office used to be of value but management has allowed it to devolve to laggard employees and outmoded technology. That's ashame because there are still good employees in the USPS who want to do a good job.

Turn the whole thing over to Fedex or UPS and rid the government of what they have been unable to fix and have not been bold enough to try. Have employees requalify and hire as many of their good people as possible for the private service.

Deliver on Monday, Wednesday and Friday but work six days at sorting, forwarding and transporting the mail.

Posted by: llrllr | January 28, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

The Borgen Project has some good info on the cost of addressing global poverty.

$30 billion: Annual shortfall to end world hunger.
$550 billion: U.S. Defense budget

Posted by: atsegga | January 28, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

DirtyDish wrote:January 28, 2009 3:58 PM
"I say let the Post Office leave the market. Companies like UPS and FedEx are FAR more efficient at doing the same thing as the USPS...."

FEDEX and UPS do not want to deliver mail and certain not junk mail.
Like most folks posting on the subject; our bills arrive Tuesday, Wednesday and maybe a few on Thursday. The rest of the week we receive what we call junk mail.
Five deliveries a week is enough.

Posted by: knjincvc | January 28, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Looks like some on here have gone POSTAL

I dont have a problem with postal delivery reducing but they should still maintain their priority and express mail service as it stands now.

If they want to restrict delivery then they need to have all post office open longer hours so if people need to go there they can without missing work. For example my post office has hours of 830-530---the same I work so I cant even use the place without missing work. The other alternative is no mail delivery on Saturday (or whatever day they choose) but keep the post office open.

To make the system more efficient in another way is have housing developments have a central repository for mail delivery instead of each house--similar to what is found in an apt complex.

Posted by: djp98374 | January 28, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Oh... and UPS does not deliver on Weekends.

Posted by: 82AllAmericans | January 28, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse


it doesn't really matter to me.

i quit opening all my mail several weeks ago.

it's all bills, and nobody's offering to help me, even though i see another 800 BILLION going to a bunch of fat cats on wall street.

Posted by: DriveByPoster | January 28, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Things change and maybe it's time to ramp down the post office. I'd be fine with five days a week given that - no exaggeration - 95% of what I get is junk mail. Reading this article supports my belief that the Post Office didn't deliver any mail the couple days after XMAS making me not get my Orange Bowl ticket in a timely manner. If the PO can't do for me the one thing I needed, that is, get me a registered letter in under two weeks, I don't really have any use for them. Times change and Obama should keep his theme of changing with the times. 5 days? Fine, in step with a PO close out plan.

Posted by: jhtlag1 | January 28, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Since I don't get deliveries until after 7PM no matter what the day and pickups are once a day as well, when you add to it that my mail is often delivered to a totally wrong address or I am forced to reroute mail for addresses not remotely close to me, what does one day's difference make? Of course, I am sure the businesses and utilities that bill me would be delighted to have the chance of overdue charges due to the change.

Posted by: n01cat | January 28, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Somehow - I don't know how - Canadians have been surviving on 5 day mail delivery for as long as anyone can remember. The post offices are open on Saturdays, which, to some degree, alleviates this terrible suffering so long endured by your northern neighbours.

Posted by: andro1 | January 28, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

This is what we used to call a "closing the Washington monument" cut.

I'm not saying that USPS is NOT short of dough, but I am saying that the Congress should never permit this.

Posted by: Va_Lady2008 | January 28, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Lets do the common sense thing here and abolish the post office,its not the 19th century anymore.But,of course that will never happen. Government bureaucracy always stands in the way of progress.In america the people are sheep...only fit for the shearing,can you say Baaa,baa ??????

Posted by: jellyhouse56 | January 28, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Let us just do away with the US Postal Service and give it to UPS and FedEx. It would save the taxpayers a lot of money because the US government would not be required ot construct and maintain postal roads. The States could take care of their own darn roads. Everyone is text messaging now and like me unable to spell. What a bunch of whiners! If you can't compete change your program. I still remember the 3cent stamp and service a person could count on. The Postal Service was never meant to make a profit.

Posted by: OldCoot1 | January 28, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Maybe I would use the post office more if it didn't cost $.42 per letter! I couldn't afford to send Christmas cards this year ... would have cost me hundreds of dollars. I didn't mind the $.33 as much, but now that it is so close to half a dollar .... Getting a card in the mail is almost a gift in itself these days b/c of the cost of the card plus postage!

Posted by: purelittleking | January 28, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

gee. mister washington post editor guy joe robinson keeps blocking my post from appearing on this blog. others appear.. but mine mysteriously doesn't. are they CENSORING me?

i don't think they should be, becasue i am an encouraged user who analyzes, comments on, and even challenges the washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

what else should i do? balance a bean on my nose?

Posted by: DriveByPoster | January 28, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Those who believe in total privatization have a point. However that would raise various problems including collusion, price fixing (at a much higher rate) and lowered service levels to rural areas.
Best to always have a basic no frills, no profit USPS. But always best that it adapts to the times. In any given extra-urban area 3 days of service per week are probably more than enough.

Where else in the world do they have 6 day/week standard postal delivery service?

Posted by: AlanBrowne | January 28, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

AT LAST, SOME COMMON SENSE. I HAVE SAID FOR YEARS THAT WE NEED HOME MAIL DELIVERY ONLY 3 TO 4 DAYS A WEEK. If a person or business wants more service, they can pay alittle more. For 90% of us, less service would be no inconvenience, and save the nation Millions of $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. Go for it.

Posted by: 18taipei | January 28, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Lets do the common sense thing here and abolish the post office,its not the 19th century anymore.But,of course that will never happen. Government bureaucracy always stands in the way of progress.In america the people are sheep...only fit for the shearing,can you say Baaa,baa ??????

Posted by: jellyhouse56 | January 28, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

First of all stamp producing so many different stamps. I am an avid stamp collector, but stopped collecting US over a dozen years ago. It is impossible to get every US stamp and too expensive for most people. Second, stop allowing charities and banks and others to get a discounted rate. Why should they? They're business mail is usually trying to solicit business or donations. Third, charge more for companies that post mail order catalogs - no one should be mailing glossy catalogs any more. Fourth, charge more for magazine delivery. Quit trying to make up your losses by increasing first class mail. Have postal hours be 11 - 8 in some areas so normal working hour folk can get to them. Retirees should pay for their own benefits just like those of us in the private sector. Increase health and dental premiums. Postal jobs aren't stressful, they're walking around delivering mail! They're selling stamps and money orders, wear a smile once in a while.

Posted by: aronmor | January 28, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

What's good for the UAW is also good for the American Postal Workers Union! Its time to get labor costs in line with reality.

Posted by: PghGuy | January 28, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Well, what do you know. People that post on online forums do the majority of their business over the internet and use UPS and FEDEX for everything. That means everybody in the US must do the majority of their business over the internet and use UPS and FEDEX for everything. Even all those seniors, low education, and rural folks. There are PLENTY of places in this country lacking a FedEx or UPS shipping location, and plenty of people who have never set foot in one. Do you really want Grandma in rural Georgia paying $2 every time she has to mail a bill in, because that's what FedEx would charge, at least. She can just have them charge it to her business account, or is FedEx going to start providing stamp service now too?

Posted by: williammcdonald1 | January 28, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Alanbrowne wrote:

Where else in the world do they have 6 day/week standard postal delivery service?

My Comment:
We can start with the UK. The Royal Mail delivers six days a week with an objective to deliver before Lunch and always by 3 pm. They use a lot of bicycles for delivery.... hmmmmm.


Posted by: AlanBrowne |

Posted by: dcraven925 | January 28, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Did these people never hear of the law of diminishing returns? We get mail 6 days a week, it may not be our mail but we get mail. However, if you have to pick something up you are going to have to take off work to do it unless you happen to be off when they are open. Just try to pick something up after they close. Haven't they noticed it is not the public trying to do them bodily damage, it's the other post office employees. I believe that is where the term "going postal" came from.

Posted by: jgbaker | January 28, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

If you privatize the post office then all those postal workers who are totally unqualified for any other job will be on welfare. It'll cost the government the same anyway.

Cut wednesday not saturday. That way you won't have to go two consecutive days without delivery.

Posted by: smahayes | January 28, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Not receiving mail on Saturday would be fine, but I really hope the post offices stay open Saturday morning, because it is the only time I can go there to pick up or drop off large packages.

Posted by: wolfcastle | January 28, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

The USPS when it comes to service is one of the finest organizations I can think of out there. Every one of their front-line workers puts their best foot forward and really cares.

Take out Saturday deliveries and you'll kill what is left of your business.

The USPS needs to re-evaluate it's acquisition practices. Throwing money down the tubes for a system that doesn't meet specifications or a timely delivery from a low-bid and big name contractor is not the way to run a busienss. With all of the postal stamp increases, one would think that there is an aversion to sending a letter because of their cost to mail one.

I am sure that there are a some of us who remember when it was 4 cents to send a first class letter, airmail was 6 cents and "Special Delivery" was a mere 20 cents.

When the US Gov't wanted to privatize the Post Office, Ben Franklin was rolling in his grave. He's probably spinning right now wondering how such a mess occured.

What can the Postal Service do to right itself?

1. Hold contractors accountable for their work.
2. Postal workers may have to give a little on their health benefits in the form of higher premiums.
3. Deliver advertisement mail twice a week.
4. When I was a youngster (and still in some places), some of the local shops had post offices in the back, with P.O. Boxes. Consider this alternative, since you'd be able to perform customer service functions at a place where the cost to use the facility would be lower. Why? Show me a shop owner that doesn't want a free advertisment when walking through a market or shop. Most of the owners used to man the shops as being seconded into the US Post Office.
5. Get in the e-mail business and charge a flat-rate per month for e-mail access.

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | January 28, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

How discouraging to see all the ill-informed comments here. Only one person out of all those posting is aware that the current U. S. Postal Service does not receive ANY funding from taxpayer dollars. All costs are covered by its own revenues. So what we have here is a lot of know-nothing grousers, as well as a few people who have some legitimate complaints about the quality of service they receive. I can't speak for any other city or even other sections of my city, but I have to say that the post office in Pittsburgh does a fine job most of time and has in recent years seemed to make an effort to be both efficient and consumer-oriented. No complaints. Those who do have complaints should take it up with their local postmaster.

One thing to remember about doing away with Saturday delivery is that for working people that means in effect three days without mail. If something doesn't come on Friday, no more mail for them until Monday evening. And if Monday is a holiday, it's four days. Why the non-users should have a voice in the frequency of mail delivery is beyond me. I do use the U. S. Postal Service, and I prefer that it keep Saturday delivery--even if it means another small increase in postal rates.

Also, all those who think that all-electronic all-the-time is the way to go make the mistake of thinking that everyone else lives the way they do.

And finally, I don't get why Americans have become so jealous of how much money other people are making--when those people are ordinary worker like mail carriers and postal clerks in this case. How many of you moaners and groaners complain about the millions made by the Wall Street types, corporate executives, athletes, and entertainers? H-m-m?

And no, I don't work for the post office and neither does anyone else in my family or among my friends. I've had my fair share of complaints about the post office over the years (including post offices in other countries), so I know it's not perfect. But all things considered, the USPS does a good job.

Posted by: NotACoward | January 28, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

When George Bush was President, we had mail service 6 days per week. Obama has already screwed things up. Socialism only leads to mediocrity at best, misery at worst. Here we go.

Posted by: get_it_right | January 28, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Our mail is delivered late in the day. Except on Saturday when it is always before noon. Do you suppose when the route is covered, the mailperson can go home? In our previous town, there was a mail truck parked four or five days a week in the driveway of a single lady, from about 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. or later. Do you suppose it took that long to deliver, well, uh, the mail?

Do you suppose that inefficiency in the USPS is rampant? It costs more each year to mail a first class letter. The cost increase is now automatic. Nobody checks.

But junk mail comes in droves.

Posted by: bezvodka | January 28, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

I have wondered why they didn't consider this for sometime, but given the state of the economy now I don't see why they wouldn't cut down on delivery. I also think they need to ajust time on post office hours. I know opening Saturday's are a convience, but maybe they can cut M-F hours to make up for opening on Saturdays.

Posted by: jolyn1 | January 28, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

One less day of junk mail per week. I'm surprised that environmentalists aren't cheering for this. 90% of the mail I receive is junk mail. If there were no junk mail, imagine the number of trees that would be saved.

Posted by: reston75 | January 28, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Snail mail becomes increasingly irrelevant. Cutting back to 5 days a week seems like a no brainer.

Posted by: edbyronadams | January 28, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

The USPS needs to be PRIVATIZED in order for it to cut costs and hopefully make money for a change. There are too many HQ employees who sit around and do absolutely nothing to justify their jobs. Mail delivery in most parts of the country is less than satisfactory and especially in the southern New Mexico areas. Some weeks I receive mail only 3-4 days a week, so El Paso is already cutting delivery especially to those of us who reside in New Mexico!! Service is terrible thats why I use UPS and its cheaper too!!!!

Posted by: tquinton | January 28, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't see the problem. It's not like they deliver the mail for free. Charge an adequate rate for the service.

Posted by: dubya19391 | January 28, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

When are they ever going to stop delivering the pound of unsolicited junk mail that i get every day, that goes immediately and directly from my mailbox to the trash can--without being read?

Imagine how many millions of tons of this unsolicited crap gets delivered and then sent directly to the trash can by every American household and business. Imagine how many millions of trees are wasted each year with this unsolicited crap, just so the USPS can make some money.

Posted by: killthemessenger | January 28, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Can't the USPS find a few more ways to cut costs and increase efficiency? That said, I really wouldn't mind if, say, Tuesday mail delivery were dropped.

Posted by: smc91 | January 28, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

I lived in an apartment building, the postal carrier refused to climb the stairs, left packages beside the front door. They were stolen regularly. The P.O. did nothing. The police did nothing. The FBI did nothing. I moved, got a new carrier, now I get about 15% of my mail, although I do get magazine covers, just no magazines. The P.O.? Nothing. So if you see an interesting package, take it. Magazines, too. Fire the whole bunch.

Posted by: princessofalittle | January 28, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Wow. I guess I didn't realize how lucky I am. I have very few problems with my letter carrier. The post offices near my office and my home are both well run. The USPS is by far the cheapest and most convenient way to mail something. I think it's pretty good that I can mail a letter across the country for 42c and it will get there in a couple of days. For boxes, USPS is also cheaper than FedEx and UPS.

Posted by: didnik | January 28, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm generally for this, but when the government is spending billions on infrastructure to put people to work, what sense does it make to reduce the workload (and thus the total employment) of the postal service. Lets wait a few years and then do this. I've no problem with 5 day service, and it may make sense in some rural areas to drop delivery to every other day. Lets just wait until we're out of the recession to do it.

Posted by: bill3 | January 28, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

But, at the end of year John Potter..gives him self a $500,000 bonus for doing a great job!

Posted by: carolynabliawalker | January 28, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Once a week delivery is more than enough for me. Signing up for a do not spam list would also help. All but a few mails a month to me go straight from the mailbox to the shredder unopened. Why not continue to provide 6 day a week delivery to businesses, and reduce to weekly delivery to homes?

Posted by: Don19 | January 28, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

What can I say? Postal service speaks for itself--poor quality, undependable, skipped service, other peoples' mail delivered up and down the block.

What to do? "Competition" would put the USPS out of biz and then the corporate vultures would raise stamps to a buck a piece.

Why not base the pay of your individual mail carrier on PERFORMANCE? His/her pay depends on how satisfied the postal customers on the route are with the service.

Posted by: PostToastie | January 28, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Cutting Saturday might do the trick. But, I worked at P.O. (as a casual) I think it might be better to just cut overtime. Removing most of the junk mail would help too. But a lot of revenue comes from that crap. I would not want to be a carrier on Mondays. AND, many will disagree, but the post office is still a bargin for the price. If you gave it to FedEx or UPS prices would go through the roof.... I retired from FedEx too... Alot of their cost is overtime, the veterans rely on it and milk the system....

Posted by: jimmyj1 | January 28, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

I say let the Post Office leave the market. Companies like UPS and FedEx are FAR more efficient at doing the same thing as the USPS. It's not profitable just a waste of tax dollars and resources.

Posted by: DirtyDish
---------------------------------
Not really. Try mailing a Fedex or UPS letter for less than 50 cents.

Posted by: MikeOLeary | January 28, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Privatize the Post Office.

It's a complete and utter joke at this point.

Posted by: bug45 | January 28, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

DirtyDish - Ya gotta get it--it's not a waste of tax dollars because the post office doesn't GET any tax dollars. Sheesh, people, pay attention.

Posted by: NotACoward | January 28, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

The Post Office did fine until Bush told his admin to "bust the unions". Effectively, they laid off workers, hired temporary ones, cut their benefits, etc. Promote incompetents to managerial positions so they don't qualify for unions. Everything possible to put the union out of business. This is the result. But one thing for sure, the executives at the USPS still fly in the executive jet provided to them. It is never about money, only the ideology.

Posted by: pkbishop | January 29, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

The majority of these posts seem to miss a very real point - the USPS is the PREMIERE postal service in the world. I ship 5+ tons a year to every state and territory in the US and nearly every country in the world, and I do it all using the retail counter at my local branch (Carmel Rd, Charlotte, NC).

I hear lots of stories from non-US customers that make most of the above comments sound like the lowest level of petty & stupid whining - everything from delivery trucks that are regularly hi-jacked to customs & carrier pilfering to packages tossed into a corner for no other reason than laziness.

Grow up, and take a 'global' look at what you have available to you here in the US!

Posted by: jmihawkins | January 29, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company