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Should We Close Local Post Offices On Saturdays? : Postal News, Vision, Information & Commentary
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Should We Close Local Post Offices On Saturdays?

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According to an editorial in the Observer-Reporter (Washington, PA), it’s time to end Saturday postal deliveries.

“The recent increase in the cost of a first-class postage stamp from 41 cents to 42 cents was hardly surprising, compared to the increased in the cost of gasoline, food and just about everything else,” said the paper.

“It could have easily been avoided, however. All the U.S. Postal Service needs to do to drastically cut expenses and the necessity for several future postal-rate increases is one simple thing: Eliminate Saturday delivery.”

And why should Saturday deliveries be curtailed?

“Just think of the amount of fuel that would not be burned if mail were not delivered on Saturdays,” said the paper.

“Most people,” continued the Observer-Reporter, “communicate with friends and family by e-mail now. Many receive and pay bills online. Most of what arrives in the mailbox these days is just junk mail, anyway.”

The thought that the Postal Service could cut costs by ending Saturday deliveries is no different than suggesting that hospital expenses could be reduced if only the emergency room was shut down on weekends.

The Postal Service has a high percentage of fixed costs — all those people, vehicles and local post offices. If local post offices are closed on Saturdays it means there is less volume to support the system but many of the fixed costs remain in place — you still need a given number of people, vehicles and facilities to reach almost 150 million physical addresses.

The Observer-Reporter says “most of what arrives in the mailbox these days is just junk mail, anyway.” In other words, advertising mail.

How is paper-based advertising sent through the mailstream any different than paper-based advertising delivered by the Observer-Reporter? Would the Observer-Reporter agree that it could cut its costs and save paper if only it would not carry advertising inserts one day a week? Think of all the fuel used by delivery trucks that could be saved if the Observer-Reporter published less often. Would not such economies please owners and shareholders?

A lot of newspapers and magazines go through the mailstream. In fiscal 2007, according to the Postal Service, 8.8 billion newspapers and magazines were delivered by mail.

Many communication companies that publish newspapers also have subsidiaries to market through the mailstream. Indeed, many newspapers offer “Total Market Coverage” plans that include postal deliveries. Surely it would not be good for TMC programs if the local post office was shut down on Saturdays.

Some TMC programs are huge. The Newspaper Association of America says that 3,520,000 million piece per week are delivered in Los Angeles, 2,385,371 in Chicago and 570,000 in Miami.

If advertising through the mailstream is not effective or productive, does it not make sense that advertisers would go elsewhere? Should not the marketplace decide such issues? In fact, according to Robert Coen, senior vice president, director of forecasting with Universal McCann, the huge advertising agency, advertisers in the world, advertisers now spend more marketing through the mailstream than through newspapers.

In the December 2007 issue of his “Insider’s Report,” Coen said that advertisers spent $60.998 billion with mail marketing in 2007 versus $42.94 billion with newspapers.

Although the Observer-Reporter is surely concerned by 42 cent stamps it somehow fails to mention the rates paid by newspapers — 13.6 to 16.8 cents per piece, according to the Newspaper Association of America.

The fact is that the U.S. marketplace is vast and all forms of advertising should be welcomed and encouraged because they stimulate sales and create jobs. That’s good for the economy, good for local communities and good for readers in Washington, PA.

There Are 32 Responses So Far. »

  1. There is no way the volume could be managed without Saturday delivery. It’s difficult enough with Monday volume. Plus, Congress will get a very negative response from the American people.

  2. This will not cut hours. I would have to have help on mondays to do the volume. It is already not manageable for one person.

  3. This is log overdue, Yes, we should discontinue Saturday Deliver. Just think of how much money we can save to recover the USPS. Gas, Utilities,Workhours,MVA,just to name only a few. The public can do without Saturday Delivery these days. Ten years ago it was different. Now we have the internet and the public wit be much more receptive.
    Again, just think of the cost savings alone. The Monday Volume can be budgeted through the week. This is a no brainer to save the Postal Service.

  4. The end of Saturday delivery would not affect any of these mailers. Advertising mail would be delivered on Fridays just before the weekend where the majority of monies are spent. Where’s the problem? The article above acts as if the Postal Service would loose money, it would not. Mail would continue to flow. The Post Office would see to it. And perhaps the narrowed time of delivery would improve service and once again instill in the delivery personell a sense of urgency, that we have not seen in a while. Maybe the loss of Saturday delivery is just what the Post Office needs as a wake-up call!!! I heard it stated that every time gas goes up one cent the Postal Service spend an added 15 million dollars per day. The savings of deleting Saturday delivery could be staggering and help the cause of needed fuel for the rest of us. Maybe it’s time to start thinking about America as a whole and not just the needs of the Postal Service. In addition to saving fuel maybe they could cut down on the compliment, which is aproximately 750,000 strong. Think of the savings on manpower. No, the Post Office is not going to volunteer to make this change, it will have to be forced through our representatives. Let’s make it happen!

  5. I just had a two day weekend, a very rare occurance for me. I feel like a different person today after having two days off and I was able to do some fun activities over the weekend that I normally miss. If we discontinue Saturday delivery I will be able to go to more of my children’s activities and the extra day will allow me more time to pursue some of my own hobbies. I would have no problem working more during the week if it meant I could have Saturdays off.

  6. Two days (in a row) of no mail delivery service is not managable by any of the 40,000 offices in our great country. However, curtailing mail delivery on Wednesday or Thursday (along with Sunday) is quite doable. Since it is only ‘junk mail’, why does everybody focus on Saturday as the additional non-delivery day?

  7. Having spent thirty years with the postal service it has been my experience that each and every new inovation saves or creates more jobs. The same would hold true to curtailing Saturday mail delivery. The “supposed” savings would be countermanded on Monday when overtime is required to deliver the backlog just like the day after a holiday .

  8. If the Post Office is closed on Saturday how about the people who only have Saturday off and have to come in to sign for a package, mail a package. For some people this is the only time they could come to the office or they take time off from work.

  9. If any day could be eleminated, it would be Wednesday. That way Mondays and days after holidlays would be managable. Saturdays are much to important for advertizing mail and the amount of volumn Monday would have to make any other suggestion, rediculous.

  10. Ask any one who carriers mail what a day after a holiday is like. You work 10 hours on your route and pick up 2 more on someone else’s who is off due to vactations, sick or emergencies. These 10 days a year are hell, this is what every monday would be if mail was not delivered on Saturdays. Timely delivery of mail is the most essential function of the postal service and delaying it for one day would put everything out of whack. While it seem logical from someone who doesn’t work with the mail, to everyone who does, its just not possible. As you probably figured out, I am a mail carrier and most of my customers would be irate. They enjoy getting thier mail and when something delays it for what ever the reason, they go haywire. We provide a great service at the lowest possible price. The United States Postal Service has the cheapest rates of any industriallize country. We do not only beat them, most of the time we are less than half of what they charge. As for only “junk mail”, ask the person waiting for a check or something being mailed from a lawyer or relative. They want the mail that day and don’t want to wait. I too use the computer for many things, but I do get essential mail, and they only charge me 42 cents veruses $3.95 to pay may gas bill on line. The electric bill is cheaper only line, its only $1 for a check and $2.95 if I use a debit card. And what if I forget to send my mortgage out on time, I only have to add $10 to pay it online. Wow all of the sudden 42 cents doesn’t sound bad. A one cent increase should not cause such an uprise, compare it to a gallon of gas, milk, eggs, tomatoes, or anything else in the supermarket and you will see what a great value the postal service is.

  11. No matter how the Postal Services tries to look at it, we need to save fuel. That’s the issue, not the price of stamps or the amount of overtime waisted by that organization. If you have to work a little harder, as the rest of America is now having to do, to make that happen then so be it. Get yourselves out of the office earlier on Monday’s and kick it. Obviously the unions that run the Post Office are nervous about the prospect of loosing members over this issue. Think about it, less work days convert to less need for employees which equates to less dues being paid by members. WOW, less money to spend on Capital Hill to further their job security endeavors. As I stated eariler, the Postal Service is not going to volunteer to cut Saturday delivery. They will think of every excuse in the book to avoid it. I don’t know about the rest of you but by time I get my mail on Saturdays my bank is closed. So how do I benefit? Saturday is a perfect day to close down delivery. Sorry PO, but you’re just not needed six days a week any longer.

  12. I beg to differ with the Observer-Reporter and Mr. Kruse, who both carry a very negative tune. While there are some within USPS that may believe USPS should be closed for Saturdays (with hopes of never working a Saturday again), and there are those that believe the internet will close USPS down, there are others that feel differently.

    The local customers rely on Saturday business, they are so busy through the week, it is their day to do business. A local office can do as much in sales in one half of a day than any other day of the week. It can be the main revenue day for that office.

    There are people within the USPS and contractors, that rely on Saturdays to work.
    Some people believe that USPS failed to educate through marketing that we ARE NOT federally funded and that we need their continued support…without an awareness of support it will allow the habit of “going to the post office” to become an “inconvience”. You must have foot traffic to address matters of concern and sell new ideas for revenue, and for many that is Saturday.
    And there are those that belive if you thought identity theft was risky via mail, you have yet to see what can happen through the internet and there is no law to stop it.

    USPS offers a FREE service that has been taken for granted. Support your local office, continues Saturday deliveries and helps the nearly 750,000 employees support their families and communities. And if that doesn’t build the revenue than consider charging a delivery fee to the 150,000 million physical address.
    I agree with the reponse against the Observer-Reporter, you must have Saturdays.

  13. End the Hype, You obviously have very socialistic views and therefore are unable to understand that it is not the governments responsibility to take care of us. IE: “Maybe it’s time to start thinking about America as a whole and not just the needs of the Postal Service. In addition to saving fuel maybe they could cut down on the compliment, which is aproximately 750,000 strong. Think of the savings on manpower. No, the Post Office is not going to volunteer to make this change, it will have to be forced through our representatives. Let’s make it happen!” You are also obviously not a carrier and do not understand the issues that each and every carrier encounters on a day after non delivery. You are welcome to make your choice and move to a country that supports your socialistic views. Perhaps then you will not be quite so bitter. Unless you truly understand the way postal delivery works, your ideas will not assist in the everyday challenges faced by each of our rural carriers on a daily basis.

  14. I would love to have Saturdays off, but everyone is right about the Monday volume. It is just not feasible.

  15. Spoken as we would expect. Come on you can do better than that! Since there aren’t that many responses, frankly, it doesn’t look like anyone really cares if you stay open six days a week, other than Postal employees. Not very convincing.

  16. There is no reason for Saturday mail delivery in the 21st century. It uses precious natural resources, adds polutants to the enviroment unnecessarily, and wastes money. Overtime can be eliminated, unnecessary salaries can be eliminated, and employees can have weekend off with their families.
    We need to explore more ways, such as deleting Saturday deliveries by the USPS, as well as all deliveries including next day air by Fed Ex, Ups and USPS……to save fuel, improve quality of life for workers, and keep the USPS in a profitable position.

  17. The problem with no Saturday delivery is that there are some people dependent on Saturdays just to work at the Post Office ( subs) with no Saturday delivery there will be more people out of work. How does that help the economy? Yes, the days after holidays are brutal, I am a rural carrier. If they want to shut down on Saturdays I think that other places should shut down also, let more people spend time with their families.

  18. Problem: Revenue down vs. Costs going up. We need to cut Sat. delivery. It is the only day, banks will not let us close a day during the week when they are open – they are closed on Sat.’s; and they want their money. Sale flyers can be delivered on Friday so the customers can have ALL weekend to spend money instead of just 1 and 1/2 days. Mail volumes on Mon. and/or the days after a holiday can be curtailed and delivered through the week (we might have to work a little harder). Also, just think – when the flat sorting machines come on line, this will not even be an issue. The machines will sort the mail and all we will do is come in case a foot or two of mail and hit the streets. People, we all want to have a job for some time to come, let’s be realistic here. Volume is down and not coming back, revenue is down and we can’t price ourselves out of the market to compensate for the lost revenue, costs are going up like wages, gas, health care…. It is time to face reality. Let’s have a real early out (no penalties), and thru attrition in about 6 months we stop Sat. delivery and we can minimize the amount of people losing their job. I know it sucks, but I think losing “X” number of jobs is alot better than losing all of our jobs like the steel mills, car factories,…..
    TOUGH TIMES CALL FOR TOUGH DECISIONS. Just like at home, you can’t keep spending money when you don’t have it, and you can’t keep giving things away when there is nothing left to give. Just being real.

  19. Saturday delivery should be eliminated. Most businesses who have large mailings or receive a large volume of mail are only open Monday thru Friday anyway. The window would still be open for customers to mail packages, pick up items, etc. The mail could still go out, only delivery would stop on Saturday. Not only would the postal service save money on payroll and fuel cost, but would help the environment as well with less emissions into our already comprimised air quality.

  20. As a contract mail carrier in NC I have to say I would LOVE to have saturdays off but since our office is not goverment we are responsible for sorting all of our mail into the case letters and flats. So on a heavy day such as Monday I go into work having 3-4 trays of letters and 4 buckets to sort and then another 2 trays or so off of the 6am truck. So while deleting saturdays would be great we would probably have to still go into work on either saturday or sunday just like during the holidays to case the saturday mail, so what good would that do?

  21. Not only should they not eliminate Saturdays, but they should increase and add Sundays. Better monitoring of private property, of monitoring unusual occurances. No one needs to work more, just the public would have to pay more for the service. Any trend toward workers having less hours for the sole purpose of making more money for the system overall is not good for this country in the long run.

  22. I am sorry, but I am very cynical when I read some of these posts. It seems there are quite a number of people who suggest eliminating Saturday delivery would do everything from saving the environment to ending the skyrocketing price of gas. How convenient! There seems there are some ulterior motives not listed.

    One thing you may find interesting, in our district we deliver an advertisement flyer prepared by one of our major ‘newspapers’. This is intended to reach those who do not subscribe to their Sunday paper and is intended to be delivered on ‘Saturday’ or Monday only! Many weeks Saturday is one of the busiest delivery days.

    As far as saving the environment, one could come up with plans for almost any business that would help. How about turning off office lights and signage when not in use? It is reported that office workers spend an inordinate amount off time reading emails and surfing the internet, so lets not even get into the discussion about productivity. Mail delivery is a free universal service. This service was started by one of our country’s founding fathers.

    One last comment. No one is getting rich at the postal service, I know there are many that would love to see it go under so they could get a piece of the action. Hire low wage workers and make a lot of money. The American way?

  23. Since those people who seem to be so gun-ho on saving fuel and bringing down cost, let’s close everything on Saturday! The Banks; after all, many of you have already admitted to doing most of your financial transactions online. All grocery stores, retailers and businesses. Go back to the “good ole days” when NOTHING was open on the weekends!!! Will you make places of “entertainment” an exception..such as movie theatres, restaurants, amusement parks, vacation spots, the zoo. Don’t just pick on U.S.P.S.! If you’ve never worked for the postal service then you haven’t a clue about the inner workings of this organization. Before anyone calls themselves spouting off figures, dig deep and get the facts. If you want to close any organziation or business on Saturday, lets not leave anyone out!!! You can receive so much from a letter with $0.42…Paychecks (for those who do not care for direct deposit), deeds and titles to cars, homes, boats, stocks and bonds, birthday cards from your grandchild(ren) in their own handwriting! WOW…pink slips, tickets to concerts, movies, sports events, plays, the police department, I.R.S.:( , and the list goes on and on and on! Try checking out the postage rate in other countries. I have and we ARE the cheapest and probably the most reliable. Be careful what you wish for…your job or business may be next for review by an axe committee…

  24. Saturday delivery should be eliminated as most of the businesses are closed on saturdays. It is hard for the post office to get under time from most of the letter carriers on saturday as a result it is unproductive day. People do not need their mail on saturday, only a few people who wait for their welfare checks or small businesses like stores who do not gather enough mail for delivery. About 50,000 carrier floater jobs can be eliminated.There are many carriers who will retire in next couple of years and these floaters can take that job.On Monday the carriers can come an hour earlier and case the mail. carriers work overtime on Monday anyway. They will be making same stops while carrying 25% more mail from saturday. Most of the government offices are closed on weekends why not the post office too? We will not die if we get our mail one day late. If someone wants to get their mail earlier then they need to use Express service. The post office is not federal funded , it makes all the money by selling it’s products. Is it worth it to open the windows for only 4 hours on saturday and pay the clerks 8 hours each or overtime to cover people on vacation. That doesn’t sound like a good business strategy.only to help few customers is not a good business strategy…..we will be making 4 hours of money at the window and pay 24 to 40 hours to the clerks to do the job. The PTF’s will not lose the jobs, There are enough carriers that have more than 25 years of service.

  25. Mail cost would be cut. Permanent workers would not receive a day of overtime premium pay. As for more overtime, the union bargained that away. The USPS would simply hire more casual handlers, pay them less and still meet the demand. These facilities can handle the load. The losers, the employees. The gain Weekends? I know many who intentional work weekends for the extra differential. Reduction in first class for a day will not have any significant impact, statistics show that first class mailing is at a low anyway and doesn’t show signs of uptrending, save maybe the Holiday season. The USPS is simply another company experiencing the inevitable pains of downsizing as a real possibility in the future.

  26. As a TRACTOR TRAILER OPERATOR for the USPS fot the past 10 years I would like to say it’s a good start but not enough. I would also like to see Four 10 Hour Workdays in order to eliminate Private Contracting of the Transportation of the U.S. Mail. It’s not about job security, its about safety on our roads. As a former New York State Certified Commercial Driving School Instructor I see first hand how dangerous these {steerers} are! Most are paid Per-diem, thats right as fast as they can boogie, the more they do, the more they get paid – not to safe right? One Contractor here in the Northeast Has KILLED many people ! I SURE HOPE IT’S NOT A VIP’S FAMILY MEMBER NEXT BEFORE THE PROPER ACTION IS TAKEN IN ORDER TO CORRECT AN ACCIDENT WAITING TO HAPPEN ! THANK YOU, Michael J.Iorio

  27. The Post Office would save big if it ended Saturday delivery and closed its doors on Saturdays. With a fleet of vehicles in the neighborhood of 250,000 and gas prices at 4.00 a gallon, how could we not save big? The Post Office claims its in the red and really needs to act fast. I’ve been with Post Office for 15 years and we all know how light Tuesdays and Wednesdays are and I’m guessing that by closing on Saturdays maybe our mail volume would increase on those days as well the rest of the week and maybe we could give our PTF’s being cut short a full weeks pay. Believe it or not, We postal workers can process the mail in a 5 day work week. Why close on Wednesdays? A weeks worth of mail is a weeks worth of mail. I’m not real sure, but I dont think retailers and venues for entertainment such as movie theatres are getting crushed by the additional day that they are open. In fact, have you looked at opening weekend profits of major movies? These places mostly employ teens and young adults and the weekend is when they make most of their money. I’m a family man with 3 kids and maybe get 1 Saturday off a year outside of my vacation. I miss a majority of my kids activities and thats just time you can’t get back. Face it, the USPS is not a family first place. That aside, if the USPS is in dire need of saving money in order for it to survive it should close its doors on Saturdays.

  28. You simply curtail the bulk on monday and deliver it throughout the rest of the week.
    It would definitely save a great amount of fuel.
    People survive no mail on sundays and holidays. They could survive no saturday delivery as well.

  29. I remember no Saturday delivery when I was growing up. The banks and businesses did just fine. These are difficult times and require some sacrifices to balance our budget after what Bush has done to us. Postal workers can work 10 hour days, 4 days a week and get more mail worked and delivered without the overtime. I also remember in the early 90s when the USPS had no advertising budget, that would be another great place to cut. If we keep our prices low we wouldn’t have to advertise. The USPS has come full circle and will be just fine if we do a full days work for a full days pay. We could also move Saturdays people to Mon thru Fri and move more mail. This will work and postal workers will be happier for it. Remember to never count on the overtime to live!

  30. People who don’t want Saturdays off probably have no lives. They want to work 7 days a week if possible. Who cares what’s best for the postal service, let them figure it out, that’s what the big dogs get paid to do. I have a 1 year old son, I’m a city carrier, and I would love to be with my son on the weekends because just think of the activities kids do on the weekend. They go to school all week, so the weekend is used for sports, dance, or whatever your kids like to do. It will create alot more harmony in the workplace. I’d work twice as hard during the week knowing I would get Saturday and Sunday off. THINK ABOUT IT!

  31. No more Saturday deliveries, this is a no brainer. The cost of savings to this quasi- government private business operation would be substantial to say the least in obvious areas of labor, utilities, fuel,insurance risks and health for these workers. Cut the delivery day to increase mid week shortfalls and extend local post office hours to 730pm or sofor customer walkup. Limited mail processing will still take place on weekends in some major bulk mail facilities because you gotta get the freight off the airport and from other other big business mailers as such. In America we have two major examples of private companies that can move parcels quite efficiently on a 5 day work week for the most part and their earnings are in the billions. Also if you want to see the USPS get it in gear just allow the two other giant shipping companies access to the coveted US post box around the country with the permission to deliver junk mail and you will see a renewed spirit in this goliath institution like none before. Learn to live within your means and you will be ok.

  32. My husband is a rural mail carrier and as a result of the march 2009 mail count, his volume went way down along with the majority of mail carriers. The result: my husband now works 6 days a week and comes home earlier in the day. Now who’s watching the shop. What sense does this make. Prior to the recent count, he worked 5 days a week and came home after working an average work day. Now who came up with this stupidity? To work more days per week to deliver less mail. His wages were also reduced and he is forced to work more days. Where are the wage and hour folks who should be protecting all of us from this type of abuse? Try working with one day off a week and experiencing the stress of the post office. I don’t get it, how are they allowed to do this, as it makes absolutely no sense to work more days to carry less mail. It is almost as if administrators don’t care about life outside of the post office. There isn’t any. Everyone deserves two days off per week to be with family and friends. My husband put in his time as an associate carrier for years before becoming a career employee, working 6 sometimes 7 days per week during the holidays for what? To get to the point that he is back to next to no time off. This has really stressed him out and I have to walk a tightrope when he come home everyday, not knowing what mood he will be in. This is typical for the USPS to waste money. Who needs to advertise in the Olympics, Tour de France as if no one knows the post office exists? Does the advertising make me remeber that “Oh yes I completely forgot we have a postal service, and now that I have seen the ad, I will go to the Post Office????? There was a surplus in the postal budget at that time. Has the USPS ever heard of saving for the future? I guess not. So folks, there it is from a wife of a 58 year old postal carrier who is dedicated to his career. I see the frustration voiced also by his co-workers, some of which have young children at home. Thank God, our children are grown and living their own lives. It really hurts not to have Mom or Dad involved in their childrens’ lives on the weekends like normal people. Today, more women are carriers that males I believe and so Mom is missing. USPS, come to your senses and close the post offcie on Saturday. You will save money and it will greatly improve the moral of the postal employees. Thanks for reading this; sorry it was so wordy, but many of the posts do not see the entire picture. Hope you all have a better understanding now!!!

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