Saturday Mail Will End

What do you think? Will you miss it? 

The Postal Service said it would cut back to five-day-a-week deliveries for everything except packages. Thanks in part to Internet commerce and communications and its own costs, the department lost almost $16 billion last year. It hopes to save $2 billion annually with the Saturday cutback.

“Things change,” said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. The Internet is free, he added, “and you cannot beat free.”

You can mourn change, however. The differing attitudes on that score are personified by Andy Simonoff, 58, of Costa Mesa, Calif., and her 28-year-old son Michael.

Andy said she’s sorry about the end of Saturday mail, even though she could see it coming, even though her household mail doesn’t arrive until late afternoon, even though it rarely includes anything of interest.

But her three sons, she said, “think the mail is a dinosaur.”

She doesn’t want to say they never write, but she’s resorted to saving printouts of their text messages. When she sends her 18-year-old in college a birthday card, she has to phone ahead to warn him to check his box.

Michael Simonoff, an IT hardware dealer, said he still gets snail mail, although he has never bothered to fill out a change-of-address form after his several moves. Why should he? “It’s much easier to stay in touch by cell or e-mail. If I’m out of the country for a few weeks, I don’t want something being delivered to my doorstep.”

When he does return from a trip, the mailbox is full. The 28-year-old woman with whom he lives “has collected it, maybe, once,” he said.

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  • EricW

    I’m glad the Postmaster went ahead and did this without waiting for our can’t-pass-a-budget Congress or won’t-pass-a-budget President to act.

  • EricW

    That should have been “won’t-submit-a-budget President.” :p

  • If the Post Office had been allowed by Congress to fund its pensions and retiree health benefits as any other private or public entity, as of last Summer it would have had a $1.5 Billion surplus! I wonder why Congress decided in 2006 to put this onerous requirement on the shoulders of the United States Postal Service? Could there be political reasons why this move was taken in 2006 and is Congress trying to destroy the USPS? ~Lawrence E. Rafferty

  • Robin

    In all fairness to the President, he has submitted a budget every year, just never on time, and the Democrats in the Senate (with the Republicans) have always voted it down 97-0 or 99-0. It is the Senate that has refused to even attempt to create a budget, let alone pass one, in more than 4 years. 4 years of continuing resolutions and no budget creation process. This is the one area where the House looks like the responsible chamber.

  • Loren Haas

    My USPS suggestion: Postal service delivery three days a week. Either Mon-Wed-Fri, or Tues-Thu-Sat.
    This would require half the delivery personel and vehicles and save a lot of money. Post offices would stay open 6-days a week if you must rush off letter or package. More prompt delivery at a premium. Businesses could pay a premium for everyday service. I think this would provide very little real disruption for this class of mail.

  • EricW

    I was using Congress generically to refer to both Houses. And, yes, the President has submitted budgets, but not on time, despite the law to do so.

    I agree with 2 or 3 day a week delivery for mail. Merchants can use FedEx or UPS.

  • TJJ

    Postal Service??? Is that really still around?

  • My position has always been that if the USPS must go to five days, they should cut a weekday and retain Saturdays. However, this position has largely been based on the need for “the rest of us” (that is, real people and not businesses) who have to work and therefore cannot be at home to receive packages. If they’re still delivering packages on Saturday, my primary opposition to Saturday closure is removed.