Post Office to end Saturday deliveries

posted at 8:41 am on February 6, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

You take sixteen billion, and what do you get?  Another day shorter and lighter in debt — or so the Post Office hopes.  The USPS went into the red in 2012 by an astounding $16 billion, and needs to find ways to cut costs.  CBS News reports this morning that they will trim one-sixth of their deliveries by ending 150 years of Saturday service for first-class mail:

Get ready for some big changes in your mail service. After losing $16 billion last year, the postmaster general will make announce Wednesday that the Postal Service intends to halt Saturday delivery of first-class mail by this summer, Aug. 1, CBS News has learned. That means most mailers, letters and catalogs would not arrive on Saturdays, ending a 150-year tradition.

The plan to shrink delivery from six days a week to five would only affect first-class mail, while packages, mail-order medicines, priority and express mail would still get delivered on Saturdays.

I don’t really consider this a big change.  After all, what I don’t get on Saturday, I’ll still get on Monday.  Most of my first-class mail is either bills or letters from friends — at least the mail I actually care about — none of which are particularly urgent.  Anything urgent comes to me by FedEx or UPS in most cases, or electronically in others.

In fact, I’m curious about just how much this actually will save.  Senator Tom Coburn claims that the USPS can save $2 billion with this change, but again, all that mail will still need to be delivered on Mondays.  If the trucks are running at a capacity where Saturday and Monday mail can be combined into the same single truck route without having to go back and run the routes in two trips, then maybe the excess capacity is really the issue, and not the number of days spent delivering the mail.

CBS also wonders whether this is a real strategy, or a way to force Congress to authorize a modernization:

David Walker, a former government watchdog, is part of a panel looking at possible postal reforms. Walker told CBS News the new measure “won’t come close to solving the postal service’s problem. It’s got to look at more fundamental changes in its infrastructure, its compensation costs, its retirement obligations, and also what it does and who does its business.”

But there’s just so much the Postal Service can do without congressional approval. Despite years of begging by postmasters general, Congress never passed a reform bill that would have given the Postal Service more flexibility to modernize and streamline its service.

If they’re doing this to pressure Congress, then they have to think that ending Saturday service will prompt outrage from voters.  I don’t think that’s going to be the case, especially with package deliveries continuing.  What do you think?  Take the poll:

 


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Are they still paying people to sit on their cans when work slows instead of sending them home?

Tenwheeler on February 6, 2013 at 10:26 AM

Oh Lord, Obamacare will be just like the United States Postal Service.

SC.Charlie on February 6, 2013 at 10:14 AM

You are far far too optimistic. I doubt it will be half as good.

Cindy Munford on February 6, 2013 at 10:27 AM

The “fix” makes about as much sense as a restaurant that is losing money, closing on Friday nights.

Yeah, we are spending more than we are bringing in, so let’s make less…..

[Tenwheeler on February 6, 2013 at 10:14 AM]

Do you think going from 6 day delivery to 5 day is going to change the habits of people using the Post Office that much? I don’t see the change in delivery frequency causing a bump up in the customer loss rate they’re experiencing because the alternatives are few.

And they’re not making anything. They are delivering what’s made. I don’t see the restaurant comparison as valid.

Dusty on February 6, 2013 at 10:35 AM

Long overdue. Like that lost package, this cut should have been found, years ago.

Bmore on February 6, 2013 at 10:45 AM

Let me start by saying that we don’t need Saturday rural delivery. The USPS has gone from twice a day for six week days to once a day for five weekdays. I really have no trouble with that (exception below), except to disagree with the “progressive” approach to cut back on the important stuff and promote the junk.

The Post Office is one of only two definite Constitutional requirements. The first is Defense and the second is the post office. Of course, according to the librul progressives, they think that the only requirements are to take money from the makers and give it to the takers for votes, and that is a requirement according to their imaginary constitution.

However, in spite of all this, note the USP is only going to not deliver the Constitutionally required first class mail on Saturdays. Since they are in competition with private enterprise for packages (Fed Ex, UPS) they will continue to deliver those. Typical librul thinking.

Old Country Boy on February 6, 2013 at 10:50 AM

I can understand cost savings in reducing fuel consumption of vehicles by not running on Saturdays. But unless they’re able to DOWNSIZE the number of employees, there’s a limit to the savings.

So the big question is… are they going to lay off postal workers?

And of course the even bigger question… do we need to fear the laid off workers going… err… postal? ;)

dominigan on February 6, 2013 at 10:50 AM

Newman!!!!!

elowe on February 6, 2013 at 9:39 AM

That reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Kramer decides he doesn’t want to get mail anymore. Fabulous.

I don’t recall the USPS ever using Wayne Knight (who played Newman) in any of their advertising. It would be a brilliant move. He’s undoubtedly America’s favorite mailman.

bobs1196 on February 6, 2013 at 10:54 AM

They might as well end residential delivery on Tuesdays & Thursdays, too. Electronic communications have already reduced dramatically and will continue to do so. But delivery cutbacks are only a band-aid…

KS Rex on February 6, 2013 at 10:55 AM

They have been complaining that they are in the red because of greatly reduced volume. Why do they still need 6 days to deliver the greatly reduced volume? Move to every other day delivery – add in that if you expecting something important on a non regularly scheduled day you can go to the post office to pick it up.

Corsair on February 6, 2013 at 10:58 AM

Does this mean that the price of a stamp will go back down?

Hahahahahahah!

Right Mover on February 6, 2013 at 10:58 AM

Time to disband the Post Office and let private enterprise do it better. Why should the government provide a service you can find in the phone book?

Trey

TMink on February 6, 2013 at 11:00 AM

I don’t recall the USPS ever using Wayne Knight (who played Newman) in any of their advertising. It would be a brilliant move. He’s undoubtedly America’s favorite mailman.

Cliff Clavin might have something to say about that.

Right Mover on February 6, 2013 at 11:00 AM

This really pisses me off. I count on a lot of first-class mail being delivered on Saturday.

bluegill on February 6, 2013 at 8:45 AM

Obviously we aren’t as impotent as you.

Cindy Munford on February 6, 2013 at 11:01 AM

So how much does the USPS make on junk mail? And how much do they make from things like Smart Post from UPS and Fed Ex? Almost all my UPS and Fed Ex on-line ordered small packages now come through the post office.

Deanna on February 6, 2013 at 11:02 AM

I’ve written congresscritters, postmasters, etc, with this remedy:
There will be two postal rates for ‘flats’ … FIRST CLASS POSTAGE for EVERYTHING (no more JUNK mail sent for almost nothing)
AND
A fraction of 1st class for POSTCARDS. (let’s try 35 cents)
First Class (< 1 oz.) $0.50 per and .50 for every ounce above the initial 1 ounce limit. No flats over 1/4 lb.

Retain BOOK RATE for Books ONLY. (Lord knows this populace needs to READ MORE … our average knowledge level is a few points above ‘nincompoop’… see example: re-election of King Putt)
So NO MORE FREE RIDES FOR JUNK MAIL. You want to distribute JUNK mail? You must pay a fee for each and every piece.

Missilengr on February 6, 2013 at 11:11 AM

… Retain BOOK RATE for Books ONLY. (Lord knows this populace needs to READ MORE … our average knowledge level is a few points above ‘nincompoop’… see example: re-election of King Putt)
So NO MORE FREE RIDES FOR JUNK MAIL. You want to distribute JUNK mail? You must pay a fee for each and every piece.

Missilengr on February 6, 2013 at 11:11 AM

They call it MEDIA MAIL now and we have used to mail audio books to family and friends for some time. Great for CD’s, DVD’s etc.

Dasher on February 6, 2013 at 11:24 AM

I thought the USPS contracted to FedEx and UPS, as well as most airlines to haul the mail. They can move the mail cheaper than the USPS can.

I know FedEx carries USPS priority overnight mail, and I have even had the UPS man drop parcels that were USPS tagged.

I think the constitution prevents Fedex and UPS, and others from actually competing directly against the USPS for mail service, so the 3rd party provider has to charge a higher fee, or work as a contracted carrier.

Isnt there something about roads and postal routes in the constitution? As in the USPS can provides roads?

elowe on February 6, 2013 at 11:25 AM

I think the constitution prevents Fedex and UPS, and others from actually competing directly against the USPS for mail service, so the 3rd party provider has to charge a higher fee, or work as a contracted carrier.

Isnt there something about roads and postal routes in the constitution? As in the USPS can provides roads?

elowe on February 6, 2013 at 11:25 AM

The Constitution (Art. 1, sec. 8) allows Congress to establish post offices and post roads. So the USPS is definitely allowed to exist by the Constitution.

But the Constitution doesn’t say anything about non-governmental entities not being allowed to operate a postal service. That was determined by laws passed by Congress.

J.S.K. on February 6, 2013 at 11:32 AM

A perfect example of Congress destroying a business that otherwise would be profitable. Fix three simple things and the post office will be ok for decades to come.

1. Allow the post office to set postage rates without having to go through multiple other government bodies to do so
2. Close a lot of tiny post offices. There is no reason a town of 100 people needs its own post office with multiple full time employees.
3. Allow the Post office to fund retirement benefits like every other corporation in the country does instead of having to prepay the next 50 years of benefits.

AngusMc on February 6, 2013 at 11:41 AM

I’ve a SiL who carries mail, and bristles whenever the topic of the USPS comes up. She feels they are unjustly blamed for the state of the postal service, but when she is asked what special skills postal workers have that justifies their salaries, she tells me that she walks her route every day, and that’s hard work, duh.

I’ll put that up against my advanced degrees and trying to teach 40 ninth graders some science every period any day of the week.

I won’t miss Saturday deliveries, and while my Etsy customers might, I think they’ll live. Privitize the whole bidness as far as I’m concerned.

Bob's Kid on February 6, 2013 at 11:43 AM

… Retain BOOK RATE for Books ONLY. (Lord knows this populace needs to READ MORE … our average knowledge level is a few points above ‘nincompoop’… see example: re-election of King Putt)

Missilengr on February 6, 2013 at 11:11 AM

A-MEN!

MelonCollie on February 6, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Yay. Less trips to the mail box to retrieve stuff that I’ll pretty much throw away. This whole twenty first century thing is starting to pan out just as predicted.

Galtian on February 6, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Of course there will be some who receive mail on Saturdays and some who won’t, and the ones who like their mail on Saturdays will be hardest hit. But the real issue isn’t who in particular will miss this service. It’s why we as a group are allowing our country’s wealth to be degraded and corrupted and dissipated until we are all living in crud.

(By the way, wealth isn’t the amount of paper currency floating around. Currency can be printed up as fast as you can say “Ben Bernanke.”)

To repeat an oft-used metaphor, we’re like frogs sitting in a pot of water while the heat is turned up slowly. Almost without noticing it, we’re boiling to death–with hardly a peep in protest.

I have a friend who doesn’t personally own a gun. He’s all for taking away gun rights. After all, as he explains it to me: “I don’t use guns myself, so why should I care if they’re taken away from others?”

And so on, down the line. We all watch like drones and hope the next dissipation of our wealth won’t be a particular service or good that we use and enjoy.

The governmental monopoly of the postal service, like the de facto monopoly on education, is a wasteful, corrupt disaster. We are watching “wealth” vanish right before us, going right down the postal service benefits-and-pension drain, because so few understand how free enterprise and competition work.

Burke on February 6, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Burke on February 6, 2013 at 12:13 PM

*SIGH* so correct. :(

avagreen on February 6, 2013 at 12:19 PM

This really pisses me off. I count on a lot of first-class mail being delivered on Saturday.

bluegill on February 6, 2013 at 8:45 AM

…once a week… is good enough for me!
……(that should make you empty your colostomy bag!)

KOOLAID2 on February 6, 2013 at 12:29 PM

No, the Post Office shouldn’t cut Saturday deliveries.

Yes, they should cut defined-benefit Ponzi scams pensions. Yes, they should outsource whenever possible (maybe starting with Saturdays….). Yes, they should punt the unions. And, yes, they should stop being micromanaged by Congress as to their services, their pricing, and their labor practices.

cthulhu on February 6, 2013 at 12:50 PM

I do wonder how much can be saved.

The employees gets paid whether it is a weekday or weekend since they are almost certainly on salary — the obvious exception would be employees who happen to be on wages, if there are any. So there is an incremental reduction in the use of fuel, electricity, wear and tear on delivery vehicles, etc and I suppose that this is first step to try to reduce costs because, naturally, it might give some benefit and will not engender widespread disagreement from the public or the postal employees.

Ultimately, the low-hanging fruit will or have been picked and the remaining alternatives would be the harder stuff — i.e. reduce the size/function/services of the USPS or raise prices — which the USPS management would rather avoid. Probably unlikely given probable unwieldiness of a large organization.

I expect that postage will go up.

This does remind me, perhaps imperfectly, of what happened to the big Three car makers after WWII. When they were the only real game in town they could get whatever price they wanted and could keep the unions appeased. Then competition came in and they had to get more efficient but the legacy from the “good old days” dogged them and handicapped them to the point when the economy (or consumer spending) took a dive they couldn’t cope very well.

Since the post office is in the Constitution, I would suppose that eventually the concept of a “post office” will undergo a revision — no, post office doesn’t mean what those old, dead, white men though it meant in this new age of email — after all, liberal/progressives have been making and using the case that the Constitution is subject to reinterpretation of what the written words actually mean. Doesn’t it?

Russ808 on February 6, 2013 at 1:11 PM

Soooo … ending home delivery on Saturdays to SAVE money?

How so? I’ll bet if you ask Obama – they aren’t going to fire any postal workers.

Everyone gets paid for a 40 hour week – Saturday delivery isn’t “overtime”. Sooo … it’s coming out of someone’s work week if they intend to save money – that’s the way it’s done.

HondaV65 on February 6, 2013 at 1:16 PM

I sell items that are shipped First Class (an apparent misnomer with the reduction in service) and will be affected by a reduced delivery schedule.
With a 16.67% decrease in service there will be a corresponding reduction in postage for ‘First Class’ items and a similar layoff of staff, right?

Klem Kadiddlehopper on February 6, 2013 at 1:37 PM

The Postal Service has been doing buy-outs to convince people to retire early. Our local post office had 4 clerks retire early last week, it made the local paper.

They’re trying to reduce costs, but they have been a bit hamstrung by Congress, go figure.

Sparky on February 6, 2013 at 1:42 PM

They can save even more – get rid of the postal union. AND stop ALL Saturday deliveries.

GarandFan on February 6, 2013 at 1:59 PM

Oh for Christ’s sake, just sell the USPO off to the highest bidder. Let the chips fall where they may.

Odysseus on February 6, 2013 at 2:09 PM

Our local guy has not delivered any Saturday mail for more than a month, now.

Don’t know if that is chance, but I do know we always seem to get more than the average the next scheduled delivery day.

Maybe he’s just ahead of the curve?

Siddhartha Vicious on February 6, 2013 at 2:31 PM

They barely deliver daily now.

Iblis on February 6, 2013 at 3:10 PM

What is galling is that they will stop Saturday delivery . . . starting in August!!!! What’s stopping them from doing it starting this Saturday??? They could have dropped Saturday delivery decade ago. Twice a week would be fine by me but then again I guess I’d have to get a bigger mailbox to handle all the junk mail in just two stops.

Bob in VA on February 6, 2013 at 3:50 PM

First class mail delivery IS the government’s business. I know that modern bureaucracies do tend to go down hill and we generally lump bureaucratic employees in the same lump, but almost every rural delivery service agent (postmen) are good, caring people. They look after the people on their routes and get concerned if things “don’t look right.” By the way, I think the USPS is a government chartered corporation, kinda like TVA. The idiots that think selling off the postal service would be an improvement are a day late and a dollar short. In addition, the constitutionally mandated postal service was never expected to be a profit making endeavor, but may have to be supported by taxes if its revenues fell short. The penalty for a USPS first class letter being stolen is quite stiff. What is the penalty for a FedEx or UPS envelope being misappropriated? The constitution wants a secure method of transmitting documents, in a timely manner, within the US.

The section about “post roads” for you ignoramuses is based on the idea that when The Constitution was written this country had few roads. If the postal service was to do their job, they would have to survey and establish routes for the intercity mail routes. A lot of that went by the boards with the establishment of the RPO. That is how the names like “Boston Post Road” came into being. It was not named after a bunch of signposts along the road pointing to Boston. No wonder this country is going down hill. Products of government schools.

Old Country Boy on February 6, 2013 at 4:09 PM

USPS witch claiming today that “the gov’t never gave the post office a penny”.

Which planet is she on? She was on Fox, supposedly.

Schadenfreude on February 6, 2013 at 4:40 PM

S/b “union witch”.

Schadenfreude on February 6, 2013 at 4:40 PM

Charge the same rate for all the garbage they deliver.

Schadenfreude on February 6, 2013 at 4:41 PM

Next they’ll bitch that the USPS discriminates against blacks, who’ll lose their jobs.

Schadenfreude on February 6, 2013 at 4:42 PM

You take sixteen billion, and what do you get? Another day shorter and lighter in debt — or so the Post Office hopes

Cute! Inspired and cute.

If this declaration by the USPS is intended to spark outrage, it won’t work. I’m your typical American. I get few real pieces of mail among all the junk mail and solicitations. BTW- never EVER give a contribution to a historical site. They all share mailing lists. I got an annual pass to Mount Vernon and have been innundated with begging from every organization supporting Presidential homes ever since.

I pay all my bills online and get most of those via e-mail. I think that mail delivery could reasonably be limited to three times a week (which would support the idea of continued Saturday service for some). The problem has always been tne number of mailpersons who will be rendered redundant and the union that represents them.

Happy Nomad on February 6, 2013 at 4:48 PM

I live in a small community. We don’t get home delivery. Bet that saves a lot of money. We have PO boxes. Think about how much it would save in capital, labor and fuel if they eliminated home delivery. Or why not charge residents for the privilege of having mail delivered to the house? And how about making the website more user friendly? They have some convenient services there, but the system is down about 25% of the time. When I can use it, it saves me from standing in line at the PO.

COgirl on February 6, 2013 at 4:58 PM

Our local guy has not delivered any Saturday mail for more than a month, now.

Don’t know if that is chance, but I do know we always seem to get more than the average the next scheduled delivery day.

Maybe he’s just ahead of the curve?

Siddhartha Vicious on February 6, 2013 at 2:31 PM

I know a couple of postal carriers and they are hard-workers who do a tough job. I’ve also noticed the same thing that there is far more mail on some days and notso much on others.

IMO, the delay isn’t with the carriers it is with the delivery system. Carriers can not deliver what they don’t have. Before today’s announcement the USPS cut jobs at distribution centers. I think the delays are there.

That being said, snail mail is archaic. The only people that rely on it are the very old and those without internet access.

Happy Nomad on February 6, 2013 at 4:59 PM

I worked at the post office for a short time as a sub. Not sure if it works the same way everywhere, but where I worked (in central FL)the subs are the ones who deliver on Saturday. They also fill in for the regular carrier for sick days, vacation etc. I don’t think this will cause massive layoffs of the regular carriers. What they usually did was leave alot of the heavy flats etc from Friday and let the subs take it all on Saturday, just because they could. The rural carriers get paid for the route, not the hours. So, the number of hours the route is judged to take to do, say 7 hours @ at least $20 an hour or more, that’s what they make. Most of the regulars always finished way before what their route was supposed to take. So they would work 5 or 6 hours but get paid for 8. The only way this will affect the career carriers is that they will have to work harder for the money. This mostly affects the part time subs. They are SOL.

BeachBum on February 6, 2013 at 5:06 PM

COgirl on February 6, 2013 at 4:58 PM

I don’t live in a small community. Yet when I went to rent a PO Box, it was like I was living in the 1930s. I do live in a home built 70 years ago which means the local carrier pushes my mail through a slot in the door instead of driving up to a pod and pushing letters in a slot.

But this is the least of the inefficiencies of the USPS. It really boils down to frequency of delivery and the need. Hard as some may have in understanding, there used to be a morning and afternoon delivery of mail. Because mail constituted communication. The telephone has been around for a while and so has e-mail. Paying bills electronically or automatically are more recent contenders to the old system.

Other than the “get out of my yard” crowd and those living in the shadows (i.e. illegal aliens) and relying on the USPS to send stuff to the folks back home, the postal service is largely archaic.

Happy Nomad on February 6, 2013 at 5:09 PM

I never quite understood that…why would milk be delivered? And was it warm? What if no one was home until nighttime?

JetBoy on February 6, 2013 at 9:30 AM

The milk man delivered a lot of things to our house. My mom was quite good friends with him. We always had the best dairy products.

I never fully understood why until I got much older.

JellyToast on February 6, 2013 at 5:29 PM

So does this mean that now instead of delivery they are going to sit in a room reading a book? Thats what they do when work is slow, the ones with no work do not get sent home or laid off without pay… no, they get to read in a room for the whole shift.

watertown on February 6, 2013 at 6:17 PM

BTW I like to add I like my mail. I still get my mags in the mail. Along with bills or letters.’

For as many that have had bad times with USPS, I can find just as many that had them with UPS and Fedex.

watertown on February 6, 2013 at 6:19 PM

It is amazing to me the number of Hot Air posters that no long term memory or history education.

I never quite understood that…why would milk be delivered? And was it warm? What if no one was home until nighttime?

JetBoy on February 6, 2013 at 9:30 AM

This country (and the world) used to be a little different. You all neither know nor appreciate the technological advancement of recent years. Things used to be delivered to the home because automobiles were not plentiful; during wartime cars were not.

Milk came in to the dairy processors in milk cans (with flat tops in the north and recessed tops in the south. These cans were mostly delivered by trains (you know those things that run on tracks. These trains often stopped at platforms every three or four miles to pick up the milk and return the empty cans. Hence the term milk train or milk run. Refrigeration was a problem and we had “ice boxes” until after WWII that the iceman (the one that cometh” came by to deliver the ice – because nobody wanted to lug 50 pounds of ice home from the store. Since milk had to be pasteurized (to prevent TB) and refrigerated to keep from souring. Milk trucks had insulated ice boxes and came in bottles. Since the dairy wanted the bottles back, the milkman picked them up. Everybody lhas a galvanized insulated box on their front porch (along with a box wiwth a slot for mail) and the milk man put the milk into tha box if nobody was at home.

Now, all you dudes have an inkling what life will be like again. Obama has taken us too far beyond the point of no return. Have at all you geniuses.

Criminitles, this was only as recent as 50-60 years ago. Where have your brains been all this time?

Old Country Boy on February 6, 2013 at 6:28 PM

Damn it! How am I gonna get my VHS porn videos for the weekend?

Opinionnation on February 6, 2013 at 6:52 PM

Post Office to end Saturday deliveries

OK…IF this change also results in the repeal of all Private Express statutes.

This is only fair: if the USPS isn’t going to deliver mail, why should others be prohibited from providing a competitive service which WILL deliver mail!!!

landlines on February 7, 2013 at 1:55 AM

Soooooo…they give up the one day of the week when they actually have NO competition from UPS or FedEx? How about giving up Wednesday?

Color me curious. I guess they like their weekends off.

NoPain on February 7, 2013 at 7:50 AM

The problem with the post office is the federal worker. Piss poor customer service, especially on the business end. They’re real unionites, with no qualms about not taking your business mail packages. They’ve out right refused to work with my business, forcing me to to go with UPS. No wonder they’re in debt. They can’t compete with UPS or FedEx on service, speed, or price. They don’t even pretend to care.

devil dog on February 7, 2013 at 8:22 AM

Newman was good but I always preferred Cliff Claven.

SnakeHips on February 7, 2013 at 11:37 AM

Their overhead will be the same and not a single employee will be paid one less dime but we will get lousier service…go Gubnut!!!

trs on February 7, 2013 at 12:06 PM

The problem with all of these “cost analysis” stories is that the premise is flawed.

It does NO GOOD to “save” costs if all you are doing is SHIFTING costs from government to private industry and/or citizens.

According to our founding documents, the government is supposed to be working for (and at the pleasure of) its CITIZENS!!! Until we get this basic principle straight, it is futile to talk about “costs.”

The problem at hand is that the CITIZENS need the mail delivered: quickly, reliably, and as inexpensively to the citizens as possible. The cost of NOT having this service show up in excess costs to citizens who will have to arrange for alternatives such as local couriers, extra trips to deliver things in person, etc. Unavailability of reliable mail delivery is also likely to destroy access to our legal system by ordinary citizens. This in turn will make commerce much more difficult and expensive by imposing extra risk of non-payment on every transaction.

If you only consider “cost to the government,” the obvious solution is to provide no service and just keep the money. Does anybody really want to make this official policy??

landlines on February 7, 2013 at 6:44 PM

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