Green Room

Re: USPS Saturday delivery

posted at 3:03 pm on April 10, 2013 by

Good post, Erika, and count me among those mystified about the sanctity accorded to Saturday postal deliveries.  We don’t demand Saturday access to the DMV or other governmental services, and while the USPS is technically not a government agency, its inability to even make this call without Congressional approval demonstrates its nature. It’s not as if we simply won’t get the mail that comes on Saturdays now; we’ll just get it on Monday instead.

This is a microcosm of why we can’t produce responsible budgets.  Here we have a proposal that will actually cut costs and deficit spending within the USPS — not all of the excess costs, but around 15-16% of the shortfall — and will only impact a relatively unimportant level of service.  Every single piece of mail will still get through.  And yet we are so married to that unimportant level of service that we can’t bring ourselves to save $2 billion if it means we don’t get that card from Aunt Edna and the junk mail from The Useless Dead Tree Society on Saturday rather than Monday.

How successful can entitlement reform be if we can’t escape Saturday-mail entitlement?

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Well, I will say that it’s convenient to go down to the USPS on a Saturday to mail stuff out. But as for delivery? Meh.

John the Libertarian on April 10, 2013 at 3:09 PM

Scrap Saturday delivery – I’m all for it!

Ace ODale on April 10, 2013 at 4:00 PM

One VERY IMPORTANT and VITAL point overlooked in these discussions is that 6-day delivery is assumed in thousands of laws which affect consumers, businesses, and our legal system.

Without a solution to these extremely important problems in hand, it is irresponsible to talk about cutting a day out of the postal delivery system.

not that irresponsible actions ever stopped a government agency before

And DON’T try to tell me that the Post Office is “independent”: it’s existence is written into our founding documents, and it is (and always has been) a government funded operation, and its operations are made possible only by international treaties and accords which require the approval of Congress. “Independence” is a fraudulent argument used by folks who are losing an argument about the Post Office.

landlines on April 10, 2013 at 4:02 PM

landlines on April 10, 2013 at 4:02 PM

I own a business that does a lot of shipping. We have always spoken to customers in terms of “business days” when managing expectations as to when their package will arrive. Consumers and businesses, at least, would adapt just fine to a “business day” delivery schedule.

Ace ODale on April 10, 2013 at 4:13 PM

I often go a day or two without even checking my mailbox. When I lived in an apartment complex I would only grab my mail once a week. When I was in college, I would wait until they couldn’t fit any more in my box and just brought it straight to my dorm room.

This is laughable.

weaselyone on April 10, 2013 at 4:18 PM

One VERY IMPORTANT and VITAL point overlooked in these discussions is that 6-day delivery is assumed in thousands of laws which affect consumers, businesses, and our legal system.

landlines on April 10, 2013 at 4:02 PM

Just curious. Can you point to a couple of those laws? I don’t deal with the Feds on a daily basis but as far as interactions/deadlines with the state government postmarked date is considered the date it is received by them. This is honestly the first I have heard this argument, would like some more background.

I find it hard to believe that 99% of government laws aren’t based on post-marked date as well.

weaselyone on April 10, 2013 at 4:22 PM

The government is very opposed to even the concept of cutting back on services. It seems to be ingrained in their minds that the government is a source of infinite wealth, and should never have to cut back on services.

MetaThought on April 10, 2013 at 4:26 PM

Arcticle 1, section 8:
“The Congress shall have Power To…establish Post Offices and post Roads….”

I don’t see anything about Saturday delivery there. In fact, I don’t see anything about delivery at all.

osborn4 on April 10, 2013 at 4:48 PM

In addition, we have alternatives to USPS like FedEx and UPS and DHL that can get things to us when we demand them with no hassle.

I think that’s what the USPS fears – that people will look elsewhere for Saturday service (like viable businesses who have better service) and choose the private sector rather than the government delivery system.

Can’t have that. President Government wouldn’t like that, either.

Good Lt on April 10, 2013 at 5:04 PM

How am I going to get all my Weekend shredding done if they don’t deliver all the flyers,Publishers clearing house, and crap if they cancel Saturday mail delivery? Huh?

portlandon on April 10, 2013 at 5:09 PM

I think that’s what the USPS fears – that people will look elsewhere for Saturday service (like viable businesses who have better service) and choose the private sector rather than the government delivery system.

Can’t have that. President Government wouldn’t like that, either.

Good Lt on April 10, 2013 at 5:04 PM

The USPS doesn’t fear it. The USPS is trying as hard as they possibly can to eliminate Saturday delivery. It’s Congress that keeps blocking them.

That said, I have no problem with Saturday delivery. The post office is an enumerated power of the federal government and Saturday delivery adds a measure of convenience. I don’t even particularly care that the post office runs a deficit. It’s a vital service that couldn’t reasonably be provided by the private sector — hence why it’s an enumerated power.

Let’s just stop pretending it’s “independent,” fold it back into the federal government. Eliminate everything the federal government does that’s not an enumerated power and the deficit the post office runs won’t matter at all.

Shump on April 10, 2013 at 5:33 PM

It’s a vital service that couldn’t reasonably be provided by the private sector — hence why it’s an enumerated power.

Shump on April 10, 2013 at 5:33 PM

I’m curious… why couldn’t FedEx or UPS manage shipments daily to it’s customers without government oversight?

gekkobear on April 10, 2013 at 5:38 PM

You’ve missed the whole point of Saturday delivery by USPS. It has nothing to do with customer service or fulfilling the role of the Post Office. It has everything to do with unions and keeping those union workers in the Democrat tent. If Saturday delivery is cut, then union workers will lose their jobs. Democrats are not going to let that happen, no matter what the cost to the rest of us.

ldenton1 on April 10, 2013 at 6:21 PM

I’m curious… why couldn’t FedEx or UPS manage shipments daily to it’s customers without government oversight?

gekkobear on April 10, 2013 at 5:38 PM

Because there’s no profit in it. UPS and FedEx are successful specifically because they focus on profitable shipments — packages and time-sensitive documents — for which people are willing to pay premium rates.

For example, the absolute cheapest document shipment you can do through FedEx costs $13.78. For an important contract I need signed, that’s fine. For a Christmas card to Aunt Martha? Not so much.

Delivering regular, ordinary, first class mail to every address in the United States at a price that makes it reasonable for the sender is simply not a profitable business model.

Shump on April 10, 2013 at 8:52 PM

Would it really be a problem to go to a once-per-week delivery?

Count to 10 on April 10, 2013 at 9:04 PM

Would it really be a problem to go to a once-per-week delivery?

Count to 10 on April 10, 2013 at 9:04 PM

Yes. A lot of commerce goes on through the mail.

trigon on April 10, 2013 at 9:48 PM

They should eliminate Monday delivery instead. That way, people who are only home on weekends can be home to sign for registered letters, etc.

jtdavies on April 10, 2013 at 11:28 PM

Better idea: eliminate the post office entirely

nazo311 on April 10, 2013 at 11:51 PM

Delivering regular, ordinary, first class mail to every address in the United States at a price that makes it reasonable for the sender is simply not a profitable business model.

Shump on April 10, 2013 at 8:52 PM

IIRC no one other than the USPS is allowed to deliver letters.

MetaThought on April 11, 2013 at 2:32 AM

Didn’t both Dems and squishy Republicans vote to keep Saturday delivery? Idiots.

Wanderlust on April 11, 2013 at 2:41 AM

I’ll have to adjust my planning for retirement.

I have been designing a new house that will contain a combination furnace/incenerator/generator. The plan was to design the thing to run on junk mail then get on as many mailing lists as possible and have the USPS deliver the fuel 6 days a week. No Saturday deleiveries will require some asjustment in the calculations for storage space.

MikeA on April 11, 2013 at 6:47 AM

So they are apparently changing it as of last night.

“The Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service met April 9 and discussed the Continuing Resolution recently passed by Congress to fund government operations. By including restrictive language in the Continuing Resolution, Congress has prohibited implementation of a new national delivery schedule for mail and packages, which would consist of package delivery Monday through Saturday and mail delivery Monday through Friday, and which would have taken effect the week of Aug. 5, 2013.”

From: http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2013/pr13_0410bogstatement.htm

Lcsulla on April 11, 2013 at 7:46 AM

And DON’T try to tell me that the Post Office is “independent”: it’s existence is written into our founding documents, and it is (and always has been) a government funded operation

This is incorrect Landlines, I deal with the USPS every day at work. USPS is the only federal entity that receives no government funding. In theory the USPS is revenue neutral, inasmuch as they are not allowed to make a profit. Maybe if congress didn’t continually overstep their bounds (aka requiring prefunding of retirement benefits and or allowing them to sell things at a profit) we would not be in the red financially. This is the fault of the US Congress, not the USPS.

I have no real reason to believe they will continue to deliver to homes on Saturdays unless the unions in Barry’s pockets scream loud enough. Sad, but unfortunately true!

Lcsulla on April 11, 2013 at 7:58 AM

How am I going to get all my Weekend shredding done if they don’t deliver all the flyers,Publishers clearing house, and crap if they cancel Saturday mail delivery? Huh?

portlandon on April 10, 2013 at 5:09 PM

Exactly, it’s my theory that Saturday is kind of a 1/2 day for the USPS. All I ever get are mattress flyers and pizza coupons on Saturday.

Then on Monday, the box is stuff sometimes. But I never get anything that doesn’t go straight into the recycle bin on Saturday.

NoDonkey on April 11, 2013 at 9:56 AM

landlines on April 10, 2013 at 4:02 PM

I own a business that does a lot of shipping. We have always spoken to customers in terms of “business days” when managing expectations as to when their package will arrive. Consumers and businesses, at least, would adapt just fine to a “business day” delivery schedule.

Ace ODale on April 10, 2013 at 4:13 PM

Yeah, I worked in shipping for an Amazon e-retailer the summer between college and graduate school. We weren’t open on Saturdays and we only counted business days for shipping lead times. If you really need something in 2 days instead of 3, you’re going to be purchasing that item in a brick-and-mortar store rather than through the internet or from a mail order company.

blammm on April 11, 2013 at 10:56 AM

My wife has been a mail carrier for the USPS for over 32 years. Their union leadership “sucks” to put it mildly from her point of view. The union uses tactics like telling their membership that if they accept the no Saturdays delivery the next level will be 3-day deliveries only. Total nonsense from them.

My wife says that 90% of the mail carriers want no Saturday deiveries so that they can have two days off in a row instead of just Sundays and a floating weekday off. Currently, they are held accountable to the very minute during their workday. They work into the dark and have to wear hiking headlamps in some neighborhoods so they can read the addresses on the mail they are delivering (no street lights).

The part-time people being hired to help with the work load are quitting or being fired within a couple of weeks because hey can’t handle the work. So, guess who gets stuck working manadatory overtime on heir one weekday off? Yup.

Cherokee on April 11, 2013 at 11:02 AM

Just curious. Can you point to a couple of those laws?

weaselyone on April 10, 2013 at 4:22 PM

Just a few:

The Credit Card Act of 2009 includes provisions which key on “60 days’ delinquency” and “45 days’ notice”: elimination of Saturday delivery could cut these provisions, which potentially cost you real money, by cutting notice and/or response times by 6-8 days!!

The Record of Assessment provisions of federal IRC Section 6303 (RE: IRS) has several time restrictions, and serves as an example of the thousands of provisions written into federal, state, and local law.

landlines on April 11, 2013 at 1:40 PM