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US Postal Service Discontinuing Saturday Mail Delivery 582

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the one-more-nail dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Postal Service has been losing billions of dollars each year as Americans increasingly rely on online communications that drive down mail volumes. Now, Reuters reports that the Postal Service plans to drop Saturday delivery of first-class mail by August, saving $2 billion per year. 'The Postal Service is advancing an important new approach to delivery that reflects the strong growth of our package business and responds to the financial realities resulting from America's changing mailing habits,' says Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. But the Postal Service is already facing some pushback for moving forward with delivery schedule changes. 'Today's announcement by Postmaster General Donahoe to eliminate six-day delivery is yet another death knell for the quality service provided by the U.S. Postal Service,' says Jeanette Dwyer, president of the National Rural Letter Carriers' Association. 'To erode this service will undermine the Postal Service's core mission and is completely unacceptable.' Package deliveries will continue under the new plan and were a bright spot in a bleak 2012 fiscal year, with package revenue rising 8.7 percent during the year. Donahoe says the changes would allow the Postal Service to continue benefiting from rising package deliveries as Americans order more products from sites such as eBay Inc and Amazon.com Inc."
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US Postal Service Discontinuing Saturday Mail Delivery

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  • Man, oh man! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:19PM (#42810987)

    If only there were some article of the Constitution that could be used as an argument to convince conservatives that the Post Office is a vital national service and that it is okay to pay for it in much the same way as it is okay to pay for a navy.

    I guess one can only wish.

  • by alen (225700) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:20PM (#42810991)

    most of my mail is paper catalogs i throw in the trash without looking at. bills get paid by computer or smartphone.

    i guess the old people will be complaining

  • It doesn't help... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moosehooey (953907) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:20PM (#42810999)

    It doesn't help that Congress is basically stealing $5 billion a year from the post office. They're making the USPS fully fund retirement plans over a very short time, and that money is going into government bonds, which ends up in the general fund. If it wasn't for the budget shenanigans that Congress pulled, the Post Office would be doing fine.

  • Bout Time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slackerfilm (520597) <minguswaits&gmail,com> on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:22PM (#42811019) Homepage
    I think this is way over due. Although, I like getting mail on Saturday, I don't see a point. It isn't like we can do business on Saturdays.

    Now if only Amazon would start letting us choose USPS over UPS for package delivery. As an apartment dweller, this would make my life much easier.

  • Yet... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:26PM (#42811077)

    We could eliminate the DOJ's yearly anti-terrorism funding and not only save Saturday delivery, but put the USPS back in good shape fiscally.
    Somehow I don't think expanding the TSA, buying millions of rounds of hollow-point ammo and giving them automatic assault rifles to fight boogeymen is helping anything.

  • Re:Man, oh man! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hawguy (1600213) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:27PM (#42811107)

    If only there were some article of the Constitution that could be used as an argument to convince conservatives that the Post Office is a vital national service and that it is okay to pay for it in much the same way as it is okay to pay for a navy.

    I guess one can only wish.

    Why is Saturday mail delivery a vital national service? Will people die if they don't receive their Victoria's Secret catalog on Saturday?

  • by publiclurker (952615) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:28PM (#42811119)
    imagine that, a corporate whoring teabagger repeating the same old lies in an attempt at blaming the victims, yet again.
  • by SydShamino (547793) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:30PM (#42811163)

    Add to this that, without them having to spend the last few years in massive debt trying to figure out how to fund these pension plans, they might have been able to spend the time and money reinventing themselves as a common carrier capable of surviving in the internet age.

    I'm pretty sure that half of Congress - ironically the half that prefers a strict interpretation of the Constitution - wants the Constitutionally-mandated postal service to go bankrupt and go away because it interferes with the profits of several other private businesses. (The vote on the bill in the House in 2006 was done by voice, so there's no official record of who voted for it.)

  • by JeanCroix (99825) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:31PM (#42811173) Journal
    Or people waiting for the next Netflix DVD...
  • Re:Sooo. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Frankie70 (803801) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:32PM (#42811191)

    Submit your billing on Tuesday.

  • Not entirely true (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shivetya (243324) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:34PM (#42811213) Homepage Journal

    The post office was forced into this because their unfunded pension fund was a time bomb waiting to happen. They are only paying this increase till 2016 and have had it reduced when it was pressing. As of 2009 it was estimated their unfunded liabilities were over fifty billion dollars.

    No, where Congress gets a failing grade is similar to how base closings are done. Just like the military knows which bases are not needed the Post Office can tell you which sorting centers, distribution hubs, and which Post Offices, are not needed. When they go to close them then suddenly every Congressman becomes an expert and you end up with stories about how the PO wanted to close nearly 3000 offices and only got a little over a hundred.

    The PO operates under burdensome contracts combined with quickly shrinking sources of income. The number of pieces of mail handled has steadily declined but when the PO tries to downsize Congress interferes or their contracts block them. Trying to hire part time workers is another area they have difficulty with.

    So, no their problems don't stem from just having to pay for liabilities they should be paying for; if anything ask Congress why that rule ain't applied to the US as a whole; its from a myriad of items of which two largest are Congress and the unions.

  • Bummer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Experiment 626 (698257) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:34PM (#42811225)
    No more getting two Netflix shipments a week by sending the movie back the day after you receive it.
  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:35PM (#42811251) Homepage

    Actually, you're misunderstanding the purpose of that move by Congress: it wasn't about gaining $5 billion a year, it was about gutting the USPS. There are many people in Congress (mostly Tea Party types) that want the USPS to be a relic of the past, some because that would benefit FedEx and UPS and other companies, and some because their philosophy is that the federal government can't possibly do anything useful so the USPS must be by definition useless.

  • Re:Man, oh man! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hawguy (1600213) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:37PM (#42811283)

    What? Really? All I can say is finally! Waaaaaaaaaayyy less junk mail will get to me and everyone else now (99% of mail I get is junk -- goes right from my mail box straight into the recycling) Sure, there's probably some poor people who depend on this extra day of mail (I know we kinda did as I was growing up), but too bad...

    How will this affect the quantity of junk mail?

    It's not like the post office is going to throw away all of the mail on Saturdays instead of delivering it. Instead they will hold it and deliver it on Monday. So you'll still get the same amount of mail.

  • by Shagg (99693) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:39PM (#42811307)

    There's really not much they can do about it. The main reason the USPS is down $16 billion is because Congress is intentionally trying to bankrupt them.

  • Re:Bout Time (Score:2, Insightful)

    by enigma32 (128601) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:46PM (#42811431)

    Yeah?

    I've lived in apartments in the NYC area and the LA area over the past 5 years.
    In both places, the USPS has screwed up almost every package delivery, almost always without apology. (Frequently resulting in packages going back across the country with me never having even seen a missed delivery notice.)
    There's not even a useful way to complain to anyone higher up the food chain than the local postmaster, who, based on the three I've spoken with, is useless 100% of the time.

    I, for one, am thrilled to see them dropping Saturday delivery of some items. They need to start running the operation like a business instead of a government agency if they intend to hang around much longer.

    I never have a problem with UPS or Fedex.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:49PM (#42811457)

    Cost to send a letter via UPS: $30
    Cost to send a letter via USPS: $0.46
    One of them's certainly more efficient, but it isn't UPS.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:50PM (#42811473) Homepage

    Imagine that: unions, affirmative action and compliance with well-intentioned government programs do make you anti-competitive after all.

    The USPS is the most efficient system for moving things from one place to the other on the planet. Seriously. Its private competitors cost far more to move the same amount of stuff in a similar amount of time, and its international counterparts don't come close to dealing with the kinds of requirements the USPS has to deal with. Their systems and procedures are designed so that practically anybody can get hired, follow the manual, and do the job correctly, and are also capable of working under a wide variety of conditions ranging from tiny towns in the middle of Alaska to lower Manhattan.

    It's not that they aren't competitive. It's that the demand for their entire industry has dropped, and their bosses are actively trying to screw them up.

  • Re:Man, oh man! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nedlohs (1335013) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:58PM (#42811593)

    You can make this happen right now! I realize this will amaze you, but it's actually simple to implement. You can do it this week, it doesn't even cost anything.

    Are you ready for this amazing technique? It's used by the wealthy and powerful, but I'm exposing their hidden tricks. Again, at no charge to you!

    Don't check your mailbox on Saturday or Sunday.

    Mind blowing isn't it!

  • by sjames (1099) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @03:09PM (#42811773) Homepage

    The really amazing part is that in spite of Congress doing it's very best to crush the postal service, they're able to get by by stopping Saturday delivery.

  • Re:Man, oh man! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Obfuscant (592200) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @03:10PM (#42811795)

    Charge $5/month to act as a spam filter. Plus they save on delivery by round filing junk mail for you at its origination point.

    It will cost more because they'll have to manage the opt-in or opt-out selections for each recipient, and have many someones at each sorting center to actually sort the mail into "spam" and "not spam".

    And this would create yet another spam filter that is not under the control of the recipient, meaning someone else gets to decide for you if you really did want that catalog or not.

    Under email, it was bad enough that my local ISP did this, but they had a way of turning it off. Now they've outsourced all the spam filtering to google and I have to go read the spam email (at least the from and subject) to see if any real email got misclassified (and google is having an unacceptably high false positive rate, IMHO). What good is a spam filter if you have to go read all the spam anyway?

    Imagine trying to find out where that $100 gift certificate that was sent to you via USPS and they filtered into the "round file" for you went to.

  • by sjames (1099) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @03:15PM (#42811863) Homepage

    You fell for the numbers game. That 'unfunded liability' included projected pensions into the future for employees not even born at the time of the calculation (using the excuse that they were projected to need to hire those people in the next 50 years).

    That's like claiming you are $10,000 in debt right now because you have not yet fully funded your eventual funeral and any children you might have before that.

  • Re:Man, oh man! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @03:16PM (#42811887)

    No, but they could die (or at least suffer harm) if the mail was something like insulin or heart medication.

    Merrly being snarky does not make a convincing argument.

  • by sjames (1099) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @03:16PM (#42811889) Homepage

    Or, more to the point, they want to believe that the U.S. government can't do anything useful, so they must kill any contrary example.

  • by Algae_94 (2017070) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @03:17PM (#42811901) Journal
    What is the point you're trying to make. If the post office was not forced to pre-fund its pension plans, it would be making money. Regardless of the volume of first class mail, it would be making money.
  • Re:Man, oh man! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ColdWetDog (752185) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @03:26PM (#42812021) Homepage

    No, but they could die (or at least suffer harm) if the mail was something like insulin or heart medication.

    Merrly being snarky does not make a convincing argument.

    Being dumb doesn't make a convincing argument either. You don't count on the mail for time / mission critical things. It wasn't designed for it and cannot support it.

    If you have prescription medications that are filled by mail order you're supposed to have a buffer supply. Shit happens. Even Saturday delivery doesn't change that.

  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @03:29PM (#42812069) Homepage

    That's probably because you were being kind of a dick. If you don't want the mail, then you opt out. Most of them have opt outs online, for credit card offers, I've found that using the return mail envelops to send them my junk mail works brilliantly in getting me off their lists. Do that a few times and they get the picture that you didn't want to be contacted. I don't generally do that unless they've really offended me, like that outfit that was too lazy to even verify that my name was spelled correctly on the envelop.

    But, most of the time, something like https://www.catalogchoice.org/ [catalogchoice.org] will get you off the lists. They don't want to waste money sending to people who are less likely to buy their whatever as a result of getting the publication than if they sent nothing.

    Right. I like to spend random hours opting out of things I never heard of in the first place. Sounds like a great plan to give my email / phone to people that I neither like nor trust.

    Any more clever thoughts?

  • by XopherMV (575514) * on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @03:38PM (#42812213) Journal
    Prefunding retirement accounts for 70 years is NOT what businesses do. That would include prefunding the retirements of people who aren't even born yet! The point was to put this burden on the USPS in order to use the burden to justify shutting the USPS down. That's just ridiculous and stupid.
  • by j-beda (85386) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @03:40PM (#42812231) Homepage

    Wow! If they're that good, then it makes me wonder why they have to have a government-granted monopoly on letters.

    The monopoly position is one of the reasons it works. If you were to cherry pick the easy to deliver stuff by starting a service without universal coverage, you might be able to do it cheaper, but if you want universal delivery, not so much.

    Are there any G20 countries without a monopoly postal system?

  • Re:Man, oh man! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Obfuscant (592200) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @03:52PM (#42812371)

    You don't have to hear and/or feel your phone notify you every 2 minutes of an email coming through, 99% of which is SPAM.

    I already don't have to hear and/or feel my phone do anything when email arrives. Why would I want to? It's email, not voice.

    So, the point remains, why have a spam filter on your email when the spam filter is so bad at detecting spam that you have to read all the spam to verify that it is spam? AND you have to do it using a web browser instead of your normal email client because the only way to mark something as "not spam" and get it delivered normally is via the web interface.

  • Re:Man, oh man! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xphile101361 (1017774) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @04:07PM (#42812595)
    So its okay to die on a Sunday then?
  • Re:Man, oh man! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by pedrop357 (681672) * on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @04:12PM (#42812667)

    Moron. Government military research invented the internet. BUT, the government does not provide or supply the internet, thus it's a crap comparison.

    Nothing in the COTUS gives the government the power to the things listed by the AC.

  • Re:Man, oh man! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mabhatter654 (561290) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @04:47PM (#42813145)

    Without junk mail you'd have to pay the mailman a lot more per envelope. Probably well over $1. Unlike Spam, junk mail PAYS the mailman to walk around to ALL the houses. Right now advertising is probably the only thing making per home delivery profitable.

    UPS and FEDEX certainly don't deliver to EVERY house, EVERY day.... And not for $.45

  • by Moofie (22272) <lee&ringofsaturn,com> on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @04:55PM (#42813315) Homepage

    You can send a lot of stuff electronically if you have electronics. And an Internet connection.

    The Post Office is not "in business" any more than the US Navy is "in business". It's a Constitutionally authorized function of the Government.

  • by JeanCroix (99825) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @05:08PM (#42813491) Journal
    Plenty of them. And they all have the same 50 movies.
  • by Lost2Home (674278) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @05:47PM (#42813949)

    Actually, the people who have tried anyway had a rate half that of the USPS. Of course the government shut them down, because monopolies are efficient and virtuous.

    Actually in that article the "American Letter Mail Company" did exactly what UPS, FedEx or any other private company would do if allowed to compete - pick large cities and only serve that market. USPS has the mandate of serving any address in the country for the same cost, regardless of whether it is the middle of Alaska or downtown Manhattan.

    It is easy to undercut USPS if you only serve New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia.

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