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Your Take: Is Five Days of Mail Delivery OK?

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USPS Mail TrucksDid you know that that the United States Postal Service is slated to lose $6 billion or more this year? It lost $2.8 billion last year.

With all the outrage over lending billions to financial institutions, you’d think more people would be fired up about running an operation that lost $2.8 billion last year and could lose $6 billion this year. No one is sending packages on credit for people without jobs. There aren’t multi-million dollar bonuses for anyone at the post office. It’s just a business that is spending more than it earns because mail volume is dropping.

In reading more about it, some people argue that delivery days is a red herring and that the USPS can save money in other areas. While I can appreciate that to a degree, sometimes it comes down to an argument of “less filling” or “great taste.” The reality is that the post office is losing money and we’re paying for it, with taxes and with higher postage stamp prices, and they need to stop arguing and start fixing.

I am perfectly fine with getting mail five days a week.

What do you think?

(Photo by icanchangethisright)

{ 172 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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172 Responses to “Your Take: Is Five Days of Mail Delivery OK?”

  1. The only problem with five day delivery is that it’s also coming with higher rates, so it’s really a double whammy.

    Taking the longer term view, we used to get twice daily delivery back when we were buying stamps on first class for under a dime.

    If we drop to five days, will postage rates stay where they are? Will they soon be asking to drop delivery to four days?

    It’s the trend that’s troubling here.

    • dilbert69 says:

      The last time rates were under a dime was in 1974. I’m pretty sure most prices have quintupled or more since then, as have wages. Talking about prices in absolute terms is highly misleading.

  2. Hank says:

    The managers and executives that run the USPS should be ashamed of themselves for running that company into the ground. It is just another example how the government is a horrible business manager. It should make you really concerned that now they want to tackle healthcare after botching the USPS and Amtrak among other industries. Sad…just sad….

  3. Jean says:

    We already have that here in rural areas. When my mailman had a heart attack, the others pitched in to help but we only got mail 3-4 days/week for a while. No harm and if you were desperate you could drive and pick it up.
    We even have this when they take vacations but no one cares, it’s ok.

    • jud says:

      Jean – this cannot be true! None of it! Non delivery as you claim is a fireable offense! This would never happen, period, especially as frequently as you claim!

      • saladdin says:

        My rural route driver will hold mail at his house for people he knows when they are on vacation etc.. so you don’t have to drive to the Post Office to pick up when you return or so it will not pile up when you are gone.

        You must not have lived in rural areas before. Also, the “rule book” and life almost never are equal.


  4. drummer says:

    Although, email, texting, etc. have become more popular ways to communicate– and though I do use them, I am a letter writer, I am card writer and I am a postcard sender. And, it is annoying to hear so many say that mail delivery can be done away with. No, it is not effectively run– and maybe you get junkmail and bills only, but you are not the only one out there. My relatives, friends, etc. appreciate and look forward to getting mail via snail mail and so do I. I am also sure the that our men overseas appreciate their letters and packages too. It is naive to believe that we should do away with the USPS because of electronic communication.

    • Jim says:

      I don’t think mail delivery can be completely removed but reducing it by a day, and taking other steps, can be effective.

      • drummer says:

        No, I know that you did not say that– but the breadth of comments made seems to ignore the facts that letter writing still exists or that there are people who still consider it to be important. And, I do agree some changes in the USPS need to be made– but I also agree with the one commenter that the prices of stamps are a steal. It is so easy and cheap to mail a card via the USPS– and it’s something that is tangible as opposed to a hastily written electronic message. In addition, not everyone has the luxury of “picking up” their mail from the post office. There’s a segment of the population who cannot leave their home. And, many people work schedules that inhibit any form of pick up– delivery is key in these situations.

        • qixx says:

          The PO Box portions of most Post Office buildings are open 24/7. Who does not have “the luxury of “picking up” their mail from the post office” during these hours? If delivery days are reduced and station that is not open 24/7 should be changed to do so. This only leaves individuals that can’t leave their home (Bed ridden, house arrest, etc.). Other than medical or legal reasons anyone should be able to get their mail. I also don’t suggest 0 delivery. Some delivery days should still happen.

          • drummer says:

            Yes, the PO Box portions of most are open 24/7. However, neither I nor anyone I know has a post office box. And, when I have a special pick up to make (as in something cannot be delivered to my apartment)— it is especially difficult since my work schedule and commuting schedule completely conflicts with the “open” hours of the local post office. And, I am not the only one who has this issue. I do not assume that my situation applies to the everyone in the entire United States— but then, neither does yours.

  5. wizardprang says:

    One thing that might help is to end bulk-mail discounts. The junk-mailers get to send their crap at a discount, which means that we, the people are effectively subsidizing them.

    I say we end this subsidy and let them pay their way.

    • JIM says:

      Well Wiz I suggest you do some homework before opening your mouth. Bulk mailers get discounts for what is called work sharing. They break down mail to postal standards the mail dosen’t have to br touched by postal employees. They have to have over 70 lbs or 200 pcs of exact type of mail.

  6. Lynn says:

    I don’t even care if I only get it 4 days a week!

    • terry says:

      I care i wish we had it 7 days a week…..Only reason they dont deliver sundays is for religious crap….. Thats not an excuse not to deliver

  7. cscoot03 says:

    Thank you Jim & everyone who’s working, me no pay raise this year w/only about $350/week on fixed with all prices going up. I think there’s more to the Post Office that could be trimmed back & help Green our Planet & our economy, than just taking a day or two off.

    • Andrew says:

      I can’t dispute that $350/week is thin gruel indeed, but where is your evidence for the assertion that “all” prices are going up? Inflation is actually very low, and many prices are going down. Gasoline, to name just one example, is a good 1/3 cheaper than it was at this time last year.

    • terry says:

      the only green i care about is cash in me and my wife’s pocket……not that going green bullcrap thats not even important

  8. cscoot03 says:

    YOUR ANSWER IS SIMPLE , GO TO YAHOO HOME PAGE & READ THE NEWS – TODAYS NEWS. Considering the 35% increase I have already received a letter from our county notifying us that licence, re/auto, taxes all these items our county uses & charges us for is to be increased,35%. Sure your rates may be lower but I’ve been here on this property for almost 14 years, regardless of the economy series everything increases/year by year this cannot be denied.

  9. Tamara says:

    I am always shocked when I travel to the US and see that you get mail on Saturdays. WHY?!?! In Canada, and in many other countries it’s only M-F. Why do you *need* to get mail on the weekends? It makes no sense to me.

    • David says:

      Exactly. How can we preach environmental issues when we blatantly violate and disrespect our environment by being the only nation in the world that has Saturday delivery?

  10. John says:

    Mon, Wed, & Fri would be fine. Got to get rid of the overtime that is hurting this business. Alternate days – delivery / sorting

  11. Andrew says:

    I actually doubt that most post office box lobbies are open 24/7. Are there reliable data on this?

  12. cscoot03 says:

    To answer Tamara, there is still a great number of people who work more than 40/hrs/week & when they get off work the PO are closed providing Sat as the only eligible day to go. That’s how it works in the USA.

  13. Not getting mail delivered on Saturdays wouldn’t bother me a bit as long as the Post Office cut their budget by 1/6, but that is wishful thinking. I think the business model of the post office is broken and it’s not capable of operating at even a break even level without some major changes.

  14. Concetta says:

    I would be great with five day a week service, as long as it was Tuesday through Saturday. Those of us who work 40hrs/week or more need that Saturday to get service. My post office isn’t open long enough on weekdays to get there after my hour and a half commute home daily (on a train or in a car).

    • David says:

      Yes to hell with the Postal workers that have families and little league on Saturdays. Why should the post office be the only government institution, EXCLUDING necessary instutions such as police, firemen work Saturday , when it is not necessary? Besides that , the windows will be open at Post Offices on Saturday.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Education has so much to do with our economy, true those that work lazily proves my point but the ones that deliver I Thank & those that do their job as well. We need the PO but as in so many situations organization is a must factor or everthing just goes right down the hill. Saturday is a must.

    • David says:

      Saturday is not a must. Again we are the ONLY nation that has it. Frankly it is embarassing the waste of money and yes the waste of resources and even energy such as fuel etc. How can we preach to the world about being green , when we are the ONLY nation that has Saturday delivery, in a world that is mostly electronically driven? We are hypocrites.

  16. cscoot03 says:

    Education is a contributing item & those that do not do their job proves my point. Those that deliver I thank & those too that do their job. Saturday is a must, there are many who work nights & weekends so Saturday should not be a problem.

  17. Jason says:

    I think their biggest problem are these massive 75 year old buildings that take up high end real estate and cost a huge amount to heat in cold climates. I was in Germany a few years back and thought the postal service was bright and refreshing – small locations, seemingly well run.

    As for number of times a week – 5 is fine with me.

    As for ‘subsidizing’ remote locations – that’s in disregard to the premise of the postal service as being a great American equalizer.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Three days a week could happen I would never notice. I barely check my mailbox more than 3 times a week.

  19. Audrey says:

    I believe that the post office can save money by going to 5 day delivery. We don’t need our mail on Saturdays, half the the world is off on Saturdays. Those congressman & senators on the hill should think about working 6 days a week in the heat, snow, rain, hail and walk for miles in those conditions. I bet they would think twice about 5 day delivery. The mail carriers deserve it. Maybe, they should think about trying 5 day delivery for at least 2 yrs and see if it saves money..

  20. cscoot03 says:

    Half the world does not live in the USA. I’d trade Tuesday & Thursday removal for an all day Saturday Post Office.

  21. a patriot says:

    Does anyone realize that every year congress siphons off 2 to 3 billion from the post office before the post office even gets to do their yearly budget? It puts the PO in the red right off the bat and has for years. Also, since Clinton was president, our presidents have “borrowed” from the postal employees retirement several times, and simply gave them an “IOU”? I bet nobody realizes that when the price of gas goes up just a few cents per gallon it cost the PO over a million more per day to deliver the mail nation wide. Just thought I would give a few statistics, things that I learned myself this past year as I am a postal employee. My job will be one of the first to disappear if we go to five days per week. As with any government run conglomerate there are huge problems that need to be solved, I see examples of it every day I go to work. I don’t however, see how any other business would have the ability to do what the PO has been doing for decades. The number of employees is staggaring (there are over 700,000 nation wide) as well as equipment and buildings. Who could employ that many people, other than Walmart? (ha ha).The postal service has done away with about 100 million working hours this year (2009)alone, which translates into 57 thousand jobs gone this year. And, I have to address the fact that so many people are really put off by the fact that the stamp went up a whole 2 cents this year. Which of you would be totally incensed if your boss gave you a 2 cent raise? So come on. It cost 44 cents to send a letter. No body else can do that or they would.

  22. Worried for the Majority says:

    There has always been so much about the post office that the public has never been aware of.
    Never understood that even being an employee, that’s why there is so many idiots making comments here that don’t have a clue about what it takes to do this job. Lets strap a 30 pound bag on your back and you walk 6-8 miles every day in all kinds of weather and then let me know how your holding up. Oh they drive in your neighborhood well most of those carriers have been working in the PO for 20 years or more to earn that right.
    It upsets me that the suits that have been making the decisions for the people in blue all these years did not make adjustments and cut backs when they knew technology and automation was coming down the pike.
    If most of high management that spends their time sending reports out about how poorly we’re doing were let go and Saturdays were cut out of delivery (they generate the most overtime and sick calls) we might have a chance of pulling through this crisis.

    It seems the public has 3 choices cut out Saturdays, increase the price of stamps or bail us out like you were nice enough to do for the banks. So what’s your pick????

    • Rob says:

      If I chose to enter a career that required jumping through flaming hoops, I can hardly complain when my employer expected me to actually do so. The same goes for postal work, which requires working in bad weather, walking, and carrying bags of mail.

      Management doesn’t have as much control over the situation as many people assume. The American Postal Workers Union has severely limited management’s ability to respond to changing dynamics of the economy. Why you ask? Because there is a surplus of postal workers and employees would be laid off left and right if not for the APWU. In other words, the APWU has chosen to pursue a higher level of employment over the health of the business. And since the APWU is a representative for the postal employees, both management and employees are to blame for the current mess.

  23. cscoot03 says:

    An employee should do their job regardless to earn their check. Army we carried more weight into some serious areas, I’m RA & those that work for the PO are enlisteed too. Take Tues & Thursday off. I’m on call 24/7.

  24. Rob says:

    An interesting article appeared in the Federal Times two days ago titled “Paid to do nothing:
    11,000-plus postal workers idle at any given time,” which outlines USPS’s practice of paying employees to literally do nothing.

    “Mail volume is down 12.6 percent compared with last year, and many postal supervisors simply don’t have enough work to keep all employees busy. But a thicket of union rules prevents managers from laying off excess employees…”

  25. nathan says:

    this is rediculous im 14 and i have been on many debate teams and i have searched for many topics that i was suppose to debate on and i keep finding that every government owned company is well sucking and loosing money it scares me because when im 16 and have a job obviously taxes will be up even more then they are now to pay for this crappy service that looses 8 billion dollars annually its time that americans stood up and fought for there right because really its the tax payers that run america!!!

    • David says:

      How can you justify spelling the word losing and loses with 2 o’s? Ridiculous with an e? You do not use capital letters when they are needed. Such a crying shame. Obviously , Our public schools are failing. At your age you should be more concerned about the education that you are not getting.

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