So long, Saturday mail
by Mark Ledbetter
Mar 10, 2013 | 3461 views |  0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Photo by Bob Crisp
Photo by Bob Crisp
slideshow
Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe announced Feb. 6 the United States Postal Service will discontinue Saturday home mail delivery effective the week of Aug. 5. The measure is the second major money-saving initiative employed by the Postal Service.

The plan is part of several cost-cutting measures implemented by the USPS in an effort to offset costly pension and retiree health plan obligations. These obligations coupled with declining revenue from loss of mail volume have negatively impacted operation revenues for the department.

Late last fall, the USPS reduced hours of operations of smaller post offices, or consolidated their services with larger departments in the area. Bon Air residents had post office hours changed to Mon-Fri from 8-10 a.m. while Saturday operations remained 7-10 a.m. The nationwide measure was expected to save the department an estimated half-billion dollars annually.

The new initiative, scheduled to take effect the week of Aug. 5, is expected to save the Postal Service $2 billion annually once fully implemented. The USPS does not receive any support from tax revenues, but has reported increased revenue from package delivery.

The plan does not call for a halt in package delivery on Saturdays. A Feb. 6 USPS news release reported Donahoe as saying, “The Postal Service is advancing an important new approach to delivery that reflects the strong growth of our package business.”

“Our customers see strong value in the national delivery platform we provide and maintaining a six-day delivery schedule for packages is an important part of that platform,” Donahue said.

While the USPS reported a market survey indicated nearly 70 percent of Americans supporting the department’s switch to five-day delivery, not everyone welcomed the decision. While some are not happy with the decision, there are others who don’t think a lack of mail on Saturday will affect them too much.

Kim Martin, a resident of Center Point Acres and sales associate at Pete’s Feed and Seed in Sylacauga, said not receiving mail on Saturday will not be a problem for her, but for husband Chris who looks for his fishing and hunting magazines, it may prove to be a small irritation. Martin said she pays most of her bills by phone or on the Internet.

Credit Central Loans associates Shanna Bussie and Dawn Osborn agreed no Saturday deliveries would have little impact on their Sylacauga business.

Bussie said mail is delivered to their business, but they are rarely open on Saturday. “They (the mail carrier) just hold our mail and deliver it on Monday.”

Bussie and Osborn both live in Coosa County and agreed not having mail delivered on Saturday would make very little difference for them personally.

“I don’t get that much mail on Saturday,” Osborn said.

Bussie said she paid her bills online or mailed them before they were due.

“It may impact older people,” Bussie said, “especially if they don’t have a computer.”

Eddie Forbus, semi-retired barber at Eddie’s Styleshop in Sylacauga, said he receives his mail at home, but not receiving on Saturday won’t have much of an effect on him.

“I know some people it will affect,” Forbus said. “I believe if they will streamline some of their services they can continue Saturday delivery.”

Forbus’ customer, Oldfield resident Richard Johnston is retired but said not having mail delivered on Saturday won’t have much impact on him. He said he usually pays his bills by taking them to the post office and occasionally mails payments through his mailbox.

“It won’t affect me,” Johnston said. “I don’t get anything anyway except advertising and bills.”

Contact Mark Ledbetter at mledbetter@dailyhome.com