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Archive for Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mail just 5 days a week?

Postal Service may be forced to cut one day of delivery

Lawrence's main Post Office at 645 Vermont.

Lawrence's main Post Office at 645 Vermont.

January 29, 2009

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On the street

Would the U.S. Postal Service changing to deliveries five days a week put a hardship on you?

It wouldn’t be a major hardship. I’d just be disappointed.

More responses

Post Office asks Congress to stop requiring six-day delivery

Six days of mail a week could soon be a thing of the past. Enlarge video

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Would you be willing to pay higher postal rates in order to continue receiving mail six days a week?

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Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow keeps the mailman away. But how about Tuesdays?

Massive deficits could force the post office to cut one day of mail delivery a week, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.

Postmaster General John E. Potter asked Congress to lift the requirement that the agency deliver mail six days a week.

And if the change happens, that doesn’t necessarily mean an end to Saturday delivery. Previous post office studies have looked at skipping some other day when the mail flow is light, such as Tuesday.

Lawrence Postmaster Judy Raney said the postal service has gone through years of cutting workers’ hours to match the drop in mail volume. But Wednesday’s announcement surprised even her.

“It’s absolutely one of the last things we want to do and has always been one of the last things we want to do,” she said. “To consider it, (means) the situation is serious, as it is in many companies right now.”

It’s a change that could affect local businesses, especially utility companies.

If the day cut wasn’t on a Saturday, Westar Energy would have to analyze its billing cycle and how it processes payments, spokeswoman Karla Olsen said. The majority of their customers still pay through the mail.

“It is possible that it could impact how we do things,” she said.

Over at the city of Lawrence, which handles bills for water, sewer, trash and storm water, finance director Ed Mullins doesn’t see one less day having that much of an effect.

“Right now interest is very low, so the amount we would lose on a (day’s worth) of interest, is not real significant,” Mullins said.

Faced with dwindling mail volume and rising costs, the post office was $2.8 billion in the red last year. If trends continue, the postal service could have a net loss of $6 billion or more this fiscal year, Potter said in testimony for a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee.

That doesn’t mean the change would happen right away. The agency is working to cut costs, and any final decision on changing delivery would have to be made by the postal governing board.

For those using the postal service in Lawrence Wednesday afternoon, the news was met with mixed reactions.

Amy Swan, an independent sales representative for Silpada Designs, said a day without mail would push business behind schedule. She relies on the postal service for shipping catalogs, order forms, jewelry and invitations to jewelry parties. She visits the post office almost daily.

“One day difference will be an issue for a lot of people,” Swan said.

The idea was “extremely disappointing” to Alice Carman.

“I just love getting mail every day,” she said. “It’s always been a way of life.”

However, some postal users didn’t seem too troubled by the idea.

Andy Haverkamp, who makes frequent trips to the post office to pick up packages he has ordered online, said he would be willing to sacrifice one day a week.

“If there is any way to make the post office more efficient — since it runs on our tax dollars and stamps — then I’m for it,” the Kansas University student said.

Besides bills and packages from her mom, KU junior Emily Vieux doesn’t use mail all that much. All of her bill paying is done online.

“It wouldn’t make much of a difference for me,” she said.

— The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Comments

mullendorecrew 5 years, 10 months ago

sounds like another excuse for a bailout..... geez this is getting old..... isnt if funny how every thing went to garbage overnight.....!

Shardwurm 5 years, 10 months ago

Three days a week would be plenty. Just make sure you cut the staff by 50 percent.

twinetowngirl 5 years, 10 months ago

All I ever get in the mail is bills anyway....so mail could come less to my house...

LawSW 5 years, 10 months ago

I don't want to lose Saturday delivery--you never know when that all-important document will be coming via snail mail! I agree with eliminating junk mail! Reduce that stuff that is clogging the pipe!

persevering_gal 5 years, 10 months ago

Doesn't bother me. The only really important things I send through the mail are bills that I cannot pay online and stuff I sell/buy from Amazon.

day 5 years, 10 months ago

Junk mail is less expensive then your personal mail because it is automated. Much of it travels all the way to the letter carrier ready for delivery. Your personal mail has to be merged with other personal mail into delivery order. Easy to process junk mail subsidizes less profitable rates such as periodicals (magazines). Be careful what you ask for... You may get it.

Chris Ogle 5 years, 10 months ago

Junk mail accounts for 3/4 of my mail. Charge them full price, and deliver mail twice a week.

rusty2 5 years, 10 months ago

Yesterday as i had the trash out for pickup the entirecontents of my mailbox / all junk mail went into the can.reduce junk / bulk mail N O W !

rusty2 5 years, 10 months ago

cut off all mail service to Crawford, Texas & Dallas first.

RonBurgandy 5 years, 10 months ago

I think it is probably a necessity that the Post Office cut one day of delivery. It would save money and that is something that the Post Office needs to do desperately. Besides, it wouldn't be that big of a deal if we received mail one day less a week. Seriously, who is jumping for joy when they go to pick up their mail Tuesday afternoon??

feeble 5 years, 10 months ago

Time to take a second look at W.A.S.T.E.

yellowhouse 5 years, 10 months ago

I feel sorry for my postman, because at least twice a week all he delivers is junk mail that goes straight into the garbage.

KS 5 years, 10 months ago

And these are the same people that pay out millions in bonues to the top brass in the post office. If you don't believe that, look it up. They want to claim and consider themselves separate from the USGovt, but they are not. Most of what I get at my house is also junk mail. I receive and pay on-line whenever possible. They have run themselves out of business and now they want us to bail them out too? Who is going to bail us out? This governement is a joke and the next four years are going to be a disaster. Stay tuned. You will see.

grammaddy 5 years, 10 months ago

cut out the junk mail, get rid of the employees who can't read the right address and cut delivery to Monday thru Friday. Get it together USPS. When 3 child support checks go missing in 2 weeks and then suddenly appear when a complaint is filed, I'd say there's something smelly going on at the post office. Why is that same carrier still employed there when so many complaints have been filed against her??!!

EasilyAmused 5 years, 10 months ago

There seems to be a bit of dislike directed toward Postal Workers... In my opinion, the good ones are very underappreciated. Most of us don't want to have to walk a block in the sometimes hideous winter weather, when they spend all day in the weather that we avoid. (However, I do hope the pic is a file photo, or the post office should definitely recruit the jogger)

jayhawkross 5 years, 10 months ago

I think this is the solution:Postal Employee: "May I help you?"Kramer: "Yeah, I'd like to cancel my mail."Postal Employee: "Certainly. How long would you like us to hold it?"Kramer: "Oh, no, no. I don't think you get me. I want out, permanently."Newman: "I'll handle this, Violet. Why don't you take your three hour break?Oh, calm down, everyone. No one's cancelling any mail."Kramer: "Oh, yes, I am."Newman: "What about your bills?"Kramer: "The bank can pay 'em."Newman: "The bank. What about your cards and letters?"Kramer: "E-mail, telephones, fax machines. Fedex, telex, telegrams,holograms."Newman: "All right, it's true! Of course nobody needs mail. What do youthink, you're so clever for figuring that out? But you don't know the half ofwhat goes on here. So just walk away, Kramer. I beg of you."Supervisor: "Is everything all right here, Postal Employee Newman?"Newman: "Yes, sir, I believe everything is all squared away. Isn't it, Mr.Kramer?"Kramer: "Oh, yeah. As long as I stop getting mail!"

notajayhawk 5 years, 10 months ago

For all of you that say stop the junk mail, read the story again. The Postal Service is in the red because of a drop in volume. If you eliminate the junk mail (and no, I don't like it any more than you do), that would make the problem worse, not better.

Shardwurm 5 years, 10 months ago

"...when they spend all day in the weather that we avoid."Not sure where you live but the only person walking for mail is me. There is one box on my cul-de-sac that the driver pulls up to and drops it off. I'm out more in the weather than he is.

pmb0358 5 years, 10 months ago

Some misconceptions from a city carrier:USPS revenue comes from postage/services not tax dollars. We don't get $30 hour! Eliminating Saturday delivery doesn't mean your Post Office w/b closed. Rural carriers drive around in trucks - city carriers carry heavy mail bags, in all kinds of weather. We would handle heavier Mondays, as we always have (curtailing bulk until Tuesday). We get 3 day weekends every 6 weeks, then work a straight 6 days the following week. We get one day off every 6th day plus Sunday. Eliminating one day would only mean that your regular carrier would deliver all 5 days, reducing subs who deliver that sixth day when your regular is off. Vehicle costs w/b reduced. USPS is topheavy. Here (Long Island) one postmaster could easily cover 3 stations. 3/4 supervisors/office is ridiculous! Nationwide, all carriers are paid the same - regardless of cost of living (absurd). i grossed around $50K last year, took home $38K and paid $10K in taxes alone in an area where housing, taxes etc., are at the highest in the nation. I am single with three kids. Low volume means harder work for carrier. Carriers have always been told that routes are 8 hours, whether volume is high or low. But we are now being forced to pivot (do regular route, then time on another route), because volume is low (eliminates the need for parttimers), within that 8 hours, no O/T. But when volume is high, we're still supposed to stick to 8 hours. Kinda inconsistent, right, but it's whatever works for their numbers. We have scan points to prove we were where we were supposed to be at specified times. Bulk mail is irrelevant because 99.99% of the time every house is delivered to every day. Bulk mail: you have to contact sender for bulk that says Presort, Standard, Bulk, etc. This mail is not returned to sender (cheaper rates partly because they purchase less service). You can't just write “stop sending!”. That mail is tossed. More inspectors should be hired to check out carriers who are on disabiity but shouldn't be - I know of three carriers in my station alone. Having a sore back is no reason to go out on comp, but I've seen it. Carrying is hard on the body (yes it is), but the majority of us work through it. As do countless other people in other jobs. Executives should be forced to stick to their salaries and not get performance bonuses. Sorry this is so long, but don't blame the carrier. We're at the bottom of the feeding chain but do the grunt work. We walked 5-7 miles a day in my station. We're being inundated with new BullS regulations constantly intended to catch us in non-compliance. We ARE randomly followed! (USPS would like nothing better than to fire us all and have the mail contracted out by the type of people who throw circulars on your driveway). Every day we carry (in postage) more than our daily salary. They need to cut down to 5 days, reduce postmasters/supervisors/PTFs. Your carrier is just trying to make a living.

EasilyAmused 5 years, 10 months ago

Where I live, which tends to have colder weather than Lawrence, the mailmen deliver to each door (even in the apartment I used to live in, they delivered to each apartment's door), leaving the mail vehicle parked while they walk 4-16 blocks till they go back for more mail until they cover the entirety of their zone

pmb0358 5 years, 10 months ago

Again, Re: Bulk Mail. One of the reasons stamps go up like 2 cents or so at a time is because bulk mailers couldn't afford large hikes in postage all at one time. If you want to stop bulk mail, call the company. The post office can't force mailers to stop mailing and why would they? Bulk mailings are way down and that's a big part of the loss of revenue. If you receive bulk mail for someone who used to live there years ago, one reason could be that the address says "John Doe or Current Resident". By law we have to deliver it. Or your regular carrier might be off that day and the sub doesn't know to toss it. Bulk is heavy to carry and every complains about it, but I have no choice. If you REALLY want to get outraged, like we carriers are, USPS spent tens of millions developing new machines which would sort flats (anything not letter size). Your letters come presorted, and now the flats/bulk will also, making it more difficult to pull out forwards, etc., will increase route lengths, etc., etc. Total waste of money.

CowboyFlash 5 years, 10 months ago

First off, you people are forgetting the number of employees that will lose jobs. The first to go will be the substitutes for the regular rural carriers. Oops! Who will sub for the regular carriers when they need a day off or they're sick? You've just fired all the subs that do that for 40,000 rural routes in the US. I guess it's not your problem either, that 40,000 people are now going to be looking for other work. Hope the part of that stimulus plan that covers additional unemployment funds is big enough.No one I work with is lazy, but there are a couple whose hygeine could be better.Junk mail provides income to the USPS, making it possible to not require so many rate increases.Most people are not aware that the USPS has cash reserves for just this purpose...there is no "bail out" and I doubt there would be....Keep in mind also, that the USPS does not get ANY tax money. We generate all monies for our bills by the services we provide. What other entity in the entire world can say that?By the way, no one in management told us that the Postmaster General was going before congress to ask for a lifting of the universal service requirement for the Post Office. Didn't make us feel too good.75% of all rural carriers provide their own vehicle which must be maintained and ready to deliver mail 6 days a week whether you are a sub or a regular carrier. It must be able to begin and finish the route in any kind of weather...the snow, the ice, the flooding, the flats, the breakdowns, you name it. It isn't easy, but we do it because we like our jobs and are committed to doing it well. We like making sure your Christmas parcels are delivered and your pay checks, and your car titles and trunks sent home from Iraq and Afganistan. We pick up mail and make sure rural customers have access to all of the services that city dwellers do. It isn't your rural carriers nor your city carriers you should look to for accountability...it's their management. We take the same oath of office that the President of these United States takes. Sure there are some bad eggs in the basket as there are in any company, but do we really want to condemn the many over the actions of a few? What happened to having hope over fear?PS, some junkmail can be eliminated. Have you checked USPS.gov?

myvotecounts 5 years, 10 months ago

I'm a fan of USPS, and use it almost exclusively, rather than Fedex, UPS or the others. For me, USPS is the cheapest, most hassle-free and most reliable. I've never understood why people bag on USPS, and particularly the mail carriers--all of whom I've found to be really professional. I'd be comfortable with losing one day of mail service each week, but would prefer it be Monday, since that is the mail holiday I'm already accustomed to on an occasional basis. Another option would be to have no DELIVERY one, two or three days a week, but for anyone who needs their mail that day, it could be picked up at the PO customer window. I do think junk mail is a huge waste, and mine goes straight to the recycle box. But, I've always assumed it generates much needed revenue for the USPS, that all customers benefit from.

Gina Bailey-Carbaugh 5 years, 10 months ago

Sign of the times.Soon the postal carrier will be extint, just like the switchboard operator, the milkman, and the gas attendents.

notajayhawk 5 years, 10 months ago

The first Christmas we lived in this town, we received a phone call the morning before (it was a Sunday, even) from our local postmaster, telling us we'd received a package and it would be in one of the lockboxes. She was not required to handle that particular piece of mail on a Sunday, she was only there to deal with the Express Mails (a duty I learned of on a previous Christmas, when a mail carrier was knocking at my fourth-floor apartment door on the actual morning of Christmas, also a Sunday). And she certainly was not required to call us. But she was afraid we might not check our PO box on a Sunday, and she wanted to make sure it got to us, didn't want the kids to miss out on what might be a Christmas present from Grandma. I don't have any complaints about the USPS.

sparky2008 5 years, 10 months ago

Why not just reduce residential mail to one day a week? It would be easier for me to go collect 18 pieces of junk once a week than to collect 3 pieces every day. How urgent is anything in residential mail that you need it every day? Think of all of the gasoline and labor that would be saved if the mailman only drove down the street once a week.

sparky2008 5 years, 10 months ago

Having the mailman come by every day is as ludicrous as having the trash man come by every day. Can you imagine driving the big trash truck down your street every day and collection 1 bag from each house?

pmb0358 5 years, 10 months ago

I'm speaking to a carrier (on the phone) of almost 25 years experience who wants to add these items I forgot:USPS generates 1/8 of the gross national product of the United States which includes printers, bulk mailing associations, etc.If they decide to privatize, you will have people without background checks, delivering mail in your neighborhood, knowing your patterns of work or vacation (hold mail), looking in your windows, without being sworn to oath as we are that we face imprisonment on a federal level for any crime involving the mail.Everyone wants to scream that USPS are government employees, however USPS are the lowest paid of all government workers.

Clint Church 5 years, 10 months ago

If you don't want junk mail call the companies that send it and tell them to take you off of their mailing list. They will give you some bs about getting a couple more mailings but then it should stop. I think there should also be a no mail list just like the no call list.

pelliott 5 years, 10 months ago

Three days a week sounds ok to me too. BUT the postal service refusal to raise the bulk mail cost and their desire to build new buildings to service bulk mail seems to be missing from their remarks. They have been toads about putting their junk mail clients privileges over the rights of citizens is junk. I am careful about what type of packaging I accept or use, except they insist that they can't even restrict bulk mail to materials the meet recycling needs. Like no plastic, They are stuck in time.

Beth Bird 5 years, 10 months ago

I think the idea of a no mail list as the no call list is a great idea!!! I get so much junk in the mail. It is rare that I actually get somthing that I need, like a bill or letter, because I do almost everything electronically. Stamps are expensive! E-mail is free!!

Richard Heckler 5 years, 10 months ago

Privatization doesn't work face it. Too much money gets skimmed off the top. Privatization = taxpayer rip off!

rabbit 5 years, 10 months ago

maybe the PO will do a better job at not losing mail.

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