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