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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Post office to end Saturday mail delivery

   
Author Topic: Post office to end Saturday mail delivery
ScottF
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In an attempt to stop the financial hemorrhaging, USPS is ending sat. mail delivery.

The internet has massively reduced the volume of letters and bills. UPS, FedEx, DHL have more efficient delivery and tracking businesses.

Should the federal government continue to be in the business of delivering mail and packages at all? I'd miss it for nostalgic reasons, but that's about it.

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Tittles
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The feds should be out of paper mail. Take all of that wasted money and put it into making sure all citizens have internet access.
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Stephan
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Does the post office get any money from taxes? I thought they were pretty self sufficient.

It makes sense though. It will also streamline staffing a bit.

Netflix employees that had to start working Saturdays to compete with Blockbuster's 6 day schedule might be happy.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by ScottF:
UPS, FedEx, DHL have more efficient delivery and tracking businesses.

That depends what for, and what you mean by "efficient". I regularly send Priority Mail packets to my colleague at our sister campus across the country. Tracking works just fine, the 2 day speed is a good fit for what we need, and it's considerably cheaper than any FedEx (etc.) options.
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Tittles
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They lose billions of dollars a year. They have to be getting that picked up by someone. I've been assuming that it's the government.
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Strider
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Yeah, it's my understanding that the USPS gets very little taxpayer funding.

I wish they had chosen something like no mail delivery on Wednesdays or Thursdays. That way there would be no two day span during the week where no mail is delivered.

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Tittles
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Why not scan and email those documents, Rivka?
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rivka
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Security and need for original signatures.
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ScottF
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
Security and need for original signatures.

Docusign (and others) have pretty much solved this. I just e-signed all of the documents involved in buying/selling a home. Worked wonderfully.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by ScottF:
Should the federal government continue to be in the business of delivering mail and packages at all? I'd miss it for nostalgic reasons, but that's about it.

The USPS is fine. The problem is that Congress cannot bring itself to fix the specific service requirements that it is putting on the USPS that it refuses to also fund. The USPS would be very profitable if it was allowed to fix it on its own.
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Lyrhawn
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USPS would be financially solvent if they changed a couple rules. UPS, FedEx and DHL don't have the pension funding rules that USPS has, which is where the vast majority of their red ink is coming from. They're also mandated to provide many services that others do not, as well as keeping open offices that regularly lose money in rural and underserved areas.

Having said that...most western nations have fully or partially privatized mail services. Personally I'm for whatever is cheapest and works best. I think USPS should operate under the same rules as others, and then we'd have a real idea of how stable it really is, rather than under the extra burden system it currently works with.

I won't miss junk mail, but I think the price of regular shipping would skyrocket. Packages would likely still cost the same, but there are many things USPS ships for far cheaper. Media mail is the only way you can ship a book or CD these days on something like Amazon market place without losing an arm and a leg in extra costs. The 3.99 allotment Amazon automatically charges is almost impossible to meet unless you have some sort bulk shipping deal.

For that matter, are you going to send a regular letter, holiday card, or whatever else via FedEx? The rates are insane for sending a couple pieces of paper.

Email has made regular letters much rarer, but until online payments and other forms of mail delivery pick up the slack, USPS still serves an important function.

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Samprimary
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quote:
They're also mandated to provide many services that others do not, as well as keeping open offices that regularly lose money in rural and underserved areas.
Tada. The USPS is being asked to run and fund itself like a business, but then the government also says "Also you have to keep a post office open in all these places" and then refuses to .. you know, cover the bill for this effectively socialized coverage.
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Lyrhawn
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I would feel bad for rural mail delivery, but it might that rural mail has to adapt to the reality that population density is going to have to dictate benefits to a degree. Maybe it means that rural mail delivery only happens once or twice a week, or that rural communities need to develop some sort of volunteer mailman service in conjunction with fixed contributions from the government to subsidize delivery to these areas.

It's not fair, but it also costs billions of dollars, and it needs to change, perhaps, rather than being totally eliminated, or it'll be eliminated for everyone.

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ScottF
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I predict document delivery becoming all but extinct over the next 10 +/- years. There will always be a need to move goods, but moving content via paper will be something our grandkids look back on as rather quaint.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by ScottF:
quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
Security and need for original signatures.

Docusign (and others) have pretty much solved this. I just e-signed all of the documents involved in buying/selling a home.
I see no reason to go into details, but your assumption that such alternatives are currently accepted in all industries is charmingly naive.
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Lyrhawn
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The office I worked in a few years ago still to this day sends out reams of paper documents, and they don't see that changing any time soon. I guess they could send clients a PDF of their structure settlement docs, but they don't, and don't plan to change in the near future.
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Teshi
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Scott-- you don't send cards or photographs?

90% of what I post is social and cannot be emailed to the same effect. Nobody wants an e-card. I always send real cards with enclosed letters for birthdays.

The UK has a government-supported mail system but they're thinking of privatizing. I would *much* rather pay for mail in taxes.

Canada does not have a Saturday post. It's kind of a pain, but you get used to it.

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ScottF
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I made no such assumption. My response was indicating that the problem of secure document signatures has been solved, not that everyone, everywhere is already using it. That said, I will mentally retain charming and exclude naive. [Smile]
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by ScottF:
the problem of secure document signatures has been solved

It's not actually solved if many major players in given industries (e.g., federal and state government agencies) refuse to accept such things.
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ScottF
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quote:
Originally posted by Teshi:
Scott-- you don't send cards or photographs?

90% of what I post is social and cannot be emailed to the same effect. Nobody wants an e-card. I always send real cards with enclosed letters for birthdays.

Well my wife does, mostly around the holidays. I know people (aka me) like holding a piece of paper, something that shows more of an investment of time and self. Maybe that will persist, I dunno. The trend line over the last decade seems to indicate it's phasing out.

E-cards have about the same emotional impact as someone waving to me when I let them into my lane in traffic.

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ScottF
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by ScottF:
the problem of secure document signatures has been solved

It's not actually solved if many major players in given industries (e.g., federal and state government agencies) refuse to accept such things.
Different problem, but ok.
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brojack17
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by ScottF:
the problem of secure document signatures has been solved

It's not actually solved if many major players in given industries (e.g., federal and state government agencies) refuse to accept such things.
Do they accept fax signatures? I've seen some that accept the original or fax copy, but not a scanned copy. I never understood that.
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rivka
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Nope. Original (aka "wet") signatures only.
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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Originally posted by Strider:
I wish they had chosen something like no mail delivery on Wednesdays or Thursdays. That way there would be no two day span during the week where no mail is delivered.

Good idea.
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rivka
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Tuesdays apparently have the lowest volume, and a proposal to scratch them was floated a while back.

[edit: typo]

[ February 06, 2013, 04:11 PM: Message edited by: rivka ]

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Lyrhawn
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That's to accommodate businesses who would rather not skip a day of delivery during the work week. Plus I'm sure the employees themselves appreciate a full weekend off.
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Strider
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True. I'm selfish.
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:

For that matter, are you going to send a regular letter, holiday card, or whatever else via FedEx? The rates are insane for sending a couple pieces of paper.

Sure, that's what happens when you have a government enforced monopoly distorting the market. [Wink]


Presumably if we did take serious steps towards privatizing mail we'd also do things like remove that monopoly. I imagine if UPS and FedEx employees could actually deliver letters to your mailbox without committing a federal crime, that might be cheaper.

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Lyrhawn
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You can't argue with me on this one. I've already expressed dissatisfaction with the status quo, and I'm all for opening things up to other services.

But I really doubt UPS of FedEx would be able to compete. I think junk mail services would collapse, thank goodness. Charities would get hit hard and would likely have to abandon a lot of their postal service use.

USPS already has UPS and FedEx beat on a lot of shipping options for non-letter services. It's not the business end of things that USPS is getting killed, like Sam said, if they were allowed to run by themselves without extra restrictions and rules, they'd be more than competitive.

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Dan_Frank
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I'm not specifically arguing with anything in that post you just made. Just wanted to point out that there's a pretty good reason why private parcel companies get hosed compared to USPS when it comes to mailbox/letter delivery. And it's one that would likely go away if we removed the monopoly.

Essentially, my point is that the extra restrictions and rules cut both ways.

I have no trouble believing USPS has some efficient practices, though. They've been doing this long enough they'd damn well better!

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CaySedai
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The last time I bought something online that was shipped UPS, the last leg of the journey the package was given to the local Post Office. We have a UPS store in town and a UPS terminal ...
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MattP
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The only value I see in having the USPS be government run is that the high cost for rural customers (who tend to have less money than the rest of us to begin with) is shared by everyone else by having a fixed postage rate. This is also the reason for the USPS monopoly on mail delivery - without it private organizations could take over the high-profit routes and stick the USPS with the rest.

I agree with the previous comment than a discontinuation of universal postal service should be offset by a commitment to an equivalent level of broadband access.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by CaySedai:
The last time I bought something online that was shipped UPS, the last leg of the journey the package was given to the local Post Office. We have a UPS store in town and a UPS terminal ...

That's a cheaper UPS option that they offer businesses with some minimum volume. FedEx has one as well, called SmartPost.
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Ael
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USPS is talking about removing Saturday delivery for letters but retaining it for packages--also, keeping the post offices open on Saturdays. The disruption would probably be minimal.
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Ron Lambert
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There are still many people, especially seniors, who are not computer literate or on the Internet. My 91-year-old mother has been complaining that her annuity from the Post Office has sent word that they will not be notifying her of her payments via regular mail anymore, but only by e-mail. I could set up an e-mail account for her, and print out everything received for her from her annuity, but she does not like the idea of having someone else involved in her business like that. And what about seniors who do not have a computer- and Internet- conversant relative?

Isn't there a legal obligation to communicate such information to people, whether they have access to the Internet or not?

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
They're also mandated to provide many services that others do not, as well as keeping open offices that regularly lose money in rural and underserved areas.
Tada. The USPS is being asked to run and fund itself like a business, but then the government also says "Also you have to keep a post office open in all these places" and then refuses to .. you know, cover the bill for this effectively socialized coverage.
Everybody is into socialism. Just Republicans are into not paying for it. Which seems like a win-win for them really.
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Kwea
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quote:
Originally posted by Tittles:
They lose billions of dollars a year. They have to be getting that picked up by someone. I've been assuming that it's the government.

Who would have guessed that assuming might mean you are wrong...
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ScottF
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How Amazon could save the US Postal service.

Net-net: USPS has 214K trucks not doing as much as they used to, Amazon wants to move an ever-growing number of boxes and could use those people/trucks.

http://www.wired.com/business/2013/02/amazon-saves-postal-service/

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Geraine
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
The office I worked in a few years ago still to this day sends out reams of paper documents, and they don't see that changing any time soon. I guess they could send clients a PDF of their structure settlement docs, but they don't, and don't plan to change in the near future.

I work for a large payroll company, and we also ship out massive amounts of paper every day.

But we use courier services to do it, since it is cheaper, faster, and we can choose what time we want it delivered.

If someone else is doing it better and cheaper, why would I use the government's method?

I recently had to send some pretty sensitive documents the American Embassy in Albania as quickly as possible. The USPS was going to charge me an outrageous amount and their quickest delivery window was 5 days. I went to DHL, got it there in two days, and paid $30 less than the USPS.

I appreciate the post office, but all they bring me now is junk mail. All of my bills are online, communication is online, etc. It is however always there when I need to ship a package domestically, mostly because when I factor in gas it is cheaper to drive there than my local UPS or FedEx facilities. Plus those flat rate boxes are pretty awesome [Smile]

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DDDaysh
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I would feel bad for rural mail delivery, but it might that rural mail has to adapt to the reality that population density is going to have to dictate benefits to a degree. Maybe it means that rural mail delivery only happens once or twice a week, or that rural communities need to develop some sort of volunteer mailman service in conjunction with fixed contributions from the government to subsidize delivery to these areas.

It's not fair, but it also costs billions of dollars, and it needs to change, perhaps, rather than being totally eliminated, or it'll be eliminated for everyone.

I live in a rural area. We don't even have mailmen. We have to pick up our mail at a post office (PO Box).

To tell you the truth, very few people actually get their mail every day. I only check it about once a week. You could probably deliver to our area every-other day and be just fine. However, until the government comes up with some other system for formal communications, you'll still have to continue to provide some type of service to rural areas just to be able to ensure governmental communications.

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Sylphiae
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quote:
Originally posted by ScottF:
How Amazon could save the US Postal service.

Net-net: USPS has 214K trucks not doing as much as they used to, Amazon wants to move an ever-growing number of boxes and could use those people/trucks.

http://www.wired.com/business/2013/02/amazon-saves-postal-service/

I really hope Amazon doesn't step onto USPS's turf. We don't need a company who almost has a monopoly on selling books online acquire another monopoly.
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Darth_Mauve
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Did a Trivia night last weekend.
Under the Category of "Current Events" the question was,

quote:
The US Postal service has decided to stop mail deliveries on Saturdays in what month?
My answer: Every Month
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