USPS Plans to Eliminate Saturday Mail Delivery — But Will It Really Happen?

by Nindo Mom on July 22, 2011

For the past several months, I’ve been hearing news stories all over the radio about a USPS plan to reduce the number of days per week they deliver mail. I’ve heard that the postal service may stop delivering mail on Saturdays; I’ve also heard that they are considering dropping the number of delivery days  from SIX to only THREE per week.

Not being one to depend on rumors, I began researching to find out the truth. Could this all just be a nasty rumor?

Unfortunately, it’s not.

With the USPS expected to lose $238 billion over the next ten years, something obviously needs to change. So the USPS has been making plans–and these plans could mean big changes for every American family when it comes to how they receive home delivery of their mail.

According to a new postal delivery schedule proposal released by the USPS in March 2010:

  • Saturday mail delivery to home addresses will cease–with the exception of Express Mail. (Which costs a lot more than First Class or Parcel delivery service.)
  • Saturday mail delivery to Post Office Boxes will continue
  • Saturday Post Office hours will continue for customers needing to drop off packages for mailing

It’s interesting to note that, under this plan, anyone wanting to continue receiving mail on Saturdays can do so by renting a PO Box. Of course, the rates for post office boxes has been steadily increasing: my local post office charges $76/year for a PO box measuring 3 inches x 5.5 inches, or $200/year for a PO box roughly the size of my many private mailboxes–5.5 inches x 11 inches.

Although it may be tempting to run out and get a PO box to continue to receive Saturday mail, I’m beginning to think it’s just not worth the expense. Two hundred bucks a year so that I can get my bills a day earlier? It may take some time, but eventually businesses will get used to customer bills not being delivered on Saturdays. After all, we’ve NEVER had mail delivered on Sundays–and no one complains about that.

When Could the USPS Stop General Mail Delivery on Saturdays?

Before the USPS can stop Saturday deliveries, Congress must change the law that mandates six-day delivery. And before that, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), which regulates the operation of the USPS, must approve a five-day mail delivery schedule.

Here’s where things get tricky. Even if the PRC approves the USPS proposal for dropping Saturdays for general mail delivery, Congress is likely to resist.  Some members of Congress are opposed to a five-day delivery schedule because it could cause their constituents to lose some degree of faith in the government–at least as far as the postal system is concerned. Plus, fewer mail delivery days would mean Congress will have less access to their constituents. (The USPS is the only mail service in the country that reaches every household in America. Start to take that away, and you start to lose touch with Citizens–especially those in more rural areas.)

With resistance from Congress, many believe it’s unlikely that the USPS will actually move to a five-day delivery schedule. But I’m not so sure, considering the deficit the U.S. has been running. Budget cuts have got to come from somewhere for the country to get spending under control. And whatever change becomes necessary, it will affect one group or another in a way that isn’t pleasant.

Making it Easier to Mail Your Packages–Regardless of Postal Delivery Schedule Changes

Fortunately, the proposed five-day mail delivery schedule doesn’t sound like it will affect our ability to drop items off at the post office–it will only delay how quickly our packages reach their destinations.

That being said, any time you make a trip to the post office to drop off packages, you’re risking you’ll get stuck in line–sometimes quite a long one. It’s just too easy to show up at the wrong time–especially considering you have no idea when that’s going to be–and end up wasting 45 minutes or more.

For me, the situation became especially troublesome when my post office removed the scale they used to keep in the lobby for customers who didn’t want to wait in line to have their packages weighed.

My solution? After doing plenty of research, I ordered a Weighmax 75-pound postal shipping scale from Amazon.  Although this scale was one of the most affordable, it was still in the price range where Amazon offers free shipping. But more importantly, the scale had wonderful reviews from customers–something I always look into thoroughly when making an online purchase.

With a home postal scale, not only can you weigh your packages from home–you can even have your mailman pick your package up for free when you send it via USPS Priority Mail service. After weighing your package, simply visit the USPS  website at www.USPS.com and buy your Priority Mail postage online. Then, you can request your free package pickup–from your front porch, or any other location within 1/2 mile from your mailbox.

Mailing packages from home saves me a tremendous amount of time and inconvenience. Just keep in mind that if the USPS changes to a five-day delivery schedule, you’ll probably need to request your package pickup for one of those days. But this still beats making the drive–and wasting all that time waiting in line!

Order postal shipping scale from Amazon

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous August 20, 2011 at 12:44 AM

USPS has been saying it will stop mail delivery on Saturday for years. I highly doubt anything will happen this time, or any time for that matter; Seeing as this deficit dance that politicians do is just more Kabuki theater, it’ll likely be cuts into services that under privileged people desperately need.

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Nindo Mom August 20, 2011 at 1:55 AM

I tend to agree with you–although you can never be quite sure. I think the Post Office knows that they need to do SOMETHING–so they’ve come up with this “plan” to show an effort on their part. And, a plan shows that the USPS acknowledges the need to change the way they do business in order to operate in the black.

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