Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Your Post Office Is Shrinking

The US Postal Service has started shrinking, again. Budget shortfalls are forcing some post offices to cut back on their hours. My favorite local station, a small one that never has a waiting line, is now open only from 10:00am to 4:00pm, M-F.

I've heard that the USPS is considering closing up to a third of all post offices, if the budget woes don't get cleared up. Dropping Saturday delivery completely, and closing all stations on Saturday are also options I've heard floating around.

You know, it doesn't sound like much of an inconvenience to have shorter hours and no Saturday, but it really is. Most folks can only get to a post office to do business before or after work, during the lunch hour, or on Saturday. If you remove all those options except the lunch hour, those stations are going to get extremely crowded during that hour, lines are going to be horrendous, and folks will be even more fed up with the USPS.

I believe the budget shortfall for the coming year is around 8 billion. Congress and our imperious leader waste more money than that each time they sneeze. They throw hundredes of billions into bailing out Freddie Mac and Fannie May. Why can't they give a little bit to the post office and save our mail service?

Update - In recent Congressional hearings stated that without relief from mandated payments into the post office pension fund (5.5 billion) and the the ability to close operations on Saturday, the Post Office could no longer function as a self sustaing arm of the government. Pretty bleak assessment. In reponse, one of the Congressional Reps stated that if the PO closes on Saturday, it would kill their business.

The Rep was right. Given the limited hours the PO is open durig the week, Closing on Saturdays would pretty much kill all of their retail, walkup business. Most normal folks have to go on Saturdays, if they must go to a Post Office. Most facilities are a crowded nightmare on Saturdays, but that is the only time more working folks can get there. Closing on Saturday will force many people to find other ways to doing their postal business - delivery services or on-line. It will be a major revenue hit to the PO if they cancel Saturday services.

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