12/6: Can postal service be fixed?

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

What do you think of the U.S. Postal Service’s proposal to eliminate next-day service, as well as its plans to close mail processing centers and local post offices? And, oh yeah, the price of stamps is going up again, in January. How does it affect you? Will you continue to use the service or move more correspondence to emai? Sound off on our blog and we will run some responses in Friday’s print newspaper, too.

15 comments Add your comment

sirwinston1941

December 6th, 2011
12:20 pm

The postal service provides service for the people. Like to many other things we lose sight as to what is needed. It kills itself when the issue of money takes center stage. Next day service is good if it is in the business to do so; if not, don’t do it! A processing center is where all mail is process, if you close it, how will mail be processed, no, don’t close it. Perhaps something is not well worked out with the postal system period!

anonymous

December 6th, 2011
12:25 pm

It is real hard to find sympathy for this outfit when you see continual slothfulness, waste of customer time, mismanagement and you name it at the Post Office.

to be fair, there are hardworking, proud and efficient people as well.

but let’s face it: this is a government-operated outfit, and like many government agencies, it has gotten too big and fat and too costly.

we could well get by with trimmed down mail service.

yuzeyurbrane

December 6th, 2011
12:25 pm

Doubt it will effect individuals much. Most have already shifted personal messages to e-mail. It will probably impact some busn. models like Netflix accelerating their shift to on-line. 1 penny increase on 1st class stamps won’t bother most. Saturday delivery is something that even UPS and FedEx charge a lot more for. Express Mail will remain for those who really want next day service and it is competitive with UPS and FEDEX. Priority Mail boxes will continue to be very profitable to consumers and P.O. as it is much lower in price than UPS and FEDEX even though fewer P.O.’s will make shipping procedure bigger hassle. Will have to include grocery stores, etc. as shipping venues. As to stamp purchases, people will get use to purchasing at grocery stores and I presume P.O. will also use more stamp machines. Main problem is Congress still has too much say-so. Let mgt. manage and treat pension fund contributions by P.O. w’same rules as fully private co.’s. Also, get more into internet busn. like DeutscePost, the German P.O., which has remained solvent and on the top of innovation.

Doug

December 6th, 2011
12:26 pm

It affects me not at all. I pay all my bill on-line and receive almost all of my bills on line. I do not think the post office should be delivering mail in one day, let people pay premium prices for these services. They are caught having to fund a pension system that is WAY too generous, like they are a government department, when they are “private” concern. The Postal Employees are incorrectly blaming congress for the problem, when it is over generous Union health and pension benefits. We cannot afford the promises, so some reform is necessary. If people need Saturday delivery, make them pay for it. I think that most residences could go to 3 day a week delivery. The pricing model needs revising obviously, I spend time each day directly at the trash can, throwing away most of my mail before opening

Tag

December 6th, 2011
1:43 pm

NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

mr mike

December 6th, 2011
3:00 pm

sadly, gonna be alot more that’s beyond fixin than post office. the love of money is the basis of most of our dilemnas.

we’ve allowed money to become a god and worship the stuff. there is so much more important than money.

love, peace of mind, relationship have been lost and now we cannot buy it back

now the very core and foundation of what we believed would help (money i.e. housing market, stock market, employment, shopping markets) us is eroding

Newman

December 6th, 2011
3:04 pm

When you control the mail, you control… information.

Jack

December 6th, 2011
3:31 pm

I pay my bills online for free: No fees, no postage. I send all my important paper files by UPS or by scanning. The last time I visited a post office, I was treated rudely. Who needs ‘em.

HOP

December 6th, 2011
3:46 pm

I do use the post office to mail packages and I send Christmas cards. Oh and convenient passport services. Other than that, many of my bills are paid online.

Business models often have to change to survive. Things have changed. It’s time for the post office to change. It may have to cut Saturday service. People may not get things the next day. If you want something next day, go to UPS or FedEx. I generally don’t need mail next day. I know promises (pensions, etc) have been made, keep those, but going forward, that will DEFINITELY have to change. The service is still needed, everytime I go to the post office there is a line. But the business model has to change. Oh and those sad sack commercials on mailing bills instead of paying online won’t change anything either. Save that money paid needlessly to an ad and marketing agency (and they should be fired for that dumb commercial) and use it to make the necessary changes.

mountain man

December 6th, 2011
5:25 pm

Of course it can be fixed – it is a busines and if you apply sound business principles, it will work out. The problem is that Congress has to approe every change, and they inject politics into the business decision. If the postal service goes defunct, how will you send legal papers certified mail return receipt requested (I have to do that a lot at work). The PO charges $5 (approx). You can send it Fedex for about $15. The post office first could drop Saturday delivery. Indeed it could go to every other day delivery for regular mail – what is one extra day. If you want one-day service, you will have to pay for it. Charge more for those essential services like Certified Mail. See, that was easy. But now you would have to get Congress to approve it and their constituents (you all) probably want to eat your cake and have it, too.

Eric

December 6th, 2011
5:37 pm

The loss of first class mail service is the beginning of the end of our great nation! I am frightened of using online bill pay, what with all the identity theft going on and computer problems. Why do so many people give into technology? Let’s find a way to restore the U.S. Postal Service! Cut Sat. mail before shutting down/laying off!

Mary Elizabeth

December 6th, 2011
5:40 pm

My home is within the city limits of Roswell. I pay city taxes to Roswell. However, my post office is in another city in North Fulton. The Roswell Post Office is 5 minutes from my home. My “official” post office is 35 minutes from my home. I have talked with the managers in both post offices about this problem. I mentioned that homes which abut the back of my property are serviced by the Roswell Post Office. I have called the offices of both the Major of Roswell and my U.S. Congressman. Both offices have told me that my post office (and my mailing address) must be determined by the U.S. Postal Service, and that their offices have no power to intervene. Post Office personnel have told me that my situation will probably never change.

If the U. S. Postal Service demonstrates this same lack of “customer care” to other citizens, and has this kind of power, I can well understand why the U.S. Postal Service is having difficulty.

Free Market

December 6th, 2011
5:48 pm

When the country was founded, the safe and consistent delivery of mail was critically important and tremendously difficult to achieve let alone guarantee. The founders made the mistake of granting a monopoly privilege of first class mail service to the postal service and that laid the foundation for the failures we see today. It may be the responsibility of the congress to insure safe and sound mail delivery, but that by no means requires a failed offshoot of the federal government to achieve.

The greatest thing the congress could do for america and freedom would be to end the monopoly privilege on first class mail delivery the USPS currently enjoys and allow anyone to begin handling these pieces of mail at competitive rates. If the USPS can survive the competition, great. If not, good riddance.

For those who would bash UPS and FedEx please remember that there is no reason they would need to be the ONLY choices available. There have been literally thousands of examples of local and regional companies that attempted to deliver the mail for far less than the USPS over the years and they were all shut down as they violated the law by delivering first class mail. There is also no reason to believe that we would all pay huge amounts for our mail delivery even if UPS or FedEx handled it. Remember, the costs they charge are based on their current volumes which do not include any first class regular delivery. Additionally, the USPS pays their employees WAY more than they are worth. Their minimum wage is approaching $20 per hour (well, the last time I had heard it was $17 and that was many years ago). Most of these folks do jobs that high school kids or college kids could do for far less and even the more complex tasks require only minimal training. It is union bullying and intimidation tactics that have driven up wages.

We are supposed to be a free country based on capitalism and the marketplace (we of course aren’t). To make a gesture to that legacy we once had, congress should open the market for first class mail to everyone and let the chips fall where they may. There has never been a better time in history to make this change. The USPS certainly won’t change with the times. They need to go.

Uncommon sense

December 6th, 2011
5:54 pm

The USPS could easily be saved with just a couple of simple changes. It should be allowed to invests its $325,000,000,000 in retirement assets the way any other business does. Requiring the USPS to “invest” 100% of its retirement assets in low return federal bonds is killing the USPS. The increased returns of around 2-4% per year that a diversified portfolio would return would cut postal expenses by $6.5 to $13 Billion dollars per year.
This simple change would save multiple times the amount the consolidations and service cuts are expected to save without impacting service.
The current plan is a death spiral plan. Eliminating overnight service will ultimately cost much more in lost revenue than it will save in expenses.

Lasharitiaviana

December 6th, 2011
7:10 pm

The Postal Service does a pretty good job when you consider the logistical challenges they’re up against, like delivering mail to everyone regardless of where they are. I’d hate to see them go under, but they really can do some things much more efficiently. Getting rid of the union would be a huge step in the right direction.