East Texans react to cuts in Saturday mail delivery

Wednesday's announcement from the United States Postal Service that first class mail will no longer be delivered on Saturdays was greeted largely by a collective and figurative yawn from East Texans who say the decision won't have any material effect on their lives.

Package delivery will continue on Saturdays and P.O. box customers will continue to receive all mail on Saturdays. But times have changed since the postal service started delivering mail.

Our modern post office traces its roots back to 1775 when two of the government's basic functions were laid out.

"That was to defend the borders and deliver the mail," TJC History Professor Jeffrey Owens said. "And the government isn't doing either one of them very well right now."

Owens said the post office's decision to cut Saturday deliveries is no big deal--but still worth doing a lesson on.

"I think the larger danger is how politicized the issue becomes," he said.

"We're seeking substantial and comprehensive long term legislation to provide us with a much more flexible business model," United States Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said.

Postal leaders said their infrastructure had become too big and too expensive for a shrinking number of letters.

"The reality is that volume has declined more than 43 billion pieces in the past five years," USPS Executive Vice President Megan Brennan said. "And it will continue to decline."

"I don't mind that the post office won't deliver on Saturdays as long as they stay in business," postal customer Patricia Blair said.

"We all have to make some cuts. If not we're not going to have anything," postal customer Peggy Baier said. "If they don't make any cuts we're not going to have a post office."

Most post office customers didn't seem to mind giving up one day. A surprising number of them said nothing good comes on Saturday anyway.

Others agreed with the professor, who thinks it's time to look at making cuts in areas that don't cut down on service.

"Why don't they just make a stamp?" Owens asked. "They don't have to have hordes of artists designing new stamps all the time. I mean it's nice. I like stamps. But if they're in trouble financially, that's not a necessity."

The schedule change goes into effect on August 5, 2013. It's expected to save the postal service $2 billion each year.


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