News about the United States Postal Service cutting back on services is nothing new. They have only been talking about making cuts in their service for better than two years now. The bigger question may be if or when they actually apply any cuts to their six day service.
The news about potential cutbacks surfaced again last week as the Postal Service is projecting a $7 billion loss this year. As the amount of mail continues to fall they will need to find ways to overcome their projected shortfalls as they cannot continue to operate in the red as they receive no federal assistance to help balance their books although they are regulated by congress. Just what can we afford to do without as they look to balance their budget.
Once again they are talking about cutting out a day of mail delivery service, possibly Saturday. While most businesses and offices are closed on Saturday it wouldn't hurt them a lot. This cutback would affect residential customers the most, especially if they are used to getting their Saturday paper in the mail. And without a day of mail service customers would have to make sure they allow more time for outgoing mail to reach their destination and avoid possible late fees when paying their bills by mail. This could lead postal customers to start paying more bills on line, which is a direct effect in the decline of the volume of mail being mailed today. Technology has helped lead to a decline in the number of letters being mailed as people send more notes to friends and family by e-mail, twitter or text messages. Hardly anyone sits down to write a letter anymore when a message can arrive in minutes to their destination.
And as the volume of mail declines that will lead to increased rates to help cover potential deficits. How many people would pay 50 cents to mail a birthday card or even Christmas cards when you could send a card through e-mail. You will still have those that have not adapted to technology, but they could decline quickly as everyone watches their budget with the economy struggling. And a rise in rates would raise cost for businesses that have heavy mail volumes to get monthly billing statements to customers.
And as mail volume continues to decline that could lead to a reduction in jobs. Already this year they held a meeting in Lima as they considered closing the mail processing center located there. And before their latest news it appeared Lima was getting a reprieve as an audit was to take place to see how valuable this center is to its customers. The Postal Service has already eliminated 200,000 jobs in recent years and will be looking to cut more full-time staff in the future to help balance the books. And should the service cut back to a five day it would affect the jobs of part-time employees that work Saturday's as most full-time mail carries only work five days a week.
Much of the business world is based on a five day work week and given the Postal Services recent statements they may be headed that way in the future. The question will be how it will affect the attitudes of the customers with all of their proposed changes? Only time will tell.