What’s the world coming to? Since 1863 folks in the U.S. got mail delivered every Saturday morning. Apparently that is all coming to an end. The United States Postal Service (USPS) appears tired of waiting for a bailout from congress (err…the tax-payers) so word is just out that the USPS will stop Saturday mail deliveries (with the exception of packages) come this August…August 5th to be exact! It’s a move to cut costs and save themselves. According to several news reports, the USPS is hoping to save at least $2 billion a year with its new cost-cutting plan although that’s only part of the whole enchilada since they reportedly lost $16 billion or so in 2012. Good luck, eh? Even with cost of stamps going up nearly every year since 2006 and other cost cutting measures they are in dire straights. Will we even have Post Offices say fifteen years from now? Will they go the way of phone booths and the like…??
The USPS has been operating in the red for a good seven or eight years (so I’ve heard in mixed circles) and I thought it was due to competition from other “more efficiently run” businesses such as UPS, DHL, or FedEx as well as partly due to the growing popularity (and efficiency) of on-line bill pay, not to mention, perhaps, the immense reach and popularity of social networking (no need to mail that Hallmark card when you can post to Facebook, right?). But I read an article today that the real culprit of the beleaguered Postal Service is the 2006 Congressional Mandate to pre-fund healthcare benefits for future retirees and while they were operating in the black in 2005 the Postal Service has been borrowing billions from taxpayers since the mandate to make up for their cash-strapped shortfall. The Postal Service workforce lost almost 28,000 people last year…that’s a lot of people without a job. Sigh….so sad. While I know a good measure of organizational clean-up was necessary (point in fact, even I wouldn’t go to my local post office in California because the postal service workers there were exceedingly rude and inefficient) I feel sick that so many people (many who were good, hard workers) have lost a job because of another congressional edict.
I’m trying to find bliss in this day and I can’t seem to muster up as much as I had hoped for. Damn change. It may sound very silly (I’m sure they’ll be eye-rolls) but I actually like going to the mailbox each day; hoping to find a card from a friend, or a drawing from my favorite nephew, or another useless catalog to thumb through over morning coffee. It’s strange I know, but it makes me feel oddly connected with the world when there is something…anything…in the mailbox and no Saturday mail will take a little getting used to. Change. It’s hard no matter which way one looks at it…no matter how frivolous it may seem from one person to the next.