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7 out of 10 back plan to halt Saturday mail delivery, surveys show

February 06, 2013|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com
  • Mail carrier Patti Butler makes deliveries on Wednesday in the 700 block of Guilford Avenue in Hagerstown.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Darrell Hall said that he thinks the federal government is “too stupid” to find other places to cut spending, which is why the U.S. Postal Service plans to cut out Saturday mail delivery.

“I don’t agree with it but I understand it because of the financial situation,” said Hall, 60, of Hagerstown.

The USPS said Wednesday it plans to stop delivering mail on Saturdays starting in August but will continue to deliver packages six days a week, a decision it says will save about $2 billion. There will not be any changes to post offices already open on Saturdays, and mail will still be delivered to post office boxes.

The agency, which is subject to congressional control despite operating independently and receiving no tax dollars for its day-to-day operations, reported $15.9 billion in losses in 2012.

David Ferguson of Hagerstown said that unless people wait until the last minute to mail in their bill payments, the decision should not be a problem.

“If something’s time-sensitive, I use FedEx anyway, and I’m not sitting around the mailbox waiting for something to get here on Saturday,” said Ferguson, 50. “If they have to do that to save money, more power to them.”

Based on research conducted by the organization, postmaster general and CEO Patrick R. Donahoe said that nearly seven in 10 Americans support the decision.

In an unscientific survey conducted by The Herald-Mail on Wednesday, seven of the 10 people polled said they support the plan.

Patti Jones, 51, of Hagerstown, said that she thinks the decision could change the way people do business.

“If that’s what they’re going to have to do to make ends meet, they’re going to have to start somewhere,” Jones said. “That’s a fair thing for them to do, so I’m fine with it.”

Martha Hall, however, said not having Saturday mail delivery could be “inconvenient.”

“There will be too much delivered at one time on Monday,” said Hall, 57.

Local business workers who use the U.S. Postal Service said they would not be affected much by the decision.

At least one greeting card company has expressed concern that people whose birthdays fall on Saturdays would not be able to receive the cards on the actual day.

“If people want to get a card out or something they just need to think ahead,” said store owner Kelly Renner, who said the decision would not affect her business — Carol & Company, a gift shop at Long Meadow Shopping Center.

The Herald-Mail Co. Circulation Director Brian Tedrick said that because the local post office already does not accept Saturday bulk mail, a term for larger quantities of mail sent out at reduced rates, the decision will not affect the company drastically.

“We mail out about 60 newspapers a day throughout the country, and the fact that we can’t send bulk mail on Saturday already affects us,” he said. A newspaper “could be delayed” in the mail, though, because “let’s say a person in Oklahoma is used to getting our Wednesday paper on Saturday. Now they’re not.”

Tedrick said the company could take advantage of that decision.

“We also deliver 16 other newspapers in Washington County, and this is an opportunity for us to take some business away from the postal service,” by adding to the number of papers the company delivers, he said.

Kim Dawkins, 40, of Hagerstown, said that she also supports the decision because she usually just checks her mail once a week.

“They have to save money somewhere, so just Monday through Friday is fine with me,” she said.

Ronald Hutzel of Hagerstown said that the decision could delay important mail, though.

“Coming Monday, it’ll fill up your mailbox,” said Hutzel, 55. “I think mail should be delivered the way it’s always been delivered.”

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