The debt-ridden U.S. Postal Service announced Wednesday that it will stop delivering mail on Saturdays but continue to deliver packages six days a week, according to the Washington Post. The halt will commence in August. Post Office hours on Saturdays will also be reduced.
This means that magazines, some newspapers, catalogs, general mail and Netflix movies will not reach customers’ homes on the weekends.
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe cited a “changing market demand” brought about by the drastic decline in mail volume caused by the rise of the Internet as the reason for the change in delivery service, according to the Post. The change, though not exactly greeted warmly, is necessary. With the cultural switch from snail mail to email has come enormous financial struggle for the Postal Service. Huge portions of USPS employees have been laid off. As Americans continue to switch to communicating and paying bills online, it does not make sense for the Postal Service to over-burden itself with debt when the demand for mail continues to decrease. Cutting back Saturday deliveries addresses budget issues while still keeping the country’s mail delivery system intact.
Postal officials have been seeking approval from Congress to eliminate Saturday delivery for a while now, but they have been met with resistance from lawmakers in rural districts and labor unions, according to the Post. Rural lawmakers claim that the change would be felt most in rural areas, where remote communities rely heavily on mail delivery. This is likely because in rural areas, access to Internet is less readily available.
However, Donahoe is correct in his assertion that the postal service is less needed than it was even a number of years ago. We prefer to receive bills, tickets, even movies via the computer. We correspond on social media, not via letters.
But cutting Saturday delivery does not mean it is the beginning of the end for the USPS. It remains important to the American public and its government officials — as seen through the past resistance of Congress — that the Postal Service finds a way to thrive in the face of the digital age. It is an emblem of tradition in America, and the formal way in which we communicate with our communities and our countries.
Imagine electronic wedding invitations — support the Post Office in their need to manage their budget. It is necessary that if we plan to embrace the digital age, we allow for some alterations in the more traditional organizations that are trying to compete.