I feel like my grandparents when I say this, but I remember when a first class stamp was $.15 back in 1980. Now, at $.44 a stamp, we’ve seen an increase of about 66% over the past 30 years. Not bad right? And yet the US Postal Service has predicted that over the next ten years, they’ll lose 238 billion dollars in revenue. In 2009 alone they declared a loss of 3.8 billion with sales down almost 13%. That’s a lot of $.44 stamps. And therefore, they’ve proposed something quite radical for 2011; no Saturday service.
No Saturday service would mean a cut of approximately 40,000 postal workers’ jobs. It would also mean no packages from mom, no Netflix, and no last chances to get something out before Monday. Due to online banking, bill paying, and emailing, people just aren’t using snail mail as much as they used to. Well I’m in the minority then, but I still do everything by mail. There’s something comforting to me about taking pen to paper. I sit down, open my check book, and slowly write out Time Warner, The Gas Company, and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power across the ‘To’ lines. Carefully, I spell out Forty-Three and Twenty-Seven. I sign my name and tape the envelope closed with the stub of each bill. I enjoy looking into my stamp folder and choosing which stamps I’m going to use. Lately, it’s been the Simpsons. It’s a process and it takes a few minutes, but in our rush-rush-rush society, what’s wrong with that?
The US Postal Service is something I feel like I can trust. My mailman, whom I am friendly with despite the fact that my dog has tried on numerous occasions to eat him, arrives each day like clockwork and if I am at home at the time, we chat about the weather and what’s going on with said dog. (An aside here: I am also friendly with my UPS guy and my FedEX guy. The UPS delivery man has stopped ringing the doorbell since he knows it gets Hank going and the FedEX delivery man now drops off his packages with two Milk Bones. It’s a nice feeling.) Connecting with people is important. Too much we sit behind our computers in isolation or text back and forth instead of just picking a place and getting together. Canceling mail on Saturday feels sad to me. Saturday delivery has been around since the early 1900’s. In 1960, the USPS approved canceling Sunday service and here we are 50 years later contemplating Saturday service.
Perhaps it makes monetary sense. Perhaps even most of the country is for it. Perhaps I am old fashioned and silly, but I say there has to be another solution. I hate the idea of not seeing my mailman on Saturdays, not being able to sift through my mail, and not having the option of sending out a last minute bill. I don’t like my bill collectors knowing my bank account information. If they want payment they can just wait for it through the mail like it’s been done for the last 100 years. So say no to this cutback; take a moment to mail a bill today or mail a letter or mail someone you love a surprise. We’ve got a post office to save.