Some don’t like USPS plan to cut Saturday letter delivery

  • Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2013 12:51 a.m.
    UPDATED: Sunday, February 10, 2013 12:52 a.m.
Mike and Carolyn Nichols of Matthews stop at the Salisbury Post Office on Saturday to pack and ship Valentine’s Day care packages to their daughter in Santa Fe. The couple, who used to live in Salisbury, said they would hate to see the U.S. Postal Service end Saturday home delivery.
Mike and Carolyn Nichols of Matthews stop at the Salisbury Post Office on Saturday to pack and ship Valentine’s Day care packages to their daughter in Santa Fe. The couple, who used to live in Salisbury, said they would hate to see the U.S. Postal Service end Saturday home delivery.

SALISBURY — As the U.S. Postal Service plans to end Saturday letter delivery, many people at the Salisbury post office this weekend said it’s a bad idea.

“We are entitled to six-day-a-week service,” said Miriam Ramirez of Salisbury, who stopped in to buy correct postage for a letter.


Eliminating Saturday delivery means a letter mailed “priority” on Thursday would not arrive until Monday, Ramirez said. That will force some people to spend more money on overnight delivery, she said.

“We need the longer-length delivery,” she said. “I believe that one day a week without mail is sufficient.”

After years of billion-dollar losses, the Postal Service last week announced plans to end Saturday delivery of letters and magazines, which could save the Postal Service $2 billion a year because of fewer staff hours and less equipment. Saturday package delivering would continue.

While the Postal Service has seen a 20 percent decline in first-class mail since 2010, package delivery has increased by 14 percent, thanks in large part to an uptick in online shopping.

Debby Alexander of Salisbury said she won’t miss Saturday letter delivery.

“I’m not in a rush to get bills,” she said.

Alexander has a post office box for her small business, which she was using Saturday morning on East Innes Street.

If cutting Saturday home delivery will keep costs down and prevent another increase in the price of stamps, she’s all for it, Alexander said.

Last month, the Postal Service raised the price of a first-class stamp to 46 cents.

“Small businesses are struggling as it is,” Alexander said. “We buy a lot of stamps.”

But Carolyn Nichols of Matthews said eliminating Saturday letter delivery could be a slippery slope.

“I hate to see the tradition of mail go away,” said Nichols, who was packing and shipping Valentine’s Day care packages at the Salisbury post office. “It’s a step in that direction when they start to take one day away.”

Packages like those that Nichols and her husband Mike, who used to live in Salisbury, were shipping to their daughter in Santa Fe would still be delivered on Saturdays.

The Postal Service does not plan to change operating hours or mail being delivered to post office boxes, and post offices open on Saturdays would stay open.

For years, the Postal Service has wanted five-day-a-week home delivery, but Congress has refused. Now, the post office has seized a legal loophole that officials say allows the agency to shut down Saturday letter delivery on its own.

Some lawmakers are protesting the claim and promise a fight.

“I think it’s awful,” said Anatallia Escoto of Salisbury.

While she wouldn’t miss Saturday service herself, Escoto said many elderly people rely on mail delivery for contact with the outside world six days a week.

“They count on that to get through the day,” she said. “For us, it is not a problem. But it would be really sad for older people.”

Most Americans support ending Saturday mail delivery. A New York Times/CBS News poll last year found that about 7 in 10 Americans said they would favor the change as a way to help the post office deal with billions of dollars in debt.

The National Newspaper Association disagrees with the decision to do away with Saturday delivery because the change will delay timely delivery of newspapers mailed to customers throughout the U.S.

Since 2010, the Postal Service has continued to close post offices, including the office in downtown Salisbury. The agency also has reduced hours, cut staff and announced plans to decrease the number of regional processing plants.

But post office officials say that’s not enough pull the agency out of a deficit caused in part by a requirement that the Postal Service pay nearly $5.5 billion a year for health benefits to future retirees, a mandate imposed on no other government agency.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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