Small businesses react to the prospect of fewer visits from the USPS.
By this summer, the days of eagerly waiting by the door for post on Saturdays may be over.
Oh wait, I was thinking of a summer day in 1972. Or maybe a Norman Rockwell painting. Does anyone care about Saturday mail delivery anymore?
We'll soon find out. Although Congress could nix the decision, the U.S. Postal Service has announced plans to cease Saturday mail delivery starting August 1. The move is a landmark one but not particularly surprising for anyone who has followed the USPS's struggles: $15.9 billion in losses its last fiscal year and a massively underfunded retiree health care fund.
The president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, Fredric Rolando, came out swinging. In a statement, he slammed the postmaster general as arrogant, called the decision "counterproductive," and called for him to step down. Ending Saturday delivery, Rolando said, "would be particularly harmful to small businesses.'"
Is that true? Let's face it, a good deal of public reaction to change pits nostalgia against necessity. And some entrepreneurial-minded folks have for years been calling for the USPS to be privatized and do whatever it takes to get profitable.
I asked the Inc. audience via Facebook and Twitter if five-day delivery would affect their businesses. Without equivocation, most respondents said that it would not:
"Being in a rural area, we only get mail 3 days a week now," said Regina Bauer. "I guess the only thing it would really affect is the time-sensitive mail that has to be filled out and returned in only a few days."
No. RT @inc: The U.S. Postal Service announced plans to cut Saturday mail delivery on August 1st. Will your business be impacted?
Others pointed out potential upsides. Beth Avery Fine, who owns shipping center Palencia Business Center, reminded Facebook commenters that, "other options are available for Saturday delivery but the consumer will need to pay the upcharge fees. Maybe the two largest carriers [FedEx and UPS] will see an uptick and decrease their Saturday fees to increase volume?"
@inc the impact on the environment with the gasoline savings is Huge ...
JUDITH OHIKUARE is a reporter for Inc. magazine. She was a features intern for Seventeen magazine, where she covered health and wellness, and her work has been also been published in Marie Claire. Judith is from Brooklyn, New York. @ohikuare