Need to Get My Netflix by Friday

I heard on the radio today that the postal service is ready to seek congressional approval to stop Saturday mail service. I have mixed feelings about this decision. As a US citizen, I am happy to see a federal organization willing to make drastic changes to fix its current debt and growing debt problems. According to CNN (my favorite source for National news), as of 9/30/09, the Postal Service was $10 billion in debt. They have projected that cutting Saturday service will save $90 billion in the next 10 years, but at what or whose expense?

My environmental side rejoices at the thought of less fuel consumption and less exhaust fumes polluting our air. No Saturday service will mean less activity in postal sorting facilities resulting in lower utility usage. Workers won’t be expending gas to drive to work on Saturdays. But that’s the catch…my humanistic side can’t stand to hear that 30,000 people will lose their jobs and that is in addition to the tens of thousands of people who have already been laid off. My father worked for the post office, and I know that most postal workers see their jobs as lifelong. They aren’t aspiring to jump ship in 5 years to something bigger and better. They plan to work there until they retire, so I feel sad for those people who are suddenly left without a job and need to change their whole life plan to survive.

Let’s talk a little bit more about mail service. My environmental side is going to surface again. How much of your mail is of real value to you? For me, I would say 20%. 80% of my mail is junk mail. Grocery store flyers from stores that I never shop at. Coupon deals from businesses that I will never call. Mailing address labels from charity organizations that don’t even have my married name printed on them (and I’ve been married for 3 years). Catalogs from stores that I never shop at. Political propaganda. Constant reminders from the US government to return my census form.

I’m sitting here thinking about the mail that I do care about. Some of my bills are mailed to me others are electronic. I do get bank statements in the mail every month. I also get 2 magazines monthly. Party invitations. Thank you cards. Birthday cards. Christmas cards. I can’t forget Netflix. Every week, I have a big stack of mail and 80% of it goes into the recycling bag. I have to wonder how much junk mail really funds the postal service.

There was another interesting article on CNN about the elimination of Saturday mail service. It said that once people realize they can live with 5 day a week mail service, as the postal service incurs more debt it won’t be so difficult to go to 4 days a week, then 3, then 2, then 1. Eventually, the postal service may no longer be needed. That means an enormous reduction in wasted paper, resulting in saving how many trees a year, but it also means the end of 600,000 jobs and an organization that used to be a good revenue maker for the US government. I admit that I’m conflicted on how I feel about the future of the postal service.  Should it stay or should it go?

The Postal Service can’t go anywhere for one significant reason.  How would the federal government figure out how to execute the census in 10 years?  (that’s sarcasm in case you couldn’t tell)


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