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Would the end of weekend mail cost you?

You might be tempted to pay for expedited shipping rather than wait longer for online orders.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 22, 2011 2:20PM

This post comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.


If a U.S. Postal Service pitch to eliminate Saturday delivery goes through, consumers could see bigger bills -- even as it takes them a few extra days to arrive.


Earlier this week, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe told USA Today that a projected $8.3 billion loss in revenue this year could force the end of Saturday delivery. He told the paper that he thinks Congress might be more amenable to the strategy -- which could save $3.1 billion a year -- given the federal debt and budget problems.


Consumers are likely to find expedited shipping for online orders more attractive if there are fewer delivery day options, says L.J. Shrum, chair of the marketing department at the University of Texas, San Antonio. The extra cost seems more reasonable if it gets a purchase to you by Friday, instead of three days later on a Monday.


It also increases the attractiveness of free-shipping clubs like Amazon Prime, Barnes & Noble and, which include faster shipping options as a benefit to members who pay an annual fee. Retailers have already begun adding new services (and charges) for same-day home delivery. Post continues after video.

Another pitfall: the temptation to stock up. Consumers faced with the choice to return their Netflix or Blockbuster mail-in rentals by Wednesday or miss out on weekend movie watching might decide to increase their subscription instead, Shrum says.


Some added costs would come from retailers, too, if the lost day shifts order patterns enough to slow processing times or prompt a renegotiation with shippers, says Luke Knowles, founder of "We might see online retailers promoting (Saturday delivery from) FedEx and UPS delivery a little more," he says, or programs that ship online orders to stores for free, as a way to cut costs.


Readers, how would a cutback in postal service affect your spending habits?


More on SmartMoney and MSN Money:

Jul 24, 2011 12:30PM
From the sounds of the article, you'd think that everyone plans their lives around  Netflix, and ordering on Amazon.  They are REALLY scraping the bottom of the barrel trying to stir up some drama about changes at the Postal Service.  I think that most people have a life, and all of the "horrible" changes that may be coming will actually be little flyspecks in the road, instead of the Mt Everest that this article makes them out to be.................................
Jul 26, 2011 5:16PM

Companies that send junk mail and ads should pay full rates---no more discounts!

Junk mail accounts for most of the bulk of the mail and consumes most of the manpower to deal with.

Jul 23, 2011 10:51PM
We would even be for m w f mail service .  we receive lots of junk mail and we would only have to deal with it three times a week .  Our mail carrier is the best.
Jul 24, 2011 12:40AM
The problem is twofold.  

1) A number of office have positions being held open.  There is a vacancy in my office (my old position actually).  It's being held for "excessed (involuntarily transferred)" carriers.  Those positions do not have any carriers assigned to them.  The rest of the existing carriers are forced to split that vacant route daily which increases delivery times on their own assignments.

2) Mail is late for not only the reason above, but USPS managers hires what are called "Transitional Employees" (employees with no benefits).  While they make less money than a career carrier (they are paid at the lowest carrier wage), they do get raises when we do; but they have to pay 100% of any health benefits (after a year).  They go through the same classes as a career carrier, BUT they are forced to work at different offices every day even though they are assigned to a particular office.  More often than not, they aren't familiar with the route and the carriers in the existing office has to bail those poor folks out.

Additionally we have to finish not only our assignments, but the vacant ones by 5 PM which certainly can't be done.  In my office, we have 13 routes with anywhere from 8 to 9 people showing up which means we all have to do at least 2 hours of extra work daily.
Jul 27, 2011 12:33AM
MSN fails to mention that USPS still has a Saturday option for delivery in Express mail. Most customers might be surprised to find out that it is a more affordable service than UPS or FEDEX and is just as fast. USPS also offers Global Express shipping all over the world. Check it out and compare. Both of these services are available for delivery 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Jul 24, 2011 6:00PM

Cutting out Saturday postal hours will have a huge impact on people. No Post Office on Saturday. I suspect this cut would affect rural routes more then urban postal customers. It was great when banks opened for Saturday business. It made sense for working people who didn't have access to banking or postal service mid week. .  


Sometimes progress isn't all that progressive.



Jul 25, 2011 4:28PM
most of you people on this board making comments have no idea of how the postal service works or have any idea what would happen if five day service would happen who it would effect or any thing, well its not about you or just you, its about alot other people besides you, this is a service to the people of the united states that is universal for all people rural or any body, think before you say any stupid comments!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Apr 30, 2012 11:30PM

stop all the junk mail discounts.  most of the junk mail and ads go straight into the recycle bin.  I have started using bill pay and on-line billing more and more as prices go up.  I also have many of my bills sent to me electrically. 

Jul 26, 2011 5:12PM
the USPS needs to do like UPS and open there post offices to package recieving from all carriers.
May 1, 2012 7:40AM
mail delivery is a constant problem. everyone else gets my mail. i either get no mail or all my neighbors mail. does the carrier sort and bundle the mail before they leave the post office? if they don't who does sort it out ? there has to be a way of making sure everyone gets the mail for their address and not everyone else's. being closed on holidays will make things worse with no saturday mail.
Apr 30, 2012 11:36PM
The Saturday comment was a good one that I haven't thought of.  How about Tuesday through Saturday with closures on Sunday and Monday.   They could extend hours in November and December for the Christmas holiday rust and be open 6 days per week these 5 months.  Otherwise, I don't see that much of a problem with only 5 days of service.
Jul 25, 2011 8:44AM
I wouldn't mind the changes if they saved billions off the budget.  My question would be, "What will they do with the billions saved?"  Take all incumbants out of the equation, replacing them with newbies who really care about our country, then reduce the service.  I would be happy to go along with the cuts.
Jul 25, 2011 4:33PM
six day service is a must, to maintain universal service
Jul 27, 2011 7:06AM

What is missing in this debate is how much the postal union impacts the price of postage.  How many billions would be saved by private and business consumers if union wages and benefits did not have to be paid?

Jul 24, 2011 9:15AM
the mail carrier touched on a major issue regarding customer service. When the same person delivers your mail day after day, they are accountable for the quality of service , they get to know the customers on the route. When temps are shifted from route to route, they don't care because they won't be around to pick up mistakes or get feed back from customers. The P.O. is pretty much a disaster zone on the Tues after a Mon. holiday-it takes all week to get caught up-your mail will be late or your carrier will be delivering at 10pm. I can't even begin to describe the ways in which delivery after dark are a hazard-not only to the carrier , but to pedestrians and to other drivers.Does the po care about customer service or the safety of it's employees-no , only the bottom line. Elimination of Sat delivery would contribute to the after the holiday mailagedon.
Jul 22, 2011 4:52PM
My mail never comes on time as it is, and if it does the mail carrier usually puts it in the wrong mail box anyway, so now I am suppose to be worried if they cut Saturday mail, to me it just doesn't matter much and judging by the lack of comments on this article must not matter much to anyone else either.
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