Monday, March 29, 2010

Five-Day Mail Delivery?

Thoughts on Five-Day Mail by Tad DeHaven
posted on the website called "Down Sizing the Federal Government

The USPS has taken the first step toward reducing mail delivery to five days a week by sending a request to the Postal Regulatory Commission. However, it will be ultimately up to Congress whether or not Saturday delivery is eliminated.

The USPS, which is in a death spiral, views the elimination of Saturday mail delivery service as a step toward regaining its financial footing. Not surprisingly, the decision is proving controversial among some members of Congress.

Here’s a better idea: give Americans the freedom to choose the mail services they want by repealing the USPS monopoly. That way consumers and businesses could choose to provide and use mail services zero days a week or seven days a week.

Online movie rental services like Netflix offer a small example. A lot of folks time their Netflix rentals so that they have movies for Saturday night. Eliminating Saturday delivery will necessarily degrade the quality of online movie rental services that people are paying for. With competition, Netflix could offer Saturday (or even Sunday) delivery through a private alternative. Perhaps there would be a surcharge, but at least consumers would be allowed to make that choice.

Supporters of the government mail monopoly regularly cite their amazement that they can drop a letter in a mailbox and it will arrive unharmed in another mailbox clear across the country. As a $70 billion operation with the largest workforce in the country, I would hope the USPS can pull off such a feat.

I find it more impressive that I can go into a grocery store almost anywhere in the country and be met with an incalculable number of choices. Take Coke products for instance. I recently made a list of the various Coke products available to me at a local grocery store. The following is just a sample: regular Coke, Diet Coke, Caffeine-Free Coke, Diet Caffeine-free Coke, Coke Zero, Coke with Splenda, Coke with Lime, Coke with Lemon, and Diet Coke Plus. Don’t like Coke? There’s a similar array of Pepsi products. Don’t like either? The grocery stores also offer pricier micro-brands with all sorts of unique flavors.

These choices reflect the awesome power of the market, which provides nearly all the goods and services people want without any direction from officials in Washington. It would interesting to see what sorts of innovations and products private mail deliverers would come up with if the government’s mail monopoly didn’t exist. Instead, Americans are stuck with a government operation whose floundering business model will require it to raise prices while simultaneously reducing its services. So much for freedom of choice.


  1. I don't think it would kill us to accept the 5 day delivery. Country delivery in many places was just every other day and they survived.

    I do like this guys idea of putting delivery out to bid. Maybe we could save a few bucks

  2. Seriously? I doubt very much the universe as we know it will be threatened if the post office stops Saturday delivery. Good grief. You want your Netflix movie for Saturday night.... order it for Friday. I like getting mail on Saturday and like knowing if I ship a package that is a working day... but no other government agency operates on a weekend, I think we'd all survive just fine....

  3. Something I've always thought was curious is the convieniance of delivery to your door(very expensive considering paying a person to drive, vehicle expenses maintaince, insurance, fuel, etc.) for the price of a stamp; compared to paying for a PO box and picking up your mail at the Post Office.

  4. I made my living for a lot of years depending on the US Mail and I don't see any reason to worry about Saturday delivery. A mandatory day off is good for us. Rep. Rehberg shouldn't spend any political capital on this subject.

  5. the usps needs to cut management positions not empolyees. look at the line to mail packages i'm sure everyone enjoys waiting to be helped. this is the next step in having you wait, and what about holidays can you wait 3 days for your mail then? call your congressmen and have them keep the SERVICE in the United States Postal Service. not as if the price of stamps will go down. think about it.

  6. If they only decided to deliver mail one day a week i'd be very happy.Ha Ha