Citing a $20 billion budget gap and the rise of e-commerce, U.S. Postal Service Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe announced earlier this month that the Postal Service would no longer deliver mail to street addresses on Saturdays beginning the week of August 5.
Packages of all sizes will still be delivered, however, and post offices that are currently open on Saturdays will remain open. Those with post office boxes will still have their mail delivered to them on Saturdays.
Mr. Donahoe said that ending delivery of letters, bills, magazines and the like on Saturdays would save the service $2 billion annually.
Although the new delivery schedule is a historic change—six-day delivery began in 1863—many East End residents don’t seem too worried about losing their sixth delivery day.
East Hampton resident Dave Hill said he doesn’t get much mail on Saturday to begin with. “Who needs Saturday mail anyway?” he said outside the East Hampton Post Office this week. “If I were going to get a check every Saturday, yes.”
Amagansett resident Maureen Goldberg mirrored Mr. Hill’s sentiments. “The answer is, ‘Who cares?’” she said. “If you can’t wait two days for a check, then you’ve not lived your life very well.”
Many people who have post office boxes expressed support for the new delivery schedule, especially since their mail would not be affected.
A Southampton man, who asked to remain anonymous, said he picks up his post office box mail in Southampton every day and has no problem with one fewer day of delivery. “Monday through Friday is enough,” he said. “Saturday is only good for Christmas cards. I can wait for bills.”
Jerry Adams of Southampton, who picks up mail at the Southampton Post Office every day, said while it won’t affect him, he understands that taking Saturday delivery away must be done. “I know the Postal Service is in a big, deep hole … anything to help,” he said. “I think that the Postal Service has been beaten up by the web and e-mail.”
According to Mr. Donahoe, that was precisely a big determinant of why the Postal Service decided to eliminate Saturday delivery. “First-class mail that businesses send continues to prove its value and has also been relatively stable,” he said in his testimony before a Senate committee last week. “Fortunately, people want to receive hard copy statements and other business correspondence through the mail, but, unfortunately for us, they elect to pay bills online. The result is that we have seen sharp declines in the first-class mail sent by residential customers. This is a trend that will continue to erode postal revenues.”
Many residents acknowledge the impact that the internet and e-commerce has on the post office. Instead of paying and receiving bills in the mail, many pay them online. The junk mail they used to get are now junk emails. The Christmas cards and thank-you notes that used to surprise them at the mailbox now come as e-cards.
“Email has changed a lot of things,” said Southampton Village resident Bill Mulligan. “I get very little mail on Saturdays, and most of what I get is junk mail.”
While changing the display inside his shop window, Travis Corwin of Corwin Jewelers on Southampton’s Main Street said he’s seen a decrease in mail as well, but he’s not complaining. “We used to get stacks of mail, but now it’s very little,” he said, adding that the internet has all but destroyed paper mail. “It’s something we can wait until Monday for.”
Technologically savvy AnneMarie Pallister, the managing broker for Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Hampton Bays and Montauk, said her company would not be heavily affected by the change, as most of its communications is already done through email or fax—though that too is becoming “archaic.” “I would have to say that we’re probably one of the biggest culprits, because most of the stuff we do is online,” she said. She added that she was surprised the service is still operating as it does, considering the high price of stamps.
Elyse Richman, owner of Shock and Baby Shock in Westhampton Beach, said that the change will not affect her business that much. For the most part, she pays all of her bills online and does most work for her business on the internet and via email. Although she does do a lot of shipping for her business, she said she typically does it at the post office and not on a Saturday because that is her busiest day.
“It is not really going to affect us at all,” Ms. Richman said. “We do do a nice amount of shipping, because we do offer that service to our customers so they don’t have to go to a post office, but we use the actual post office to ship the boxes. We can always go to the office on Monday.”