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Saturday mail delivery might be axed, Obama says; Americans yawn

September 20, 2011 |  2:26 pm

Saturday_mail

No mail delivery on Saturdays -- that's the prospect. No Netflix DVDs. No birthday cards. No catalogs to browse through over weekend coffee. No anything.

On Monday, President Obama released a plan suggesting that the U.S. Postal Service stop delivering mail on Saturday, apparently upsetting just about no one -- not politicians, not customers and not the folks in the Twittersphere, many of whom seem to be upset about many things at any given time.

Rather, a certain amount of perspective seems to be brewing.

After all, there's unanimous agreement across the political spectrum that something needs to change in the way the U.S. Postal Service does business. Even Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has publicly described the service's current state of operation as unsustainable.

Mail volume has declined by 43 billion pieces in the last five years, and regular old letters bearing postage stamps have declined 36% in the same amount of time, according to a news release from the U.S. Postal Service.

"We are forced to face a new reality today," Donahue said in that release. "With the dramatic decline in mail volume and the resulting excess capacity, maintaining a vast national infrastructure is no longer realistic."

Cutting Saturday mail -- which the Postal Service said would save $3.1 billion a year -- would be just part of the solution to help the Postal Service. The plan afoot would also allow the Postal Service to enact a one-time rate increase of 5.6%.

Another plan is being sponsored by Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.). His plan would have mail couriers leave letters and whatnot at the curb or end of the driveway rather than delivering them to people's doors.

Such an alternative might not be necessary. A survey of responses to Obama's plan on Twitter indicates most people wouldn't miss Saturday mail too much.

"No mail on Saturday?! However will I get my ... oh no, wait, my life won't change at all," wrote WordsofSarah.

SFOmagMichelle weighed in: "Why does this continue to be a debate? Just cut Saturday mail and keep my bills until Monday."

And considering Netflix's current troubles -- the company is hemorrhaging customers, as the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday -- perhaps waiting until Monday for those DVDs wouldn't inconvenience too many people either.

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-- Deborah Netburn

Photo: A bin of mail at the U.S. post office sort center in San Francisco. Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

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