Stoppage doesn’t bother some Sanford residents

Feb. 06, 2013 @ 08:37 PM

The cost-cutting move by the U.S. Postal Service to stop delivering mail on Saturdays all across the country, starting in August, was received positively in an admittedly unscientific poll of people in Sanford.

“That doesn’t really bother me because of the budget constraints they’re facing,” Andrae McLeod said while picking up his mail at the post office in Sanford. “They’re losing a lot of money, so it makes sense.”

McLeod said he was surprised to learn how small a dent the move would make in the Postal Services debt — the changes are expected to save about $2 billion a year, and last year the agency was nearly $16 billion in debt — and said that it seems like the USPS can’t keep up with private-sector competitors like UPS and FedEx.

“This whole building could be gone, and we’d still get our mail,” McLeod said. And even though post offices will remain open on Saturdays and mail will still be delivered to P.O. boxes on Saturdays, McLeod said he already planned not to renew his P.O. box when his contract runs out in June, saying the convenience simply isn’t worth paying more than $70 a year.

Bob Joyce, president of the Sanford Area Chamber of Commerce, was at a meeting of business and economic development officials Wednesday morning and said most of them reacted positively to the news because as business people, they saw the sense in making changes that will save $2 billion dollars while also having a relatively small affect on the quality of service. He said he later called four Lee County businesses — a medical provider, a service business and two locally owned retailers — and found that no one was worried.

“They do not believe that stopping Saturday delivery will have any affect on their business,” he said, adding that the retailers told him their main concern would be advertisements for Monday sales, but that they could simply send those out earlier and rely more on radio and newspaper ads during the weekend. He also said that because packages will continue to be delivered on Saturdays, they weren’t concerned about losing customers who need quick weekend shipments.

“If they need to express something for a customer, they will still get that on Saturday,” he said.

An employee at the Sanford post office, at 1200 S. Horner Blvd., said Wednesday morning that employees had been ordered not to speak to the media.

Other strategies used by the USPS in recent years to save money have included cutting hours and staff at rural post offices, which it has done nationwide since 2010.

However, Monica Robbs, a statewide public relations officer for the USPS, said that Wednesday’s announcement shouldn’t mean any further reductions in staff, staff hours or locations — although that doesn’t mean they weren’t happening already.

“There are some changes that are already underway... where we were looking at reducing hours,” she said, adding that the reductions are now planned to continue through September, 2014: “But those offices have already been notified.”

Some of the smaller communities nearby with post offices include Broadway, Lemon Springs, Gulf, Olivia, Moncure, Goldston, Bear Creek and Mamers.