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Tue Aug 9 2016 22:17:25

Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?

By: Ina Steiner

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On Tuesday, the US Postal Service reported a net loss of $1.6 billion in the three-month period ending June 30th. Some key points from Kenneth Corbin's report in EcommerceBytes Newsflash:

- Buoyed in part by the continued strength of ecommerce, the Postal Service saw healthy growth in its shipping and packages unit, where revenue increased $645 million, or 18 percent, over the same period last year.

- Revenue declines continue in the First Class mail segment, tumbling $379 million in the third quarter of the fiscal year (the USPS is projecting a $2 billion revenue decline in First Class mail revenue for the year).

- The Postal Service is seeking legislation that would remove the current obligations to prefund retirees' health benefits, which continue to weigh on the balance sheet.

But some organizations are calling for the Postal Service to abandon all of its non-postal pursuits - they specifically reject anything other than "letter mail delivery."

In a statement on Tuesday, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) President Tom Schatz said, "The USPS is quick to point out supposed obstacles, while ignoring its exclusive advantages. As mail volume continues to decline, agency leaders persist in peddling the misguided belief that financial salvation lies in accounting gimmicks and starting new non-postal ventures. The USPS should focus solely on its letter mail products and not stray from its original mission. Non-postal pursuits will significantly compound the agency's woes."

And Steve Pociask of the American Consumer Institute said in a statement, "Looking back over recent years, the more specialty delivery services that the U.S.P.S. provides, the worse that service standards for postal customers have become. The more packages they delivery, the more debt grows. In the end, postal customers who rely on the U.S. Postal Service to deliver the mail are the ones that are suffering from the ill-conceived foray into exploratory markets and away from their core service of letter mail delivery."

Online sellers are avid users of the USPS and rely on the service to fulfill orders in a timely and cost effective manner. What do you think of statements that the USPS should focus exclusively on letter mail? Do you see areas where the USPS should not be entering, such as grocery delivery or postal banking?




Comments (22) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?   Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?

by: yesmikan This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 9 22:41:08 2016

Sourcewatch.org suggests that the American Consumer Institute is an astroturfing agency, which explains why they would make such a ridiculous statement as saying the USPS should stop package delivery, its only growth area in revenue. I wonder who they're shilling for here. Not to mention myself and many other users here rely on the USPS's package services.

Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?   Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Wed Aug 10 00:05:10 2016

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD > WE NEED SATURDAY AND SUNDAY OFFICE HOURS 8AM to 4PM.
Let ME run the operation. I'll generate TONS of revenue.....

Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?   Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Aug 10 06:59:44 2016

There is something to be said for focus.  If you can't get your core business operating optimally you should not be venturing into other schemes.

Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?   Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?

by: comments This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 10 14:19:55 2016

I am all for the postoffice earning revenue from anywhere it can get it. Experimenting with new features would be more preferable then fee hikes.

The postal rate increases are not having the desired results for the postoffice.

When signature confirmation went up I stopped using it. I only use it on transactions higher then $750 instead of $250. Another factor was that the postal workers were just leaving my packages unscanned in mailboxes leaving me liable to cases.

I have sought out private insurance for my high dollar packages and began self insuring lower cost packages. This cost savings translates to way more profit for me since all money for insurance was just always lost.

I used to send everything $500+ priority mail. Thanks to the increase on small flat rate boxes I just started sending $500-$750 by 1st class mail at a major savings.

All in all I am now saving several hundred dollars a month on postage and I would have never thought to change my shipping methods if the costs didn't become outrageous. If postal rates go up anymore I plan to start using fedex.  

Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?   Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 10 16:45:52 2016

How about stop wasting millions on gas shipping free packages for china?

Thats a start.

Second, the increase in rates has caused other delivery options to be more lucrative..usps us no longer always the cheapest, many create accounts with ups and fed ex instead.

So lower rates to a manageable price, stop shipping for free chiba crap, and open on the weekends...problem solved.

Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?   Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?

by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 10 17:34:49 2016

The China shipping situation mentioned above is a international postal treaty obligation which we have over the years not negotiated very well as far as us US users are concerned.

However the core Postal Services money problems start with the US Congress and years of Pension misalignment and funding; a very top heavy organizational structure and a ridiculous pay scale for work required.

All just my ten cents or so opinion.  

Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?   Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?

by: val2525 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 10 21:59:59 2016

I'd like to see the post office charge to pack items for shipping.  They do it for free now, which is stupid.  It slows down the line (especially during the holidays).  FedEx and UPS charge to pack, why shouldn't the USPS?

Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?   Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?

by: Joey4711 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 11 00:17:28 2016

It might be a postal treaty obligation but why should the post office bleed red, so Ebay can make more money by having Chinese send out epackets?

What will happen as always is they will (USPS) will raise prices to US sellers but help the Chinese by being able to send a pound package for equivalent of 1.99 give me a damn break.  

If the Post Office wants to fulfill its obligations under a treaty fine, but charge them for it instead of me and YOU!!!

Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?   Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?

by: rickyrocket This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 11 00:38:58 2016

1) Congress should remove the current obligations to prefund retirees' health benefits

2) The post office makes some profit from the sale of greeting cards, etc. and they make a TON of profit from the sale of their overpriced "ReadyPost" packing products so they'd be insane to do away with that source of free money from people who come in empty handed to ship something

3) The post office should be championing a HUGE campaign for stamp collecting. Think about it...EVERY youngster they reel in who becomes a life long stamp collector purchases a huge amount of postage over the course of their lifetime...postage for which services are never rendered! FREE money, other than the cost to print the stamps! Plus there are real solid marketing opportunities to sell collectibles (MUCH MORE than they do now) for various stamp releases. The Canadian postal system and The Royal Post in England are two incredible examples of terrific marketing. They also PAY royalties for rights usage for popular and cultural attractions and franchises which then SELL A TON OF STAMPS TO COLLECTORS...MORE FREE MONEY! Canada is making HUGE amounts from their terrific STAR WARS releases this summer and Great Britain has a fantastic marketing push for PINK FLOYD stamps which were just released, including Limited Editions which only collectors will buy. MORE FREE MONEY!

The U.S. Postal Service is run by old thinking bureaucrats who rarely take risks. Imagine hiring an incredible young CEO from Silicon Valley with a variety of visions and ideas...the agency could definitely be in the black yet it starts at the top. Anyway, as Dennis Miller says...this is all just my opinion, I could be wrong...

Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?   Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 11 01:09:34 2016

Very convenient that they have a treaty with china for dirt cheap shipping, I seriously doubt its only because if some treaty which they could dispose of..more like the plan was always to weaken us from the inside while selling us out to line pockets and do power grabs.

Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?   Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?

by: Watching the Wheels This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 11 07:13:54 2016

I've been suggesting that they do a money exchange service like Paypal, FOREVER.

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to actually talk to someone IN PERSON, who has a certain level of control over YOUR $$$$$ ?

Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?   Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?

by: ewegolf This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 11 07:39:31 2016

Reduce the five days a week delivery mandate to the hinterlands to three days. They'll still receive all the last-mile deliveries for UPS and FedEx.  

Also make the Chinese and Amazon pay for the services they receive.

Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?   Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?

by: dmg61 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 11 08:26:07 2016

Are there really that many important LETTERS sent anymore? Honestly? I do mostly small, first class mail shipping. Fed Ex is an option, but they're way more expensive than USPS. Stick to small packages and open post offices on SUNDAY when no one else is open, pick up that business... and pick up and deliver all parcels on Sunday as well. They have more than enough workers to cover the schedules.

Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?   Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?

by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 11 09:15:04 2016

Stop financing China's packages on the backs of citizens, obvious one.
Charge Amazon MORE for Sundays unless you are going to open it up for everyone.
As for new services, greeting cards sounds like something they can fit in easily as most of the Post offices have small sales area.  Maybe pre-add the postage in, so you get a cheap card and postage paid for 1.00. How about gift cards?
Since my local office has told us the only reason they were allowed to stay open was the steady income from me and 2 other package customers, I doubt stopping parcels would be a good idea.
I also would not like to wait behind someone doing actual banking but maybe they can add an ATM.
As for considering a postal employee for any serious banking needs, this sounds nuts to me.
Grocery delivery, I do not understand how this is supposed to work but would they need freezers, storage or refrig. trucks and such? Sounds very expensive to me. I just think that they should stay away from things that are not easily worked in.

Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?   Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Thu Aug 11 10:08:07 2016

.99 cents buy it now phone case from Hong Kong with FREE shipping!

I can't mail a 1 oz package across the street for anything less then $2.45

And they wonder why they're losing money, Maybe Amazon should buy the USPS and give us all a deal on shipping!

Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?   Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 11 11:41:00 2016

Face facts, there is no help for the Post Office. They have raised rates about 500% these past few years and yet their loss rate remains at a steady billion plus dollars every earnings report. There needs to be an audit to find out why? Also there needs to be a VAT tax on imports. Let the buyer pay what ever amount the Chinese are not paying. Most other countries pass their postal costs to the customers in that manner. That should fix that rat hole and put imports on the same basis as Americans pay for Postal services. Let Amazon buy their own trucks to deliver groceries and pay the equivalent in shipping costs for Postal services that everyone else pays. If the Post Office is losing money on Amazon packages and raising rates to help offset those losses, then shame on them.
Also I would like to know where the pension funds are that the Post Office keeps complaining they have to pay? If the money is being siphoned off by Congress and Wall Street, then that needs to be fixed as well. In other words, get someone with intelligence and the power to fix what is broken instead of passing the buck on to the backs of the American citizens.

Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?   Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?

by: comments This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 11 23:19:47 2016

I agree with the whoever made the china comment. Another one sided deal americans are getting ripped off on. It would cost me a fortune to ship with tracking to China. How come they send to us practically free?

Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?   Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?

by: Toledo Maude This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 12 13:24:49 2016

1.)  Delivery to a residential address - UPS and FedEx charge a minimum of what? 12 bucks plus 3 to 5 dollars residential address fee.  The Post Office charges half a buck to deliver a letter in town or rural.  Guess who is making money?

2.) Saturday residential delivery?  UPS will for an additional fee (on top of the residential delivery fee), and FedEx will deliver on Saturdays but not Mondays with only one extra fee.
Post Office delivers a 10 ounce package six days for what 3 bucks versus 5 times or more for UPS and FedEx.   Guess who is making money?

Forgive me if my price quotes for UPS and FedEx are not perfectly accurate but close for sure.

The USPS will never make a profit as long as they are mandated to delivery to every address intown or rural for the same low price.  

The USPS needs to eliminate Saturday delivery unless one wants to pay a Saturday delivery fee.

The USPS needs to expand their retail days to 7 days a week with hours from early morning to 9 at night.  This will require a mix of additional post office hours and working with the likes of Staples and other commercial businesses.  

The best way for the USPS to turn a profit is raise prices several times on package delivery service.  That would be good for them but an end to many small Internet sellers.  I see that coming....  

Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?   Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?

by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 14 12:21:19 2016

Labor is what is dragging the PO down. It's like going to the DMV. Years and years of over-paid employees with guaranteed pensions. It's not their general business operations that are putting them in the red. Stand in any long line at the post office. Watch customers walk out in disgust. Here's the real deal. We all should have grabbed those cushy government jobs when we got out of high school. They are nothing more than cashiers - truly - think about it. Their paid 2 and 3x's more than a Walmart worker. I realize they think they deserve what they get but their wrong - times have changed - not for the better but they have still changed. Government workers are living in a dead end world - they just don't get it.

Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?   Should USPS Abandon Its Non Postal Pursuits?

by: Sunk818 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 16 00:03:34 2016

Even if the post office stopped experimenting in other areas, the pension (legacy costs) can't be avoided. It'll take decades to convert to 401(k) where they front load the expenses instead of back load like they do now.

Post office even without pension contributions will continue have many money losing areas. FedEx and ups get to cherry pick their delivery areas and only deliver to areas that make money. Post office pick up the slack by being less expensive than ups but it still is a money loser to usps. It's really all the rural deliveries that cost money that will never be recouped.

You have to think of usps more of as a utility like gas electricity and water. It should be available to everyone for a readonable price... Sort of like universal healthcare but for letters and packages. When you cover everyone including the people hundreds of miles away from anyone else... It will be a money losing proposition.

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