Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Jan 26 2017 20:43:33

Could Trump Freeze Spell Bad News for Online Sellers?

By: Ina Steiner

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A move by President Trump in his first week in office could have an impact on online sellers. The President put a freeze on hiring of Federal workers (except for the military) and ordered the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to recommend a long-term plan to reduce the size of the Federal Government's workforce through attrition.

Whatever your political views, if that extends to US Postal Service workers, it has the potential to impact service. While online sellers can choose to ship via UPS and FedEx, the USPS often offers the most value for micro sellers.

The memorandum states that no Federal agency can fill vacant positions, and no new positions may be created, except in limited circumstances.

After PostalNews raised the issue, we reached out to the USPS on Monday, but it hasn't yet provided an official response. But PostalNews ran a followup story and said the National Association of Postal Supervisors (NAPS) had received the following response from USPS on Tuesday:

"The Postal Service provides an essential service to the people and businesses of the United States, and is a critical part of our nation's infrastructure. In view of our independent status, past Executive Orders imposing hiring freezes on Executive Departments and Agencies have not applied to the Postal Service. We have reached out to the Administration to discuss this matter."

Another challenge ahead is legislation - postal reform may have a greater likelihood of passing this year. 

With shipping costs rising on the one hand, and consumers still believing in "free" shipping on the other, things could get very challenging for smalls sellers indeed.




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Readers Comments

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by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 26 21:36:48 2017

I think the USPS is semi-autonomous. Their workforce members aren't technically federal employees.

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by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 26 21:40:10 2017

Reaching a bit in this. The USPS, just like the Fed Govt is bloated with employees.

As the quoted union rep said, USPS is not directly affected by the action.

Of course, as is usual with the case, any actual downtrends will affect the lower actual people who do the actual work and not the multiple layers of over supervision.

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by: DZT This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 26 22:12:07 2017

The USPS has continually changed its' story to suit whatever immediate narrative they are trying to support.

First they claim that they are NOT a government entity & they are entirely self funding & they use absolutely no taxpayer funds to run their operation.

As anyone with a Concealed Carry Weapons Permit knows....

The USPS conveniently claims that they ARE a government facility & no legally carried weapons are allowed in their facilities even if you have a legal license to carry.

The USPS makes up whatever rules they want & there is zero oversight or accountability within their system.

Bottom line is..... this wastefull bloated bureaucracy could operate with 1/2 the employees it has now if you could pull all of the high paid management & supervisors away from the crossword puzzles that they play while on the job.

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by: MysticKnotwork This user has validated their user name.
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Fri Jan 27 00:28:06 2017

"Another challenge ahead is legislation - postal reform may have a greater likelihood of passing this year. "

Is that the legislation that removes the overfunding of pension mandate and possibly removes Saturday residential delivery, or is that another reform?

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by: puppy This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 27 00:36:39 2017

Ina, seriously? A bit of fear and hype, no? Couldn't you have held off writing such a worrisome headline until facts existed to prove this was likely? I'm not in love with this guy... he has his shortcomings. But it seems everyone is jumping on any chance possible to SPECULATE negatively about him. He's a business guy... you honestly think he is going to cause USPS service to be disrupted? Silliness.

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by: Redlion This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 27 00:39:55 2017

If and that is a big IF, the hiring freeze were to apply to USPS workers, there is still an alternative to supplement the functions of these workers.  

In 2013 the USPS was negotiating with Staples to put a postal hub in each of their outlets and trials were started.  After the teacher's unions and the postal unions started the ''Don't buy Staples'' movement, they have finally been successful in getting the USPS to discontinue it's retail relationship with Staples.  All services will be removed from Staples by the first week in March.

This relationship made sense for the general public, it made sense for Staples.  It didn't make sense for the APWU whose members (and dues) would have decreased.

Next time readers attempt to ship something internationally and are shocked that the rates have tripled over the last few years, I do hope they will remember this.

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by: ck This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 27 00:45:41 2017

I would be willing to pay a little more for postage if President Trump would cut the number of Federal Employees down 25% or more. Start with the administrative staff.  

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by: Redlion This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 27 00:55:24 2017

And an after thought... I'm in total agreement with Puppy... Frankly Ina, I'm a bit.... okay, more than a bit, disappointed in you... For whatever that's worth.

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by: Interesting Antiques This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 27 01:15:24 2017

Absolutely no fear, the postal system is a critical service, if anything I would venture to say President Trump would expand it if anything.
He is a very savy businessman.
I am  not worried at all, and actually  very encouraged!

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by: Garcia This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 27 01:28:18 2017

I don't think this will affect the postal service.  I wish everyone would not jump to conclusions before they know the facts.  It just makes sellers worry for nothing.  I am very disappointed that ecommercebytes would say this without the facts.  It is another attempt at making Trump into a president that doesn't care about what he does.  Shame on you.  Your political views are showing.

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by: whipnet This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 27 01:49:20 2017

Well I guess there is no question who the author of this lugubrious article voted for.  Pathetic

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by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 27 02:08:28 2017

Wow.

Just

Wow

HE is a FAILED  "businessman"  who drove  SIX or more business'  into the GROUND and had to take BANKRUPTCY  for  each of them.  ANOTHER of  his "hotels"  JUST  went  bankrupt  in Canada.  OUR hotel in  Washington DC--the one he is in FELONY FEDERAL VIOLATION  OF THE CONSTITUTION  (and  the LEASE  from  the United States  Government--you  know--US--WE, the People---has  lost OVER a MILLION  DOLLARS  in the few  short  weeks  since it opened.  Oh  and don't  bother looking for ANYTHING  Made In The USA  in there--it  does not EXIST.  

Then  there is  the  wee  little  matter of NEVER PAYING TAXES--unlike  you and ME  who  have NO CHOICE--and who support  our  Military;  build  our  roads and bridges;  pay  for our  schools; keep  our  systems  running so we  know  when  a  hurricane  is  approaching  or  whether or not we  should  trust  that  steak  we  just  bought to  be inspected and safe;  or  the milk  we  give our  kids---

WE  pay  for  ALL of this  via TAXES--he BRAGS  that HE DOES NOT AND WILL NOT.  

Tell me again  how  "successful"  a  guy is who has  to  FORFEIT  25 MILLION  DOLLARS  after  defrauding  hundreds in a FAKE  "University"  scam?  

These  are  not "Alternative  Facts"  ie  LIES--these  are  easily proven TRUTHS.  

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by: flybuy This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 27 02:40:22 2017

Well my first comment was deleted but I do agree this article is clearly biased against Trump.

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by: corpuschristi1956 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 27 02:45:47 2017

this article sounds like more fear mongering from a Democrat. I am so tired of the liberal media trying to undermine a man that might actually fix eBay for good because China will no longer be our king.

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by: Ebay's Slow Death This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 27 02:57:08 2017

Thank You Ina for the heads-up story, once again. You give us information, and we are free to interpret it however we want. I worry a lot about President Trump and the dumb things he is already doing. He obviously cares only about himself and his businesses.

As usual, Comet had a Great post, with many True Facts, and none of
Trump's famous Alternate Facts.

Trump is an empty suit, and if you believe otherwise, good luck and get back to us in a year. It looks like I'm going to be paying 20% more for my Blueberries and Raspberries, which are grown in Mexico this time of year.

As for the USPS, Ina is right about the squeeze between them raising their rates, and Ebay training Buyers that all shipping should be free. Being an internet retailer becomes harder every day, and I don't think Trump and Congress will make it any easier for us.

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by: Interesting Antiques This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 27 03:01:31 2017

Regarding the university 'fraud' I paid over 75,000 and got a degree but couldn't get a job in that field, boy I think I'll sue the university for fraud?
Please get real!
Bankruptcy laws allow what Mr Trump did, its legal.
And regarding never paying taxes? You are his accounting firm? What have you achieved to state such hateful misinformation?
This is an ecommerce  site not political site.
This is terrible Ina, you should NOT mix your political views and UNDERMINE your business.
One important point is don't mix your personal politics with your business, you will upset half your customers.
And disapponted you deleted one of my posts, it was respectful and  stated you should be  inspiring WHAT will our President do for online sellers instead spreading FAKE NEWS like Buzzfeed does. Shameful.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Siobhan

Fri Jan 27 05:14:18 2017

Bravo, Ina, for writing this. The comments posted here show me who the true bigots and racists are and I've been been reading your newsletter for years. I hope the haters here have a grand 4 years with this uncouth, bullying  presidential pretender  

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by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 27 05:41:03 2017

Pass the pampers and the pacifiers. A few people here need them.

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by: 1FerretsTreasures This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 27 06:06:22 2017

Thanks for the information. Yes, there could be pros and cons depending on how things shape up. Appreciate you looking into and reporting on it so we can do what any professional does: consider business impacts, and; when and how necessary, develop contingencies.

As for those who choose to bring their political discourse into this, PLEASE this is not the place. There are plenty of other appropriate forums for it. Frankly your ''arm-chair'' political views add nothing to the conversation.

While on the topic, however, of the USPS: Many of our businesses thrive because of them - warts and all. Considering the size and scope of what they do and the mandates they are forced to work under, I personally feel they do an exceptional job. Those who need to get goods to far-flung corners of this country and to HI or AK are almost completely dependent upon them as are those who live within those communities.  

Can there be improvements and additional efficiencies? Of course. EVERY endeavor can be improved, to a point, at which service then degrades. Given the funding and the lack of will on the part of Congress to act, however, that has not been the case thus far.

If you have unique insights and ideas you wish to share with the Post Master General and Congress, am sure he and your legislators would welcome them.

As for the new administration, I have less immediate concern with the USPS, and am watching with far more care any potential threats  to net neutrality. Any change there has the potential to adversely affect small businesses in particular versus mandates that affect everyone equally. Those of us who run our own websites or who operate within smaller markets will definitely feel any change in that principle FAR more within our operations and our bottom line.

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by: Coolstraps This user has validated their user name.
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Fri Jan 27 06:08:51 2017

I read my newsletter diligently and never, ever, ever say anything. But, yes, I agree this was a pointless article designed simply to feed people's anxiety and fear. I suggest Ina stay with fact based articles in the future and avoid politically driven speculation.  

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