Tampa Bay area reacts to U.S. Postal idea to cut Saturday service

5:31 PM, Feb 6, 2013   |    comments
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Tampa, FL -- Reaction to Wednesday's big announcement from the post office seemed to vary with age. 

For a lot of older people in the Bay area, it would mean a reduction in service they've had their whole lives. But for younger people, it didn't seem make too much difference.

See Also: Postal Service to stop delivering Saturday mail

So what's behind that generational gap? Well in short, it's technology.

Most younger people get their mail, their coupons, bills and bank statements on computer... even in the palm of their hands.

Try telling someone you can't use their smart phone to do any of that business on Saturdays or Sundays, and you might better understand why the older generation has a different reaction.

"You know, you just follow something all your life, 'til you get used to doing it," said St. Petersburg resident Bill Neronha.

At 68, Neronha admits he is pretty much set in his ways.

"I'm computer illiterate," he confesses. "I don't do computer and I don't do cell phone."

That means when it comes to getting or sending a letter, Bill's "inbox" is the good ol' mail box.

"I still got a couple of bills I do by mail, 'cause I don't have a thing to email it," he says.

It explains why people of Bill's generation were more cautious about the U.S. Postal announcement planning to end Saturday service as of August 1st.

The reaction seemed to fall along generational lines. Younger people, part of the digital generation, didn't seem too bothered.

"No, I do most of that stuff online... online banking. Things like that. Bill Pay," said Chris as he was heading into a St. Pete post office.

It was the same for young mom Shannon Moser.

"Most of what's in the mailbox isn't relevant that day anyway," she said.

Ending Saturday service would not affect packages, just letters.

But even direct mail behemoths like ValPak in Pinellas Park say one day less to deliver deals won't make much of a difference.

"However this is decided," the company said in a statement, "we expect our business to be largely unaffected."

Along with parcels, the post office still carries the stigma of being antiquated and unprofitable.

Ron Jones, picking up his mail said he favored the Saturday service cut,"as long as it saves the government money, but I have my doubts."

An unprecedented congressional mandate forcing the Postal Service to fully fund its $55 billion retirement program has also been financially crippling for the agency.

The Saturday cutbacks require Congressional approval, but if that happens, there's concern the postal paring may not end there.

"Saturday I don't think would be a problem. I don't think it's a big deal," said Janet Maziarka, picking up her mail.

"But if they start cutting back any more than that, I think it really would be. It would be a problem," added her husband Ed.

The U.S. Postal Service figures the move will save them about $2 billion per year.

Post office locations themselves would remain open on Saturdays. Saturday delivery to post office boxes would continue as well.

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