Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

February 9, 2013

The end of Saturday mail

-- — The ancient saying, “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these courageous couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” was adapted and applied over the years to the U.S. Postal Service. Today, however, that saying should be amended to add an exception for Saturdays.

Saturday postal delivery began in 1863 but will officially end on Aug. 5, 2013. As with nearly all services in today’s world, the economy has steadily taken its toll on the delivery of mail in America and it’s no longer economically feasible for the post office to deliver mail six days a week.

While many, usually in large metropolitan areas, say the postal service is antiquated and outdated, it’s still a vital service for much of the country, particularly rural areas. Mail carriers in many small communities are a lifeline for the elderly, for those who live in remote areas, and for those who either can’t get or cannot afford Internet services. You can go to a post office just about anywhere in the rural U.S. and see neighbors chatting and catching up on the latest news.

As with so many other social mores in this country, computer based communication is slowly replacing the postal service. It’s easier and cheaper, and for many, paying their bills online is the only method they’ve ever known. But are we better off today than we were 50 or 100 years ago when computers were not a household item and people actually had to read, write in long hand, and speak to each other face to face to have conversations?

While the postal service will maintain a five day a week delivery schedule, at least for now, mail as we’ve known it is becoming a thing of the past. Along with many other aspects of what have for so long been part of our nation’s traditions.

And just how did the post office notify the public about the cessation of Saturday service? Via email. C’est la vie.

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