Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Hallmark Cards boss says Saturday mail delivery should be preserved, for sake of rural areas

The boss of Hallmark Cards Inc. has written an opinion piece urging Congress and the U.S. Postal Service to shelve plans to end Saturday mail delivery, and to address the federally chartered corporation's budget problems by first tackling its "significant underlying organizational and operational issues."

"Cuts in delivery service should be last on the list of considerations," Donald Hall Jr. writes. "The dual strategy of raising rates while cutting Saturday delivery is no way to sustain customer loyalty or encourage use of mail. It also overlooks the dependence many — including small businesses and rural customers — have on six-day delivery."

Hall notes that the Postal Regulatory Commission said that the USPS estimate of savings by ending Saturday delivery was about double the what the commission estimated, and found that "Customers in rural and remote areas would be especially hard hit because their mail delivery would take longer, and that small businesses and other first-class mail customers who depend on timely delivery would be affected far more than bulk mailers." The commission advised USPS that it should not eliminate Saturday mail without more research of the rural impact, essentially endorsing the testimony that the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues gave the commission.

Hall concluded, "The solution to the financial crisis will not be found in failing to adequately serve small towns in remote areas. " His article is available here from the National Newspaper Association, the lobby for community newspapers, which offers it as an editorial.

Meanwhile, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., a member of the deficit-reduction "super committee," has introduced legislation to ban USPS from closing rural post offices if they are at least 10 miles from another office, The Hill reports.

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