Peggy Sanders: Confluence Chronicles 3-4-13 |

Peggy Sanders: Confluence Chronicles 3-4-13

Rural mailboxes lend themselves to artistic creations, adding levity to long drives.

The federal government gets some funny ideas. This latest one of doing away with Saturday mail delivery has me scratching my head. If there is proof that this would save money perhaps it would be accepted, but the way the plans run now, it doesn’t make sense.

We live on a rural route that is over 80 miles in length. If the new plan goes into effect in August , according to our route driver, it will be like this: Packages will continue to be delivered on Saturdays. If a few addressees along this long route have parcels in the mail, they will be delivered. In other words, the route would still have to be driven. As spread out as the homes (and mailboxes) are, it is conceivable there could be deliveries at one or several boxes. What money can that possibly save?

Furthermore, that rural delivery mail man must deliver the packages on Saturday but will not be allowed to pick up letters that have been placed in the box for mailing. Those items must wait until the Monday route is driven (or Tuesday, if Monday is a holiday).

Another wrinkle is until fairly recently we have been able to put any size package along with the funds to post it in our rural mail boxes and it was picked up, sent off and we received change in return, the following day. That is handy for me as an author since I frequently mail off books, generally one to an address and perhaps three or four books on the same day. Now our mail carrier says any package weighing more than 13 ounces must be mailed in person at a post office; he cannot pick them up anymore. Never mind we’ve known each other for over 20 years. Right now our post office is just five miles away and recently the hours were cut from being open five hours per day (except for shorter hours on Saturday). It is now open for one and one half hours, six days per week, with the threat of closure hanging over its head. That means if someone cannot go to that post office during duty hours due to his own work, it will be necessary to take the package 25 miles to the next post office — again working around their window hours. Somehow I cannot see how complicating things is going to increase the bottom line for the postal service.

I just spent an hour on the USPS website, particularly studying rural routes, and cannot verify about rural route package pickup; most of what it posted on relates to the union rules and rights of the mail carrier. One comment I read that if a package has metered postage attached it can be picked up by a mail carrier but if it just has stamps on it, the mailman cannot pick it up, even if it has a return address label. Maybe some readers will know and educate us.

Peggy writes from the family farm in southwestern South Dakota, where will get her a quick message and response. ❖

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