‘I think we’ll be OK’

Published 11:37 am Friday, February 8, 2013

Lois Lee-Kenis of the Austin Post Office helps Pat Jensen with a question Thursday afternoon during a busy afternoon.

Locals say they can live without Saturday mail

The announcement that the U.S. Postal Service may no longer deliver mail on Saturdays may be worrisome to some employees and citizens; however, many people just don’t care. That includes business owners.

“The only thing you ever get are bills, anyway, right?” said a sarcastic Christopher Lee, who owns Christopher Lee Photography in Austin. “So I get bills one less day; that’s not going to hurt my feelings at all.”

Pat Jensen, who was finishing her errands at the Austin Post Office on Thursday afternoon, joked about the same thing.

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“It doesn’t bother me,” she said about no mail delivery on Saturday.

Furthermore, the Postal Service says it will continue to deliver packages six days per week, and post offices will be open on Saturdays, meaning post office box holders can still get their mail.

The only scenario Lee could see affecting him were if someone tried to rush proofs to him but they couldn’t go through the mail on Saturday. However, Lee uses UPS and Fed-Ex for most of his business anyway. He isn’t concerned.

Neither is Josh Horbat, owner of Legacy Comics and Games in Oak Park Mall. He doesn’t have to send or receive comics or books through the mail. In fact, he doesn’t use the Postal Service much at all.

“I think we’ve got some Christmas gifts still in our trunk that we still haven’t sent out yet,” he joked.

Horbat receives most of his shipments at the beginning of the week and sends items depending on the buyer’s preference. For most everything else — and one of the reason’s the post office is trimming down — Horbat uses a computer.

“We’re mostly electronic, you know?” he said.

Employees at the Austin Post Office deferred all comments to Pete Nowacki, a regional spokesman from the Twin Cities. While Nowacki didn’t know the number of employees at the Austin Post Office, he stressed that the Postal Service does not want to cut any employees.

“What I can tell you about employees is we don’t intend to lay anybody off,” he said.

Nowacki said the move would actually mean the Postal Service could cut back on the number of people working overtime hours. He added, some people’s routes and schedules would inevitably change, though. Other concerns Nowacki has heard include people who normally receive prescription medications on Saturdays, or workers who get paid on that day, too.

He’s confident those problems can be resolved.

“A paycheck, that’s something we plan on working with businesses that are doing that on payroll and stuff like that — to try to find ways to make it work for others,” Nowacki said.

Nowacki noted when the government used to compensate for Social Security check deliveries and send them so they wouldn’t arrive on days when banks are closed.

For the future, he emphasized the fact that the Postal Service’s average age of employee is 54. Many will soon retire. Through attrition, he believes things will start to work out.

“I think we’ll be OK,” he said.