When the customer says "the check is in the mail," the lack of Saturday mail delivery could make a difference.
"It will definitely affect us," Tasha Roberts, who was a customer Friday at the Lenoir City Post Office, said. "I work for a loan company, and with gas prices rising, we depend on receiving Saturday mail delivery."
The U.S. Postal Service announced Wednesday that Saturday mail delivery will be suspended beginning the week of Aug. 5, the latest effort in a series of cost-cutting measures attempted by the financially strapped service.
So far, U.S. postal employees know about as much as the man on the street about the announcement.
It's far too early to know how plans to transition to a new delivery schedule will impact local communities, David Walton, corporate communications director for Kentuckiana and Tennessee districts of the USPS, said.
Walton said the announcement gives the Postal Service and customers six months to prepare and minimize the impact on mail communications and employees.
"We are working with our labor associations to minimize the impact of these changes nationally," Walton said. "We will transition our delivery schedule to include packages delivered by the mail service Monday through Saturday and letter mail delivery Monday through Friday."
The new schedule will not effect current operational hours of the postal office, Walton noted, but Saturday mail delivery only. Customers who receive mail in a post office box will continue to receive mail on Saturday, he said.
Roberts said her company, Sun Loan Company, will likely take advantage of that option. "We will get a post office box because we don't want to penalize our customers for something beyond their control," she said.
The Internet, use of which has decreased the number of letters mailed, also ironically increased demand for package delivery, Walton said. "People are purchasing online, and therefore we need the package delivery to continue," he said.
In making the announcement of the changes, Patrick R. Donahoe, postmaster general and CEO, said the new approach reflects the realities of today.
"The Postal Service is advancing an important new approach to delivery that reflects the strong growth of our package business and responds to the financial realities resulting from America's changing mailing habits," Donahoe said. "We developed this approach by working with our customers to understand their delivery needs and by identifying creative ways to generate significant cost savings."
Over the past several years, the Postal Service has advocated shifting to a five-day delivery schedule. However, recent strong growth in package delivery - 14 percent volume increase since 2010 - and projections of continued strong package growth throughout the coming decade led to the revised approach to maintain package delivery six days per week.
In May, USPS reduced hours at some rural post offices to save money.