Postal Service to deliver Amazon packages on Sundays, holidays
If you order things from Amazon, you might find a surprise in your mailbox on Sunday.
The U.S. Postal Service quietly launched Sunday delivery in Rochester, the Twin Cities and Duluth on Aug. 16. However, don't expect your gas bill or a birthday card to appear in your mailbox.
The Postal Service has contracted solely with online retail giant Amazon to make deliveries on Sundays and holidays. The five-year contract started in 2013 in some metropolitan areas, but last Sunday was the first time the service has reached Minnesota.
Pete Nowacki, a U.S. Postal Service spokesman for the Upper Midwest, said the first Sunday went well.
"Anything that you do for the first time, there's a bit of a learning curve going along with it," he said. "We will be making some adjustments going forward, but for the most part I think we were very happy with how this worked."
Due to the nature of the contract, Nowacki said he couldn't say how many packages were delivered in Rochester on Sunday or how the post office handled staffing for it.
Jason Albert, of Rochester, who receives two to four Amazon deliveries a week, likes the idea of Sunday deliveries. The IBM engineer and his wife, Jackie Albert, recently became new parents. That makes having things delivered to their door particularly appealing.
"I think it's good for people to have more options. This should be good for the post office, too, so it's probably a good thing all around," he said.
The new service will probably benefit personal shoppers more than businesses, though it could be a boon for places that are open Sundays and need a part or ingredient.
Chris Abbey, a senior software analyst who lives in Rochester with his wife and son, thinks the new service might change how he does his online shopping.
"My recent pattern has been to check other sites to compare to Amazon. Sunday delivery might keep me from looking at anyone else," he said.
Abbey gets free shipping as an Amazon Prime member and his family also gets standing order deliveries as part of Amazon's Subscribe and Save program. However, being able to get something delivered on Sunday might increase his orders.
In the past, he said shopping on Friday often meant putting things in his electronic "shopping cart" without checking out. Sometimes by Monday he had changed his mind.
"This will probably decrease the number of things I've thought about and then didn't pull the trigger on," Abbey said.
For the U.S. Postal Service, the Amazon contract expands the one part of its business that is growing. A quarterly report released earlier this month showed that first-class mail usage is down 2.3 percent and standard mail is down 2.3 percent. Package delivery, on the other hand, is up 11 percent, or $3.6 billion, compared to the same quarter in 2014.
"This is a big deal for us going forward," Nowacki said. "We've upgraded our technology. We've gone after this package market aggressively."