Talking tech since 2003

You don’t get mail on Sundays; for as long as the United States Postal Service has been around, that’s been the case. But this weekend, retailing mega-giant Amazon may have just rewritten the rules by partnering with the USPS to provide Sunday delivery for its consumers. The move is being lauded as what may save the long-suffering postal service from its financial woes.

An article on the New York Times website reports that the partnership will take effect immediately—meaning you might actually get Amazon deliveries from the Postal Service this coming Sunday. A report about the story on USA Today offers a quote from the United States Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe:

“”It will certainly help. The fastest growing segment is the package business. The future of package delivery is a seven-day-a-week schedule. We’ve got the capacity to do it.”

Various reports also point to the Postal Service looking to make similar arrangements with other retailers. All of this will undoubtedly help give the USPS a competitive edge over private delivery services like UPS and FedEx—that is, until those two services announce their new seven-day-a-week delivery schedules. Watch for that to happen in, oh, I don’t know, a few days.

All of this is good news for consumers, Amazon, and the Postal Service. Who doesn’t like getting their stuff faster? It does, however, raise some questions for the viability of the competition. Where will this leave brick-and-mortar stores like Best Buy or Target (and the scads of other stores that Amazon manages to compete with). Amazon was always limited by the delivery capabilities of USPS and all the rest. Now that Sunday delivery is on the table, there’s one less reason for someone to leave the house and actually visit a store.

Presumably these retailers will make similar deals with USPS for Sunday deliveries in the coming few weeks and months, just to stay competitive this holiday season. But what will the overall effect be on the retail economy in the years ahead? Competition is good for consumers, but Amazon’s routinely been able to outmaneuver its competition because of its massive size and power. How much longer will the rest of the retail industry be able to keep up?

Two things are for sure: the United States Postal Service just got a major shot in the arm—and your local mail carrier is probably pissed off about their job’s new Sunday hours.

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