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My two cents on stamps

The US Postal Service recently increased postage rates from 37 cents to 39. They did this with apparently little fanfare. I knew the change was coming "in early 2006", but I never heard any announcement about a specific date, not even at the post office itself! Apparently it was a couple weeks ago, and I'd mailed out several bills since then, all with 37 cent stamps. They haven't been returned, though, and it appears the checks have been cashed, so I can only assume they have some kind of grace period.

I have an entire roll of one hundred 37 cent stamps. So, I've been trying to buy one hundred 2 cent stamps. But the post office has been completely out of 2 cent stamps every time I've gone in there. How could they run out? Certainly they should have known they'd need a buttload of "upgrade" stamps.

Saturday I thought I'd just buy two hundred 1 cent stamps, but the line at the post office was out the door, which means a wait of at least 40 minutes, something you normally only see at Christmas or Tax time. No way in hell I'm waiting that long to buy $2 worth of stamps. I'll make due with the stamps I have, even if I have to get creative like using tons of 5 and 1 cent stamps

Has the US Postal Service grown that utterly incompetent that they completely flubbed the price hike? Or is this deliberate, in an attempt to get people to use more postage than necessary? Maybe they're hoping people will use 3 cent stamps leftover from the last postage hike, thus giving them an extra penny? One penny times millions of letters is a lot of money. The only place that seems to have the stamps is the USPS web site, and they charge "shipping and handling". Why is the Postal Service charging for shipping on their own products?

They say, "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity", but I think there is a corollary to that, "Never attribute to stupidity that which can be adequately explained by greed."


Comments

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altivo
Jan. 30th, 2006 02:44 am (UTC)
The date of change was January 8, and it was well announced. I saw it in the newspapers, on the web, heard it on the radio, and there were signs in the post office.

Running out of 2 cent stamps under those circumstances is the fault of your local postmaster, not the postal service. Individual offices must order the stamps they need in order to have them in stock. They had sufficient warning.

As for using the old 3 cent upgrade stamps from a couple of increases back, of course you can. But the post office doesn't get anything extra out of it. See, those were paid for years ago, and they long ago spent that money. So they gain nothing, and in fact actually suffer a bit for having to honor them now, though of course they will do so.

You can buy stamps online and have them mailed to you. You can also have stamps delivered by your letter carrier. That service is available everywhere that there is delivery to your mailbox. Living where you do, you surely also have a choice of several postal branches within a fairly short distance. Even here in the boonies, I have four to choose from within the radius between home and work.

Supposedly this increase happened on such short notice for two reasons. The price of fuel skyrocketed so much that they were losing money on transportation for the mail, and Congress doesn't permit them to operate on a deficit and make it up later in the year.
mortonfox
Jan. 30th, 2006 03:46 am (UTC)
I got the stamps a few weeks ago. I too had to get sheets of 1-cent stamps because the post office didn't have enough 2-cent stamps for everyone.
kemanorel
Jan. 30th, 2006 09:34 pm (UTC)
This happened to me enough times that I just don't buy stamps anymore. I used up my last set of ... I think.. 34 cent staps. I, too, had a 100 roll pack. I'll never buy that again! I doubled them up becaue of the same problems you described. 68 cents instead of 34 cents. Whatever. Just mail the fscking envelope.

Lately I've been using Paypal's self-printout service with USPS postage. It sucks money out of my paypal account, prints out either the packing slip or the envelope .. and all is done. Tada.

Out here there's been lines of that variety as well. I had 15 boxes to ship, stuff I sold on ebay. Every person in line stared at me with all the vile hatred only a virginia resident can muster when they see someone else succeeding where they are failing-- I took the packages, dumped them into the drop bin and walked away.
rcoony
Feb. 1st, 2006 11:04 pm (UTC)
I managed to get them simply because I happened to be in middle of a 3-mile walk and passed by a post office. Anyway, I always thought it would be funny to mail letters using nothing but a bunch of 1 and 2-cent stamps.
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