Niagara Gazette

Columns

February 15, 2014

LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: Postal service just mailing it in

Niagara Gazette — Dear Mainland Mailers — No wonder the post office is losing money. Nearly a month after rates rose, our branch still doesn’t have the stamps the new prices require. How long would a private business last with so little foresight?

Then there’s the quarterly catalogue, by which the post office can basically pick up money off the sidewalk. That’s not ready, either. Can you imagine Tops getting in a lot of new merchandise and keeping it secret from eager buyers?

In post offices both here and on the Mainland, staffers are downright embarrassed.

As surely you know, in January rates went from 46 cents to 49 for an ounce and the second ounce from 20 to 21 cents, boosting the two-ounce rate from 66 to 70. The postcard rate went from 33 cents to 34. For the sake of such postcard enthusiasts as Rockin’ Rodney in Liverpool, we always keep a few 33’s in our wallet and purse.

Now the one-ounce rate, no problem. Almost all first-class stamps now bear the legend “Forever,” good for what you bought them for, no matter the new rate. All those stamps we bought for 46 cents on Jan. 18 were worth 49 cents on Jan. 19. The $1.10’s were worth $1.15. That’s better odds than you get at the casino.

It pays. The post office doesn’t have to print a lot of three-penny makeup stamps when the rates rise, and further makes money when people misplace the stamps, present company included.

But it doesn’t follow through. Local post offices — and we checked a few of yours, too — are told not even to ask for 21-cent or 70-cent stamps, accommodating the new rates, nor postcard stamps, either, which we understand will display a hummingbird. The 33’s showed apples, the 32’s Hawaiian shirts, which we loved.

So we apply two stamps where one would do the job, waiting for postal higher-ups to get their heads out of the mailbox.

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