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.
Then there’s the catalogue situation. Doug no longer “collects” stamps, in the sense of preserving them in books, but we both have big inventories of stamps for pen pals – baseball sluggers for diamond fans, “celebrates” for special occasions, ships for sailors, Gregory Pecks for movie buffs and Ronald Reagans just to irritate friends who vote Democratic.
When the post office sells a stamp, it reverses J. Wellington Wimpy’s “I’ll give you a dollar on Tuesday for a hamburger today.” We pay in advance for a service to be rendered later, if we can just find the stamps. Collectors never use their stamps, so their sale to philatelists – love that word – represents pure profit.
But heck, it’s the government, so who needs profits. And the issues go unsold. And the rates rise. Government, don’t you just love it?
Come visit. Help us cancel stupidity.
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