thirty-nine cent stamps? idiocy!

19 November 2005, 12:20 pm

I realize that mine is a lone voice crying in the wilderness. By the time I hear of impending federal changes, big wheels are already turning, and I’m unlikely to be able to affect their courses.

But honestly, has anybody thought about how much time, money, and aggravation would be saved if the USPS adopted a 40-cent stamp — instead of a 39-cent stamp — next January?

In fact, I’d like to see a resolution that first class postage fees for any weight should be evenly divisible by a nickel.

Some people still stand in line in the post office and pay for postage with cash. They’d get their change faster and spend less time in line if the clerks didn’t have to count out pennies. Some transactions would only involve whole dollar amounts, and they’d be even faster.

Many people pay for postage with debit cards these days, but they’d benefit, too — it would be faster for them to reconcile their bank accounts, and they’d be less likely to make errors working with multiples of 40 than with multiples of 39.

It’s not as if anyone who can afford 39 cents for postage will be unable to afford an extra penny. I prefer to buy stamps in rolls of 100. I don’t really care if I get a dollar back from my two twenties.

Honestly, you can’t buy much with a dollar anyway — that is, except for 2.5641 stamps.

3 comments on “thirty-nine cent stamps? idiocy!”

  1. 2fs

    It’s worse. Currently, each ounce above the first is an extra 23 cents, up to a limit, at which point you can use so-called “Priority Mail” (which isn’t any quicker than first-class mail) for rates that are flat within (a) anything that can fit into the Priority Mail box you can buy at the post office, or (b) six-ounce increments, I think. But can you buy stamps at those amounts (i.e., 60, 83, 1.06, 1.29, etc.)? Not usually. But there are stamps at other increments. Inevitably, what this means is, unless you either have a postage meter or stand in line at the post office, you end up putting extra postage so the recipient doesn’t end up getting pissed at you for having to pay postage due upon receipt. And all that extra postage goes into whose pocket? Not yours. I agree: let’s have a rational pricing system that bears some relation to the rates of actual stamps for sale. Here’s my proposal, then: 40 cents first class, 25 cents for each additional ounce up to a pound.

  2. Flasshe

    I agree, but the Post Office is used to shooting themselves in the foot and is proceeding apace in their unknowing plan to put themselves out of business. I used to work for a company that made shipping software, and the parts of the program that dealt with the USPS were always the most difficult to implement. Anyone who has tried to look through the huge DMM (Domestic Mail Manual) can tell you what a mess it is. There’s a long tradition in the USPS of making this stuff be the most complex it can be.

  3. summervillain

    the Post Office is used to shooting themselves in the foot and is proceeding apace in their unknowing plan to put themselves out of business

    Y’know that old saw about things you can change and things you can’t and knowing the difference? I never, ever, want to know the difference.

    Whatever its flaws, the Post Office has an absolutely amazing infrastructure for moving stuff from place to place at extremely low cost. It’s managed to be remarkably competitive with private carriers like UPS and Fedex even in business areas where it doesn’t enjoy a monopoly. It doesn’t have to be stupid at an institutional level, and just because it’s made stupid decisions in the past doesn’t, for me, constitute a reason to accept/excuse future stupid decisions.

    The 39 cent stamps are probably already in printing presses somewhere, but maybe if we can raise a bit of a ruckus, we could influence the Post Office not to bother with the 41 cent stamp.


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