Monday, May 14, 2007

You Can’t Lick the Postal Service

The price of a stamp is now increased to $0.41 from $0.39 effective today May 14, 2007. I think it’s a good time to start paying the majority of my bills online since the stamp is now official more expensive than the envelope and the paper inside. I wonder what benefit the increase will have. I mean, are we going to see a more robust stamp? I buy my toilet paper two-ply because I like Mexican food and the extra ply is needed to accomplish a proper mop-up. With toilet paper I have an option; I can buy the cheaper single-ply if I wish but I don’t want to change my underwear ten times a day like Frank Sinatra. So, I play it safe and opt for the extra ply and pay a little more. In Frank’s defense, I don’t think they had two-ply back in the day, at least not at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas anyway. To be honest, when I first read about the Sinatra habit, the song Summer Wind made much more sense to me. There’s nothing like a nice warm breeze to keep everything dry.

From a technology perspective I don’t foresee any major changes for the stamp. The major breakthrough happened years ago with the self-adhesive addition. Since then, nothing, zip, nil, nada, and zero. Surely, we can’t still be paying for the self-adhesive discovery? We are not, and don’t call me Surely! The price rises for both self-adhesive and self lick at the same rate, so we pay nothing for the glue, it’s free.

On a personal note, I really enjoy going to the Post Office to buy my stamps and asking the smoking hot girl behind the counter; Tina; to repeat herself after saying “Self-adhesive or self-lick” for the third time but slower while licking her lips. If she ever obliged my twisted request and said it that way I might have made my own self-adhesive. Tina is to postal workers what Lamborghini is to cars, except without the spare tire. It’s not easy getting flagged from a Postal Office, but I did. I guess I should be lucky one of them didn’t shoot me.

No, the stamp hasn’t changed; the service really hasn’t changed, so really I think the price should DECREASE instead of increase. I have a few suggestions on how to make the stamp cheaper. First, let’s not add any new historical figures, or historical places to stamps. This process requires commissioning an artist to perfectly capture the person or place for the new stamp. Because this artist is working for the government he or she will milk this job for all it’s worth. No doubt you’ve heard the term starving artist, there is a reason for this term. The reason is most artists and their art suck. If I have to “interpret” your meaning, that just means you are not that good of an artist. Imagine reading a book and having to interpret the author’s words and meaning. That wouldn’t be a very good book, now would it? So, when this starving artist gets a government job there is no telling what kind of bill they are going to charge Uncle Sam. And Uncle Sam is real good at passing the check at dinner to us, his fellow dining companions. So please no new artwork!

Second suggestion, don’t make colored stamps. Anyone who uses a printer for their business and has to pay for color ink, knows how much more expensive it is than black ink. I don’t need to buy colorful stamps and I could care less about receiving colorful stamps on letters I receive. I never do jumping jacks when receiving a letter with a multi-colored scene depicting Yosemite.

Third suggestion, which if implemented would eliminate the need for the first two. Make everyone buy a small postal weighing machine that meters the mail automatically, the type that businesses have, but a smaller home version. We pay a one time fee, and the machine is replaced every five years or so. They are trying to push this “forever stamp” where you will pay today’s price and that stamp will be good forever. You know they are going to run of these very quickly and I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to badger a postal worker about getting more.

When I was a kid and we’d go to Grandma’s house and use her notebook paper to draw or color on, she would say “You kids need to stop, because that paper don’t grow on trees”. Grandma liked her Scotch, but her heart was in the right place. What Grandma was trying to tell us but too wasted to say was “stop wasting the paper”. It was a good lesson then, and it’s a good lesson now. Just ask Al Gore or Sheryl Crow. If the postal service didn’t have to make as many stamps, the costs of operation would decrease, and there wouldn’t be a need to increase the price of stamps.

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