Monday, May 14, 2007

Going Postal

You notice they started with the new postal rates on a Monday? Guess they figured folks hated Monday so much already, the pain wouldn't be as bad.

That might have worked -- if they had just managed to control their overzealous fiddling with all the possible ways in which they could confabulate the issue. Some rates went up and, surprisingly, some rates went down. The trick is to figure out which is what, when. And why.

For instance, it will now cost 41 cents to mail a 1-ounce letter -- if it's a perfectly prim and proper 1-ounce letter. Any deviation from the standard will tack on a 17 cent surcharge. What characteristics turn a prim and proper letter into a wild child? Pay attention. I'm gonna lay it on you.

Square letters are wild. Letters that are too rigid are wild -- they have to bend easily. Closures with strings, clasps or buttons are wild. An address parallel to the shorter dimension of the envelope is wild. Contents that cause the surface to be uneven makes it wild. These are all characteristics that, apparently, render the envelopes "nonmachinable." Is it our fault their damned machines are so flippin' picky?

As usual, I'm caught with numerous stamps displaying the old rate and I'll have to buy some little guys to make up the difference. If I ever get rid of all of those, maybe I'll invest in the Forever Stamp because they claim, even though you pay 41 cents for it now, it'll still be valid the next time the rates go up and you won't have to buy fill-in stamps. Which sounds really neat. And then you realize they've just promised you more increases down the road.

It's not really horrible for the average person, I guess, but it's got to be a major headache for small businesses. Not the price increase so much as the convoluted size and shape rules. I also had to wince when I saw the 50 cent increase in the standard postage and handling rates for used books when ordering online. That's going to hurt.

I'm afraid to find out how much it's going to cost for a shipment of TimTams the next time I feel a jones for them. There's only so much a person can bear, you know. It doesn't help to realize I still wistfully remember penny postcards and 3 cent stamps.

Dayum! I wonder if anyone has done a study to see if blood pressure rates rise in synchronization with postal rates?

[Please note: my usual gratitude to Jon Wagner, Maxine's creator, with the usual disclaimer that he is not responsible for the words I put in her mouth.]


John Bailey said...

They've not long since done the same thing here with post office rates. The queues in post offices have at least doubled in length. And the response to that? Yup. They're shutting thousands of rural post offices.

Feels like a sinister world wide plot to remove us all from the postal age.

bb said...

Wil is determined the Forever stamp is not a gurantee (sp?) that we won't have to tack more postage on when the rates go up.

And they wonder why they have lost business to email.

I think my Christmas card list is going way down.

Jo said...

I did the same thing, Dee, when they explained the Forever price stamps to me. I realized that they were telling me there WILL be future rises in postage rates.

Oh, darn, you would mention Tim Tams, sigh. This one specialty store we have in our area sells them off the shelf. It's an inflated price but for a once in a year treat it seemed worth it. Oh, no, Jo, deleted that thought immediately from your inventory.

Jeri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeri said...

Dee - I had a special experience with the postal rate increase. I said I was going to the PO and would get stamps to make make the old versions useful. As it turned out, my husband gave me a post-it with various denominations and the numbers we had. Made for instant mind-math at the post office! Ah - the things we do to keep the mind active.