Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Forever Stamp

Hear ye, hear ye! I just found out the US Postal Service will increase the rate of regular postage from 39 cents to 41 cents on Monday, May 14. This is the 13th time in 33 years that the rate has increased, averaging a rate increase roughly every two and a half years. The first increase was in 1974, was a whopping 25% increase (vs. this year’s 5% increase), and raised the price of a first-class one-ounce letter from 8 cents to a rounder 10 cents. The postcard rate is also rising, to 26 cents.

In announcing the rate increase, the USPS also announced a new concept called the Forever Stamp. Basically, it’s a stamp set at the current first-class postage rate that can be used indefinitely, even in the event of another price increase. They are currently being sold at the new postage rate, and will continue to be sold at whatever the current first-class postage rate is. So, just stock up, and in twenty years, when postage is 65 cents, sell them for a profit at 60 cents! That’s my new money-maker. Don’t steal it.

It seems like the use of e-mail and increasing use of specialty shippers like UPS and FedEx might be taking their toll on the Postal Service. Just looking for an influx of some cash, I would imagine. But it’s always been a financial loser for the government, so I guess it could just be the times. Hey, at least if we buy stamps now, we won’t have to deal with those stupid 2-cent stamps that you have to buy to use your old stamps. I always get stuck with a bunch of them lying around after the increase, and end up putting twenty on a letter just to use them. You can buy the Forever Stamp here.

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In other postal news, the Yoda stamp is in the lead as the favorite of the recently issued Star Wars stamps. The USPS is sponsoring an online vote here. The winning stamp will be unveiled May 25th, the 30th anniversary of the debut of “Star Wars,” at Star Wars Celebration IV in Los Angeles. Personally, I voted for the Leia/R2-D2 stamp that the Postal Service used to advertise the Star Wars promotion. I just like the colors better, no offense to Master Yoda, who would’ve been my third choice, behind Luke on Tatooine. I suppose if you had to choose the one iconic image, Yoda would probably be the best representative…

Oh, and don’t think that I’m not going to be trying to get my hands on one of those R2-D2 mailboxes that are out there. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it, but I want one. Maybe it’ll become Danica’s inanimate best friend. There’s a great tracker and map online at the Frappr site here.

A bit of advice if you want one: don’t pull them out of the ground, since that would be a federal offense. Word is they’ll be auctioned at the end of the promotion.

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