Monday, March 14, 2011

Pretty Darn Long Time Stamps


The U.S. Postal Service announced recently that all stamps from now on will be Forever® Stamps. The idea of a forever stamp is that “it will be good for mailing one-ounce First-Class letters anytime in the future. It’s good forever.”

But forever is a long time. The Earth won’t last forever. In about five billion years, the Sun will expand into its red giant phase. Its fiery perimeter will expand to about the orbit of Mercury, making life (and postal service) impossible.

What about the Forever Stamps then? Will they still be good? I don’t think so.

To be more accurate, why don’t we call them Pretty Darn Long Time® Stamps?
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USPS press release

10 comments:

BobN said...

I wonder how many people are buying up large quantities of these to resell a few years from now when postal rates are higher. Ten years from now, let's say the rate is 84 cents for first class. You could go to the PO and buy a Forever stamp at the 84 cent rate, or buy them from me, at, say 80 cents. I'd sell you the ones I bought for 42 cents. That's nearly 100% profit. Not a bad investment. I don't know what the PO is thinking.

James Gurney said...

Bob, that would be a good move, assuming postal rates go up faster than the rate of inflation, but I think the rates are capped at the inflation rate.

As an economic strategy, the forever stamp seems short sighted, since it generates immediate capital at the expense of long range revenue. Five years from now, the USPS will have to "deliver on" the stamps quite a while earlier.

James said...

I think some of the cost is offset by the savings in checking postage amounts and the flexibility of setting the rates that it gives the post office.

It was looking like a good move 2-3 year ago when we were staring at deflation. ;^)

Carolyn A. Pappas said...

It sounds like a ponzi scheme to me. They are hoping for a boost in revenue now, thinking that people will stock up before they raise rates again. Of course that will not correct their massive budget problems in the long run.

kevinwparker said...

A right-wing website I occasionally visit half-seriously suggested these as an investment: not only will they probably increase in value faster than inflation, but there's something more than the government's say-so backing them.

Matt said...

Thats also assuming we even use the postal service in a few years. Teleporters for the win!

Jim G. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim G. said...

What I want to know is, if they are "forever" stamps, how come I keep running out of them?!? ;D

i, me said...

"As an economic strategy, the forever stamp seems short sighted, since it generates immediate capital at the expense of long range revenue"
True James, but i doubt the US Postal service will honor them after a certain date- they will just renig, like plenty of other companies do with their 'lifetime' memberships, etc. This is just like any other 'forever' promise. I am sure there is a loophole just like with 'unlimited bandwidth and hd space' websites.

i, me said...

they are probably relying on a lot of people loosing them as well - like with coupons - most coupons are issued with assumption that only a small percentage will of consumers even the ones who bought the item because of the coupon, will redeem them.