Services, facilities and politics are evolving at the USPS. So, what’s new at the post office?
One service I tried out this year and have found very helpful is Informed Delivery. Launched in the spring of 2017, Informed Delivery provides the postal customer with a daily email, which includes photocopies of the letter sized pieces to be delivered in that day’s mail, as well as notification of anticipated packages.
Given the massive quantities of junk mail that the average customer receives, this service is valuable in anticipating important letters and documents. If you haven’t yet signed up for it, I recommend it!
Also new at the Post Office, the White House has proposed to merge the Education and Labor departments into one federal agency. Part of this proposal would privatize postal services. Certain onerous regulations, including pre-funding health care and retirement benefits, in addition to a steep drop in the purchase and delivery of first class mail, have caused the USPS to go deeply in debt. Privatizing the USPS is a concept that has been floated for many years, but has not previously gained traction.
Behind this current proposal, perhaps, is the antipathy demonstrated by the current administration to Amazon. Amazon currently contracts with both United Parcel Service and the U.S. Postal Service to deliver packages. According to the New York Times’ Julie Creswell, “available evidence suggests …Amazon’s business has been a boon to the post office.”
The USPS receives no federal funding or subsidies. All services are funded through the sale of stamps and other postal items, as well as package delivery fees. In addition to the pleasure derived from the receipt of real mail, buying stamps and mailing packages supports the post office.
Private companies are also affected by the possible realignment and/or privatization of the USPS. The news of the proposed revamp of U.S. Postal Service was met with a 22.6 percent drop in the stock of Stamps.com.
Stamps.com is a privately owned company that is traded on NASDAQ. Through the Internet, it enables businesses to print their own postage stamps and shipping labels. Stamps.com also offers the popular service called PhotoStamps. With PhotoStamps, customers can purchase customized stamps by uploading their own photos.
There also is good news at the post office: new stamp releases!
The first STEM educational stamp was released on April 6, 2018 at the USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C., in celebration of the U.S. role in science, technology, engineering and math.
On June 9, 2018, in Appleton, Wisconsin, the USPS issued a new Forever stamp honoring the 200th anniversary of the Flag Act of 1818. The stamp features a flag with 13 stripes, symbolizing the original 13 colonies, with 20 stars, the number of states in the Union when the Flag Act of 1818 went into effect.
Other new recently issued Forever stamps include Frozen Treats, released just in time for summer. Frozen Treats, dedicated on June 20, 2018 in Austin, Texas, features icy pops on a stick, and is the USPS’s first scratch and sniff stamp series. Another lighthearted addition to this year’s stamp releases is everyone’s favorite Great Dane, Scooby-Doo. The Scooby Doo stamp will be released on July 14 at Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.
These are just some of this year’s stamp releases, and there are more to come. WWI, Turning the Tide will be released on July 27 in Kansas City, MO. Fancy a dragon? Watch for the release of the dragon stamp on Aug. 9 in Columbus, OH. Music icon John Lennon will have his own stamp, to be released on Sept. 7 in New York, NY. And the perennially popular Birds in Winter stamps will be released in Quechee, Vermont on Sept. 22.
And finally, here’s something else that’s new at the post office: my post office box has mail. Many thanks to Kathy L. for the cheery postcards, which have kept my box from being lonely. It is a treat to have a mailbox without junk mail, but my post office box often lies empty. So please consider sending me a note or card. If I have your snail mail address, I will be sure to respond.
Social Correspondence, P.O. Box 31082, San Francisco, CA 94132
Amazon has a deal for you, by Julie Creswell. New York Times, June 28, 2018
President Trump, Jeff Bezos and the Solution for the United States Post Office by Brittain Ladd. Forbes, June 28, 2018.
Stamps.com shares dive on White House proposal to Revamp U.S. Postal Service. CNBC, June 21, 2018
USPS. Corporate Communications Office (stamp news and images)
USPS. Informed Delivery