Saving the Post Office

In his December 16, 2011 post, The Curmudgeon wrote about the woes of the U.S. Postal Service:  its revenue is shrinking, its costs are climbing, and there’s no relief in sight.  Congress, living up to its reputation, is making it even harder than it should be for the post office to climb out of hole that Congress itself dug for it.

But The Curmudgeon has a possible solution:  a way to increase post office revenue at no cost to taxpayers.

Anyone who has ever purchased a magazine has had the frustration of dealing with blow cards:  those annoying postage-paid inserts that readers are supposed to use to subscribe to the magazine in their hands.  Never mind that about ninety-five percent of all magazines sold in the U.S. today are sold by  subscription, which means the postcards seeking new subscribers are primarily reaching people who already subscribe.  Despite the obvious folly of asking people to pay twice for the same magazine (although The Curmudgeon has often been intrigued by the idea of one copy of a magazine for the living room and another for the bathroom), the typical magazine comes complete with anywhere from two to six or eight of these blow cards (so called because they are literally blown into the magazines by a machine).  They’re annoying:  they fall all over your floor, they make it awkward to leave a magazine open to the page you were last reading, and they’re a constant reminder that the magazine publisher has no respect for its readers.

But those little cards are money in the bank for the post office.  Postage for a postcard is twenty-nine cents.  When the post office delivers a postage-paid postcard to the magazine, though, it collects an additional fee, above and beyond the twenty-nine cents, for the service of delivering the card.

So here’s the idea:  collect all those postcards, keep them in a nice, neat pile, and every time you accumulate a certain amount – say, 100 of them – walk them down to your corner mailbox and dump them in (and don’t forget to jiggle).

It’ll be ka-ching!!! for the post office – major new revenue, more work for postal employees.  If we all work together, we can show our true American spirit and join forces to save the post office.  We can do it!

The Curmudgeon has already been doing this – for years.  Why?  Because, well, he’s curmudgeonly and because it’s not enough to mutter under his breath every time he discovers the sixth or seventh card to fall out of this week’s edition of The New Yorker now littering his bathroom floor.  He must admit, though, that the idea is not his own:  it came from one of the Freedman sisters, either Ann Landers or Dear Abby, many years ago.  It so happens that The Curmudgeon has always thought they were both seriously stupid women, and Dear Abby’s daughter, who inherited her mother’s column like a bad piece of furniture, is probably even dumber than her mom.  Even so, he must give credit where credit is due:  it’s an absolutely inspired idea and one worth adopting nation-wide.

So now, everyone:  Collect those postcards.  Create a pile, walk them down to the corner mailbox, and walk home proud in the knowledge that instead of standing on the sidelines and waiting for others to solve this problem, you have yourself become a problem-solver and are contributing to the preservation of one of the most important institutions in our country:  the U.S. Postal Service.

Start today!

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