Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Going Postal - Again

#281 Going Postal -Again

It’s been awhile since we’ve been treated to the latest postal rate increase. But there are those of us who still have the older stamps, aplenty. And there’s no reason to stop using them just because they’re outdated and undervalued.

At first, using double stamps seemed like a good idea. But after awhile, as a brilliant mathematician and Wall Street gambler noted it doesn’t make economic sense to pay 78 cents for 41 cents of service. Over time, it costs a lot of extra money – money that could be used for other more important things. Like bananas. Or gasoline.

So, the obvious solution is buying the same number of two cent stamps as you have 39s.

But if you don’t know how many 39s you have and you are at the post office, and already near the front of the line you don’t want to go home to count stuff so you guess. And, of course, you don’t want to guess wrong and have too many, which would be useless. So you guess low. And you’re right.

After the twos run out, it’s time to buy more, but this time, you’re at the desk and count the remaining 39s. There are 25 of them.

And when you do this, it’s something like 8 PM and the post office is closed. So it’s off to Maul Mart where they have those machines that sell stamps at face value.

But this night, no two cent stamps. No matter. Fifty one cent stamps will do fine.

Ah, but this is a machine owned by the Postal Service and plunked in Maul Mart and with that combination, something will have to go wrong. And it does.

Put in a dollar and push the button for 50 one cent stamps. The vending machine grinds and pops and rejects the dollar, but takes it on the second or third try. Out come the stamps. And then there’s the little message. “This machine has no change. Please make another selection.” Oh, great. There’s only one item for 50 cents and why buy another 50? What to do? Walk away leaving the next customer a 50 cent leg up on a purchase?

That’s positively un-American. The only alternative is to buy another sheet of 50 one cent stamps.

So, what to do with the extra 50? There are no 39s anymore. Or at least not any you can get your hands on right away.

Okay, let’s waste some cents, here. Take a business size envelope. Write a return address in teeny-tiny letters. Write a send-to address in equally teeny tiny letters. And then fill the remaining space, front and back with one cent stamps. Forty one of them.

So let’s hope the Post office and the gas company like the custom design. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t fast.

Ah, but the satisfaction!I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2007 WJR

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