Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Going Postal

I frequently laugh that my friend Andrea (which as you can see from my really crappy cut and paste job is NOT her real name) and I keep the United States Postal Service in business with our long-distance friendship that we keep up through letters. Check out your mailbox any day of the week and you’ll actually see the credit card and mail order companies are actually the ones paying the electric bill at your local post office. But for the sake of argument, most people would agree that the majority of people don't use written letters as their primary source of communication anymore.

Last week I dropped off a card to good old Andrea, which in my normal fashion is a response that’s about three weeks overdue. I too am a creature of the internet now and while we maintain this friendship through the mail, much more of my free-time is wasted spent on the internet.

Imagine my surprise yesterday when that same envelope magically appeared in my mailbox with a sticker attached to it stating I needed extra postage! True, the envelope is a non-standard 5.5”x5.5”, but I’ve been working out of the same stationery box since I purchased it in 1996 at Half Price Books. Never has the USPS returned one of these letters, today though, they wanted 12 extra cents to mail it.

Perhaps it was because I’m too lazy to take the card out, steam off the stamp, fold the card, put it in a standard sized envelope, find a glue stick and reattach my 37 cent stamp or more likely because I was just being a cynical bitch, I decided to affix the 12 extra cents. In one penny increments.

That’s 49 cents to mail a card domestically weighing less than one ounce…and people wonder why the Postal Service has such financial problems. I can e-mail for free, make a long-distance phone call for 3 cents a minute…why would I waste the time to send a letter and risk being slapped on the wrist by some postal worker who is too lazy to hand-cancel my letter? I'm glad that sometime between 1996 and 2005 the post office has spent time and money to pass this rule, print these stickers, pay someone to watch the auto-feed machine, remove the non-compliant letters, attach the sticker and put it back into the mail to be redelivered to the sender.

Maybe the cost of postage wouldn't keep skyrocketing if they'd just deliver the freakin' letters.