Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Mail Call!

No, Craziequeen, I'm not talking about your sort of mail...

I'm talking about, well, real mail...the sort you rush to your mailbox for the joy of tearing open and reading, then saving to read and savor again years on down the road...

As you are no doubt aware (at least, if you live here in the US of A), our postal rates are going to go up again. Yes, I know it's only a proposal, and it still has to be approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission (whatever that is), but you and I know it's a done deal. Staring January 2nd, 2011, we will pay 46 cents to mail a one-ounce first class letter, up from 44 cents today.

Being someone who, as you know, loves to write (and receive, hint, hint) letters, I am probably more upset about this than most. I did some research and found some very interesting information "out there" about postal rate changes over time. Here is an information-packed website that not only tracks postal rates over time, but also contains links to a huge amount of information about mail delivery and the history of postal services in this country. Drawing on the information I found there, here's how postal rates have changed in the course of my lifetime:

When I was born (1951), first class postage was 3 cents per ounce.

When I started college (1969), it was 6 cents per ounce.

When I graduated from college (1973), it was 8 cents.

When my first child was born (1974), it was 10 cents.

When my first grandchild (Marcy) was born (2000), it was 33 cents per ounce.

And when my fifth grandchild (Elise) was born (2010), it was 44 cents.

That's quite a climb over time. What we don't always think about, though, is what that amount meant in terms of "real" purchasing power at the time. The website that yielded this information also links to another site that expresses historical postal rates in terms of 2009 dollars. This is very revealing:

The stamp that cost 3 cents per ounce in 1951 was worth 24.6 cents in 2009 dollars.

The 6 cent stamp of 1969 was actually 34.9 cents.

1973's 8 cent stamp actually cost 38.4 cents.

The 1974 first class rate of 10 cents equates to 43.3 cents.

In the year 2000 the 33 cent stamp was worth 40.9 cents.

And this year' stamp is worth, of course, just about 44 cents.

So, it's all relative. But regardless of how you look at it, the price of mailing a simple letter is going up yet again. If Mike and Canary don't answer my letters soon, they'll have to take out a loan just to be able to afford the postage.

Of course, we shouldn't complain, because the high rates we pay for first-class postage subsidizes the ass clowns who choke our mailboxes with junk mail instead of real, enjoyable letters. You could be generous of spirit and look at it as doing our part to help the economic recovery, but I'd rather just complain about it.

Do your part to save the economy ... write me that letter today!

Have a good day. Buy your Forever Stamps now, and avoid the rush. And put one of them on a letter to ol' Bilbo.

More thoughts tomorrow.



Alex said...

It's absurdly cheap to send junk mail. If they would raise the rates ever so slightly for bulk mailers, I'd bet they could recover the funds in short order.

Opponents will argue that it will cut back on commercial mailers, leading to further loss of revenue. Maybe, but we certainly won't need as much people working a route as before. Less big expensive vehicles to cart it all around. It is sad that people are losing their jobs, but the only reason some of them had jobs was to manage the deluge of junk mail that we all receive daily.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

My sister would love to see junk mail go down as she's a rural carrier. She would also like to see Saturday deliveries eliminated, as she has a 6 day route. The more I hear, the more I understand about people going Postal.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

It's the same here in Britain. Cost goes up and service goes down.

Mike said...

I came here to check up on comments only to find out .... MINE IS NOT HERE. Why? Because I forgot! Why? It's the Red Crosses fault. They sucked blood out of me yesterday and I came home and fell asleep. When I woke up I assumed everything that was supposed to be done was done. I even dreamed I wrote a letter.