• Reply to: Will Harry Cast a Spell on Young Stamp Collectors?   4 months 1 week ago

    To continue to be a viable business, the Postal Service must sell products that are enjoyed by a variety of customers. I have already purchased several of these stamps for myself & my friends & family who truly enjoyed the Harry Potter books & movies. Don't limit yourself to "just history", life is full of diversity & America is a melting pot. If someone does not care for the Harry Potter stamps, then that person has the option to "not buy them". Releasing the stamps just before Christmas was an excellent idea!

  • Reply to: It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s . . . Your Package?!?   4 months 1 week ago

    The Post Office is NOT subsidized by Tax dollars.. moron.

  • Reply to: Will Harry Cast a Spell on Young Stamp Collectors?   4 months 1 week ago

    The Postal Service won't create new stamp collectors by creating stamps for the wrong reasons. The Harry Potter stamps are simply photographs of actors playing the roles - where is the attraction in that? If the USPS hadn't been so lazy about trying to make money off minimal investment, it would have contracted with an artist to produce artistic renderings of the characters - perhaps on fewer stamps - and then the stamps would have been unique celebrations of the characters that our young people have grown up with.

    Now that the rule has been relaxed and the five-year wait no longer applies either, I wonder if we will soon see a well-designed Nelson Mandela stamp to take advantage of the recent focus on him. Now that would something that might attract new collectors.

  • Reply to: Will Harry Cast a Spell on Young Stamp Collectors?   4 months 1 week ago

    As a member of the younger generation, I think the Harry Potter Stamps are great. The USPS absolutely should be trying to appeal to the younger generation and be moving to a more commercial Stamp base. I don't know anyone my age who would want a stamp with a flag on it, but we want to buy the Harry Potter stamp even if we don't have anything in particular to send. If you're going to try to get a younger generation to start collecting stamp, you need to have more like the Harry Potter Stamp, because I'm not about to start adding to my collection with flags and flowers.

  • Reply to: Will Harry Cast a Spell on Young Stamp Collectors?   4 months 2 weeks ago

    ◦Should the Postal Service market stamp images that focus on a younger audience in hopes of reaching beyond traditional collectors and generating sales?
    Yes. The Postal Service is dying, we have to find a way to revitalize our product and name so that we will be around for many years to come. Creating stamps that the younger generation will like and buy is a start.
    ◦Should the Postal Service be allowed to develop themes and images that do not focus on American heritage for the sake of sales?
    The United States is a melting pot of all cultures. We should be able to have stamps that focus on our heritage and stamps that focus on what is happening at the time. Harry Potter was a worldwide sensation and even though it was a "British" book, the movie was made by our home grown Warner Bros. If something, whether it is here or elsewhere, is affecting everyone, it should be considered.
    ◦Or, should stamps be works of art and pieces of history and not based on fads or celebrities?
    As said before - why can't they be both?
    ◦What stamp images would you like to see?
    Don't laugh, but in the interest of appealing to a younger set (30s) - a stamp showcasing Michael Jackson would go over well. He was immensely popular and influenced music in the US at an unprecedented scale. This is one of those that would be controversial, but it would sell.

  • Reply to: If you have been to a Post Office with a kiosk, but opted to wait for a clerk instead, what was the basis for your decision?   4 months 2 weeks ago

    I think kiosks should be require at every post office. If you work during regular business hours these things are PERFECT!

  • Reply to: Will Harry Cast a Spell on Young Stamp Collectors?   4 months 2 weeks ago

    The USPS has to change with the times, but it has gone too far with Harry Potter. HP is not an American product, and US stamps should be 99% about the best of the USA - consequential events, people, social causes and with some pop culture as part of the mix. The latter has however taken more and more of the program in in recent years, in what is a naked attempt to sell more stamps that will not be used. In fact there are not enough issues per year to honor everything and everyone that deserves to be honored. The "spend" those slots on a foreign product just because it is popular here is improper. In doing so, the USPS is a day late and a dollar short anyway as the wave of highest level of popularity passed on Harry Potter about two years ago. And the kids who are attracted to that product don't write letters; they write emails, and are barely acquainted with stamps. This is not going to turn them into collectors.
    OK let's posit that Harry Potter is a good subject that should he issued to make the USPS relevant in the current age, will help recruit new collectors, and will rake in a reasonable profit for the USPS (US stamps are one of the few profit centers, but in the wildest predictions, sales from stamps not used will barely make a dent in the USPS deficits). Given this reasoning, I could live with one stamp, or perhaps even a small souvenir sheet of two stamps - or several of the same stamp. In issuing a product of 20 different designs, they have broken an unstated contract with the stamp-buying community because there is no earthly reason why this subject can justify 20 different stamps based on the significance of the subject. It is clearly an effort to separate the collecting public and Harry Potter fans from their hard earned money. In angering stamp collectors, the USPS runs a risk of losing as many serious collectors who have and continue to drop out of modern issues collecting because of irresponsible issuance of excess numbers of marginal subjects (12 modern art pieces), high face values when not needed (the $2 face value inverted Jennies; 6 to a sheetlet), art that pleases artists but does not please the public (The recent Waves dollar values). In fact Harry Potter is just one more step in what seems like an ill-conceived program that is going to kill the goose that laid the golden egg.
    Increasingly, the message I am getting from the USPS stamp program is that we know best what will sell, and that is what we will issue. But the very reason the CSAC was created was to pick consequential subjects, some of which will sell well, and some of which simply deserve to be on US stamps as a means of education and sensitizing the public about things they should know about. If the orientation now is to issue stamps that are relevant to young people and stamps that will sell the USPS knows what those subjects are or can determine that from focus groups. And CSAC is no longer needed. It is a sin to have them there simply to rubber stamp what the USPS wants to issue, and to preside over a program that looks increasingly like that of a third world nation that issues stamps for the sole purpose of adding to the national treasury.

    John M. Hotchner, member of CSAC, 1998-2010

  • Reply to: It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s . . . Your Package?!?   4 months 2 weeks ago

    I agree that the true innovators are thinking about things 4, 5 or 10 years out and that experimenting with these ideas is crucial to developing the "next big thing." With that said, it seems hard to believe that drone delivery will happen in the next decade. First off, same-day delivery has a price threshold at which point it is not attractive to customers. In many surveys, people choose cost over speed of delivery in determining whether to make an online purchase. Other concerns noted in media reports about drone delivery (restricted air space, who is responsible for an accident, vandalism of drones etc.) also seem to get in the way of this being a realistic option any time soon. I guess my advice would be for delivery companies to work on meeting their current service standards and not get too far ahead of themselves.

  • Reply to: It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s . . . Your Package?!?   4 months 2 weeks ago

    My package must have been snatched by aliens. Where the heck is it - all I can tell from tracking is that it is somewhere in San Francisco. No one can help me, no one cares, and I am just a bother to them. What is going on in San Francisco that they can turn off their phones and not be available to be of service. Pathetic and unbelievable!! Is this what I get with my hard earned tax dollars?

    I am a widow on a very limited income and I really am frustrated that the package that I spent hard earned money on is lost and no one cares about finding it for me.

    What a sad situation for anyone to have to deal with.

  • Reply to: Will Harry Cast a Spell on Young Stamp Collectors?   4 months 2 weeks ago

    I am an adult woman and love Harry Potter. Although I see the point of not being American, Harry Potter became an American phenomenon and is well-known throughout the world. The stamp would receive great exposure and spark continued interest. I do collect stamps.

  • Reply to: Will Harry Cast a Spell on Young Stamp Collectors?   4 months 2 weeks ago

    I don't think they are mutually exclusive, but don't want to see too much focus on pop culture fads and marginalization of history, scenic, and other stamps about the U.S. This is how I learned a lot about history,people and places as a kid and is what makes the U.S. unique.

  • Reply to: Will Harry Cast a Spell on Young Stamp Collectors?   4 months 2 weeks ago

    1] Good attempt at capturing the young, however, you are still not using water soluble glue... How are they going to collect used stamps ??? Cut around the stamp ?? Not good if not enough space, Use a petroleum product & bathe the stamp in cornstarch powder to de-activate the glue... lot of work for an amateur or beginner..
    2] Stamps sheet measured 12"... paper is 11 1/2 " .. even turned sideways will not fit... Break apart to see but devalue the product if collecting mint.. I think the design left a little to be desired to attract young collectors.. Store the product folder mint and not see the stamps ???
    3] Where was the advertising ?? Everything was 'kept under wraps' and I didn't see the stamps until mine were delivered.. Didn't see any advertising after the release also... Postal clerks at my most frequented PO didn't even know about the stamp[s] until I told them..
    4] As so ofter happens at this PO, supply is far exceeded by demand and they were sold out in less than a week after getting their shipment. To assure that I get a supply of stamps, I order most of my from the Philatelic Center on line.
    5] You have to train 'the boys in the back' not to use pens or killer magic markers to cancel stamps, will kill any interest from would be youthful collectors..
    6] You need to also train delivery personnel that the press sheets [imperf stamps] are legitimate postage.. Their supervisors as well..

  • Reply to: Will Harry Cast a Spell on Young Stamp Collectors?   4 months 2 weeks ago

    I think both artistic and historic stamps can coexist with more modern themes. I, myself, prefer the former but I am introducing my young grandson to stamp collecting and, at his age, I know he would prefer more contemporary subjects.

  • Reply to: Does a Virtual PO Box service appeal to you?   4 months 2 weeks ago

    Moving forward in time I can see a layer of official tools that the post office will be able to use to support our democracy. Virtual passports that can be shown with your smart phone. My IRS paperwork would now be accessible via where I stored them in my post office folders. This could become a store of your relationship with all government agencies. (Including state Government). I see this as one of the venues for voting in the future. see the following URL for securing identity. http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/04/obama-online-security/

  • Reply to: Does a Virtual PO Box service appeal to you?   4 months 2 weeks ago

    This sounds awesome!! I have moved a few times and more recently because of my safety. It would be nice to be somewhat off the grid except for to those who need to know!

  • Reply to: Will Harry Cast a Spell on Young Stamp Collectors?   4 months 2 weeks ago

    Stampsare printed and sold to create revenue for the postal service and not exclusively for the philatelists (of which I am one, albiet a bit younger than most I see at stamp shows). If the general public buys and uses (or saves) these new stamps, I'm all for it. America is made up of diverse cultures and lifestyles. Not all stamps will appeal to all collectors or stamps users. The USPS issues so many stamps each year that having a few issues each year that do honor significant people or historic events should not be a big deal. Stamp collectiing is supposed to be fun. I'm in favor of issuing stamps that promote the "fun" part of collecting. I believe that the Harry Potter stamps fall into that category. Are the Harry Potter stamps as important as the "March on Washington" or the "Medal of Honor" issues? Of course not, but every issue doesn't have to address important issues.

  • Reply to: Will Harry Cast a Spell on Young Stamp Collectors?   4 months 2 weeks ago

    I am a young stamp collector myself. I inherited the hobby from my grandfather. I specialize in US stamps prior to 1980 and Vatican Stamps. In answer to you questions I can say the following:

    Should the Postal Service market stamp images that focus on a younger audience in hopes of reaching beyond traditional collectors and generating sales?

    This question itself appears to assume that interests of younger audiences/collectors are substantially different than those of "traditional collectors." Such an over-generalization seems to be one of the root causes of this debate. Stamp collecting, if it is going to be a sustainable and life-long hobby, cannot be focused simply on 'fun' or 'relevant' one-off stamp issues. No, a hobby such as stamp collecting stems from an appreciation for the breadth of content depicted on stamps as well as the depth of content. Commemorative stamps which honor the greatest luminaries of our culture and which highlight the events (tragic as well as celebratory) of our nation and world are most likely to appeal to a collector/audience of any age. Stamps allow one to travel throughout the world and throughout time without ever leaving your living room. Stamps which seek to memorialize luminaries of the moment are destined to become 'dated' and appear ill-informed in retrospect. Who esteems the stamps of the United States? A vast number of people with varying interest in collecting. Who esteems the stamps of San Marino or other "commemorative issue factories"? Only the specialist or the individual interested in purchasing a single stamp issue.

    Should the Postal Service be allowed to develop themes and images that do not focus on American heritage for the sake of sales?

    Restricting stamp subjects to themes and images which focus on American heritage allows US stamps to speak to collectors around the country and around the world about a unique heritage. Young collectors can learn US history through the stamps they collect. Expanding the subject matter treated on our stamps is neither unwise nor impossible. This, however, is a task that should be undertaken carefully and with due consideration. Treating contemporary themes is difficult as we lack the perspective that time gives us. There is a reason saints are not named until they have been dead for at least five years. Similarly, the highlights of Western culture and the world at large could find appropriate honor and mention on US stamps.

    Or, should stamps be works of art and pieces of history and not based on fads or celebrities?

    Yes. Doubtless, there is a desire on the part of many to increase revenue through the use of stamp images which hope to appeal to buyers who will never cash in on their postal value. Nevertheless, this devalues our stamps as communicators of culture. Our stamps speak to the world about who we are and what we value. Pop culture certainly has a place in this pantheon of subjects, but the perspective of time allows us to see the difference between a cultural high-water mark and cheap effervescent celebrity.

    What stamp images would you like to see?

    -A series on small-town America
    -More issues which focus on American industry (cars, trains, manufacturing)
    -More historical commemorations (Revolutionary war, Civil war, Civil Rights movement)
    -Popular culture issues relating to the 1950's-1970's

  • Reply to: Great Expectations of Online Shopping   4 months 2 weeks ago

    I am terribly disappointed in the USPS. I ordered two items from Amazon marketplace on 11/30 that use USPS and there is still NO information available!!! All other shippers know exactly where my items are. Also, I ordered stamps for my Christmas cards on 12/2 and here it is a whole week later and they still can't tell me when I'll receive those stamps!!! I had to go to the post office and buy more. I'm done using the post office for anything. I will NOT order from any online supplier using the the USPS for delivery. Lastly, there's no where to call on the USPS - they just don't care.

  • Reply to: Will Harry Cast a Spell on Young Stamp Collectors?   4 months 2 weeks ago

    I've no objection to the USPS issuing stamps that may (or may not) appeal to young people. But really, if the USPS is going to issue stamps picturing living actors to help their careers, can't they find American actors to put on US stamps? Surely some American actors and their films would appeal to some younger people.

    The USPS isn't alone in trying to get young people to think of hard-copy communication rather than electronic communication. Has the USPS contacted and consulted with other countries such as those in Europe and East Asia to see what they are doing to attract young stamp collectors?

  • Reply to: Will Harry Cast a Spell on Young Stamp Collectors?   4 months 2 weeks ago

    I think the USPS should stop kidding itself and stick to what they know. I doubt the Elvis stamp or the Potter stamps have created any new collectors, just pleased people who had an interest in those stamps alone. As a 70+ year old lifetime collector and sometimes dealer, what I've seen that interests people are scenes they can relate to such as the National Park airmail series, the transportation coil series and great Americans who actually were great Americans. The US Mint had a successful series of state coins until they stopped allowing people to buy rolls at their banks and tried to sell them instead at a bloated price. The current series of quarters have suffereed the same fate, not available to the average citizen. Ditto their presidential dollars. The USPS then made the same mistake by issuing the recent state flag series as coils which were not even available at most post offices.
    The older generation is your curent stamp collectors and if you want that legacy to continue, you should listen to them not to someone who THINKS making commercial images on stamps is a good idea. I've asked all my grandchildren what was their favorite stamp and all i got were blank stares. They use email and texting for messages not written mail. Alienating your collector base by issuing stamps of little relevance is not the way I would go. I collect very few USA postage stamps from the last 5 years because they are terribly designed and the subjects are uninteresting. I stopped collecting Australia and Canada as they are nothing but commercial. The recent Superman issue of Canada ended my collecting their stamps as I couldn't buy it except from a dealer as our neighbors signed a licensing agreement that prohibited them from selling to USA collectors. I hope the USPS ends all licensing agreements and goes back to it's an honor to appear on a USA stamp and they shouldn't have to pay for it. I leave you with one question. How are young people going to be collectors when they don't purchase stamps?

  • Reply to: Will Harry Cast a Spell on Young Stamp Collectors?   4 months 2 weeks ago

    I started collecting stamps when I was about 5 or 6. Now at 67 I am trying to take apart the collections. Too much of a historian to trash them but too tired of the last 20 years of trivia stamps. As I look over my US and Australian stamps, I have fond memories of many US issues up to about the 1980's. History, geography, science art, famous (real) people...Now it just seems that stamps are the visual equivalent of the 130 decibel vibrations emanating from too many cars. There was a certain dignity in the art, colors, designs and subjects of many of the stamps up thru the 1980's. I notice that Australia seems to have maintained some of that dignity in their recent issues. Oh well, old geezers just die off. But it will be hard to beat many of the 1920's to 1950's issues. The more recent $1.00 and $5.00 issues reminiscent of the older design work are good examples of what can still be turned out.

  • Reply to: Does a Hybrid Postal Model Have Merit?   4 months 2 weeks ago

    My experience with hybrid mail is nothing short of awful. Deliveries that were supposed to arrive in 2 days took more than a week, items marked delivered never made it to the local post office let alone my house--I have never had so many late and lost deliveries in my life as I have had in the past month, and they've all been hybrid deliveries.

    I now make it a point to ensure my packages are delivered direct and not through hybrid services.

  • Reply to: Will Harry Cast a Spell on Young Stamp Collectors?   4 months 2 weeks ago

    I don't like how the stamp board has been manipulated by USPS management: they were by-passed in the stamp approval process in this and other instances. Given the stature of the people on the stamp committee, if they'd had a chance to truly approve of the Potter stamp series, I'd say it's ok then - at least it passed muster at the USPS level. But this was the USPS operations leaders doing a runaround to make this happen.

    Every cravenly commercial stamp the USPS has done (Disney series, Simpsons, Star Wars, etc.) have been pretty ghastly - including these Potter stamps. I became interested in stamps on because of great choices over the years - not because the USPS chose pop stamps from when I was a boy: Brady Bunch? The Partridge Family? Scooby-Doo? Kids either find their way to stamps or they don't: why not use stamps to keep young people's eyes on the REAL prizes? Like Mandela?

  • Reply to: Will Harry Cast a Spell on Young Stamp Collectors?   4 months 2 weeks ago

    Harry Potter was not written by an American, and the movie was not filmed by Americans. I feel this is an embarrassment for the USPS and it's counterproductive.

  • Reply to: Will Harry Cast a Spell on Young Stamp Collectors?   4 months 2 weeks ago

    Going "commercial" with designs is a long term losing option as there are too many other providers out there racing for the bottom. Why buy the US version of Harry Potter when dozens of other nations have already issued such wallpaper?

    The Elvis stamp may have been a hot seller, but at the cost of multiple future sales as it drove collectors away from US post office windows. Many former collectors feel the US has not issued "stamps" for many years. "Stickers" more aptly describes its current offerings not so much for how they get affixed to envelopes, but for the quality of designs and craftsmanship.

    A better strategy would be to target the high end again. The engraved issues from a hundred years ago were artistic and continue to inspire collectors even today. The trendy holograms, cartoon characters, and scented issues are novelties with little staying power.

    Or have it both ways. Issue a few classy stamps and concurrently sell semi-postal stickers. Instead of raising funds for worthy causes, print up sets allowing users to express themsleves (elephants and donkeys, sports team logos, Bugs and Donald, etc...).

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