• Reply to: The Value of Ideas   1 year 8 months ago

    The Postal Service is owned by the American people. Intellectual property developed by the Postal Service, like the Zip Code system should be placed into the public domain and used as "open source". Many of the discussions today surrounding the losses the Postal Service has incurred do not take into account the vast intangible benefits of the the Postal Service and the postal network. It's time we realized this value and also realized that we get the most for this value when the Postal Service behaves and is treated as public service, not simply a corporate deliverer of advertising mail.

  • 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?   1 year 8 months ago

    The stamp packs are uglier than sin. I didn't even realize how much I liked having artwork on my stamps until I purchased these abominations. Stamping and mailing envelopes isn't exactly common place anymore, but I do still send cards, rent, and the occasional written letter. I understand where the US Postal Service is financially, and frankly there are a lot of employees in their facilities near me that I purposefully avoid. Not all of the employees, but certainly a good handful. I do use the kiosks if a line has formed in the lobby IFF I am doing anything that is not purchasing a book of stamps.

    They're triple the size, and the graphic design looks like it's been done in Microsoft Word 95. I know these kiosks have limitations on what they're capable of producing, but COME ON. Is this really the only way to vend stamps without a clerk?

  • Reply to: Will Harry Cast a Spell on Young Stamp Collectors?   1 year 8 months ago

    I like (and bought) the Harry Potter stamps. I would urge the USPS to use caution, though, in portraying live people on stamps. There is always the risk that they will become involved in some scandal which may lead to future USPS embarrassment.

    I would also like to see fewer issues each year but that's another subject.

  • Reply to: Sending Tidings of Good Cheer by Mail   1 year 8 months ago

    We encourage you to contact the U.S. Postal Service regarding the stamps you ordered, as this matter does not fall within the jurisdiction of this office. You may file a complaint online at http://faq.usps.com/adaptivedesktop/faq.jsp?ef=USPSFAQ&dest=EmailUs or call 1-800-782-6724.
    Thank you,
    U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General

  • Reply to: Does a Virtual PO Box service appeal to you?   1 year 8 months ago

    I wish they would offer a digital service where they scan my mail and send me a pdf right to my iphone.

  • Reply to: Sending Tidings of Good Cheer by Mail   1 year 8 months ago

    I went on line to your site on 12-8-13 to order Christmas stamps. As of today, December 17, the stamps have still not been delivered. My call to inquire was met with a response that there had been bad weather last week in Kansas City where they were shipped form so there was a delay. They are supposed to be delivered in2 business days!!! I could have walked t KC and back to get them by now. Yet another reason why the Postal Service loses money. Get with it you people. Where are my stamps?

  • Reply to: Will Harry Cast a Spell on Young Stamp Collectors?   1 year 8 months ago

    I'm for anything the Post Office does to increase their bottom line (except of course closing our small P.O.). My wife and I and our granddaughter all read and enjoyed the Potter books. We just bought the last book of HP's stamps at our small P.O. and they are going into one of the Potter books that are for our granddaughter.

    So, Mr. Postmaster General, you just made $9.60 profit (less manufacturing cost of course) since they'll never be used, just treasured by our granddaughter.

    Any kind of stamp is okay with us. Some we'll use and some we'll just hang on to.

  • Reply to: Does a Virtual PO Box service appeal to you?   1 year 8 months ago

    I'm surprised this is not already an option. Let's get this up and running. Fax machines have been obsolete since the scanner, pdf and the ability to attach files to email came along. Partnering with Google Drive and Dropbox would be the obvious choices. Shocked FedEx and UPS haven't already made this leap. Although UPS is closer. I'm all for it.

  • Reply to: Will Harry Cast a Spell on Young Stamp Collectors?   1 year 8 months ago

    If you want young folks to buy and use the Potter stamps, you have to make them available in regular post offices. It is 14 December - it has been four weeks since these stamps were issued in Orlando, and they are STILL NOT AVAILABLE in my post office - which is not a one-room rural station serving 1500 people. It's in Indianapolis, serving tens of thousands. These stamps have been the worst marketed issue I have seen recently.
    I long ago vowed to buy no stamps from the cave in Kansas City, where I have to pay to have the stamps delivered that you want me to set aside and not use. If you do not make stamps available to me in MY post office, I don't buy them. I have not bought the Potter stamps, and will not do so until they get to where I live. What a travesty.
    As for the subject matter, another issue I DID NOT BUY, even though they were available at my post office, was the Simpsons issue. The USPS fell to a new low in taste when it issued that set. No, selecting subject matter with a view to how much money you can make on it is NOT appropriate. I certainly was not going to give you any of MY money for that revolting show.
    Potter - I'm of two minds about celebrating a non-US story starring non-US actors who are clearly not yet deceased for the required number of years. I have enjoyed the films (I have no time for reading fiction), and I agree that they have had a positive impact on popular culture - but in general, I don't think it is the USPS's job to celebrate current popular culture. Stick to series like the Legends of Hollywood and Distinguished Americans.
    The harder you make it to buy stamps, the fewer stamps you will sell.
    Sincerely displeased -
    Joseph E Boling, Indianapolis

  • Reply to: Will Harry Cast a Spell on Young Stamp Collectors?   1 year 8 months ago

    So nice to know there are still such erudite young voices in the world. Thanks for adding your comments. I wonder if Pope Francis will appear on US postage before a Vatican City Issue.

  • Reply to: A Happy Customer is a Loyal Customer   1 year 8 months ago

    Those who are responsible for the US post offices, and those in New York City in particular, should take a good look at the reviews of the one at 432 East 14th Street, NY 10009. Every negative comment is not only true but understated. It must be the most abysmal PO in the whole country. The shabbiness of the physical building and lack of supplies sets the tone for the type of employee - the laziest bunch you can imagine, and the manager is no-where to be seen or heard from. Packages lost, 2 weeks mail completely lost and on and on. I dare not send my holiday packages from there so I need to carry them some distance to find another PO. There has been talk of shutting it down for cost savings. It can't be too soon for me as I already walk to others. With one exception and my wonderful mailman, Bill, the whole bunch should be fired, beginning with the manager. There are hard workers who are out of work. How can these do-nothings continue to hold onto their jobs?

  • Reply to: Will Harry Cast a Spell on Young Stamp Collectors?   1 year 8 months ago

    Harry Potter, why not? J.K. Rowling has opened up the reading world for EVERYONE, not just kids!
    It used to be that kids would pick out books based on the thickness of the book, not the content. That changed with
    Ms. Rowling's brilliant mind, characters and stories.
    This world-wide phenomenon swept over the globe with non-stop reading, interest and anticipation toward her
    next "production", be it written or on film.
    These characters deserve to be put on postage stamps to further the consuming interest created
    If a new "category" is created ..... why not?

  • Reply to: Will Harry Cast a Spell on Young Stamp Collectors?   1 year 8 months ago

    We do not think the Harry Potter issue of stamps is inappropriate for use by the general public. We find little difference between issuing Mail a Smile or Send a Hello stamps, which have no historical significance, as are the Art of Disney stamps. So if the public disagrees then don't buy them. On the other hand, what's wrong with young people liking these stamps and wanting to start collecting. I f nothing else, they can be used for postage if they decide to discontinue collecting stamps, therefore not losing or wasting any cost to the individual. It's a tempest in teapot, in other words, a big TO DO ABOUT NOTHING.

  • Reply to: Will Harry Cast a Spell on Young Stamp Collectors?   1 year 8 months ago

    As a youngster, I collected United States commemoratives in singles and plate blocks. The stamps depicted historical events in our history, famous Americans, centennials, and other related subjects that were teaching moments. Consequently, I learned a lot about U.S. history and now am an author, writing about Illinois and the Old West. Stamps should serve a useful purpose of educating the user and not simply a means to make money in the short term in order to attract young people who often have little interest in history. I'm a big booster of the postal service, but have refrained from purchasing these novelty stamps. They are unimaginative and show very little creativity on the part of the designer. Continue to promote these stamps and you may lose the older base that still relies on the postal service without attracting the young crowd. You will then be out of business, replaced by a business that operates efficiently and and with more marketing skills.

  • Reply to: Will Harry Cast a Spell on Young Stamp Collectors?   1 year 8 months ago

    Think the Harry Potter stamps are great, I collect mostly cat stamps but I loved the Harry Potter movies and these stamps are done so nicely!! I will buy them when I get the money. It doesn't matter to me if they are British, like most people are saying, it became an American thing. All the kids love it and I think they have learned a lot of values from these kids. Better than Barbie!!!

  • Reply to: It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s . . . Your Package?!?   1 year 8 months ago

    I was expecting a pkg from a co that is only an hr away from me, it was supposed to be delivered on the 11th however it was rerouted from KC KS to Salt Lake City Utah!!! WTH?????? Nice going USPS!!!! you are soooooooooooooooooo reliable!

  • Reply to: What Do You Think of the Priority Mail Advertising Campaign?   1 year 8 months ago

    They are false advertising. They say Express mail is overnight but they want 72 hours from the day it was mailed for over night.

    You can regular mail something and have it arrive somewhere in the United Sates in 4 days which is what the USPS wants to deliver an express package.

    They are misleading customers into paying for services non-rendered.

  • Reply to: Will Harry Cast a Spell on Young Stamp Collectors?   1 year 8 months ago

    I have been collecting stamps since the 1960s, and I stopped collecting US stamps with the advent of the self-adhesive stamp. The USPS is generating too many stamps, and they do look like movie posters instead of the miniature artworks that they used to be. Yes, find subjects of interest to younger potential buyers. Bring the Philatelic windows back to post offices instead of cutting personnel and hours. Issue art stamps - historical, personages, US flora and fauna, or TV and movie characters - I'd like to see an Indiana Jones stamp - but bring out fewer per year and make them look less like they were drawn by a cartoonist. I miss the engraved stamps, which is why I am now collecting so many stamps issued by Iceland. So, try to reach a younger audience, try to stay mostly with American topics, try to make the stamps look less tacky (bring back engraving), release fewer issues per year, and explain to me how I am to buy one - or four - stamps from a nonstick sheet and keep them "mint".

  • Reply to: Will Harry Cast a Spell on Young Stamp Collectors?   1 year 8 months ago

    Whilst no one can argue the popularity of the Harry Potter films for sure - I'm a little inclined to support the idea of stamps celebrating innovative Americans. As a child of the 60's and 70's it was great seeing the stamps that celebrated our NASA heroes. This generation has a whole new bunch of heroes to celebrate the advances in communications / computers / and the internet. I would love to see a whole series of stamps celebrating individuals (most still alive, some passed away) such as Martin Cooper (Motorola engineer who developed and tested the first mobile phone), Steve Jobs & Steve Wozniak (founders of Apple computers), Bill Gates (founder of Microsoft), Robert Kahn & Vincent Cerf (creaters of TCP/IP protocol), Frederico Faggin (born in Italy but Naturalized U.S. citizen - developed the basic architecture for the Intel 8080 microprocessor ), James Fergason (for his work on improved Liquid Crystal Displays {LCD}) and perhaps even some of the younger folks - Mark Zuckerberg (creator of FaceBook). And if the USPS is looking abroad at non-American inventors - then we need to include Tim Berners-Lee (creator of the World Wide Web).

  • Reply to: Will Harry Cast a Spell on Young Stamp Collectors?   1 year 8 months ago

    My own interest in stamp collecting began when my parents bought me the original version
    of "Stamps & Stories" in 1973 when I was eight years old. The book was brilliantly written, not too simple, not too complicated. It explained the history behind the stamps, which is what sparked my own interest in the first place.
    The Postal Service may see improved sales by printing more "youth friendly" stamps, but new stamp collectors will not be created simply by altering stamp content. These new collectors have to be created through education and outreach with materials other than the stamps.
    If the Postal Service ever recreated "Stamps & Stories" in App form, this might work.

  • Reply to: Your Ads – and Yours Alone   1 year 8 months ago

    And here's another one from July 2011 http://www.postalmag.com/postalblog.htm

    Mail Preference List Could Make Mail Relevant Again, Save Postal Service

    Postmarked 7/31/2011

    In my prior post of 7/17/2011 found below, I mentioned a Mail Preference List that could help make the mail and the USPS relevant again. Let's be honest. As postal employees, we all appreciate mail volume, any mail volume. It pays the bills and our salaries. Unfortunately, mail volumes are becoming less relevant to postal customers, and will continue to become less relevant each day as personalized First Class letters become fewer and non-personalized Standard mailings increase. I know with the mail I receive each day, much of it goes straight to the trash unfortunately because much of it doesn't pertain to me in the least. But what if it did? What if somehow I could get mail that actually interested me? Well, there are some ways to do that already - subscribe to magazines, sign up for mailing lists, etc. Still, though some magazines and mailers share some mailing lists, it's not exactly working out.

    Before I get into the Mail Preference List in more detail, I want to mention a couple of business/economic theories. First, Douglas McGregor's Theory X and Theory Y and Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs generally state that work should be meaningful and important. (And of course the market demands products and services that are useful or meaningful in some way.) And another theory I want to mention is that the free market thrives on information, and the more perfect that information is, the more efficient the market runs, and the less perfect that information is, the less efficient the market runs.

    With that said, here's what's happening now. Sure, there's some mailing lists, especially for bills LOL. However, a lot of the mailstream now is filled with full coverage or partial coverage mailings that are deemed to be successful if only a certain small percentage act on the mailings. This is especially true with the full coverage ad circulars that much of the nation receives weekly. But as many carriers and postal customers alike can tell you is that much of this goes straight in the trash. (Many apartments, for example, will set up a trash can next to the mail boxes. Carriers will often find these trash cans full of ads circulars they delivered the day before.)

    In my prior post I mentioned two problems that have emerged for the Postal Service - pricing and products. In a nutshell, many, many mailers are using the lower priced Standard Mail to mail products through the US Mail. Plain and simple. And this trend towards even more Standard Mailings is putting the Postal Service in a financial bind. Here's my idea.

    Create just two classes of letter mail - First Class and Business Class. First Class would remain basically the same. Business Class would replace Standard Mail, Nonprofit Mail and any other kinds of letter-sized (and hopefully flat-sized) mail I have failed to mention here. The new Business Mail would be rate-incentivized to fit and run on proven DPS machines and not on the super-sized and costly FSS machines that only create another bundle of mail to be delivered. Non-targeted full-coverage mailings would be discouraged with inopportune rates.

    Business Class Mail would be empowered by a centralized Mail Preference List that would be run by the Postal Service or affiliate partners. Postal customers would log in to the Mail Preference List website and indicate what types of mail they would like to receive. At the top of the site would be a place for customers to check off common preferences such as pizza coupons and grocery ads if they wish. But there would be thousands of other categories as well, from brands such as Coca Cola and Toyota Scion to activities such as softball and Zumba dancing to interests such as cats and jousting. The mailing lists found at this preference site would be further enhanced through website partners who would develop their own mailing lists. For example, I would be able to add a snippet of code that directed PostalMag viewers to sign up for either a PostalMag.com mailing list or various postal-related lists such as postal uniforms, right-hand drive vehicles, etc. Mailers would, in turn, log in to this Mail Preference List site, select the lists they would like, perhaps weed the list down further by selecting only females or people between 30 and 40 years old for example, then design the mailpiece online and have a USPS partner such as Valassis print the pieces and enter into the mailstream.

    Here are a few examples of how this Mail Preference List proposal could make the mailstream much smarter, more efficient, and more profitable for everyone involved and empower our economy in a million new "Invisible Hand of Capitalism" ways.

    The first example is the diversion of current full-coverage ad circulars to Business Class. With more-perfect information, pizza delivery companies wouldn't have to pay to mail to every address in the region for example. (In the Electronic World, this is known as spam.) With Business Class, pizza companies could just mail a letter-sized mailing/postcard to just the addresses where customers have indicated a preference for receiving pizza-related coupons. Conceivable, a singular ad circular with twenty different advertisers could generate up to twenty different mailings, each highly targeted to the customer.

    Here's how it could work for me. In addition to running PostalMag.com, I am also the Commissioner of Dallas Dodgeball. Right now, I do not mail anything to promote Dallas Dodgeball for lack of a relevant mailing list, though I do have an email list. But what if I could log into the Mail Preference List and generate a list of all people within a twenty-five mile radius interested in receiving information about dodgeball? That list would be golden to me and I would certainly use it. Perhaps there would be 300 people on the list. That's 300 pieces of mail added to the mailstream, perhaps on a monthly basis. Now, add this mailing to the millions of new mailings that would be generated by the Mail Preference List and there's no reason for the Postal Service to suffer in this market driven economy for perhaps another two decades.

    Overall, this idea is about the only way I can think of to make the mail intelligent enough to be relevant in this Electronic Age.

    Additional notes:

    1. Postal customers without Internet access would be provided with a postcard with a listing of popular categories to be checked off such as pizza, grocery and home improvement. These postcards would be mailed to the Mail Preference List and scanned into the database.
    2. The Mail Preference List could be integrated into social websites such as Facebook (which already has lists of likes) and other sites such as Groupon (imagine a Deal of the Day mailing).

  • Reply to: Your Ads – and Yours Alone   1 year 8 months ago

    Well I'm glad some people have finally been reading my blog. This was posted in January at http://www.postalmag.com/postalblog.htm


    Postmarked January 21, 2013

    If you notice, the title of this blog entry is in all caps. On the Internet, that means I am yelling. I'm yelling because it's so frustrating to see the organization we all love scrambling around like a chicken with its head cut off. And one of the areas it's scrambling is in technology. Today, I'm reading about how the USPS could get into P2P transactions. The other day I heard about a USPS app showcased at the CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW (the USPS is out of money yet had a big display at this convention?) that can animate direct mail pieces. BUT WHERE IS THE APP TO SIGN UP FOR MAILING LISTS? It's simple. Apps are taking over phones, today's primary method of communication and interaction. There's an app for everything. So where's the damn app to sign up for mailing lists. It would be so simple, and it's purpose would be so important - to increase mail volume and make advertising mail relevant again. (In the mailstream I see so much advertising mail that is untargeted and irrelevant to the people receiving the mail.) With such an app, users could sign up for mailing lists with participating companies. Companies are always looking for leads, paying big money to get them. They would love an app where leads came to them. And users would love an app that brought them information about products and services they care about. The app could also be tied into social networks like Facebook with features such as share, like, etc. Additionally, users could sign up for specific categories, like Pizza, and companies could purchase those leads from the USPS, by demographic, by ZIP Code, etc.

  • Reply to: Overtime as a Management Tool   1 year 8 months ago

    I transferred out about 4 years ago after finishing law school. I'm currently employed as an investigator with another agency. When I was in the Postal Service, I served briefly as a steward for the APWU in an P&DC. Management had decided to undertake a new program whereby we would increase production, which is a worthwhile goal.

    During our labor-management meeting on the subject, I posited a question: "What happens when a machine breaks down? I am fully aware that the DBCS is capable of processing 40,000 pieces of mail per hour. But simply saying it can be done doesn't mean that it will be. Particularly when you take into account that some of the machines were deployed in 1990." I got a "they don't break down that much" response and my question was basically pushed aside. And this was from a manager who, up until he himself transferred to a larger facility, was regarded well by labor and management alike.

    My suggestion? Maybe, since the OIG's mission is to prevent "fraud, waste, and abuse", some of you could talk directly to the people on the floor and ask them what they think would be a way to improve productivity.

  • Reply to: Will Harry Cast a Spell on Young Stamp Collectors?   1 year 8 months ago

    I'm back with a solution!

    USPS should create regional stamps of series like Harry Potter. Certain stamps are only available in certain parts of the country, and not sold through the mail. Then the USPS creates a website that allows everyone to TRADE stamps with other users around the country with easy ways to print bulk address labels or envelopes. Some of the stamps could be sold already in envelopes and ready for the mail.

    This would work a lot better if we had community mailboxes as they do in Canada.

  • Reply to: Your Ads – and Yours Alone   1 year 8 months ago

    Extremely well done. The model has been emerging for some time now and is consistent with the findings of the USPS Mail Moment study. The technology is now available to change the conversation about the metrics of success in the industry from volume to value and to challenge the existing pricing methodology - potentially expanding the profit pool for both mailers and the USPS.