• 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.

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

    fads might get people to buy certain stamps, but won't bring many people to the hobby. Rather than in a stamp collection, the fad stamps would be part of the fad collection. Harry Potter, Star Wars, whatever.

    Since letter writing is way down, USPS needs to come up with a new use for stamps. The obvious problem is we're moving to paperless and cashless, so there's nowhere to stick em.

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

    I think there is room for a big tent here, and ironclad restrictions belong to a bygone age: iconic US history, major world figures, and yes, even a commercial hero or two are appropriate. The USPS is going broke, and the cultural relevance of post is weak for the youngest of Americans. The USPS needs to stay current and by offering stamps which are exactly that, they will attract not only younger collectors, but also older users of the “stamp” generation who perhaps find current offerings boring and lacking in originality. We live in a global society … no harm whatsoever in adding some international flavor to US- bound envelopes. I wish the USPS luck with the venture and may the members of the Advisory Board be willing to be a little more open to change....

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

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

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