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Old 12-25-2013, 11:22 AM   #21
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On ebay you can buy US stamps at about a 25% discount. They are typically a mix of older first class rate stamps, such as 13 cents, 15 cents, etc. that you can combine on an envelope to reach 46 (or 49) cents.
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Old 12-25-2013, 11:40 AM   #22
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An amazing and unsustainable good deal. The Canadian rate was just announced to go to $.85 from around $.50 I think. Also, they announced a gradual phasing out of home delivery using community drop boxes instead. As far as I am concerned we could easily phase the postal service out completely. We hardly ever get anything in the mail that means anything to me and these could easily go electronic within a short time.
I am always amazed when in Arizona how good the US postal service is, how cheap it is, and how resistant to service reductions Americans are. Why not just scrap it!!
I have several relatives who have never owned a computer and don't plan to get one anytime soon. They, and millions of other americans, rely on the post office. The post office won't be scraped entirely for a long time. I do think we can go to 5 day delivery and community drop boxes to reduce the cost significantly. Although the community drop boxes may make things difficult for some elderly or disabled people. They may need some sort of assistance.
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Old 12-25-2013, 12:16 PM   #23
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On ebay you can buy US stamps at about a 25% discount. They are typically a mix of older first class rate stamps, such as 13 cents, 15 cents, etc. that you can combine on an envelope to reach 46 (or 49) cents.
Now I thought I was good at LBYM, but if you are actually doing this I give you the honorary Most Frugal Person of 2013 award!
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Old 12-25-2013, 12:33 PM   #24
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I think maybe they do - but I don't consider discounting a roll of 100 stamps by a total of $0.05 (not per stamp, per roll) to be significant enough to warrant my attention.
Just wait 'til after the increase. There will be a run on $0.03 stamps, for folks with excess $0.46 stamps, then a run on $0.01 stamps. When the local post office runs out of both, even if for a few days, these people will complain so loudly it'll make you think their life was in danger. Extreme crankiness for a couple of pennies.
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Old 12-25-2013, 01:08 PM   #25
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Just wait 'til after the increase. There will be a run on $0.03 stamps, for folks with excess $0.46 stamps, then a run on $0.01 stamps. When the local post office runs out of both, even if for a few days, these people will complain so loudly it'll make you think their life was in danger. Extreme crankiness for a couple of pennies.
Not really. There are very few stamps with pre-printed 46 cent values. Virtually all stamps currently worth 46 cents of postage are the "forever" stamps that will be "worth" 49 cents as soon as the rate change takes effect.

Now there may be a bit of a run on 4-cent stamps, since the current 2-ounce rate is going to go from 66 cents to 70 cents (and the 66-cent stamps are generally preprinted with that value). And if people have 20 cent stamps for additional postage (for each additional ounce), they will need some 1-centers when the additional ounce rate goes to 21 cents.
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Old 12-25-2013, 01:15 PM   #26
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I have several relatives who have never owned a computer and don't plan to get one anytime soon. They, and millions of other americans, rely on the post office. The post office won't be scraped entirely for a long time. I do think we can go to 5 day delivery and community drop boxes to reduce the cost significantly. Although the community drop boxes may make things difficult for some elderly or disabled people. They may need some sort of assistance.
I don't believe that we should scrap mailing altogether. Services however should be cut back commensurate with the demand. How about eliminating Saturday delivery? Even delivering mail only on Mon/Wed/Fri should be OK.

Of course the union doesn't want any of that. See Congress wants to end Saturday mail delivery. Postal workers do not..
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Old 12-25-2013, 01:18 PM   #27
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Don't you think the postal worker union has something to do with that, more than the public at large?
yes, agree
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Old 12-25-2013, 01:19 PM   #28
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Are you the one who started this 2011 discussion over on Bogleheads?

Bogleheads - Forever Stamps as an Investment?
That wasn't me. But I like the person's train of thought
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Old 12-25-2013, 01:20 PM   #29
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Don't you think the postal worker union has something to do with that, more than the public at large?
Well, in reality it was Congress that basically put a stop to the "6-to-5" plans, saying that the statutes on the books required Saturday delivery and such, so any changes to that had to be passed as an act of Congress.

The APWU and others really didn't have to do anything. They are mostly fighting other battles right now anyway.
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Old 12-25-2013, 01:22 PM   #30
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I have several relatives who have never owned a computer and don't plan to get one anytime soon. They, and millions of other americans, rely on the post office. The post office won't be scraped entirely for a long time. I do think we can go to 5 day delivery and community drop boxes to reduce the cost significantly. Although the community drop boxes may make things difficult for some elderly or disabled people. They may need some sort of assistance.
OK but over a 10 year period we could do away with it. paper mail just seems so unnecessary to me. Agree it won't happen any time soon but it could. Maybe privatise it. Funny how Americans feel so strongly they should socialize the postal service but not health care?
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Old 12-25-2013, 01:27 PM   #31
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I don't believe that we should scrap mailing altogether. Services however should be cut back commensurate with the demand. How about eliminating Saturday delivery? Even delivering mail only on Mon/Wed/Fri should be OK.
Probably wouldn't be ok with the workers who need 40 hours of pay.
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Old 12-25-2013, 01:29 PM   #32
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OK but over a 10 year period we could do away with it. paper mail just seems so unnecessary to me. Agree it won't happen any time soon but it could. Maybe privatise it. Funny how Americans feel so strongly they should socialize the postal service but not health care?
Here's the rub. The Postal Service is required to deliver a first-class letter, 1 ounce or less, to *anywhere* in the country (even in the middle of the Alaskan bush, 100+ miles from the nearest town of any size) for 46 cents (soon to be 49 cents). They must do this.

No private entity would be willing to take that deal. Neither UPS or FedEx, both of which are fairly good at what they do, would ever accept that deal. In fact, UPS and FedEx can charge surcharges to out-of-the-way destinations -- or refuse to deliver there at all. These private operations can choose where in the country they wish to "do business". As a result, they don't have to have the infrastructure the USPS has (and contracts with).

This is why the USPS can't, in all practicality, be fully privatized (not to mention the Constitutional equivalent to keep it). As long as these legal requirements are in place, all the talk about privatization is idle chatter. In reality the USPS is, IMO, saddled with the worst aspects of both public and private operations. It is required to be a competitive businesses (in the parcel delivery space) and thus subject to competitive pressures like a private company, but has the legacy cost structure and Congressional mandates set on it as a public entity.
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Old 12-25-2013, 02:16 PM   #33
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Probably wouldn't be ok with the workers who need 40 hours of pay.
The delivery dates to an address may be alternate between Mon/Wed/Fri and Tues/Thu. This week I get mail on Mon/Wed/Fri but the other street gets Tues/Thu. Next week, it will be my turn to get mail 2 days/week.

This way postmen will still have full-time work, but fewer will be needed.
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Old 12-25-2013, 02:31 PM   #34
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The delivery dates to an address may be alternate between Mon/Wed/Fri and Tues/Thu. This week I get mail on Mon/Wed/Fri but the other street gets Tues/Thu. Next week, it will be my turn to get mail 2 days/week.

This way postmen will still have full-time work, but fewer will be needed.
I think that is the way to go. Less workers but normal full-time work for the workers left. Just don't cut back so far that the remaining workers are expected to do too much work. That has happened in too many jobs already.
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Old 12-25-2013, 02:41 PM   #35
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I think the postal union wants to protect all of its members. While I understand their stance, when one keeps going against the supply-demand principle of the free market, it never ends well.
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Old 12-25-2013, 02:45 PM   #36
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I think the postal union wants to protect all of its members. While I understand their stance, when one keeps going against the supply-demand principle of the free market, it never ends well.
The union probably won't lay-off postal workers. They just shouldn't replace them when they retire or quit.
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Old 12-25-2013, 02:52 PM   #37
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Stock up on those forever stamps while you can.

I got about $200 worth back when they were about 42 cents each and the stamps are stored in my safe
This all reminds me of when I was living in Brazil back in the 80s.
Long before cell phones, nearly everyone relied on the public pay phones on the street, since the phone company was ridiculously inefficient and it could take years to get a phone installed.

Public pay phones used tokens ("fichas") instead of coins, and you bought them at any newsstand.

Inflation was rampant at the time (triple digit rates), but the number of tokens needed for a phone call never changed.

I realized that this was a marvelous inflation hedge so I bought several hundred dollars worth of tokens. When I left the country, I sold them to a Brazilian friend for slightly more than I had paid for them. He got an incredibly good deal and so did I.

I see the forever stamps acting in the same way, and I just marvel at it.
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Old 12-25-2013, 02:58 PM   #38
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Well, in reality it was Congress that basically put a stop to the "6-to-5" plans, saying that the statutes on the books required Saturday delivery and such, so any changes to that had to be passed as an act of Congress...
Thanks. I did not follow this matter that close.

So, OK, why doesn't Congress change the Saturday delivery requirement if it has the power to do so? Or is it afraid of losing votes from some constituents, as usual?
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Old 12-25-2013, 03:34 PM   #39
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Just seems so 19th century to me. Billions of dollars down the toilet every year. Eventually it will be rationalized. Probably not in my lifetime.
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Old 12-25-2013, 03:40 PM   #40
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Stock up on those forever stamps while you can.

I got about $200 worth back when they were about 42 cents each and the stamps are stored in my safe
I stocked up on floppies, then CD-R and CD-RW when these went on sale.
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