Sunday, July 08, 2007

Postal


Before I left for New York, I wrote out all our monthly bills and packaged them neatly in a rubber band so I could mail them at the appropriate time in our travels. I was pleased that I had taken care of such an important detail and mailed them all, including the car registration, from Brooklyn.

Yesterday, back in San Francisco, I went to the Post Office to mail something. I noticed that the last collection time on the box outside had passed, so I took my letter inside and asked if it would go out faster from the counter.

"It needs two cents more," said the woman behind the counter.

"It costs more to mail inside the Post Office?"

"No, no, two cents more you need," she replied in broken English.

I didn't know there had been another price hike on stamps. I own a lifetime supply of 39-cent Ella Fitzgerald and Superhero stamps. I am not a stamp collector, but I always ask what new designs they have when I buy them.

Flip had dropped me off and gone to park the car, and I hadn't taken my purse. My pockets were empty.

An elderly woman asked if I was looking for the Post Office. Um, no. I was standing in front of it, scanning the street for our car. I told her that my husband had absconded with my purse and I needed two cents more to mail my letter.

"It costs two cents more to mail it from inside?" she said.

"No, I think the price of stamps has gone up."

"It went up in May," she said. "It's 41 cents now."

Oh.

She fished in her purse. "I'm sure I have two cents," she said.

I took her money gratefully and handed my letter to the clerk.

I told her that I had mailed all my monthly bills with the 39-cent Ella stamps on them. Would they be returned to sender?

"You may be lucky," she said. "It all depends."

If our lights and phone service go out, our auto and health insurance are canceled, several doctors send us dunning letters, and we have to pay extra to the DMV when our registration comes back for insufficient postage, I'll know why.

The Post Office really should publicize their price hikes. It's enough to make a person go postal.

26 comments:

seventh sister said...

They did not publicize this one much. I think the anouncement was made about ten days or so ahead of time. I couldnot get any 2 cent stamps and had to buy a lot of 1 cent ones. Made envelopes look funny to have 3 stamps on them. Hpe you trip was great fun.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Hi Seventh,

The trip was great, thanks. And it's also good to be home again.

I bought some 2-cent stamps when my purse showed up, but I'm nervous about all those bills I paid.

No good deed goes unpunished.

EsLocura said...

Glad to see you back. I hate the post office, I recently mailed stuff priority so it would get there in 3 days and it took 10. They said, "gee too bad, it's not a guaranteed 3 day delivery", go suck a lemon is my response.

seventh sister said...

I have tagged you for the High Vibes Game. Please go to http://www.optimistlab.com/ for complete instructions. You basicly pickk 5 blogs that you find uplifting and go from there

Anonymous said...

I am here to thank you for the use of the word "dunning". Sometimes when I hear/read a word I know it's in my vocabulary bank somewhere but for some reason it cannot be accessed. I am delighted when I need to look up a word. Thank you.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Eslocura,

If my bills and auto registration come back for insufficient postage, I assure you I can think of better uses for that lemon.

Seventh,

I'll check it out today. It sounds as if it will be hard to choose only five blogs that inspire me. All the ones I read are fantastic.

Anonymous,

Are you "Erma" or another Anonymous?

I live in trepidation that "dunning" will soon become an intimate part of my life if those checks are returned by the Post Office.

It's time to start paying bills online, I think.

Ian Lidster said...

Hope you had a wonderful trip to the Big Apple. As for postal rates, in Canada they seem to go up every 20 minutes or so. I try to avoid them whenever I can. So nice to have you back. Loved your Harry Potter and Mickey Spillane observations. A person after my own heart. What could be better?
Ian

Tanya Brown said...

Oh no! Argh!

thailandchani said...

There are supposedly some stamps that are "forever" stamps... just on sale within the last month. I wonder if it's true though.


Peace,

~Chani

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Ian,

It's good to be back.

I was probably misquoting the Spillane, which I read at age 11, but I totally share your views on Harry & Co.

Tanya,

Et tu, Brute?

Chani,

But what would they cost since they keep raising the price?

I wish somebody would come up with forever rent, which is not exactly the same thing as rent control.

Mara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mara said...

The Post is evil, it controls our lives and now this life-controlling device is racking out 2 cents more! Nice cash-cow they've got there.
Don't you just hate it when you come back from a trip and you find changes that seem to emphasize that you've been gone? Darn it, they're on to me, they know I've escaped :)
2 cents for your thoughts! (it used to be 1 cent, but hey, you've been gone a long time:)

Girl on the Run... said...

I know lots of stamps here too and now I need those silly penny stamps!

UGH! Hate the post office!

M

Beehive Goddess said...

You know, one of my tenants bought a roll of 100 stamps the Friday before the rate hike was due to take effect. The postal worker at the counter didn't bother to tell her the rate was going up on Monday.

How's that for service?

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Mara,

Oh, yeah, a penny won't buy even half a thought anymore.

I wonder if they charge so much for stamps because most people use e-mail these days. It's obscene to pay that much to mail a letter.

Maria,

It seems as if they raise the rates several times a year. I'd like to protest, but no one would listen.

Sigh.

Goddess,

That is in the category of DISservice. Really, they should have told her. She'll be adding the 2-cent stamps to her letters for a very long time.

meno said...

I am so buying those forever stamps from now on, these rate hikes just bite.

The CEO said...

What Meno said. The Post Office is now selling 'forever' stamps with denomination printed on them. You can always use them and the postage will always be the amount for sending one oz first class. Meaning you can always send a letter and it will have the correct postage.

They didn't publicize that much either.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Meno,

I'll look into it, too, as soon as I use up the ones I have. I am very well-stocked with stamps that are no longer usable without additional postage, which I also purchased.

Monty,

First I hear of it. They could hang posters or something, and informing the public might be a concept worth adopting.

Liz said...

My dad was trying to explain to me how the forever stamps are actually not a good deal. Something about how the post office actually gets your money now and can spend/invest it as it chooses and make itself more money, whereas you might not use those stamps for years. Or something like that. I'm probably getting the explanation wrong. He was a math major so half of what he said went over my head.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Liz,

I looked it up online. Here is what I found:

"The first forever stamps are selling for 41 cents apiece, but they won’t have a price printed on them and they will remain valid for sending a letter regardless of any future increases.

While a forever stamp will always be valid for mailing a letter, that doesn’t mean the price won’t go up. If rates were to increase to 45 cents, for example, that’s what a forever stamp would sell for. But stamps already purchased at a lower cost could still be used without adding extra postage."

Since first class stamps are now 41 cents, it seems like a good idea to purchase these instead of others at the same price, but maybe I'm missing something.

Apparently the post office is losing money, probably because of the Internet and maybe companies that meter their mail. (I'm not sure how that works, either.)

Molly said...

This made me laugh out loud[it's good to have you back!] because I recently mailed a fine for my ill-fated u-turn, to our local courthouse.I knew the postage had gone up. But wasn't sure if it was up from 37 c or 39 c ---they change it as often as I change my socks---who can keep track? There's limited storage in my brain for such trivia. Couldn't remember what mish-mash of stamps I'd put on the blasted thing. I only remembered how smug and happy I was that I'd mailed it with two days to spare!Fortunately it got there. Whether because I'd put the correct postage on it or not is anybody's guess.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Molly,

Ah, the ill-fated U-turn maneuver. It gets them every time.

Really, who can keep track of the constant postage increases? I'm getting nervous because some of those checks I wrote and mailed from NY should have cleared by now, and they haven't. Uh oh. I'm having mailbox anxiety. Please cross your fingers for me.

velvet said...

My husband was the one to tell me about the price hike last month. I hadn't heard anything.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Velvet,

Well, your husband didn't get around to telling me. Please let him know that I'm concerned.

Our auto insurance payment came in for payment today! I never thought it would be cause for celebration. Hopefully, the other bills, especially the DMV registration, were overlooked by the same P.O. employee.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

OH have I got some catching up to do!

It did go up... God bless them.
GRRR.

BUT... there was a minor 'saving grace' this time with that forever stamp.

By a lifetime supply of those, my girl, and you will no longer find yourself with postal urges.


Best...
Scarlett & Viaggiatore

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Scarlett,

I suppose I will, and I'll also start paying my bills online whenever possible.