Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Postage Alert

For those of you unaware, there's a rate hike starting May 14th on stamps from 39 to 41 cents. If you think this is unfair, you can go to usps.com and be told in very complicated language to "eat it." Apparently some aspects of the rate hike are still under negotiation, such as the proposed plan to throw out all the reasonable options for international shipping and just make everything really fast but really expensive and not give anyone any options to save money by waiting.

Remember to address your SASEs and apply the right postage. Some agents give leeway (especially to stuff that's been sitting on their desks for months because they were busy with managing their new bestseller) and put on the extra 2 cents themselves. Sometimes the post office just ignores it. Some agents reject by email.

Nobody's happy on this end, either. We do a lot of shipping ourselves - mainly contracts and books, often overseas. I don't know if the government cut their budget or what, but they'd better have a damn good reason for this.

Edit: See the comments for a mailman's damn good reason for this.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth: The government can't "cut their budget." There's a blurb at the bottom of every U.S. Postal Service press release pointing out that the system doesn't receive tax money for its operating expenses. It's funded by you, every time you buy a stamp, mail a package, or buy something at the post office.

The Rejecter said...

Really? Then why the hell are they raising prices? I buy from them all the time. They have plenty of funding.

Don said...

Because they have to pay for things like gasoline and labor and stuff which gets more expensive every day.

the mailman said...

Primary reasons?

1) Gas prices have gone way up. A penny increase in gas prices equals an $8 million increase in our expenses. Unlike FedEx and UPS, we can't add a fuel surcharge to our rates - we have to eat it and beg Congress to let us increase our prices. Just as a side note, when we do ask for an increase, the Postal Rate Commission solicits input from FedEx and UPS as to what we should be allowed to charge. Can you imagine another agency mandating what an editor can pay your client for their work?

2) Up until this most recent batch of legislation passed, we weren't allowed to keep any profit we made. It was break even or slide into debt.

3) Back in 2005, the General Accounting Office determined we'd overpaid the retirement accounts to the tune of $70 billion dollars. Congress, in their infinite wisdom, decided the Post Office couldn't be trusted with its own money and passed legislation requiring it be placed in an escrow account - an account with no purpose other than to keep the money out of our hands. As a result, we ended up with an operational deficit of $3.1 billion.

This last one was why we had to raise rates in 2006 and it's still a big reason for this increase. Prior to the escrow account problem, we'd kept rates steady for four years.

The Rejecter said...

Mailman, thanks for clearing that up. Those sound like fair reasons.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, I'm in the UK but subscribe to a couple of US magazines and also occasionally buy stuff from the US ebay site and I'm always amazed how cheap your international postage rates are. It seems to cost about half as much to send things from the US to the UK as it does to send them from the UK to the US.

Waylander said...

Anyone know what postage is going to be required for international SASEs? I'm currently putting 84c on mine.

writtenwyrdd said...

And here I was just thinking that all that online shopping has got to have finally put the postal service in the black!

R Matthew Ware said...

Maybe more agents and publishers will just switch to e-mail for all submissions/communication.

M.W. said...

This is why we need to change the constitution and privatize the USPS. I'm serious. I've been sayin' this since 7th grade and I'll continue to say it; PRIVATIZE.

*steps off soap box*

Thank you.

Heather said...

Given the price increase for EVERYTHING these days (my last trip to the grocery store saw $1.00 or more increases for many of my regular items) I won't complain over $.02

But I can see this as a pain for someone who uses as many as you do.

Anonymous said...

Get a clue time: The reason the rates keep going up is because the customer base is going to places like UPS and FEDEX because those companies generally give grea customer service since no one working there is a federal employee. (they aren't, are the?)

Be honest: how many times have yo wanted to vault over the counter in the post office and strangle the idiot on the other side? Tell the truth: - 10; 20; can't count that high?

If there was a way to avoid ever going into the post office, I would take it. Can't wait 'til they go out of business.

'Steene said...

I have never in my life wanted to strangle a postal employee. But I've harbored a few violent thoughts towards the other customers.

Mirtika said...

Hang on, there was an overpayment of SEVENTY BILLION DOLLARS? dang.

I know I am helping the postal service. I mail a lot of stuff and I order a lot of stuff. I get at least four packages, minimum, a week, half from USPS, the others divvied up between FedEx or UPS.

I do know that my service has sucked for the last 10 years. I never had a problem with the USPS in my previous address, but since we moved to this area, it's one disaster after another. I'm tired of complaining to the manager, so I just stopped. It did result in me paying more of my bills and charity donations online, so that's less stamps for them. :::shurg::: I woudln't have switched to online unless the service hadn't sucked several dozen eggs.

They still tear up my mail and magazines. IT's like it's delivered by rabid dogs some days.

I guess I better go buy 2 cent stamps.

Mir

Sabrina said...

Waylander: I don't know if you got a response/answer for this elsewhere, but if you haven't yet, I think international letter rates will go up to 87 cents for a 1 oz. letter.

I'm currently working in a store that ships through UPS, USPS and FedEx, and last week we got a bunch of pages detailing the rate hikes. Seems like everything is going up, but they are offering that forever stamp. 41 cents per right now, but you can use it in the future even if stamps go up even more.