Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Spiraling down, 2 cents at a time

First class postage stamps will go up another 2 cents in May, the Postal Service said Tuesday.

My first thought ...stock up on Forever stamps. You can buy them at 42 cents now and use them later when procrastinators pay 44 cents.

Then I thought about why stamps are going up. More people are going online, fewer pieces of mail hit the system, and the doubledomes at the top of the organization say they have only two choices --raise prices or cut service.

It's no big stretch to see similarities to a business I used to be in. Newspapers also are struggling with the changing economics of delivering dead-tree products door to door.

The two problems may even be feeding each other. Higher mailing costs and reduced service hurts newspapers, which use the Post Office to reach distant customers. So, they mail fewer papers, which helps push rates and strain on the system higher.

Newspapers aren't the only businesses feeling this pinch. It's just a thought, but what happens with the credit crisis if we all need more money and another day to mail payments in on time?

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