Use those 42-cent stamps quick

42-stamps

Cuz they’re only good until May 11, 2009. Yup, the USPS announced another postage rate increase today. A first-class stamp will cost 44 cents after May 11. Revenue losses were the reasons given for the hike, attributed to a sharp decline in amount of snail mail over the past few years.

Yeah, so I know we’re all using email a lot more. And sending e-cards for birthdays and all. But I tell ya, every time I go into the post office (was there today in fact), the line is just as long … and slow.

There is something different though: the clerks at the window are practicing their upsell skills. Now they suggest Express Mail or Priority over regular first-class or parcel post, followed by the litany of other services you surely want for your card to Aunt Milly (such as e-tracking, return receipt, delivery confirmation, extra insurance and more). After you smile but politely decline all those bells and whistles for your little card, they remind you that you should buy some extra stamps. It’s all delivered in a hopeful sort of way that’s cute yet surreal.

All this has prompted me to offer two tips:

1. Send more mail even if it does cost 2 cents more. Maybe the boost in demand will stave off another increase in 6 months. For sure it will make those postal people grin. Plus, how fun is it to send and receive happy mail?

2. Buy those forever stamps now. Quick like a bunny. Then you won’t have to deal with finding 2-cent stamps to go with your 42-cent ones come mid-May.

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