Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Postage goes on Sale this Summer! Oops! Sorry. You don't qualify.

Excited rumors have been circulating for several weeks now that the post office is preparing to put postage "on sale" this summer.

Rumor confirmed.

But like most rumors, there's a grain of truth, a lot of misdirection, and it hasn't been absolutely solidified yet.

Here's the deal as I understand it.

The USPS says that organizations mailing more than one million Standard letters and/or flats between October 1, 2007 and March 31, 2008, could qualify to get UP TO 30% rebated on postage spent from July 1 through September 1 of this year. At the end of October the Post Office will determine the applicable rebate based on a complicated formula which I will spare you. In synopsis: if 2009 volumes exceed 2008 volumes, the rebate can be as high as 30%. But if 2009 numbers don't match the previous year's numbers, the rebate is reduced. At the end of the December, the USPS deposits the appropriate funds into mailer's permit account.

Oh yes, if it works well in 2009, the USPS would consider re-running the program in 2010, too.
On sheer number volume, I am happy to report that
Paul&Partners qualifies. So on first blush, this could be really good news.

So far so good. Now it jumps bad.

The USPS figures that only about 5% of the 160,000 mailers with permits will qualify. To qualify, you have to mail more than 500,000 pieces at one time this summer.

Say what? This is a "summer surprise" like the "October surprises" we hear about in politics when a damaging last-minute revelation torpedoes a candidate's election chances. But this surprise is that it benefits only 5% of the mailers. It torpedoes everyone else.

Yes, indeed. This is a "help out the big guys" program. It's the USPS TARP equivalent of bailing out AIG or Chrysler. You know-the mailers that are "too big to fail." (Sounds familiar, doesn't it?) Think about it. Who do you think sits on the postal committees that come up with this stuff anyway? Yep. It's the "big boys." The folks who run those blue envelopes stuffed with 50 or 60 ugly little ads...The guys who put the big-box-store tabloids in my mailbox-and every single mailbox in the county-every Tuesday...the cataloguers who put 5-6 catalogs in my mailbox every day. You know-the big boys.

You think this could be a suggestion proffered by one of those committee members?

OK, catalogue and periodical mailers got hammered last summer with an enormous postal increase. Everybody felt sorry for them. Many didn't survive.

But while we're feeling sorry for the big boys who are hurting, let's feel a little genuine sympathy for the little guys, too. Guys like YOU, for heaven's sake.

We know you would love to see postage drop a bit. Forget 30%. You'd take 15%! You'd probably put more in the mail if you could do so for less. It's economics 101.


Oops. Sorry. You may want to accept this offer, but you can't. You don't qualify.

You see, this rebate only applies to individual end-users. That means Paul&Partners can't gang your mail with someone else's mail to get to the magic half million piece numbers that would benefit everybody. No, indeed.

If you can't cobble together the funds to mail 500,000 pieces at once by yourself, you're just not big enough.

So there you have it. An empty promise for 95% of us. A windfall for 5%.

The Post Office says that the comment period is still open. That we-the 95% of us who won't benefit-can protest.

Exercise your democratic rights.

Raise your voice in righteous indignation.

Claim your piece of the pie.

Speak up.

Speak out.

Remember, it isn't a "done deal" yet.

EMAIL: summersale@usps.gov and let your voice be heard!


43670 Trade Center Place, Suite 150, Dulles, VA 20166
Phone: 703.996.0800 Fax: 703.996.0888 1.866.365.2858


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