Friday, May 28, 2010

A sign of the times?

First-Class Mail volume has dropped signficiantly in the last two years. Much of the decline has been due to the increase in electronic billing.

What do you think about the loss of this volume? Will it taper off? Will it continue? How should the Post Office react?

Click here to give your opinion.

Photo Credit: Marcy Earley

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Your Postal Podcast, #24 now online

Curtain up for PRC hearings; curtains down on a 'Do Not Mail' proposal

The latest edition of Your Postal Podcast , found at, features a report from the first Postal Regulatory Commission public hearing regarding a proposed five-day delivery week. Vice President, Sales, Susan Plonkey provides her insight on the pressing need for delivery flexibility.

In addition, you'll hear how the Spokane Postmaster and customers informed local city officials about the real costs of a "Do Not Mail" proposal.

Your Postal Podcast is a monthly audio program produced by USPS Corporate Communications. You can also listen directly from the website from either a postal or home computer.

This 24th edition -- and all previous shows -- may be downloaded free at the iTunes store or using any other RSS feeder.

Please email us at to share comments or story suggestions.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Have you seen me? Mailings help find missing kids.

This poster hangs in Post Office lobbies across the U.S.
Every week, millions of images of children arrive in mailboxes. “Have you seen me?” the sad pictures ask?

For the last 25 years, media and marketing services provider Valassis has partnered with the US Postal Service and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children on the program. The mailings, which feature the names and faces of missing children, reach more than 100 million households through weekly newspaper distribution and 90% of U.S. homes via mail.

Thanks to the program, there have been 149 missing children who have been safely recovered,

What do you think about these mailings? Do most people look at them? Should something different be done to help make them more effective? Comment here.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Wanted: Your Big ideas

The Post Office is in trouble. Looks like we are on a trajectory to lose another $7 - 8 billion this year. There are lots of innovations and little tweaks we make every day, but none of them can make up this number or set us on good footing in the future.

So, what kind of Big Ideas do you have? What kind of radical, out-of-the-box thinking will keep us around?

New products? New services? Reductions?

Comment here.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Postal heroes

Thousands of postal employees process, transport and deliver the mail on a daily basis — while providing a vital link and serving as a driver of the American economy.

But Postal employees also are known for their service and benevolence in local communities across the nation.

As the eyes and ears in neighborhoods when there’s nobody else around, they perform selfless and heroic acts — often at risk to their own safety. For many, humility and anonymity are their best characteristics — never looking for recognition, just responding to a call for help from a customer or co-worker.

People Magazine did a story on postal heroes last year. Read it here.

Do you know a postal hero? Were you one yourself? Talk about it by clicking here and commenting.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Your chance to buy it: World's most valuable stamp up for auction

The tiny Treskilling Yellow stamp in Sweden is being shown at London's Festival of Stamps and will be auctioned off in Geneva next week.

The three-shilling stamp was used in 1857 to mail a letter.

It was printed in yellow by mistake, and should in fact have been green, which has served to make it extremely rare. It was presumed that some other stamps were produced in the same batch, but no other Treskilling Yellow has ever surfaced.

The stamp has changed hands many times and each time has set a record price. The last sale was in 1996 when it sold for 2,875,000 Swiss Francs.

Do you collect stamps? What's your most valuable stamp? Comment here.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"God Bless America." Kate Smith gets a stamp

Kate Smith, best known for her rendition of a little Irving Berlin tune, "God Bless America," now has her own stamp.

Smith first sang the song in 1938 and since has been adopted as America's national song, especially during times of crisis.

The stamp was unveiled with the help of former members of the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers, for whom Smith's signature song has been used as good luck charm since 1969.

Do you like the song? Who has given the best rendition of the song? Comment here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A uniform look: Good for our image?

Benny here...

Here at the Postal Service we have uniforms and allowances for city carriers and window clerks. It's worked for our public "brand." Every person in America can spot one of our employees.

It used to be that we all had the same image in public. But lately, in some circles, it seems we've been a little lax. A slowly emerging casual status has infected our ranks and you'll often see uniform variations out there.

Do you think this a good thing? Do the uniform standards need to relaxed? Enforced? Updated? What's the most outrageous thing you've seen?

Comment here.

Should uniform standards be relaxed or enforced?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Animal Rescue: Pet Adoption Stamps

In the couple of weeks since the stamp has been released, the numbers are pretty impressive.

Through May 11, we've sold at our retail windows 1.9 million panes, or $17 million worth of stamps. Online, we've sold an additional 429,000 panes, or $3.7 million worth of stamps.

Put those two together and we've sold more than $21 million of stamps. How are they selling in your Post Office? Comment here.

Photo by Lisa Nystuen

Monday, May 17, 2010

The inherent value of an address

The Postal Regulatory Commission is currently looking at the inherent social value of a healthy Postal Service.

One thing they are looking at is the value of an address. It seems like a simple thing, but look at how important an address is to the fabric of our society. Emergency response, pizza delivery, city planners, newspaper delivery, utilities and researchers all use the street address as a core component to their business.

Even our competitors use the addresses that we maintain to deliver their parcels.
What would our life look like without addresses? Should we get compensate for this work? Got a comment? Click here.

The PRC's proposal summary is here.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A nifty idea: You and your pet on a stamp

The Boston Animal Rescue Society has this great idea. They provided a blank canvas that looks like a stamp, and then pets and their owners strike a pose!

But pet owners can go one step further, using a customized postage service like Zazzle, Pitney Bowes, PictureItPostage or PhotoStamps.

If you've never tried it, you should. You upload your own digital photo and you can print your own valid, U.S. postage stamp.

You'll pay a little premium for the service, but they're sure to be the talk of the town for you and your pet.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Today in the Postal Service


  • We will drive 4.1 million miles.
  • We will deliver 584 million pieces of mail to 150 million addesses.
  • 7 million people will visit a postal lobby.
  • 1 million people will go to

 Do you think the public understands these numbers? What can we do to tell them? Comment here.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Beauty. Glamour. Stamps

The latest Legends of Hollywood stamp series honors Katharine Hepburn, one of America’s most fascinating and enduring film stars.

The stamp goes on sale tomorrow, May 12,  which is also her birthday.

“I was taught,” she said, “not to be afraid of anything.”

She starred in more than more than 40 motion pictures, receiving 12 Academy Award nominations for Best Actress and won four Oscars, and an Emmy.

What's your favorite Hepburn movie? Comment here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My aching feet!

Benny here...

Carriers, clerks and almost every other postal employee spend lots of time on their feet. I know. I've had plenty of blisters over the years. Mrs. Franklin isn't too keen on rubbing my feet anymore, so I have to find better shoes.

One company, Rockport, has recently been studying carriers' feet. They looked at load factors, walking on a variety of surfaces and durability. They interviewed carriers and did quite a bit of research before coming up with a line of shoes they think will do the trick.

The three largest postal shoe retailers, Brookfield Uniforms, Ames Uniforms, and Postal Uniforms Direct carry lots of shoes, as do many of the 300 other uniform dealers.

Of course, the postal rules tell us that all shoes need to be fully enclosed at the heel, toe, and sides and made of leather or a substantial synthetic material. Canvas or nylon shoes aren't acceptable. They need to be made in the U.S. and be slip-resistant.

What do you think? What kind of shoes do you wear? Comment here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day volume

Yesterday was Mother's Day, traditionally one of the highest mailing days for cards.

Anna Jarvis is credited with making Mother’s Day a recognized holiday. In May of 1907 she held a memorial service for her mother and the idea for setting aside the second Sunday in May as a day to celebrate all mothers was born. She campaigned tirelessly to make Mother’s Day an official holiday and in 1914, Congress recognized it as such.

Ironically, by 1920 Anna Jarvis was disgusted with the commercialization of Mother’s Day and actively campaigned against it. She is credited with saying, “A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world.”

Did you send a card? Did you get a card? What was it like in your office or on your route?
Comment here.

"Colors of Mother's Day, photo by Carla DeKalb"

Friday, May 7, 2010

Food Drive tomorrow

Employees Geoff Adams and Torii Barrios from Hudson, FL, raise the banner for tomorrow's Food Drive.

What is your office doing?

Thursday, May 6, 2010


In your experience, how often do we get blamed for missing mail?
What's the most outrageous experience you've ever had? Here's one great example.

Comment here.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Samples in the mail

Benny here.

The Postal Service is now market testing a “Sample Solutions" co-op box.

A sample sampler box
The parcel box will contain an assortment of beauty, health and snack food items from multiple consumer packaged goods companies. The co-op boxes, which will be distributed to 200,000 consumers in Charlotte, NC, and Pittsburgh, PA, will be branded with the Postal Service logo and include the tagline “A selection of free product samples.”

Back in my day, I tried this. I sent out sample boxes of spices, tack, and Dr. Benny's Potion #12.  I got some sales. I got some flack, especially from Alexander Hamilton who disputed the claim that the potion would increase sharpness.  Hey Alex, I never claimed it would make people smarter.

So, what kind of samples would you like in the mail? What would you respond to?
Comment here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Clip it

Did you know that advertising mail is a leading source of coupons, special offers and sales notifications?

According to a recent U.S. Postal Service study, more than 8 out of 10 households read or scan the advertising mail they receive.

And a  recent Pitney Bowes/DMNews survey found that 78 percent of respondents prefer to receive coupons through the mail.

And they call it "junk?"

Monday, May 3, 2010

Project America Run

Some of us are runners. Two miles. Five miles. Maybe even a half-marathon. Sometimes, we run just to the bus stop.

But Retired Driggs, ID, Clerk Mick Ehredt is running solo across America. That's 4,514 miles! His efforts are meant to honor and remember service members serving in Iraq. He'll place a single flag in remembrance of an individual fallen soldier at every mile marker along the way.

He started his run in Astoria Oregon on Sunday will end up in Rockland, Maine five months from now. He'll log about 30 miles a day.

Ehredt will consume 10,000 calories a day, drink bucketloads of water and burn through several pairs of tennis shoes.

The website for his run can be found at
You can check his progress here.
And Mike's blog is here.

What do you think about this effort?
Comment here.

Run Mike, run!