Monday, February 28, 2011

The Singing Mailmen

In the 1950s and 60s, a group of Miami employees began singing as the "Singing Mailmen."

According to the Smithsonian Insitute, the group's intent was to promote "good will."

They hit it big, performing on prime-time television on the "Sing Along with Mitch" show. They played at the White House, the U.S. Congress, and for various local political events.

They sang a song that promoted early mailing for the Christmas season, set to the tune of Jingle Bells.

Christmas stamps, Christmas stamps, making our debut.
We’ll brighten up your Christmas cards and speed them on to you.
Don’t delay; mail today. It’s later than you think.
We’ll put them through for all of you, quicker than a wink.

They were later conscripted to promote the new ZIP Code system with this song, set to the tune of Zippity Do Da.

Welcome to the ZIP Code
Use it today
Send your mail out
The five-digit way
For speedier handling
To lighten the load
Your return address
Should have the ZIP Code

The members disbanded in 1970.

Care to comment?

Photo courtesy of Smithsonian, by permission.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Facts about Forever

The Forever Stamp first went on sale in April 2007. Since then, more than 6 billion Forever Stamps have been sold.

As the name suggests, Forever Stamps can be used to mail a one-ounce letter regardless of when the stamps are purchased or used and no matter how prices may change in the future.

Forever Stamps are always sold at the same price as a regular First-Class Mail stamp.
The Postal Service developed the Forever Stamp for consumers to ease the transition during price changes.

Forever Stamps are available for purchase at post offices nationwide, online at, by phone at 1-800-STAMP-24, and from Automated Postal Centers and ATMs. They are sold in booklets of 20 and sheetlets of 18.

Customers can use Forever Stamps for international mail, but since all international prices are higher than domestic prices, customers will need to attach additional postage. The value of the Forever Stamp is the domestic First-Class Mail letter price in effect on the day of use.

In your opinion, has this been a success for USPS? Comment here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

You've got mail!

One idea circulating for enhancing our Post Office Box service is the option for box holders to receive an email or text message when a parcel or signature piece of mail has been received.
It could be something as simple as, "You've got mail! A certified letter was received for you at the Littlebigsville Post Office. Hours are 8-4:30 M-F and 10-12 Sat. (555)313-3333."

Do you think customers would pay for such a service?  Comment here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Should we use ice grippers more?

There's an article in the Omaha World-Herald Online Edition titled: Slip-on ice grippers keep you upright. The article quoted Omaha postal carrier Jessica Jefferis, who is a big fan of these slip-one ice grippers, “This is like having studded tires on your car,” she said. “They are amazing.”

They cost about $40 a pair. Do you use them? Do you like them? Should more carriers use them?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Images of the Storm: A compilation

The winter of 2011 will go down as a tough one for much of the nation.
And nothing tells the story like a good photo.

As a tribute to employees’ efforts, the Postal Service compiled media footage of employees battling — and overcoming — Old Man Winter. Click here to see the video.

Also, click here to see photos of employees taken by the media.

Got a comment? Click here. Have your own image to share? Click here.

Friday, February 18, 2011

President's Day

On Monday, we'll celebrate President's Day.
The federal holiday was first established to commemorate the birthday of our first president, George Washington, who was born on February 22, 1732. As the father of our country, this day was celebrated in the late 19th century with a great deal of patriotic fervor.
In 1968, the Uniform Holidays Bill was passed to create more three-day weekend for federal employees by moving dates of certain holidays from fixed dates to floating Mondays. President Nixon issued a proclamation in 1971 which declared the third Monday in February to be the official observation.
Some have suggested that the federal government enjoys too many holidays. (Articles here and here)
Does it have any personal meaning to you, other than getting a day off with pay?  Comment here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pencil tip art

Dalton Ghetti of  Bridgeport, CT, has been carving sculptures into pencil lead, without the aid of a magnifying glass, for 25 years. Here is one of his most interesting pieces.

Thanks to Garth in Colorado Springs
 and Rich in Spokane  for the "tip."
See more of his work here.
What do you think? Comment here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Michael Sorenson is the Postmater of Alvarado, MN.

He donned his old carrier uniform just to pose with his grandson, Cooper, who is all of two years old.

This is a great photo, but leads to a question. Would you recommend the Postal Service as a career to your children and grandchildren? Why or why not? Drop a comment here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Caption Contest

Got a good caption for this photo? Comment here.

Thanks to Yin Wang for the picture!

Images of the Storm, part 2

This was sent by a Texas reader. They only got a little bit of snow and ice, but someone made the most of it.

Do you have any postal-related photos from the bad weather that hit most of the nation earlier this year? If so, send your photos here.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Images of the storm

Here is a photo sent in from a reader.

Do you have photos from your own bout with the winter weather?

Send them here.

Just more proof that we deliver!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Your Postal Podcast

Hear how a renowned Florida artist creates the tiny stamp designs that grace millions of envelopes in this month's edition of Your Postal Podcast.

Available at, this month's audio program also follows a Kansas rural carrier on what is now the longest rural route in the nation. You'll also hear about Forever stamps as well as a roundup of the latest postal news.  

For a transcript of this month's show, please click here

While at, you can catch up on all 32 previous editions. All of the podcasts can also be downloaded free at the iTunes store or via any other RSS feeder.

Comments, questions and story ideas for the podcast are always appreciated -- click here to share yours, and thank you for listening.

First quarter loss announced

According to a press release, USPS announced a $329 million loss for FY11 Q1, compared to the $297 million for FY10 Q1.

* Without the retiree health benefit payment and noncash adjustment of workers’ compensation, USPS would have made $226 million for the first quarter.
* It reduced workhours by 6.4 million in Q1, equal to 3,600 full time equivalent employees.
* USPS ended the quarter with 578,292 employees, a reduction of 5,616 employees.
* Total mail volume increased by 707 million.
* Mailing services volume grew by 1.5 percent from the same period last year, while mailing services revenues declined. According to the USPS, “the increase in revenue from Standard Mail was not sufficient to offset the loss of revenue from the reduced volume of First-Class Mall.
* USPS’ liquidity concerns remain for FY11. Without some legislative action USPS will not be able to meet all of its financial obligations, including the retiree health benefits payment due on September 30, 2011.

What's your thought on this? Comment here.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Please clear your mailbox

We pride ourselves on delivering to every address, every day. Occasionally snow or flood waters or fallen trees keep us from our appointed rounds.

But in Chino Valley, AZ, theres’s a different kind of mailbox obstruction – tumbleweeds.

A wind storm rolled up tumbleweeds like huge earth balls and deposited them along fence lines, often blocking mailbox access.
“When I had to the make the mail condition report for nondelivery, I didn’t quite know what to say,” said Customer Services Supervisor Marie Johnson. “So, I just put ‘other.’”

Roads were closed and the county even brought in loaders and dump trucks to haul away the debris.
Chino Valley Postmaster David Hyslip stands in front of a mailbox ... somewhere.
Care to comment? Have you ever seen anything like this?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Rural Carrier Mariea Palmer of Sarcoxie MO

 was determined to make the delivery.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Think your Post Office is cold? Try this one on for brrrr . . .

We've had a tough winter. Record snow and cold has challenged the Postal Service, employees and customers like no other time.

But one Post Office just might take the cake for tough conditions.

Australian Post has opened a branch office in Antarctica!
With exploration efforts ongoing since 1914 and increasing tourist (!!!) traffic, the Post decided to open a branch catering to the philatelic community. Operational only a few weeks a year, the office keeps the mail and then dispatches it at the end of the season. There have been orders from all around the world, as well mail dropped off by two cruise ships (!!!!).

One problem with the mail outpost according to David Tingay who mans the station, is how poorly the postmarking ink works on the envelopes. Apparently, the cold weather affects the drying.

What do you think about this? Comment here.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Things Your Carrier Won't Tell You

Reader's Digest recently ran an article called, "Things Your Carrier Won't Tell You." The magazine interviewed carriers from around the country and assembled this list:

1. Most of us love our jobs and the people we serve. I met my wife and my best friend because I was their letter carrier. 

2. We go to great lengths to deliver to every address, no matter how remote. That’s why, in the most rural areas, even UPS and FedEx rely on us to make their final deliveries
3. Those plants around your mailbox are beautiful, but I’d like them better if you kept them trimmed back.4. Is it hot enough for me? The heat index is 110 degrees. What do you think? (Instead of asking that, offer me a cold drink.)5. Despite the “neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night” motto, we’re instructed not to deliver to a mailbox if the snow and ice around it isn’t cleared. Most of us take the motto to heart, though, and do our best to deliver in even the most hazardous conditions.
6. I have people who leave a letter in their box and tape 44 cents in change to it. I’ll take it, but the next day I’ll be waiting in line like everyone else to buy you a stamp.7. One day while delivering to a woman who had been very sick, her daughter met me by the mailbox and asked me if I wanted to say goodbye to her mom.  She was unconscious and didn’t know that I was there, but I held her hand and said a silent prayer for her and her family.  It wasn’t even an hour later when another customer met me at his door.  He was a new father, overjoyed, telling me that his wife had just given birth to his son. The whole cycle of life, in just one day.8. It’s a small thing that makes my job so much easier: Please park your car in the driveway instead of in front of the mailbox.9. If a letter has your name but the number is wrong and it gets to you, thank your carrier. We still sort our mail before we hit the street.10. If your carrier walks his route, it would be nice if you would sweep or shovel your stairs when it snows.11. Sometimes, when my wife and I are shopping or out to dinner, I ask if they give discounts to people in the “service.” They usually say “yes,” then ask “What branch are you in?” I reply, “postal.”  I usually get a funny look and a little snicker... I guess that means I’m just going to have to wait for my senior citizens discount.

What do you think? Are there things you would like to add? Click here.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

"Please, Mr. Postman," vocalist is no longer with us

Gladys Horton, original lead singer of the Marveletts

One of the best songs with a postal theme is the 1961 classic,  "Please Mr. Postman," sung by The Marvelettes.

Gladys Horton, a founding member of the group and lead singer, died in California last week of a stroke.

The Marvelettes who sang lead on their 1961 classic "Please Mr. Postman," died January 26th in Sherman Oaks, California from complications related a stroke. She was 66.

The Marvelettes were one of the first Motown all-girl groups, paving th way for the Ronettes, The Supremes and others.

Click here to see a video of their performance.

Do you have any memories of the song you would like to share?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Baby, It's Cold Out There!

Much of the nation is in a grip of cold. And yet, we are still out there, moving the mail.
Do you have any cold stories to swap?
Comment here.

Photo, Tom Calkins

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Love, the postal way

Communities all over America have used Valentine's Day cards as a way to help spread a little love.
A few of these communities include Loveland, CO, 80538, Valentine, NE, 69201; Romance, AR, 72136; Loving, New Mexico 88256; Romeo, Michigan 48065 and Juliette, Georgia 31046. 
Loveland has one of the largest remailing programs around and it is now it's 65th year. More than 150,000 cards/letters are handled by Loveland each year, from more than 50 countries and all 50 states. More than 12 million valentines have been re-mailed since the program  first started over decades ago
What's unique to the Loveland remailing is that the entire community comes up with a special pictorial postmark. This year's postmark reads: "A Sweetheart City grand tradition; 65 years ago formed a vision; Valentine notes sent from the heart; Spanning all distance and time apart." This postmark is applied to the front of each valentine envelope and postcard, along with a love verse. 
What if you could design a special Valentine's cancellation, what would it look like and what would it say? Attached is the postmark that will be sprayed on letters across the nation.
To have valentines re-mailed with the Loveland postmark, enclose your pre-stamped, pre-addressed envelopes (envelopes should each have 44-cent postage; postcards should have 28-cents postage.)Letters sent to foreign countries should have that country’s First-Class letter postage. Add extra stamps/postage for heavier/odd shaped and square valentines.
Then mail in a large stamped envelope or package with postage to:  
Postmaster, Valentine Re-mailing
446 E. 29th St.
Loveland, CO 80538