How does this save the post office money?

Cidu Bill on Apr 14th 2017


Filed in Bill Bickel, CIDU, F-Minus, comic strips, comics, humor | 33 responses so far

33 Responses to “How does this save the post office money?”

  1. Olivier Apr 14th 2017 at 02:09 pm 1

    Probably a matter of weight. But it’s not a start, it’s a return to earlier practice when letters were folded and sealed so that the address was written on the blank back / outside.

  2. James Pollock Apr 14th 2017 at 03:04 pm 2

    Why do you assume that “we” means “the post office”?

    Perhaps “we” means “Americans”. And, for that matter, he didn’t even say that “we” were the ones who WOULD save money. Maybe “we” went envelope-free to save YOU money.

    And, finally, back in the olden days, when paper was VERY expensive, the post office delivered letters that were not in envelopes. When Meryl gets around to posting, I’m sure she can give us all the details of how Colonials sealed their letters.

  3. billybob Apr 14th 2017 at 04:10 pm 3

    sounds like they read them and are making up an unlikely excuse.

    In the olden days before about 1850, there were no postage stamps. The recipient paid postage, hence there was no junk mail, because no one would pay a penny to read it.

  4. ty Apr 14th 2017 at 04:34 pm 4

    Probably a take-off on the banks going envelope-free for their ATM’s.

  5. zbicyclist Apr 14th 2017 at 10:45 pm 5

    Do government programs to “save money” actually always save money?

    I read this as a “dopey government initiative” joke.

    (and, yes, there are dopey cost-saving initiatives in the private sector as well)

  6. James Pollock Apr 15th 2017 at 02:23 am 6

    “Do government programs to “save money” actually always save money?”

    Always? Of course not.
    But it does happen. Accepting plea bargains, for example, saves a lot of money in court administration.

  7. Boise Ed Apr 15th 2017 at 03:07 am 7

    The last time I sent a paper letter internationally, the Post Office sold me a special thing sort of like Olivier [1] described. It was very light paper that you would write on, addresss on the other side, then fold up to resemble a squarish envelope.

  8. Kilby Apr 15th 2017 at 06:43 am 8

    @ Boise Ed (7) - That was probably quite a while ago. Those superthin pages were called “aerograms“, and saved money back when the Post Office still offered an international airmail rate for 1/2 ounce letters. I don’t know when they stopped doing that, but it’s not on their website now.

  9. Timisan Apr 15th 2017 at 10:13 am 9

    By going envelope-free the government minions no longer have to steam open your envelopes to keep tabs on everybody’s potentially seditious snail mail, and this saves lots of $$ in labor hours. Now, the average small town post office only needs ten full time agents on mail reading duty, as opposed to the 30 or so it use to take to ensure our loyalty. Now, if only there was a way to, say, filter through email for certain key words, then the NSA wouldn’t have to hire those millions of email inspectors, and could just concentrate on those emails with the suspicious key words and phrases. By Allah, that would be the bomb!

  10. Olivier Apr 15th 2017 at 03:14 pm 10

    billybob @3 : actually, one could send a letter postage paid long before postage stamps were invented ; you handed out your letter and the money to the postman who would mark it “PP” so that your recipient wouldn’t have to pay. In fact, when writing to officials or authorities, postage paid letters were compulsory.
    Until 1840, taxation by distance and weight was the rule. The British then decided to give up taxation by distance, and invented the postage stamp, to foster economic growth. During the XIXth century, paper production vastly improved and there were already special very low rates for printed matter. By the 1880s, the quantity of mail had tremendously grown, including what was at the time known as “circulars”.

  11. Mark in Boston Apr 15th 2017 at 07:25 pm 11

    Back when the postage charge was based on weight or number of sheets of paper, people would write on side 1 of the paper to fill it, write on side 2, then turn back to side 1, turn it sideways and write page 3. This was called “crossing”. It was a bit difficult to read but got you 4 pages for the price of 2.

    Also back when the recipient paid for the letter, sometimes a writer would send a blank letter with the “from” name encoding a message. The recipient, hearing it was from “John Smith”, code for “arrived safely”, would decline to accept it. (People used to play the same game with collect phone calls.)

  12. Ted from Ft. Laud Apr 15th 2017 at 11:04 pm 12

    MiB @ 11 - where “people” includes at least one person here. (Our standard practice for signal calls, back in my college days, was a collect (or maybe person-to-person) call to yourself…)

  13. Kilby Apr 15th 2017 at 11:40 pm 13

    @ Olivier (10) - “The British then decided to give up taxation by distance…

    I doubt they had any altruistic motives. They gave up distance pricing primarily because calculating the corresponding amount of postage due was far more expensive (in terms of man hours) than the surcharges on long-distance letters could possibly earn.

  14. Cidu Bill Apr 16th 2017 at 12:20 am 14

    Wow, I haven’t thought about aerogrammes, well, since the last time I sent an aerogramme.

    It was THE way to write to foreign relatives.

  15. Andréa Apr 16th 2017 at 03:29 am 15

    Re: aerogrammes. The US may not have them anymore, but I do receive them from relatives in South Africa, so they do still exist.

    I remember receiving them from grandmother in The Netherlands, and they was so difficult to read as she would write around the edges, on the back, around those edges . . .

  16. Olivier Apr 16th 2017 at 02:31 pm 16

    Kilby @13 : they had tables ready for any possible combination of weight / distance. And they had time : few people wrote since it was so expensive.
    Maybe they were not altruistic but courageous, certainly : it took several years before the budget was balanced again. So much so that France waited 9 years to adopt the same reform because they were afraid to lose money “just like the English”. It took a revolution.

  17. Mark in Boston Apr 16th 2017 at 09:06 pm 17

    Geezer alert: Here we are talking about a time when if you had to send a letter to another continent you could only afford a half-ounce letter, and a long distance call was so expensive you had to find a cheat to tell your parents you got back to university safely.

  18. Kilby Apr 17th 2017 at 07:23 am 18

    @ MiB (17) - Just a few days ago I read the “Dr. Seuss Sleep Book” to my kids, and had to explain what a “special delivery letter” was. I have no idea what that used to cost, but I’d bet it would be astronomical now.

  19. Andréa Apr 17th 2017 at 07:41 am 19

    The closest we have to that now is overnight, which I think is in the $20+ range . . . at least now, we can track its progress (or lack thereof) . . . once, when an overnight letter did NOT arrive overnight (it was stuck at the airport), I actually got a refund.

  20. Boise Ed Apr 18th 2017 at 12:23 am 20

    Kilby [8]: It was quite a while ago. Thank the gods for email.

    Ted [12]: Same here. But gods help me if I ever made a collect call home without prearranging it.

    Kilby [18]: June 7, 1997, the United States Postal Service terminated Special Delivery mail service. Still, I know I’ve seen the postal delivery vehicle driving by on Sundays recently, so I’m sure they have an expensive way to accomplish the same thing.

  21. Cidu Bill Apr 18th 2017 at 12:31 am 21

    My recollection was that special delivery mail was delivered to the recipient as soon as it was received at the local post office.

    But my only first-hand experience was buying the occasional special delivery stamp for my stamp collection.

  22. Andréa Apr 18th 2017 at 01:06 am 22

    That wasn’t a special delivery; that was an delivery.

  23. James Pollock Apr 18th 2017 at 01:25 am 23

    “Still, I know I’ve seen the postal delivery vehicle driving by on Sundays recently, so I’m sure they have an expensive way to accomplish the same thing.”

    Yes, you can pay for Sunday delivery from the Post Office (UPS, too). But it’s not available in all areas, or for all senders, either.

  24. Meryl A Apr 18th 2017 at 02:47 am 24

    As Billybob said the repentant used to pay the purchase so that if it was not delivered one did not pay.

    In addition before there was a formal post office whoever stopped at the local tavern that the letter had been left at would pick it up and take it along as far as they were going. Hence the fact that they would be sealed closed with wax and one’s own seal (then again some seals were sold in stores and had many duplicates for those would could not afford a specially designed seal) - plus no pregummed envelopes - so that if the letter was opened it would be obvious.

    As I understand it from mom (and she is not always the best source for info, even when she was younger) the aerograms were started during WW2 as a way to send letters and take up less space and leave space for needed military supplies.

  25. Meryl A Apr 18th 2017 at 02:50 am 25

    Darn - forgot -

    When I was in charge (well technically husband was in charge of, but we know who did the work) of sending out the notices for our reenactment unit I stopped using envelopes - saved the cost of the envelopes for us. (New commander puts everything in envelopes). I designed the yearbook (coming year’s programs) for my EGA chapter to fold in half and be stapled closed - with the return address preprinted when it is printed and a blank for a label - so that it travels at the lower “letter” rate than if it went flat in an envelope at the “flats” rate.

  26. Mark in Boston Apr 18th 2017 at 09:42 pm 26

    Meanwhile have you noticed that when you get something small from Amazon it’s in a big box that contains mostly air?

  27. B.A. Apr 18th 2017 at 10:12 pm 27

    Seems to me the alternative, MiB, would be for Amazon to use 100,000 sizes of boxes.

  28. Boise Ed Apr 19th 2017 at 01:11 am 28

    BA [27]: Yeah, but when the item is about the size and breakability of a paperback book, and it comes in a box the size of three shoeboxes, that’s a bit beyond the pale, IMHO.

  29. Olivier Apr 19th 2017 at 10:43 am 29

    But the smaller boxes sometimes get lost among the bigger boxes.

  30. Meryl A Apr 26th 2017 at 02:08 am 30

    And the shipping cost is higher for the larger boxes.

    What really annoys me is when something which could be shipped in a small 6″ x 9″ manila envelope first class for a minimal amount - say under $2 - is shipped in the $6+ priority mail small flat rate box and I have to pay the additional $4!

  31. James Pollock Apr 26th 2017 at 02:28 am 31

    “And the shipping cost is higher for the larger boxes.”

    Not necessarily. If the plane/truck isn’t full, then you can put more boxes in without pushing up the cost much.

    And there are some advantages to having all the boxes be the same size.

  32. Meryl A May 3rd 2017 at 01:04 am 32

    The shipping cost - to the company sending the item and their charge to me (my cost) is higher for the larger box. It may not be for the company doing the actual shipping of the item.

  33. James Pollock May 3rd 2017 at 03:58 am 33

    “The shipping cost - to the company sending the item and their charge to me (my cost) is higher for the larger box.”

    Depends on the deal between the shipper and the delivery company. If you ship enough, you get to dictate terms to the delivery company instead of the usual situation, which is the other way ’round.

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