It seems I’m always dangerously close to running out of stamps.
And I inevitably have to prepare myself for another ‘adventure’ to the post office.
So, sure… I know we live in a paperless society where so much of our commerce is transacted digitally. But please tell that to the owners of all the bills I still receive in the mail. Yes, I’m a huge fan of online bill payments, but it takes a big commitment to get everyone into the ‘system.’
Sometimes, it’s easier just to reach for a self-stick stamp.
I Want a Real Stamp!
I don’t know about you, but I do not find it especially convenient to just walk into a post office and buy a book of stamps.
(Waiting on line is so analog!)
And purchasing stamps from the automated touch-screen dispenser doesn’t give you the real deal. Recently, these machines have been ‘upgraded’ to spit out this freshly printed but very ordinary sheet of stamps.
Yes, they’re legit, but they seem so…generic.
Something almost out of a kindergarten art project.
Google for Your Stamps
The other morning, I peeled off a little 47-cent ‘Forever’ square and realized I only had two left.
It was time to jump into action.
But I was determined not to get out of my chair.
(Besides, it was still dark out.)
I turned on my iMac.
Its glow powered my resolve.
“Send me stamps,” I whispered evilly.
Then I realized I was momentarily caught in a temporal rift, and I was channeling my future self ten years out.
I sighed and looked around to see if anyone got the joke.
The rest of the family was still asleep.
I lifted my fingers to initiate some Googling…
Amazon’s Deal Isn’t Prime
I figured the U.S. Postal Service must sell stamps online.
And of course they do.
Buying stamps at usps.com… it seems so patriotic.
Problem solved, right?
Well, I happened to notice there would be a shipping fee.
And you have to sign up for an account to discover how much that would cost.
I’ve been so spoiled by the free shipping convenience of Amazon Prime.
(Though apparently their more expensive $99 Prime charge isn’t enough to prop up Amazon’s sickly profit margins.)
I immediately went to Amazon to find my stamps.
Yup, there they were!
Price: $13.35 for 20 stamps.
My neurons powered up to do the short math.
I reached for the calculator instead.
Their deal turned out to be a little more than 66 cents for a 47-cent stamp.
That’s a huge mark up!!
No thank you, Amazon.
Office Depot to the Rescue
I can’t be the first person out there looking for a good deal on stamps online.
Google. Google. Google.
Officedepot.com sells stamps.
Their website offered a cool roll of 100 stamps for $47 with free delivery.
(And even I could do that simple math to know the price was right.)
But then I noticed there’s a $1 ‘Processing Fee’ added at checkout.
But I still pulled the trigger, reluctantly.
The convenience of free home delivery was worth the dollar.
(if you can follow that logic)
Uncle Sam Can’t Be Beat
But I still wasn’t 100% satisfied.
So to quench my intellectual thirst,
I went back to Uncle Sam to check out his shipping costs.
Of course, usps.com offered the traditional Forever flag stamps.
(I half expected the site to offer me an apple pie if I spent $50.)
You can order in incremental strips of 20 or 25 stamps.
And in case you suddenly find the urgent need to buy 10,000 stamps, have no fear.
The United States Postal Service has got you covered.
It just takes a click and $4,700.00, and you’re ready to go.
(I’m not kidding.)
I’m not so sure how many people are clicking for 10,000 stamps, but our government has got them at the ready to ship out to you!
Once I got over considering how long it would take me to go through all those stamps, (I don’t get that many bills!)
I got back to the shipping cost question.
I took the few minutes to sign up with the government.
(Don’t they already know me?)
I experimented by putting in a few different orders into the shopping cart.
And do you know what I discovered about the shipping charge?
- 25 stamps – $1.25 shipping
- 50 stamps – $1.25 shipping
- 75 stamps – $1.25 shipping
- 100 stamps – $1.25 shipping
The United States government apparently has this great flat-rate shipping deal going with our post office.
(Actually, I think it’s a little more to ship your 10,000 stamps.)
Plus, there’s no processing fee to infuriate you!!
(That just comes once a year in April.)
So I immediately felt buyer’s remorse.
But comparing officedepot.com to usps.com… the pricing is actually kind of a wash.
Now I had become an honorary member of the U.S. Postal Service Fan Club,
I figured I should check out the rest of what usps.com had to offer.
And I discovered our nation’s digital post office had a few other tricks up its sleeve…
Did you know….?
- You can schedule online a free package pickup
(though it costs $20 if you ask for a specific time window)
- You can also order mailing and shipping supplies for free
- And print shipping labels with postage
So for many situations, you don’t ever have to go to the post office ever again!
(Whoah… what a concept.)
Invasion of the Stamp Snatchers
I think usps.com is going right into my favorites folder.
I prefer online artificial intelligence over pod people any day….
Come on… you know what I’m talking about.
It’s not everyone at the post office, mind you…
But every so often when you go up to the counter, the post office guy looks up,
and it’s Donald Sutherland!!
Come to think of it, when you’re online late at night at usps.com, it’s probably a wise move not to fall asleep.
You never know…