Sunday, May 13, 2007

Postage Rates Rise

And, I mean really, who cares? Who cares about the daily home delivery of scraps of paper anymore? If I want to send a personal note to a friend I don't write a letter, I write e-mail. It is faster, cheaper, and more reliable. My mail mostly consists of:
  • catalogs from businesses I have never heard of, let alone would I ever buy from them,
  • solicitations to donate money to charities I didn't even knew existed,
  • solicitations to donate money to charities I gave to once in the distant past and now just won't leave me alone,
  • bills from a handful of old-fashioned organizations that have never heard of electronic fund transfers.
I remember from my days working with nonprofits that mail solicitations are mostly a wasted effort. The return rates is about 2% - meaning between the cost of postage, printing and processing those fancy 4-color flyers, and handling the whole mess, the sucker who responds needs to donate at least $20 just to pay for the other 49 people who threw the junk away.

Selected postage rates ~ look here for the full list of rate changes
  • Prior to 1958 ~ fluxuates between 2 and 3 cents
  • 1958 ~ 4 cents (the penny postcard now costs 3 cents)
  • 1963 ~ 5 cents
  • 1968 ~ 6 cents
  • 1971 ~ 8 cents (the first 2 cent rate jump)
  • 1975 ~ 13 cents (a 62% increase in 4 years)
  • 1978 ~ 15 cents (the penny postcard now costs a dime)
  • 1991 ~ 29 cents
  • 2006 ~ 39 cents
  • 2007 ~ 41 cents (postcards now cost 26 pennies)
Although, it could be worse. In Germany in 1921 postage cost 0.60 marks. By November 1923 it cost 80 billion marks to send a letter. This is a 5 billion mark postage stamp.


Anonymous said...


[sniff] OK...I'm better now.

Really puts things in perspective doesn't it.

John said...

Everything you say is right on. HOWEVER, Rates raised across the board meaning that the 40 items I sold on ebay this week cost around $28 more to deliver than just before the increase. Yes, the winners pay for shipping but the increase eats into the total they are willing to pay so the increase is really paid by me. My perspective.