Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Liberty Forever

Standing behind a woman needing to buy stamps at a contract post office for the USPS this noon, I can't help hearing her discuss with the clerk about how the postal rate is going up to 42¢ on May 12 for first class stamps. The clerk is advising her to buy Forever stamps to save money. The customer doesn't care about saving a few cents.

"I always lose the penny stamps and end up sticking on another first class stamp because I won't bother buying another penny stamp."


"That's another good reason for you to buy Forever stamps," the clerk says. "They cost 41¢ today, but on May 12, they'll cost 42¢ and you won't have to buy penny stamps to make the higher rate if you buy them before then because they'll always be good for whatever the rate is for first class postage no matter what they cost when you bought them and no matter how long it takes you to use them."

Buy a bunch and bequeath them to the grandkids.

"I need stamps today," the customer says.

"So, would you like to buy Forever stamps?"

"How many should I buy?" the woman asks.

The man at the next counter interjects, "Buy as many as you can afford. If gas goes up like they're talking, we might see another postage hike fairly soon. I'm thinking we'll be seeing 45¢ stamps before too long."

"I don't know," the woman says. "I bought a roll of 100 stamps and it took me over four years to use them all."

The clerk explains, "These stamps are self-adhesive and come on sheets."

The customer hesitates.

It's my turn to pipe up. "I'm sure we'll see 45¢ stamps eventually and you won't have to buy a bunch of one-, two-, three-, or four-cent stamps for the interim hikes if you buy Forever stamps and haven't used them by then."

"Okay, give me 200 of those Forever stamps," she tells the clerk.

(Cough!) That's eighty-two bucks!

I had thought, last night, about buying more Forever stamps myself. I have a sheet already, minus three stamps, plus the Christmas stamps for the cards I didn't send last December. I'll have to get penny stamps for those since I'm unlikely to use them all in less than a month and the woman's idea of never again losing penny stamps sounds really good to me, especially since I either miscounted or lost a stamp after the last increase that left me with a stamp without it's rate-hike mate.

After handing over my packages, I ask for and receive my Forever stamps.

Looking at the Liberty Bell on them, it dawns on me how appropriate is the design. The Liberty Bell for our independence, and the Forever stamps because they're good forever.

Liberty + Forever = Liberty Forever.

The way it should be.

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