Special delivery

Have you been examining your mail carefully lately-not just the letters inside the envelopes, but the envelopes themselves? If not, take a look. Chances are you’ll find a new experiment in canceling stamps. We’ve found splashed across the upper right-hand corner of first-class letters, "Happy Who-lidays from the U.S. Postal Service." Next to this greeting is an image of the Grinch’s furry hand ready to drop a Christmas tree ornament.

On January 7 the cost of mailing a first-class letter will rise to $.34, and the charges for priority mail will increase by $.30 to $3.50 for the first pound, and $.75 more for the second. (It now costs $3.20 for the first two pounds of priority mail.) It has been two years since the Postal Service raised first-class rates, but when this one goes into effect, the rate will have increased by 36 percent over the past ten years. (Magazine rates will increase 9.9 percent-woe is us.)

These rate hikes are projected to bring about $2.5 billion into Postal Service coffers. According to Postal Rate Commission Chairman Ed Gleiman, the Postal Service needs about $800 million to cover increasing operating expenses. The extra $1.7 billion will provide a "sizable cushion," he says. Over the past five years, the Postal Service has made a profit of $6 billion.

And with lucrative advertising deals like the one recently struck with Universal Studios for The Grinch, these profits should...

To read the rest of this article please login or become a subscriber.