the daily news digest of the postal world since 1998


CBS Evening News Video: Congress proposes changes to Postal Service

Last night’s CBS Evening News featured a brief piece on the US Postal Service’s latest financial “crisis”, with appearances by PMG Pat Donahoe, Darrell Issa, and New York City Metro APWU Legislative and Political Director Chuck Zlatkin:

Congress proposes changes to Postal Service – CBS News Video.


USPS to use Facebook gimmick to unveil March on Washington 50th Anniversary stamp

linnsmarchLinn’s Stamp News reports that the US Postal Service plans a slightly gimmicky unveiling for its stamp honoring the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. Instead of releasing the image well in advance, as it used to do, the USPS will reveal the design “pixel by pixel” on its Facebook page. Each time a Facebook member “participates” by allowing their profile photo to be added to a “virtual March on Washington Stamp Mosaic” another pixel of the stamp design will be revealed. The virtual “unveiling” is set to begin next week, and conclude with the official ceremony marking the First Day of Issue in Washington on August 23. Linn’s says that a portion of the artwork (presumably more than just one pixel?!) will be withheld until the ceremony.

The USPS has used Facebook to promote stamps for a couple of years now, starting in 2011 with a staggered “preview” of the 2012 stamp program. The service’s embrace of Facebook and social media as a marketing tool reflected an abrupt turn-around from its earlier dismissive attitude. That attitude was perhaps best expressed in a 2010 Deliver magazine article which poked fun at social media as “the cool new thing”, not worth investing time and money in.

Whatever the merits of Facebook as a tool to boost sales, the use of a gimmick to promote a stamp commemorating as momentous an occasion as the March on Washington risks coming across as tacky- and it hardly seems likely to boost stamp sales.

All of which may explain why the USPS is apparently looking to hire a social media specialist!


Senate panel approves Tester study of rural mail service changes

tester(BIG SANDY, Mont.) – Senator Jon Tester this week won approval for his measure to require the government to determine how reductions in rural mail delivery standards are affecting Montana communities.

The Postal Service last year cut certain delivery programs in rural states like Montana, claiming the change would save the agency money and not hurt delivery service standards. But there have been no studies to back up the Postal Service’s claims – or to determine how communities in rural America are affected by the change.

Tester’s measure will require the government’s top watchdog to get to the bottom of the issue. Tester sits on the Senate’s Appropriations Committee, which approved his amendment unanimously.

“Folks in rural American rely on timely and efficient postal service for everything from medicines to election ballots,” Tester said. “This measure will take a close look at how cuts to rural mail service are affecting Montanans and make it clear that the Postal Service is trying to balance its books on the backs of rural communities.”

Tester, a member of the Senate panel that oversees the Postal Service, supports comprehensive, bipartisan legislation that will put the Postal Service on sound financial footing while preserving timely and efficient mail service in rural Montana.

Fellow Montana Senator Max Baucus is also a supporter of that measure.

Tester also recently criticized the Postal Service’s attempt to break the law and cut Saturday mail delivery, before helping to force the agency to backtrack on its decision.

Tester’s measure requiring a study of reductions to rural mail service standards is now part of a Senate funding bill.

Read more: Senate panel approves Tester study of rural mail service changes | Jon Tester | U.S. Senator for Montana.


Should Amazon buy the Royal Mail?


Over on the Software Advice blog they’ve done an interesting analysis of the companies purchased by Amazon and speculated on who Amazon might acquire next.

Software Advice say “Today, Amazon is sitting on almost $8 billion in cash and short-term investments and its stock is near an all-time high. This gives Amazon currency with which to grow by acquisition or investment. The question is, who might they acquire next?”

They have a ton of interesting suggestions ranging from companies with real estate where lockers could be placed through to media or grocery companies.

We have a more interesting suggestion however – what about Royal Mail.

Read more: Tamebay : Blog : Should Amazon buy the Royal Mail?.


Man in court over Sunderland Post Office theft charge

A MAN accused of snatching money from a Post Office worker is to stand trial.

Gavin Ball has denied attempting to steal the cash from the Sunderland city centre branch, in Fawcett Street, on July 20.

The 26-year-old entered a not guilty plea to the charge at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court.

Read more: Man in court over Sunderland Post Office theft charge – Crime – Sunderland Echo.


Video: Postal inspectors discover bank scheme that stole $34 million

MILWAUKEE (WITI) — Robert Saks is behind bars for orchestrating an international bank fraud scheme that stole $34 million. At the heart of the scam was a “lead list” that included bank customer names and account information.

“They were using the list to charge and withdraw amounts from the consumers` bank account without their knowledge,” U.S. Postal Inspector Daniel Forrester said.

Postal inspectors determined Saks and 15 others withdrew funds from over 100,000 accounts — mostly small amounts, to avoid suspicion.

Read more: Postal inspectors discover bank scheme that stole $34 million |


In rain, heat or snow, post offices seek new ideas

There was a time when your local post office would mainly sell stamps and deliver letters. No longer.

Traditional snail mail services have shrunk sharply in many countries in recent years, though emerging countries are a notable exception.

According to the Universal Postal Union (UPU), global letter- and light parcel delivery volumes dropped by 3.7 percent in 2011 from a year earlier, and by 5.1 percent when just counting Europe and the former Soviet Union.

And the death of letter-writing has forced postal services to either catch on new trends or disappear.

Read more: In rain, heat or snow, post offices seek new ideas |


Video: USPS promotes Priority Mail "rebranding"

As we told you in April, the US Postal Service seems to think that it can increase package volume by changing the design of its boxes and the names of its services. That strategy went into effect last week with, among other changes, the introduction of “Priority Mail Express” to replace the simpler but apparently less catchy “Express Mail”.

Here’s the USPS video introducing the changes

Priority Mail® Is Now Even Better – YouTube.


Armed robbers make off with large sum of cash from Speke post office

Armed robbers burst into a Liverpool Post Office this afternoon, making off with a significant amount of cash.

Targeting the store in Speke on South Parade, the two men armed with a metal pole are described as being white and possibly in their 20s or 30s.

Both males were wearing balaclavas and high visibility vests when they entered the shop and threatened staff.

Staff escaped uninjured but were shaken up by the ordeal.

Read more: Armed robbers make off with large sum of cash from Speke store – Liverpool Echo.


India Post celebrates Bangalore’s history

Maybe you’re an inveterate communicator in cyberspace. But here’s the chance to really impress people by sending them a bit of the city’s history. For, India Post has introduced the latest pictorial cancellation (the seal on postcards/stamps) in its series: the Kempe Gowda tower in Lalbagh.

This is the 32 permanent pictorial cancellation and one of the few depicting Bangalore — the other notable one being the Vidhana Soudha. The other form of pictorial cancellation is the special one on specific occasions.

Hilda Abraham, Chief Postmaster-General, Karnataka Postal Circle, who unveiled the latest pictorial cancellation at the General Post Office (GPO) here on Tuesday, said the main aim of the cancellations was to make children aware of places of historical importance in the State. “It was decided after much deliberation, including discussions with philatelists, that the newest permanent pictorial cancellation will be the Kempe Gowda tower, as it represents an important part of history of the city,” she said.

Read more: India Post celebrates the city’s history – The Hindu.