Cash strapped USPS is paying a celebrity “futurist” $1.5 million

Last week the Postmaster General told a Senate committee that the USPS was in “in the midst of a financial disaster”, and about to run out of money to fund its operations.

So it’s just slightly surprising to discover that, as the Federal Times revealed today, the USPS is paying a celebrity “futurist” $1.5 million to, among other things, “divine” the future of stamps. The self-proclaimed “futurist” in question is a woman who calls herself “Faith Popcorn”, and who became marginally famous twenty years ago for predicting that something she called “cocooning” was the Next Big Thing.

It wasn’t.

But that hasn’t stopped Ms. “Popcorn”! She may not be much of a fortune teller, but she can certainly market herself: Faith earns makes a cool $836 an hour to do her magic! Divination does not come cheap these days!

After starting the assignment early last month, BrainReserve– whose website touts its consulting specialty as “applied futurism”–is supposed to finish up work by mid-October, the statement indicates. Faith Popcorn, the company’s CEO, is billing the Postal Service at an hourly rate of $836. Labor fees for other BrainReserve staff involved in the project range from $91 to $334 per hour.

According to documents obtained by the Federal Times, Ms. Popcorn’s company has a contract for over a half million dollars to tell the future of stamps, and another worth $1.1 million to “explore the possibility of using letter carriers to provide paid home visitation services to the elderly and ill.”

Read more: USPS consultant to divine future of stamps under $500K+ contract – Fedline – The Federal Times Blog – federal news, government operations, agency management, pay & benefits.

  • Rotbart59

    Maybe she could explore the future of USPS without Pat Donahoe.

    • PMG Pat Downahole

      There is no future without the great Pat Downahole, there will be no postal service as you know it.

  • gene

    544 million dollars?????

    • postalnews

      Ooops!! Thanks for catching that!

  • LiamSkye

    Typo in the last paragraph! $544 million should be $544 thousand.

    • postalnews

      Thanks! I bet Faith could have predicted that!

    • MarieAlms

      that’s a huge typo

  • MarieAlms

    omgod!!!!!!!!

  • sick of it

    OMG…!!!!!! IS THIS FOR REAL?…….how come noone questions these decisions ……..he does go in front of congress crying about the financial state of this organization…

  • Lilly Beard

    You got to be kidding me!!!!!! who running this PLACE???? called THE US POSTAL SERVICE!!!!!

  • MOE

    This is just another nail in the coffin. We have mediums in the USPS, we have the Muslim Brotherhood on staff leading the current administration and to much more to mention. Our only hope and security is in Jesus Christ. Turn to Him and everything else will not matter. He is coming soon!

    • Mo

      Wow, I hope your not a USPS employee, talking discriminate …..The president is a Muslim thing is played out….grow up

  • John Selby

    Get rid of PMG !!!

  • linnie

    This is so sad. The USPS is being run into the ground by idiots! And you know they’ve already feathered their nests for retirement. And mgmt is always hassling carriers for the extra 15 minutes they’ve spent on the street DELIVERING THE MAIL. SMH…

  • gene

    You blew it. Not 544 million but 544 thousand.

  • oldfolkie

    In which issue of the Onion did Federal Times find this?

    • MikeS

      The headline would have read,
      “Postal People Pick Premium Priced Popcorn Predictions”

  • gj boehme

    get rid of her before you touch us clerk workers… seriously…

  • mucci

    Does she have crystal ball????

  • Idiotland

    Donuthole, just please leave and take your vice presidents with you!

    • mark mcclure

      But if he takes his vice presidents with him then we will be out 10% of our work force. Actually, 10% of our employees, not work force as I doubt they accomplish all that much,,,

    • VP of Fortune Telling

      HA..HA..HA!!! you are an idiot!

  • packmule

    544 billion or 544 million doesnt matter……should be 0. Whoever was involved in approcingvthis should be looking for a new line of work.

  • navymikeussn

    And yet they the politicians, will find away to blame the unions, (APWU, MHU, NALC) for wanting to provide its members with a decent wage, health insurance and retirement, jobs for our veterans etc. Thank God for the Unions.

  • Incabod

    Any body remember the Australian summer Olympics? 2000? USPS had contracts with Lance Armstrong for 41,000,000$. That is forty one Million Dollars! And he was using enhancing drugs the whole time

    • LiamSkye

      Try to stick to reality, ‘kay?

  • joe stutzman

    im a postal retiree. postal employees work hard and take pride in their work. this is the type of CLUELES KRAP that gives us all a bad image. I can “nuke” popcorn. as mr popcorn do I qualify for $334 per hr? prob not.

  • brew girl

    Btw has Lance Armstrong paid back the +$30 million the USPS paid him to steroid his way to 7 world titles? That’s enough to keep a few million employees’jobs off the chopping block for at least 20 years.

    • postalnews

      While I certainly hope the USPS gets some money back from Armstrong, you might want to check your math- if a USPS craft job pays roughly $50K a year, $30 million would only finance 600 of them for one year. (Or 30 of them for 20 years).

  • Celtic

    Why does this not surprise me!

  • 30 Year Vet

    Not surprising one bit. The Postal Service is full of these high paying no show jobs. She’s oviously a family member or friend of one of these overpaid bigwigs that been killing the USPS for over 30 years.

  • 30 Year Vet

    Here are a couple of my favorite no show postal jobs. There’s a good one called the Otis Test. This test involves an employee to take a Government company car to an office where he or she fingers through a tray of mail looking at every 12th one and record where it came from and what class it is. This takes them about 4 hours then they return home with the company car and get 8 hours pay. My personal favorite one ever was the two employees who showed up in a company car one with a clipboard and the other with a nightlight. The one plugged the light onto a socket and the clipboard holder recorded if the nightlight lit. This went on for about 2 hours then they hung with management and yucked it up for the rest of the day.

    • MikeS

      For a while, we had people driving 2 hours (each way) from the district office to find carriers and see if they were putting rubber bands on the transmission level. This was deemed a safety hazard.

      • 30 Year Vet

        I remember the service talk for that one. Another goodie was the day a lady drove down from district in the government car and told our PM to get a clerk to tap the front collection box for the outgoing mail. When he returned with the mail she dropped a label in the tub put a lid on it then told the PM ” Send this out with the 1:00 truck.” Then she jumped into the G mobile and split.

    • CJ

      It is actually called an ODIS~RPW test. I did this for the past 3 years and there is more to it that just fingering mail. There are other tests and measured involved with these types of tests AND companies pay the postal service for this information as well. It is not a wasteful position and if you want to talk about waste – I am sure there are a lot of other jobs within the postal service that waste more money than doing a Statistical test. This information tracks a lot of measures and without this information – we wouldn’t be getting price increases on our stamps and other services. This information is what’s presented to Congress in order to attain an increase. There is more to this job than you think.

      • 30 Year Vet

        So you drive around in a company car and milk this ODIS test for 4 hours. Jump back into the car ( which you get to keep at your house) go home get paid for 8 hours work for a penny rate hike every 3 years ? Please. Do us all a favor and throw a bag over your shoulder and head out to the road so we all can get home at a decent hour to enjoy family time like you get to do every day.

  • Kim Munson

    As customer, I don’t know the background of everything you are all commenting on, but on the specific issue of Faith Popcorn and trend forecasting, I think you are being short-sighted. This type of analysis to spot growth areas for the future is not uncommon. For example the American Association of Museums hired a similar firm to do a study of potential visitor needs, educational needs and funding sources to make sure that their member organizations were staying relevant and adjusting to the future. It was very helpful. I agree the consulting fees sound high. Don’t know what’s involved there. This article makes this analysis sound like the USPS hired a group of gypsy fortune tellers to come in to consult with the spirits, and that’s not how this works at all.

    • ckm

      Should a company so strapped for $$$$ be doing this?

    • MikeS

      Regardless of how she conducts her business, the USPS already employs dozens of people to forecast trends in the business. Not to mention the $1.5M they are paying for the service she provides. The way the USPS is spending the small amount of cash they have left, we may not be here to see her “predictions” become reality.

    • Mr. Postman

      I can help save the USPS some serious money. Let me gaze into the future. I’ll do the study.

      The contract actually comes to over 1.6 million if you add them up correctly. Over $500,000+ to predict the future of stamps, and $1,100,000 for the study on letter carriers doing paid home visitation to the elderly and ill.

      I’ll get out my trusty little ‘ole Magic 8 Ball, grind out some answers, elaborate on them so it’s at least 200 pages long, and charge only $1 million.

      That’s a savings of over 1/2 million! What a bargain!

      Now, if you think my study is a joke, better think again. I’m as much a futurist as Ms Popcorn (not her real name). I predicted “cocooning” was going to be a flop, and I was right.

      Chances are, after the study is done, Patrick Donahoe and all his cronies at L’Infant Plaza are going to disagree with it, ignore it like a union contract, and toss it into the trash.

    • 30 Year Vet

      You should get a job here. Sounds like you’d fit right in.

  • Kurt Heubusch

    hahahahaaaaa, gotta love what they spend their cash on.

  • Alycen Vance Treloar

    can anybody corroborate this story?

    • 30 Year Vet

      Yes I’ll corroborate it for you. Our Postmaster General started his career as a window clerk now he runs the whole shabang. There you go. Corroborated.

      • Postal Observer

        Downahole started as an LSM Clerk in Pittsburgh.

  • Cliff Goofy APWU President

    I know nothing!

  • Bob Komar

    this is good.. BUT FIRE ALL THE MORONS THAT WERE HIRED IN MARKETING! donahoe MUST GO!

  • Dan

    It is not rocket science- We had a “Happy Birthday” stamp for years. It was discontinued yet sorely missed by the card sending generation. How about a “Happy Birthday Forever” stamp. Buy now and save on rate increases forever, Also compels the purchaser to use them at birthday times…

  • Pat Enery

    Makes one wonder who’s behind our government running these things. Who is she connected to? Trashing what little FRNs the Post Office has sounds more like the private banking interest collapsing another government entity that provides good paying jobs. Only the Fed knows who will get a bailout & who won’t. When will we legally be able to audit them? Better yet, when can we (The People) abolish them.