Years ago, when the post office started using ZIP CODES, they had a slogan, which went as follows:
"Mail moves the country, and zip codes move the mail."
A few weeks ago, the United States Post Office raised its rates -- again. But this one was different. They snuck in dozens of subtle changes which will greatly increase the cost of communication, especially for the small user -- for whom the post office was created.
If you've tried to mail a CD-ROM or DVD, you've probably noticed the rate went up. You are now charged because the mail piece is not bendable. If your package is not very rectangular, you are charged because it is squarish. If your package is more than a 1/4'' thick (and they won't squeeze bubble-pack through the slot for you) you are charged for that, as well. And you may well also be forced to declare the letter a "small package" and pay even more. And after 3 1/2 ounces, it's a small package, period.
So for example, what used to cost $0.53 to mail (which was already a rip-off) now costs at least $0.97 to $1.35, depending on which postal clerk you get. (They seem to be as unsure of the changes as the public is unaware of them.)
And it gets worse. Have you seen what's happened to Registered Mail and Certified Mail rates? They've gone through the roof! Increases of around 100% suddenly occurred in both cases!
And these are just some of the changes. The "forever stamp" is a economic boondoggle, and the Postmaster General sounded like Alberto Gonzales trying to explain the firings of the U.S. Attorneys when asked about it.
The same day I discovered that most of my small software company's domestic mailing packaging was going to cost about double to mail, I received a CD-ROM from the post office itself, so I can set up a "post office at home."
It cost the post office $0.17 to mail me that CD-ROM!
Are you getting the picture? Small businesses are purposefully being crushed. And the individual is being robbed. This is the very kind of highway robbery the government was invented to stop, not institutionalize!
When I got home from the post office, Postmaster General John Potter was on CSPAN, speaking before the National Press Club. He made it clear that the post office considers the individual to be nothing but a destination for corporate junk mail.
He also made it clear that to him, the "small business user" is a company that sends at least 20,000 pieces of mail at a time!
Are you a non-profit organization which does not want to use bulk mail, because of the inconvenience, or the cost of set-up, or the fact that you only have a few dozen subscribers to your newsletter? The post office doesn't want to serve you. Are you an individual, mailing letters of complaint to the government or to a corporation for a wrong you've been done? Expect it to cost you vastly more than it used to. Do you want to write to your Congressperson? Take out a bank loan.
But if you are a large postal user, the postmaster general has promised not just to keep your costs down, but to keep their increase in rates (for the bulk user) zero, by increasing efficiency throughout the post office.
That means, by charging an arm and a leg for the individual and small user.