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US Postal Service losses explained: Part XXXIV

By Doug Powers  •  August 22, 2012 05:02 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

The Postal Service recently reported a $5.2 billion net loss for the quarter and is losing roughly $25 million a day. There are many reasons for losses of that magnitude, and just one example is that the USPS was recently stuck with 682 million unsold Simpsons stamps because they printed way too many at 44 cents a piece, then raised the price of a stamp to 45 cents. DOH!

The U.S. Postal Service wasted $1.2 million in printing costs by selling less than a one-third of the 1 billion commemorative stamps of The Simpsons, Bloomberg news reports.

Bloomberg’s Angela Greiling Keane writes that the inspector general of the money-losing USPS singled out overproduction of commemorative stamps as one example of not properly gauging the needs of customers.

The 44-cent “Simpsons” stamps, which sold in 2009 and 2010, came in five designs, featuring Homer, wife Marge, and children Bart, Lisa and baby Maggie.

One problem, the IG notes, is that the stamps are tied to their 44-cent price, and became unwieldy for customers when the price of mailing a first-class letter went up by a penny.

Yeah, asking “is there going to be a stamp price increase in the near future” might have been something to consider. But maybe they should keep selling the 44 cent Simpsons stamp and just package it up with a one-center commemorating the history of inventory management.

The Inspector General, temporarily demoted to Captain Obvious, recommended this:

It would help, the IG points out, if the postal service would limit its initial production, then print more as demand warrants.

File that under “USPS memos that should have been distributed a couple hundred years ago.”

(h/t Doug Ross)

**Written by Doug Powers

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