My First Postal Forum Is My Last

After 18 years in publishing, I attended my first Postal Forum. It may be my last.

When I started my career, postage accounted for about 15 percent of the mailing cost of a direct mail package. Now postage accounts for 50 percent.

One of the business sessions was on postal reform. I couldn’t take the whining and complaining, so I left the room and returned when the panel took questions from the audience. I never resist an opportunity to stir the pot. I suggested that postal reform in the simplest manner would be for the U.S. Postal Service to create an additional revenue stream. The USPS should charge a nominal $10 annual fee to each of the 130 million mailboxes they deliver to each day. Each post office would be responsible for collecting the fee each year for their addresses.

This $1.3 billion in new annual revenue would not only save the USPS from financial ruin, but it would also save the mailing industry from financial ruin. I’ll never understand why the USPS provides free home delivery and charges for P.O. boxes. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? It’s obvious that the expense to put mail in a P.O. box is far less than home delivery. If the USPS has the right to charge for a P.O. box, it should also have the right to charge for home delivery.

My concept is so simple, I wrote it on the back of my business card and handed it to John Nolan after the town hall meeting. He said they have considered the idea already. Mr. Nolan, stop considering and start implementing.

This may not be the best idea, but it’s a start. All the brainpower within this industry should start thinking of solutions instead of reiterating problems. I pray that I’m still working another 18 years for the small family publisher that employs me. I fear that the USPS will continually raise rates on the backs of publishers, catalogers and direct mailers to the point of bankruptcy for the majority of us in these industries. The loss in revenue for the USPS this past quarter will be a fraction of what’s to come.

Mike Serino, Vice president, circulation, Links-The Best of Golf

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