Archive for the ‘Mail’ Category

Service of It’s Only Five Cents More: Impact of Another USPS Price Increase

Monday, April 29th, 2024

Mostly older people mail traditional letters or pay bills by mail and mostly older people enjoy receiving traditional cards. One of the recipients of my Halloween, Valentine, holiday and birthday cards was a dear friend who died recently at 99. After she retired, she told me how much receiving the cards meant. I will miss her especially as I address those envelopes.

How long will I keep up the tradition of sending cards? I shared the news of the July 14 five cent price increase for a Forever Stamp—on top of two cents in January–with folks who use the mails. We will be paying 73 cents for one. I’ll no longer fork over chump change to mail 100+ Christmas/Hannukah greetings. I’ve pretty much stopped sending cards to younger people as I suspect they languish in unopened mailboxes for months and are an annoyance considered wasteful.

Cousin Deb responded to my stamp price increase news: “I will buy quite a few before that date. What a large leap in price!  As a senior, I feel that they are not so subtly telling us to go everything electronic. I am stubbornly still paying some bills by check, and I also like to communicate by cards and letters.

“But even though I never had any problems with leaving my mail out for the mailman to pick up, I now will be mailing them inside the post office. AARP has convinced me to do that.  And, making sure that I use a pen that is permanent black, like a fine point Sharpie. It is a major pain, as it is now too far to walk!”

For a while, after I read about the importance of using the right ink for writing a check, I was giving Sharpie pens to friends who mail checks.

Like Deb, I’m careful about where I put mail to be sent. I haven’t put a letter in a blue street mailbox in months. I am lucky that in my apartment building the trusty mail people pick up our letters from a box inside the building. Post offices near me aren’t convenient.

I have reasons for wanting the microfiche check images I get from my bank. The memo section on one in which my husband had written “downpayment,” was proof needed in a disagreement with a vendor. And I dislike the concept that a company or organization can suck out of my account any amount of money it cares to for as long as it wants. I also use the tiny check facsimiles as proof of charitable donations. Some less sophisticated yet needy organizations–such as local food banks–have no staff to send online or physical acknowledgements for donations.

Will you change your mailing habits as the cost of a first-class stamp gallops towards a dollar? Have you already done so?

Service of Unsung Heroes: Mailmen

Thursday, November 2nd, 2023

Just some of the post boxes for my apartment building.

The post office doesn’t always get top grades but some of the mailmen should. Talk about unsung heroes.

A friend was lugging a package to the post office the other day when her mailman saw her on the street and asked if he could take it for her. Made her day.

We recently had a change of mailman which made me sad because the original one was a living computer. When I’d been here less than a month he knew to direct mail to me even if it had the wrong apartment number or no apartment number–a requirement in NYC. As I’ve mentioned on this blog, there are 510 mailboxes.

He was replaced by Kirk, with the same kind of memory. I entered the mail room one day while he was finishing up and he asked if he could get my mail for me and went to the correct box. I was amazed.

NYC has a mail theft crisis. We’ve read about it in the news. The letters I put in the box in our building always arrive.

A major financial institution sent me the following in a letter in September urging its clients to opt for direct deposit rather than traditional checks. “On February 27, 2023, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network published an alert highlighting the nationwide surge in mail theft-related check fraud. From March 2020 through February 2021 the United States postal inspection service received 299,020 mail theft complaints an increase of 161% compared with the same period an earlier year.

“Check fraud occurs when there is an interception and manipulation of a hard copy check that is meant to defraud the account owner.”

Why did I post the dates? It took the firm I work with seven months–from February to September–to get out this missive. It took the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network a year to alert financial institutions with the alarming statistics reported for March 2020-February 2021.

But I digress.

Years ago I was crossing Lexington Avenue near an office building I’d not worked in for 10 years. The mailman said hello and greeted me by name, and I was one of many employees on just one floor.

Is your mailman or woman terrific? Are there other unsung heroes who make our lives easier who are often overlooked? Do you wonder about how some organizations and institutions interpret the word “alert” as “when we get around to it,” and how they determine the priority of urgency of some information?

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