Here is the inaugural comment of the week. (If you have not been reading the comments, just click on the “comments” link at the bottom of each post. My sister says they are the best part of the blog!)
I chose this comment, written by a reader called AB, because s/he explains why my urgent plea to buy Forever stamps is off base. I argued that the upcoming 5 percent rate hike meant hoarding stamps was savvy.
I can’t believe I just got into a huge fight with my wife about this after she came home and exclaimed that her purchase of the “forever” stamps was going to save us a “significant” amount of money and they were always going to be valid, no matter how long it was in the future they were used! I think the public needs to understand this a little better. This is nothing more than a marketing scam.
1. Do you save money? Well, if you buy the “forever” stamps just prior to a rate change and use them after the rate change, you save whatever the difference was times how many you used. But, how many will you actually use in that time frame? For argument’s sake, let’s say that every family mails one letter a day; given the newest rate increase ($.02,) that’s a savings of $.10 a week. Ten cents! To save $10 would take 100 weeks or almost two years. Hardly significant.
2. But here’s my bigger argument and why I call it a scam: The implication of value is in the name “forever,” but that value is almost completely vapor that gets you to buy into buying larger quantities at one time for what amounts to a miserly discount. This implication suggests that you will be, essentially, saving more money the longer you use those stamps into the future, but except for the very rare occasion, that’s not going to happen! Unless you use stamps at a massive rate (not anywhere close to true for the average person/family,) buying super-large quantities isn’t likely (because of the significant cash outlay,) and the stamps you do buy (my wife bought 60) will probably be used up well within the period before the next rate hike, leaving the savings at the original difference between when you bought them and the first rate hike after that. So, fundamentally, “forever” is a lie.
We saved $1.20. Hope we don’t lose any of those stamps in the year it will take to use them up!
AB’s logic has me nearly convinced I was wrong and that Forever stamps are not a great deal at all. What do you think?