Summer mail sale


The mail is going on sale!

Not all of it, though. The increasingly cash-strapped Postal Service is holding a “summer sale,” but it only affects Standard Mail, a cheaper kind of postage often used for advertising. (Letters, on the other hand, use First-Class Mail.) It runs from July 1 to September 30; eligible mailers need to send at least one million pieces of Standard Mail each year.

How much is the discount? That gets a little complicated. From the Postal Regulatory Commission filing:

The “Summer Sale” program… will provide a 30 percent rebate to eligible mailers on Standard Mail letters and flats volume above a mailer-specific threshold. The threshold is calculated by taking the percentage change between a mailer’s postal fiscal year-to-date (October 2008 through March 2009) volume and the volume mailed in the same period last year, and applying that percentage to the volume the mailer mailed between July 1, 2008, and September 30, 2008.

Get all that?

Put another way, the Postal Service is calculating how much mail a company is likely to send this summer (based on year-to-date mailing). They’re trying to encourage the company to send more mail than it ordinarily would — by making that extra mail 30 percent cheaper.

So the Postal Service doesn’t lose revenue: If I was going to send 250,000 pieces of mail this summer, and instead I send 300,000, the discount only applies to the additional 50,000 (this is an oversimplification, but you get the idea). That’s still a net gain for the agency.

But it also depends on mailers being willing to send more mail. It’s true that their extra mail (above the “threshold”) will be cheaper than normal. It’s still going to cost them money, though — money they might be loathe to spend in the middle of this recession.


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