US Postal Stamp Futures

USPS - The Forever Stamp

Anyone who knows me is aware that I am totally into financial market analysis. And as the sharp analysts acknowledge, there are markets everywhere. Some of these markets go unearthed for decades until someone like Bill Gates or Donald Trump figures out how to make money off of them. Other markets are so large and encompassing that they are right in front of our faces, yet we often fail to acknowledge them.

Last week I went to buy some stamps from the US Post Office. When I ordered, the young lady asked if I wanted “The Forever Stamps” to which I replied “What is that?” Well, the Postal Service has finally figured something out. People absolutely hate the fact that USPS keeps raising the price of stamps, but never seems to add anything of value to either their service or to their customer service offerings. People also seem to abhor having to purchase new, more expensive books & rolls of stamps every year or face the nightmare of matching one, two, or three-cent stamps to their existing, now-non-compliant stamps.

Viola! The Forever Stamp is born!! They cost the exact same price as the 41-cent stamp, yet the Post Office makes the outlandish claim that “These stamps will work forever — no up charges, no extra stamps to buy.” I was inspired by this massive technological advance in USPS technology and at the same time dumbfounded by the fact that one stamp could remain functional forever, while the ones sitting next to them will be useless in 12-18 months. “Yes, I will take the Forever Stamps,” I said in the carefully balanced voice of a hypnotist.

Since that fateful day at the Post Office, I have spent countless hours marveling at this bold, unexpected maneuver by the USPS bean counters. Yet often I wonder “Did they do the math right?” I mean, a speculative buyer could literally make millions in future trading on the Forever Stamp market.

If we bought just $100,000 of these Forever Stamps, then in 10 years we could reap profits near $1.7 Million (based on current upward stamp cost projections). We all know that stamp prices go up. None of us knows why exactly, seeing as they occupy the same musty buildings and employ the same curmudgeonly staff from year-to-year. Highly doubtful that any of their overhead costs mushroom at a rate comparable to the stamp prices. Thus, via this estimation, Forever Stamp futures is a strong place to stow away equity for a rainy day.

Who would like to go in on this guaranteed money-maker with me?

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2 thoughts on “US Postal Stamp Futures

  1. I was thinking this, myself. My guess as to why they did it: Less people are sending things through the mail (duh – hooray, interwebs!), so they’re not making the money they’re budgeting for. They can’t raise the rate to compensate (people are already bitching about cost…), so how can they make the money they need without scaring away customers? The Forever Stamp. The hope is likely that people will stock up on these, trying to lock in to the “low rate” so when prices go up, again, they’re covered. I mean, think about it – stamp prices are never going down… it would be smart to buy a lifetime supply, now, while they’re cheap, right? This way, people buy more stamps than usual at a higher rate, and the post office makes more money.

    However, they’re kind of screwing themselves, I think. First of all, like you’ve said, people are going to see this as a great way to make money. They’re going to stock up and sell ’em when they can turn a profit. Smart investment.

    Also, I think the USPS is relying on people losing these stamps, or using them up rather than saving them. While I see the potential, here, I think those trying to capitalize on the stamps are going to swoop in on those people.

    So, what happens when the rates increase? They’re gonna make more money right now, but then the rates will go up and fewer people will buy stamps. I, personally, intend to buy a crapload of Forever Stamps and just save them. I’ll buy regular $0.41 stamps for mailing things until the rate goes up (in case the pull the Forever Stamps before the rate increase, which would be smart).

    I truly think the USPS is going for instant gratification, and is screwing itself for the future. But, what do they care? They all hate their jobs, anyway, right?

  2. You think that the price of stamps will rise faster 5% or whatever you can get for a reasonable CD. Faster than inflation even?

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