Junk-mail-16154-1303755453-28

by Chris Bodenner

A reader continues the popular thread:

I can’t believe all the love that the Postal Service is getting from your readers.  With each passing year, there are fewer and fewer things that require physical delivery.  A good 90% of what is deposited in my mailbox goes straight into the recycling bin unopened. I still get a red Netflix disc in my mail every week, but if I could access Netflix’s entire library online, I would drop that service in a heartbeat.  It’s only a matter of time. 

How much would we need to spend to build out the infrastructure so that every home that has access to electricity also has access to broadband?   How does that compare to the USPS’s annual budget?

Another writes:

I've been waiting for someone to question how "green" the postal service is.

Every week, my house receives massive amounts of coupon booklets and catalogues, many of which either are sent to everyone regardless of subscription or we receive because the previous tenants signed up for them. I know I need to unsubscribe from them, but companies don't make changing the subscription process easy, mostly because they don't want to.

The fact is, the postal service subsidizes and offers extremely low rates for catalogues and coupon books and generally junk mail. It's part of the idea that junk mail should be cheaper in bulk than individual mail. But those companies pay a way lower rate than the 42 cents we pay for a regular letter, and they don't have the same weight and size limits.

If, however, USPS charged more for delivering junk mail, it would have two effects: it would raise more money and it would reduce the amount, thereby reducing the amount of paper being wasted. But broadly, I think we should be asking, why are individual letters being used to subsidize junk mail from corporations?

(Photo by Gavon Laessig)