The United States Postal Service is in a fight for its very existence and to boost revenue, they are doing the thing makes them money but annoys just about everyone. The USPS is poised to increase the volume of junk mail that clutters mailboxes nationwide.
Junk mail is how the USPS butters its bread
There is an old saying that warns not to go to the bathroom where one eats. Some people alternately say “live.” A similar saying is not to forget where how one “butters their bread.” In essence, the meaning is not to jeopardize one’s main source of income.
For those that haven’t been informed, the United States Postal Service is struggling, as mounting debts and obligations to its retired workers health care fund have fiscally crippled the agency. Loans from the government haven’t managed to do much more than stall the inevitable.
In order to free up revenue, the USPS has resorted to several tactics, including closing some of its facilities and now is going to augment its largest source of revenue. What many people don’t know is that where the mail service makes most of its money is not letters and packages, but rather “direct marketing,” otherwise known as “junk mail.”
As if it was not bad already
According to the New York Times, 48 percent of all the mail the USPS ships by volume is direct marketing, also known as direct mail or junk mail. An estimated 84 billion pieces of junk mail went to Americans last year, enough to give 12 pieces to each of the estimated 7 billion people on earth.
It also is the major money maker for the struggling agency, as junk mail accounted for $17 billion of its revenue last year. The Direct Mail Association, a lobbying group which has vigorously opposed “Do Not Mail” lists and legislation, estimates that $700 billion in sales comes from junk mail, from customers ordering products from catalogs and so forth.
The agency has also, according to Businessweek, looking to increase its volume of junk mail. The Postal Regulatory Commission, the oversight board for the agency, has approved a discount for Valassis Communications, Inc., one the largest direct marketing firms in the nation. Valassis, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the company behind Red Plum inserts found in Sunday newspapers, would go from paying 25.4 cents per 9 ounce bundle of inserts, to 17.2 cents per bundle through the mail.
In other words
Essentially, this means that more junk mail is going to show up, as the Postal Service is trying to basically stay alive. A lot of people do buy stuff from catalogs and coupons are certainly always nice. However, sometimes one does like to take a break from being pelted with advertising. There is also the matter of the environmental effects of junk mail; according to the New York Times, some cities spend upward of $1 billion per year dealing with it.