We all hate to get junk mail, and most of us just tear it up and throw it away.
But if you send it back to where it came from, you can help cut the Post Office’s deficit and, at the same time, do something that will make you feel good.
The U.S. Postal Service announced yesterday that it lost $5 billion in fiscal year 2013. As bad as that sounds, it’s a marked improvement from the $16 billion loss the USPS posted in fiscal year 2012.
It’s the seventh straight year the Postal Service has reported a net loss.
That money comes directly out of your pocket and mind in the form of taxes.
First-class mail is the Postal Service’s most profitable product, but the number of pieces of first-class mail handled by the Post Office fell by 2.8 billion pieces in 2013.
The Postal Service is caught between a rock and a hard place. For years Mail volume has been declining because of the rise of e-mail and online bill payments.
Some people are fatalistic about the situation and say that’s just the way the federal government is. It’s always going to lose money on everything it does so don’t worry about it.
Other people want to slash and burn through the postal system. They say we need to cut costs by laying off thousands of postal workers, closing post offices nationwide, and eliminating Saturday window service and deliveries.
But there’s another way to eliminate the Postal Service deficit, and have fun doing it.
There’s nothing quite like getting a birthday card from your daughter in California, or a post card from your son’s vacation in Florida. That kind of thing puts a smile on your face that you just don’t get from an email or a text. You can hold it. You can smell it. You know your loved one has touched that piece of paper.
That’s enough reason to step up and help save the Post Office.
It’s easy. All you have to do is open every piece of junk mail you get, and then send the postage paid return envelope back out in the next outgoing mail.
You can even fill the postage paid return envelope with some of the paper inserts and the envelope that the junk mail came in. But you should probably discard any paper that has your name or any serial numbers on it.
In 2011, the post office handled 84.7 billion pieces of junk mail and only 73.5 billion pieces of first-class mail.
Businesses only pay 14.5 cents to send each piece of junk mail, while the rest of us have to pay 45 cents to send a piece of first class mail.
But do the math. On 84.7 billion pieces of junk mail at 14.5 cents each, the Post Office had revenues of $12.28 billion (that’s $12,281,500,000).
If we all just take a moment to mail our junk mail back to the sender, then the Post Office will make an additional of $12.28 billion in revenue.
That would turn the USPS $5 billion deficit into a $7.28 billion profit.
And think about how much fun we would all have doing it.