Extrasensory perception or ESP involves reception of information not gained through the recognized physical senses but sensed with the mind. I found that definition on the Internet at www.wikipedia.org.
In the Summer 2013 pricelist, I wrote a piece called “Using stamps will cost more” where I predicted that the use of a postage stamp for first class mail will cost more than if you’re using metered mail or computer vended postage. With the January 2014 postage rate increases, that prediction came true. First class mail is 49˘. But the USPS created a new “Metered Mail” first class rate of 48˘. If you mail with metered mail or computer vended postage – you save a penny.
I’d like to claim that I’m a great visionary of the USPS. Alas, I’m not. The USPS has been discounting postage rates for packages for several years. It was only a matter of time before they did it with first class mail. Today it’s a penny. In time, the difference could be as much as 5˘ or 10˘. Again, all of this is aimed at having to not cancel mail so that the USPS can save money by not having to purchase and repair expensive equipment that cancels mail. They just want to sort the mail and deliver it.
Here is a question. If you take a letter to the local post office and ask the window clerk to use a meter on it, does that qualify for the 48˘ rate? If so, will this create longer lines at post offices? No one will buy stamps; they’ll wait in line to save a penny and ask the clerk to use a meter on their letter. Maybe the “Metered Mail” rate only applies to mailers that use a postage meter to apply postage to their mail before delivering it to the post office?
I doubt stamps will ever disappear completely. Not in the foreseeable future anyways. The USPS likes the money it gets from collector sales of stamps and postal stationery that may never see use. It’s pure profit to them.
The new “Metered Mail” rate will diminish the need for stamps. Over time, fewer and fewer stamps will be used to mail a letter or package. This will affect the collection of used stamps. Collectors will find it increasingly difficult to find used examples in ordinary mail. Will collectors stop collecting used stamps because they are too hard to obtain? If demand is unchanged, will prices for used stamps increase because collectors want them, but there aren’t as many copies on the market?
There is the postal history angle too. Will commemorative stamps used on an envelope today be the $10 and $50 postal history covers of tomorrow? Who knows?