I use a number of Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelopes for things. They're convenient, I tend to keep the stamps around and you can pack a lot into those sturdy envelopes. Of course, you can't just chuck them stamped into the mailbox, unless you're sure they're less than 13 ounces -- it's a security thing. So I left an envelope for Mrs. Dr. Phil to run by the post office. And she came back with a receipt for 15 cents. Seems that the Flat Rate isn't $4.80 any more.
Huh. When did that happen?
Effective January 18, 2009
I checked the USPS website tonight and found that the new $4.95 Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope change was effective Sunday January 18th. Okay, but...
See I was in the Allendale Post Office on Saturday January 17th, where at 11:49:43 AM, according to the Sales Receipt, I purchased 6 $4.80 Mount Rushmore Priority Mail PSA, i.e. I'd asked for six of the Priority Mail stamps.
Now... did the Allendale Post Office know about the rate change? Because at just before the post office closed at noon, I wasn't about to stamp six Flat Rate envelopes right then and there -- I was stocking up. And if I needed postage for Priority Mail Flat Rate envelopes to be mailed after January 17th, shouldn't they have mentioned the rate change?
It would really suck to depend on Priority Mail, to stamp a Flat Rate Envelope, throw it in the mailbox -- and get it back for fifteen cents Postage Due.
It's not like they're making it easy for us. There's a USPS banner hanging up. It used to list the major services and their rates. Now they don't list the rates any more, so they don't have to change banners, or tape little numbers to it. I can understand the average person not knowing or caring that Priority Mail rates were being tweaked, but having demonstrated that I use the service, I'd really appreciate it if the otherwise lovely people at the Post Office would Let Me Know.
Rates Going Up
So then there was a news item tonight that postal rates were going up. Buy those Forever stamps now, because come Monday 11 May 2009, First Class postage is going to be 44 cents, not 42 cents. The kicker was the statement that rate changes come "once a year", "announced in February" and enacted "in May".
Except of course, when they aren't.
Prices for mailing services will continue to adjust each May. Prices for most shipping services, including Express Mail and Priority Mail, were adjusted in January and will not change in May.
from http://www.usps.com/prices/pricechanges.htm 2-10-2009
New Price List, Notice 123 (PDF) — A complete list of all domestic and international prices and fees effective May 11.
Except that Notice 123 was effective January 18th, not May 11.