March 10, 2011

The Tragic Death of Stamp Collections Everywhere.

Interesting tidbit from The Daily News.  Apparently Sweden is axing stamps; instead of the formally disgusting-tasting and now sticker-version of a regular stamp, they will institute a new text-message postage payment system.  When sending a letter, you basically text the postal service, which responds with a specific code.  You then write the code onto your envelope to evidence that postage has been paid. The new system will most likely go into effect this summer, while Demark launches a similar program in April. 

The thing that I don’t understand is: what is stopping me from just writing rando numbers on the envelope? I assume that they will either have someone punching these numbers into a system or a scanner that can check to see if postage has been properly paid.  But isn’t this just creating more labor for the postal service? God knows that the USPS is already about $4 billion in debt. Sure, we save some money, since we won’t have to print stamps.  And we would save a few trees, I guess. But, if we move to text message postage, wouldn’t you miss continuing your stamp collection with the new 46-cent versions that will be coming out soon?  No?  

Fine, stamp collecting was never exactly all the rage. Like coins (I may or may not have inherited a bitchin' coin collection from my great-great uncle). But baseball cards totally were. I still have shoeboxes full underneath my bed. And marbles? A stretch, okay.  But I was definitely sort of obsessed with collecting stickers (especially the oily-kind) at one point.  Or remember pogs? Trolls? Beanie babies?  Tamagatchis? With stamps officially on their death bed, what are kids supposed to collect nowadays, other than STDs and underage drinking tickets?  

2 comments:

  1. I was a philatelist as a kid but must say the quality of the artwork on modern stamps has been lacking. I would love to see this tyope of system for the US. I am sure they will use an algorithm to generate random number/letter sets like codes to activate computer games, which are difficult to replicate. They already have comjputer readers that sort mail by the zip code+4 so I'm sure it would not be difficult to get the scanner to do that too, meaning less work for people, more work for computers and programmers

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  2. Really good point, TFabP. And I sort of like that philatelist sounds dirty.

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