Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Stamp Saga

If you were planning a wedding at this time last year, you were aware of the dismay and outrage that occurred when the Postal Service announced it was raising the price of stamps by a penny. Brides who had already bought the stamps for their invitations were saddened that they might need to deface their envelopes with an extra 1-cent stamp. I made a mental note to not get upset if that were to happen to me this year.

Last year, the post office had a great stamp, the "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" stamp. It was printed in honor of the 100-year anniversary of the creation of the popular song.

As soon as I saw it, I knew it would be great for our invitations (I don't think you know yet the reason why, but trust me on this, and I'll explain more in a later post). But I also knew it would be silly to stockpile the stamps too early, in case postage rates went up again this year. And they were still available as of December.

So a few weeks ago, I was hashing out little wedding details with Eric and I brought up stamps for the invitations. We decided we really liked these baseball stamps, and I knew that it was around this time last year that the rate hike was announced, but we decided that we liked these stamps enough to use them even if we had to add a 1-center to the envelope as well. (And if memory served, I knew that the rate hike last year was announced around February, and it went into effect around May, so it might affect us, depending on our RSVP deadline.)

So that weekend I stopped by the post office for something else, and asked if they had any of the stamps. It turned out they were out of them, and when I asked if they anticipated getting more, I was told it was doubtful, because the clerk suspected a new rate hike would be announced soon. And sure enough, last week it was.

(The rate hike won't go into effect until May 11, and our RSVP deadline is probably going to be May 1, so we will be dealing with current/old stamp rates, not the new ones, so it turns out we need stamps now.)

Today I called around to a bunch of post offices, but the answer was always the same: "We ran out of those stamps a while ago." Boo. One helpful woman told me to call 1-800-STAMP-24, to see if I could order them that way. And when I called, I was told that the post office had discontinued those stamps and they had run out of them on Friday. FOUR days ago. ARGH! I just missed it!

On ebay, the stamps are selling for $1 a pop or $11-14 for a sheet of 20. I refuse to pay a markup for them on principle, so we're left with whatever stamps are currently available.

So, what will it be? Abraham Lincoln, because he was a great president who was born in Kentucky? Edgar Allen Poe, because he was from Baltimore and Eric and I have ties to Maryland? Chinese New Year for my heritage, even though neither of us is an ox? Alaska because we went on an Alaskan cruise two years ago? The Great Lakes Dunes sheet is pretty and has fun wildlife pictures, even though we don't live in the Great Lakes region. The Forever stamp works because of our ties to Philly, but it's kind of boring for a wedding stamp, I think (although I'll definitely be stocking up on these before May 11!). There's this Celebrate! stamp, which is kind of fun. Not our colors, but definitely the right sentiment:
There's always the wedding heart and the love heart, but they're so... cliche and overdone. (Now watch, that's what we're going to end up using and you'll laugh at me for being so snobby.) There are 20 state stamps in the "flags of our nation" series (well, 19 states and the U.S. flag), but they've only gotten up to Kansas so far. If they come out with the next series that includes Kentucky in the next month or so, then that would be great, but even so, I would be compelled to buy 10 times too many stamps just to get all the Kentucky ones.

Those baseball stamps were so darn perfect! And, just to let you know, I've always been the kind of person who buys special stamps to convey my likes or loyalties. I always love the Disney stamps (but I concede that Eric probably wouldn't want them for wedding invitations), or flowers. So I like my stamps to have a message attached to them, and I would like to be able to do that for our wedding invitations, too.

And never fear; our invitation suite is going to fall under 1 ounce to qualify for regular first-class postage, come hell or high water! When you're having a budget-friendly wedding, you can't let an extra $17 go to the postal service because you didn't realize square invitations or heavy ones cost extra. (Sorry, postal service, but I can't afford to keep you afloat with my money.)

So what should we do? I know in the grand scheme of things, this is really, really minor.

"Seriously, in the huge sweep of things, this stuff doesn't matter."
"What he's going to say next is, there are people starving in the Sudan."
"Well there are. ... All I'm asking for is a normal amount of perspective."

Ten points to you if you can name the movie that quote is from. And then I'll stop worrying about stamps :)


Melanie said...

1) Notting Hill. Booya ;-)

2) Fucking stamps, man...