The US Post Office bet that commemorative stamps featuring characters from The Simpsons would sell big. They spent $1.2 million to print 1 billion of the 44 cent stamps. The only problem? Only 318 million sold leaving a glut of essentially useless stamps as the price for mailing a letter is now 45 cents.
The Post Office did not make the new Simpsons stamps 'forever stamps', meaning they would be immune to price increases and would stay usable. Instead, if you want to use one of the stamps featuring the members of the Simpsons family, you'd need to buy extra postage to stick next to it.
The Washington Post reports that a Postal Service inspector general’s report highlighted the overproduction of the 20th anniversary 'Simpsons' stamps as an example of failing to align stamp production with demand.
The report noted that the Post Office could save $2 million annually by not overproucing stamps that end up being destroyed when they don’t sell.
The US postal service is facing unprecended finacial problems. It recently posted a quarterly loss of $5.2 billion and has asked Congress to help it cut costs, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
“If the Postal Service can’t address a simple matter such as determining how many commemorative stamps to produce, it shows they can’t address the larger problems,” said Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, told The Washington Post.
Bloomberg News reports that the Postal Service said it addressed the problem of over-ordering stamps by creating the “forever” stamp, which is not subject to price increases.
“The forever stamp has gone a long way in preventing overproduction,” said Janet Sorensen, director of marketing and service in the IG’s office and leader of the audit team that produced the report told Bloomberg. “They need to get a better process for projecting the need, and they are implementing that type of process.”