Want to send a letter for 41 cents? Time is running out.
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For information on the U.S. Postal Service and stamps, go to usps.com.
Saturday is the last chance for letter writers to buy Forever stamps from the U.S. Postal Service before the cost of a first-class stamp increases to 42 cents on Monday, and local post offices are being swamped by buyers who want to stock up on them, postal officials say.
“We are really seeing a rush on the Forever stamps,” said Judy Mahaffey, spokeswoman for the postal service here.
Forever stamps are good for 1-ounce, first-class postage no matter when they are purchased or what the current rate is, Ms. Mahaffey said.
“If you don’t want to pay the 42 cents, just buy the stamps now,” she said. “It keeps you from having to buy the 1 cent or 2 cent stamps when the rate increases.”
The Forever stamps have sold at a rate of about 60 million per day nationwide, and more than 6 billion Forever stamps have been sold since last April, records show.
Ms. Mahaffey said local post offices ordered thousands of extra Forever stamps, and many of them have sold. Individuals are buying several books of stamps apiece, and because a typical person uses about 12 to 15 stamps a month, those books could last several years, she said.
Dave Johnson, a retired resident of downtown Chattanooga, was one of many people looking to stockpile Forever stamps this week. Though his wife already had many stamps, he came to the downtown post office to buy more.
With gas and food prices skyrocketing, Mr. Johnson said he wasn’t upset by a 1 cent increase in postage. However, other stamp buyers felt differently.
George Woodruff, an attorney who came to the downtown post office to buy 1 cent stamps Thursday, said he mails several letters every day and that the cost of postage hurts his business.
“The post office could cut back,” he said. “But they don’t have any layoffs like everyone else. They want to continue to pay the bigwigs.”
At the same time postage rates increase, Mr. Woodruff said, he sees the post office cutting back its services. The downtown post office no longer allows 24-hour access to post office boxes, which is very inconvenient, he said.
Ms. Mahaffey said she understands concern over price increases.
“No one likes to see stamps go up,” she said.
But, she said, the postal service is suffering from rising fuel and operating costs just like everyone else.
“We are all hurting,” Ms. Mahaffey said. “Look at fuel.”
Joan Garrett McClane has been a staff writer for the Times Free Press since August 2007. Before becoming a general assignment writer for the paper, she wrote about business, higher education and the court systems. She grew up the oldest of five sisters near Birmingham, Ala., and graduated with a master's and bachelor's degrees in journalism from the University of Alabama. Before landing her first full-time job as a reporter at the Times Free Press, ...