Thursday, October 29, 2009

U.S. Postal Service sells greeting cards

Not from the Onion: the U.S. Postal Service is selling greeting cards, in “a one-year experiment that may lead the nation's 34,000 postal outlets to eventually sell other goods and services, including banking, insurance and cellphones.” Says Robert F. Bernstock, president of U.S.P.S. mailing and shipping services, “If we can get some energy behind greeting cards, which are incredibly linked to the mail, what better place to sell them and merchandise them than at our post offices?”

That’s a big if. Someone dowdy enough to care about greeting cards is not likely to settle for the selection available in the post office (birthday and get-well cards only). Someone buying on the fly has more convenient options than a separate trip to the post office (going to a drugstore, say). And someone buying stamps or mailing a package is likely to want to get in line and not lose time browsing on impulse. Postal Service, I wish you well, you know I do, but this venture does not inspire confidence.

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