1 Cent Stamps

These days, the post office sells stamps that have no denomination listed on them. You buy a stamp for 47 cents–and even if the rice of a stamp goes up to 48 cents next year, you can still mail a letter with the stamp you bought for 47 cents.

In the old days, the post office had a different stamp policy. Back then, if you bought a first class stamp for 30 cents, and then the post office increased the rate to 31 cents, you had to participate in this bizarre ritual where you’d use your 30 cent stamp and you’d affix an additional one cent stamp right next to it. And you’d do the math. You’d be like, “30 plus 1 equals 31.  There we go. Postage.”

What I’m wondering is, let’s say someone sent out a letter with just the 30 cent stamp. What did the postman do when he saw that one cent shortage? I’ll bet his heart rate tripled–then he got on the phone and called the police. “We got a 7-3-3 in progress! I repeat–a 7-3-3!” “Um. What exactly is a 7-3-3?” “Didn’t you read the postal rule enforcement manual? A 7-3-3 is the most serious postal crime there is.” “And what crime is that?” “Attempted one cent larceny! Someone is attempting to larcen a penny from the post office! I’m looking at the envelope right now, and I got all the evidence I need to put this guy away for life. The perpetrator’s zip code is 81394. I think it’s safe to assume he’s armed and dangerous. I’m gonna need some backup. Send over a SWAT team!”

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