Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Negative One Cent Stamps

Get the postage right every time
  (+4, -2)
(+4, -2)
  [vote for,
against]

Isn't it annoying when you have to use a certain amount of postage, say, for a heavier letter, and the stamps you have add up to a little more than the needed amount? Well up until now you had only two choices: You could stand in line at the post office, or cough up an extra cent or two and go over the amount. Niether of these options are very attractive. So what I propose is to have a stamp with the denomination of "-1". Lets say you need exactly 49 but you have a 30 and a 20? No Problem. Just affix the -1 cent stamp on it along with the 20 and the 30 and you're done. How do you get a -1 cent stamp? When you go to the post office to buy stamps, you tell them you want a sheet of 100 negative one cent stamps and they will hand you the sheet and with it a dollar (or a pound if you're in the UK or whatever). When you run out, you simply go and "buy" another, the same way you buy regular positive stamps. This is such a simple idea I can't it isn't already baked. Perhaps it is in some country somewhere.
ProblemSolver, Sep 02 2004

http://www.stamps.com/ http://www.stamps.com/
Buy / print stamps online [Porsche911, Oct 04 2004]

USPS First Class Rates http://pe.usps.gov/text/dmm/R100.htm
If you presort your outgoing mail (and who doesn't?), postage is calculated in hundredths of a cent. [Amos Kito, Oct 04 2004]

US G stamps for domestic purposes. It was abandoned. http://alphabetilately.com/G.html
I guess they got bored and stopped around X. [sartep, Oct 04 2004]

[link]






       I like the idea, but I doubt the fiscal management arm of the postal service would spring for it, because people would just "buy" stamps until the store runs out. in my experience, people exercise little restraint when dealing with free money.
schematics, Sep 02 2004
  

       ahem, have you really thought this through?   

       I'll take 30000 sheets of -1 cent stamps please!!   

       also, then who is covering the cost of producing the stamps?   

       surely it'd be better if you just changed the system so that stamps are printed on demand at the required amount?
radicalllama, Sep 02 2004
  

       I always thought it would make sense to trim a stamp down. Half of a 32 cent stamp should be worth 16 cents, yes? There's my next idea: Trimmable Postage Stamps. Unfortunately, someone at the post office would then be forced to fill out T.P.S. reports or something.
Voltmeter, Sep 02 2004
  

       What we really need is a -1c coin (or -5c, or -whatever the smallest local unit of cash is). Would typically make exact change much easier to give.
benjamin, Sep 02 2004
  

       I can see that when this is announced there's going to be a moment's thought, and then a very long queue at the Post Office. After you've given [radicalllama] (great name!) his 30000, I'll have 30 Gazillion please.
spacemoggy, Sep 02 2004
  

       You're wasting money with whole numbers. See [link].
Amos Kito, Sep 02 2004
  

       //A "stamp" with a denomination of your choosing.// Sweden has gone one step further with domestic letter stamps free of denomination.
FarmerJohn, Sep 02 2004
  

       // I'll take 30000 sheets of -1 cent stamps please!! //   

       Limit: ten per customer. I don't know what the line's like at your post office, but at mine it wouldn't be worth anyone's time to get back on it for a dime.   

       This is a very silly idea and I like it. Croissant.
snarfyguy, Sep 02 2004
  

       *Ding Dong!*
"Who is it?"
"Mail carrier, sir. Got some overstamped mail for you"
"Okay, cool! How much do I get? "
"Lets see, that's 50 cents in postage minus 37 cents, so that's 13 cents. Ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen. Have a good day, sir!"
"Thanks, see you tomorrow."
  

       The mailman could leave coins in the mailbox if the addressee's not home. Or if there's a return address, the coins could be left there -- an easy way of donating to a charity or using up your free return address labels you've gotten in the mail.
phundug, Sep 02 2004
  

       It's not so hard. Bring out a limited edition collectors item. Sell a sheet of one hundred 50 cent stamps, include a sheet of one hundred -1 cent stamps, and retail the thing for $49. This is a 2% discount for the post office. It would run well on the wire news as a quirky story. Why is some post office not doing it?
fiedag, Jan 27 2005
  
      
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