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Universal stamps

Stamps that can be bought and used anywhere
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In my recent journeying around Europe, it was revealed to me that although Europe has a single currency, it does not have a single postage stamp. So you can buy a 1 Euro stamp (sorry, I don't know how to make the euro symbol appear) in France, but then you cannot use it in Italy because it is a French stamp. There is no reason for this. The Eurocrats just forgot, apparently.

So why not have stamps that you can use anywhere. This would be very useful when going on holiday because you could buy your stamps in advance. I know there are universal postage vouchers, which you can buy in one country and take to a post office in another to get the right postage. To me it seems you might as well just go to the local post office with money, instead of some voucher. And also international documents could be sent with the return postage already affixed. It would save businesses billions.

Of course, there is the small matter of how to value such a stamp. The simple answer would be to have all international destinations be the same price. This might be a little unfair for someone in Holland sending a letter to someone in Belgium, but that is why the guys in Brussels should get a move on a make a European stamp.

parky, Jun 10 2003

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       I'm sure international standardization is a tough task to complete, and my hat is off to the Europeans for the euro implementation. An international stamp would have funding issues, counterfeit issues, currency issues, exchange rate issues, etc. Since all of those problems had to be tackled in the EU anyway, I say why not extend it to stamps - most of the work has already been done when they created the Euro. Now, any chance we can get them to standardize Chinese restaurant menus?
Worldgineer, Jun 10 2003
  

       FED-EX?
senatorjam, Jun 10 2003
  

       Perhaps a market for American Express, AMEX issues its own stamps in small values (a nickle?) so you can always tear off the right amount. The booklet of stamps has a table with the AMEX rates for each country.   

       Of course it would be easier if the Europeans get their act together and introduce a common postal service. That could also tie up enough Eurocrats to lower unemployment.
kbecker, Jun 10 2003
  

       I'm sure once the globo, or whatever it is eventually called, becomes the standard currency of planet earth, globally accepted stamps for mailing letters will be right behind it. One world government is a good thing.
ecolonsmak, Jun 11 2003
  

       Globalist troll! <checking home page> Oh wait, you're just 23. Then that's to be expected... Never mind.
pluterday, Jun 11 2003
  

       I learned a little about international postal matters work once. It's quite interesting.   

       If you send a package overseas, you pay postage in and to your country, while the overseas mail service does their end of the job for nothing. To redress this inequity, there are protocols in an enormous number of international treaties that address (so to speak) postal imbalances - how much mail goes from country A to country B as opposed to the reverse direction.   

       It's quite arcane, but I like it for some reason.
snarfyguy, Jun 11 2003
  

       The most obvious reason this wouldn't work: tourists going to third world countries with pre-paid stamps and sending lots of mail. The third world country would then be out of the cost of handling the mail without the benefit of the stamp revenue.   

       (This is already a problem with airmail, but a compicated workaround exists. Destination countries are reimbursed for handling airmail by source countries based on approximate disparities in mail, which can be measured fairly easily. It would be much harder (if not impossible) to track the disparities in where global stamps were bought, at least to anyone's satisfaction.)
DrCurry, Jun 11 2003
  

       Perhaps just add a code to each stamp indicating the country where it was sold.
Worldgineer, Jun 11 2003
  

       Actually, you don’t need any stamps at all. What I do is switch my address with the recipients address, leaving off the stamp. Eventually it gets returned to sender (the recipient). Good for when you’re not in any hurry, as it takes a month or two to get there.
pluterday, Jun 11 2003
  

       Pluterday, you are cool, dude. (Reminds me of when I used to "send on" luggage from France before catching the related train or plane, then cancel my journey's ticket...). Do you realize your suggestion could lead to world anarchy? I like it....
git, Jun 11 2003
  

       surely stamps like this could be sold for a universally premium price (say $1), and printed with a unique code, with the money (now 90c, the vendor takes a cut) held in escrow. The country it's posted from scans it to claim their share of the 90c and the country that it gets delivered in claims their share, according to the obscure rules outlned by [snarfy].
neilp, Feb 27 2006
  

       either that, or there should be a shop in every major city where you can buy (new) stamps of the world, to save you the hassle on your trip.   

       "I'll have 3 USA to Europe, 5 Uganda to Niger, and through in a couple of those Cook Island to Benidorm ones".
neilp, Feb 27 2006
  
      
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