D'oh! U.S. Post Office Loses $1.2 Million on Unsold 'Simpsons' Stamps
682 Million(!) Unsold Stamps, To Be Exact
United States Postal Service, we're rooting for your survival, but, d'oh, with boneheaded moves like this, you're proving to be your own worst enemy: the USPS reportedly lost $1.2 million in printing costs after it sold less than one-third of the billion stamps it printed to commemorate the Fox TV hit The Simpsons.
The stamps, which were sold in 2009 and 2010, had a 44-cent value, and featured Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson, each starring on his or her own stamp.
But, reports Bloomberg news, the USPS admits it overestimated how many of the stamps would sell, and the stamps were further hurt when the cost of postage went up by a penny, necessitating an additional stamp to make the Simpsons stamps usable.
The inspector general also tells Bloomberg that the process the USPS uses to decide how many stamps to print is too unscientific, which lead to "costly miscalculations." Just 318 million of the 1 billion Simpsons postage stamps were sold.
The inspector general says it would be better if the postal service limited its initial production, then printed more if demand, well, demanded it.
Hmmm, supply and demand … that's just crazy enough to work, USPS!
Meanwhile, the Simpsons snafu is just the latest bit of bad news for the beleaguered postal service, which said it lost $5.2 billion in its third quarter and may lose $15 billion total for the year ending Sept. 30.
The USPS has asked Congress' permission to stop Saturday mail delivery and eliminate a requirement to pre-pay for the health care of future retirees in an effort to cut its costs.
"If the Postal Service can't address a simple matter such as determining how many commemorative stamps to produce, it shows they can't address the larger problems," Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, told Bloomberg. "Unfortunately, even a small item can create larger problems."