I’m not sure I know what to say.
It’s bad enough that the price of a stamp is going up to 42-cents on May 12, but do you have any idea what some of newest stamps look like? Do you want to know which stamp the creative brain trust at the United States Postal Service has determined will be among the first to bear the new 42-cent mark of the beast??
That’s right… one of the newest stamps in the pantheon of postal negotiability is an homage to “Jury Duty”.
What is the U.S. Postal Service thinking?
I’ve never been called for Jury Duty. My unregistered letters to appear always seem to get “lost in the mail” (damn you, Postal Service!!!!) though I heartily agree that Jury Duty is the civic duty of every American.
But even so, they’re putting what amounts to a verb on a stamp.
I mean, of the zillion other abstract nouns, pronouns and verbs they could’ve honored on a stamp, they come up with Jury Duty.
Why not produce a stamp honoring menstrual cramps?
Pre-spotting your husbands doo doo drawers?
A bag of generic cheese puffs?
Diarrhea inducing Giardia protozoa?
Britney Spears’ OBVIOUSLY confused and very over-taxed hairstylist?
Rosie O’Donnell’s nutritionist?
Heath Ledger’s life coach?
Kevin Spacey’s ambiguous sexual orientation?
A gynecological speculum?
Ron Popiel and cheap, Taiwanese plastic?
Tim Conway’s penis?
Still frames of celebrity colonoscopies?
See what I mean????????
But I just might be able to help you beat the US Postal System at their own game.
I’m talking about a time honored tradition called “franking”.
Like poor dental hygiene, it’s something we got from the Brits.
This is an explanation of franking from Lauriepedia:
It’s the marking of mail by a company or government that offers free or low cost postage privileges, or the convenience of sending bulk mail without using normal postage stamps. The practice dates back to the seventeenth-century British House of Commons. Franking privilege, typically granted to certain elected officials by a government, is the privilege to send mail for free. A franking privileged person adds his or her signature or a facsimile thereof to the upper right corner of a letter or parcel in lieu of a postage stamp.
Common uses of the franking privilege include replies to letter sent by constituents, and brief newsletters intended to keep citizens informed of the privileged member’s activities. Elected officials and the postal service are both endowed by the taxpayer.
You’ve gotten tons of “franked” letters from your elected officials. They’re the first ones you throw away.
They look like this:
And this is photo of a franking machine–probably very much like the one that mechanically placed this House member’s John Hancock in the upper right hand corner of the envelope.
But I recently read a post in a blog about nice lady who sent her friend a letter across country with only the word “FRANK” written across the upper right hand corner…where the stamp would normally be placed.
Damned if her friend didn’t get it…HE DID!!!! She included a photo of the envelope that had been canceled.
Could it have been a fluke? Maybe, but let me be perfectly frank, I’m going to try it myself.
If it works for me and my intended recipient, I’ll let you know.