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5 Terrible Ways to Save the Post Office

2. The lottery stamp
Scratch and win, or lift up a flap to peek at the number underneath, and the country wins also. It doesn't matter whose lottery it is -- whether the country opts to allow a sponsored game from a private enterprise, use current state or regional lotteries or even create a national version such as those other countries have, except printed on stamps -- so long as the Postal Service gets a cut of the sales.

This raises the possibility of people sending mail to themselves in quantity for the first time in history -- "myself" being a widely untapped market when surveys ask people to whom they most frequently send mail. But surely most of these lottery stamps will be the favored postage when sending a greeting card to a loved one during a gift-giving time such as the holidays or for a birthday or graduation. (That raises the question of whether it will be "Love, grandma and grandpa," "By opening this card you are legally obligated to share with me half your winnings" or "Good luck! This is the only way you can pay off your college debt!" that is the most common sign-off once this plan goes into effect.)

Obviously, the lottery stamp raises the risk of getting your mail stolen by people who just want the winnings.

But there's a dual solution to that, and the great thing is that part of the solution results in even more revenue for our ailing mailing. First, the numbers on the stamp and the winnings that follow can be valid only if a stamp is marked canceled. Second, to ensure the intended recipient gets your cute card, good wishes and potential millions, you'll have to pony-express up a few more bucks for delivery confirmation and maybe even insurance for your letter or package. How much insurance? I don't know. Since insurance sales will skyrocket as the prize money rises, how much do you think that lottery stamp might be worth?
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