WASHINGTON (AP) — Postal patron Sean Swilling is tired of the inconvenience that comes with every change in the price of mailing a letter. That makes him just the type of customer the U.S. Postal Service wants to please with a policy designating all new first-class stamps as "forever."
Beginning in January, all new stamps good for 1 ounce of domestic first-class mail will forgo a printed denomination and be acceptable for the typical letter regardless of the current postal rate.
"I think that's a great idea," Swilling, a research analyst for commercial property, said Tuesday during a mail run at a downtown Washington post office. "For me, a guy who uses snail mail regularly, it's a hassle to get 1- or 2-cent stamps. Streamline things — that would be perfect."
The move is designed to help customers cope with postage increases, a Postal Service official told The Associated Press on Tuesday. The official requested anonymity to discuss a policy that hasn't been announced formally.
Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe plans to announce the new policy Jan. 14, the officialsaid.
Jim Plante, a federal employee mailing a letter in downtown Washington, doesn't see the policy as a major change in doing business.
"They get my money in advance, but I'll use them eventually. It will save me a penny or two," Plante said. "It won't cure their deficit, but if it helps them out a bit, why not?"
The Postal Service unveiled its first-class commemorative stamps for 2011 on Tuesday. All were marked with the word "forever" instead of the current rate of 44 cents.
The initial first-class stamp under the new policy will be the Lunar New Year: Year of the Rabbit stamp, to be issued Jan. 22. It will be followed by stamps commemorating Kansas statehood on Jan. 29 and, in February, the centennial of President Ronald Reagan's birth.