Before the Postal Storm Hits...What to Do Now
Plenty of mailers got their letters in to the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors by the March 8 deadline, some protesting the horrific catalog postal rate increases recommended by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). In fact, I checked with the Governors’ office this morning (March 9), and heard that the office received more than 1,000 letters — though not all necessarily concerning the killer catalog rates.
That’s a nice big number indeed, but I’m taking a glass half empty approach to this edition of The Corner View. That is, let’s go on the assumption that these unfair rates will be accepted by the Governors as is and implemented in early May. Why? Consider their options: They can do one of four things: accept them and implement them as is, accept them “under protest” (which, in essence, means the Governors ask the PRC to see if they can tweak the recommendations a bit, but that usually doesn’t amount to much, if any, change), reject them outright, which could lead to a whole new rate case that the USPS wouldn’t want; or request a modification of the recommendation, which could also necessitate a whole new rate case.
The DMA, NEMOA and countless catalog vendors did a great job rallying catalogers to fax in their letters of protest to the postal governors. Postal Service spokesperson David Partenheimer tells me that the Governors will vote on the PRC recommendations sometime next week. Don’t hold out hope that the Governors will reject the Commission’s recommendations outright. My sense is, they’ll accept them, either as is or under protest. Either way, tape up those windows, the storm is coming. Let’s talk about just what you can do to get your business through this.
Lessons From the Past
A few days after we broke the “hidden” story of the PRC catalog rate recommendations on our Web site and in a special edition of this newsletter, Mokrynskidirect president Dennis Bissig asked me if I had any suggestions for his catalog clients on ways they could cut costs enough to make up for the rate increases, which could run from about 10 percent to more than 40 percent for catalogers. Specifically, Dennis wanted to know what we could learn from past practice.