Earlier this month, catalogers and other businesses that rely so heavily on the USPS realized a “dream” more than a dozen years in the making. They were “treated” to their first postal rate adjustment under the new postal reform law. Under its new rate-making powers, giving it the freedom to set rates as long as they’re no greater than consumer price index (CPI) levels, the USPS announced the increase for noncarrier route flats, the key catalog category, would be less than 1 percent.
The worst news was that it would take effect this spring, just a year after the final postage increase under the old Postal Reorganization Act. Under that long-since-outdated system, which was created during a labor strike just before the Beatles broke up, catalogers suffered through the kinds of paralyzing rate increases that put many out of business. They got hammered at the end of the 1980s, two or three times in the ’90s and just last year.
Now, your rates are going up again — albeit less dramatically — and the question is, Do you find this encouraging for your business’ future or do you kick and scream? We posted a reader poll on this issue on our Web site beginning Feb. 19, which will remain there until we replace it with a new question on March 4. It asks, “The 0.86 percent increase for noncarrier route flats is a far cry from what the category saw with last year’s hike. What’s your reaction?”
As of this writing, your responses were decidedly mixed. Some checked off “relief,” contending that this increase won’t harm them at all; others said they found the increase an encouraging step in the right direction for the USPS. But the largest number of respondents said they were “outraged” and still hadn’t recovered from last year’s rate hike.