Northwest Philadelphia post-office customers react to looming stamp-price increase

On Sunday, the price for United State Postal Service’s (USPS) first-class postage will increase a penny to 46 cents per stamp.

Cathy Yarosky, a USPS spokeswoman, said she does not see the significant mail-volume decline that led to the increase reversing course.

“People don’t visit the post offices that often anymore because we have so many alternative access points,” said Yarosky. “People can purchase stamps where they do their food shopping and even Home Depot. Customers want quick easy and convenient service like one stop shopping.”

Northwest Philly post-office customers weigh in

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Due to a decline which started in 2006, there has been a yearly stamp-price increase since 2011, she noted.

“I think it’s wrong because it appears to be going up every other year and I think it’s putting another burden on the public,” said Earl Crawford outside the post office in Mt. Airy. “Some things you can afford and some you can’t afford.”

Roxborough resident Eric Williams agreed with Crawford. He called it “a rip off.”

“It’s a piece of paper,” said Williams. “The cost is going up and not just for me everybody around the world is having money problems and then stamps go up.”

However, Eugene Howard, who has lived in Manayunk for 42 years, disagreed. He said it is important since it keeps some USPS workers employed.

“I think the postman has the right to get paid, too,” said Howard. “A couple pennies here and there is nothing for what I see you paying for other things so it really does not make a big difference to me.”

Email and long lines

South Philadelphia resident Leo Bradley who was dropping off approximately 20 letters at the Roxborough post office for work, hadn’t heard about the price increase until NewsWorks told him.

“I think it’s bad for the postage service because the more they jack up the rate, the less people are going to mail stuff out,” said Bradley. “They are really going to start reverting over to online payments and e-mail. It’s probably going to hinder them more.”

Bradley suggested that the increase is meant to offset USPS losses due to email and other means of communication. However, business owner Barbara Zaga, who was picking up her mail from her P.O. box, didn’t buy that angle.

“In the business world, people would like us to believe that if things are done electronically, then they are going to have to pass that cost along to us, but now you have fewer labor costs,” said Zaga, who visits the Germantown post office located at 5209 Greene St. several times a week.

Zaga wondered whether the increase is a result of mismanaged funds, and decried long lines and short staff during peak hours.

“People think that it’s not a big deal, but the volume of mail that they move, it is a lot of money,” said Zaga.

In addition to stamps, the price to send a postcard will increase to 33 cents.

The USPS is also presenting the first ever Forever Global Stamp that will enable customers to mail letters to anywhere in the world for just $1.10.

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal