The United States Post Office lost more than $1.2 million after printing a staggering one billion commemorative Simpsons stamps, then selling only 318 million, Bloomberg News reported.
The notoriously debt-ridden agency apparently thought twice as many Simpsons stamps would sell as Elvis Presley ones, widely missing its mark. A Postal Service inspector general's report estimated that the agency could save $2 million annually if it stopped the overproduction of stamps-- but the organization predicts it will still be down about $15 billion for the year by September 30 without drastic changes.
“If the Postal Service can’t address a simple matter such as determining how many commemorative stamps to produce, it shows they can’t address the larger problems,” Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, remarked.
The organization could radically affect its budget by cutting Saturday delivery and choosing to forgo pre-paying for employees' retirement benefits, the Washington Post notes, but would need approval from Congress before making the changes.
Watch a Bloomberg panel discuss how Homer Simpson is "bringing down the Post Office":
The Washington Post relates:
The Postal Service, in a response to the report, said it already addressed the problem by creating the “forever” stamp, which can be used to mail a letter any time in the future. The Simpsons products were printed when most stamp values were fixed, meaning they could no longer be used by themselves to mail a letter after postal rates increased.
“The forever stamp has gone a long way in preventing overproduction,” said Janet Sorensen, director of marketing and service in the inspector general’s office and leader of the audit team that produced the report. “They need to get a better process for projecting the need, and they are implementing that type of process.”
Working from recommendations by a citizens’ advisory board, the Postal Service produces about 20 commemorative stamp designs each year featuring historic events, geographic spots and pop-culture icons such as Homer Simpson.
Commemorative stamps are bought by collectors as well as people intending to use them to mail something. Most collectors buy stamps soon after they are issued, the report said, leading the inspector general to recommend limiting initial production of stamps and printing more if demand warrants.
The Post Office apparently destroys the stamps it fails to sell.
One can almost hear Homer Simpson saying, "D'oh!"
(H/T: TV Tattle)