Update: The Postal Service changed course on this proposal after only six days. See "A smarter, smaller Postal Service?"
Postal officials want to outlaw the ubiquitous window envelope as we know it.
The U.S. Postal Service announced yesterday that it wants to change the allowable size and positioning of envelope windows on letter-sized mail. The new regulations would not allow the window to be within three quarters of an inch of the bottom. The common sizes of window envelopes leave only half an inch between the window and the bottom.
The proposed regulation would ban every window envelope “any mailer has in inventory and that is currently in production,” writes Lisa Bowes on the Postal Affairs Blog of Intelisent, a company that helps organizations mail more effectively.
USPS plans to publish the proposal in the Federal Register next month, after which there will be a comment period before the regulations can be implemented. That would leave scant time to adjust to the new regulations, especially for mailers that include return window envelopes in their invoices.
“I expect there to be an overwhelming flood of negative comments,” writes Bowes, whose blog usually explains postal regulations without wading into controversies.
The sudden change of regulations could be a boon for envelope manufacturers rushing to fill the demand for mail pieces that meet the new standards. Or it could just push more people to bypass the Postal Service altogether and to pay their bills online. In either case, it would mean a trip to the landfill for billions of unused envelopes.
“The USPS seems to be trying to regulate and restrict all mailers to the point of where we all go out of business,” Bowes writes.
She also points to another, nearly unenforceable part of the proposal that, as USPS states, would apply “new static charge and the coefficient of friction standards for automation and machinable letters to ensure they do not produce excessive static charge and can be handled efficiently when inducted and removed from processing equipment.”
Here’s a better idea for the Postal Service: Figure out how to harness some of that static electricity and use it to power a few gray cells in the brain-dead bureaucrats who drafted this proposal without considering the impact on postal customers.