Save time and the USPS, use a pre-stamped envelope!

Boxes of mail sit in the back of a U.S. Postal Service truck in San Francisco, Calif.

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Bob Moon: The U.S. Postal Service delivered bad news today. It announced it lost $8.5 billion dollars in the last fiscal year -- more than double what it lost the year before. And it says without federal help, it'll go broke by the end of the next fiscal year.

But don't expect your local mail delivery to disappear yet. Help just might come in the form of a greeting card -- or actually lots of them, as Marketplace's Jennifer Collins reports.


Jennifer Collins: The postal service has been fighting a losing battle with online communication. 'Til now, it's had goofy ads. Special deals. Goofy ads with special deals.

Postman in USPS commercial: Plus I can pick it up for free.

Customer: Perfect! 'Cause we have to get that out of our house.

Postman: Oh come on, it's not that bad.

Scary music

Postman: Oh yeah, it's gotta go.

So now it has a new plan. The post office may soon allow greeting card companies to sell pre-stamped envelopes with their cards. Marissa Gluck of Radar Research says in doing so, the post office is tapping into a very basic human tendency.

Marissa Gluck: Laziness. People are really busy around the holiday time, so being able to eliminate one extra trip to the post office is really appealing.

Each pre-stamped envelope could add about 48 cents to the cost of the card. That's four pennies more than the usual stamp. John Gourville is a marketing professor at Harvard Business School.

John Gourville: I do think there'll be that sticker shock though.

So, if you buy a box of 20 stamped cards, it's gonna cost you $9.60 more than that box of unstamped cards nearby. The post office predicts this could bring in $10 to $20 million in the first year. But not this year. The post office says it'll roll out the program in February.

I'm Jennifer Collins for Marketplace.

About the author

Jennifer Collins is a reporter for the Marketplace portfolio of programs. She is based in Los Angeles, where she covers media, retail, the entertainment industry and the West Coast.

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