Codebreaker

QR codes go postal

Marc Sanchez May 15, 2012

In an effort to remain relevant, kind of like your granddad (“Pops”) donning a pair of skinny jeans, the post office announced yesterday that it will offer a 2 percent discount on items shipped. It’s a limited-time offer – good only in July and August. Here’s how it works: you’ll receive your regular junk mail flyers, only now some of those advertisements will come with QR codes next to whatever they’re trying to sell you. So, if you get a mailer for dog food, you might see one of those square, bar-code thingies (QR code). Scan the code with your smartphone, and you will be sent to a website offering the product and reduced shipping rate.

I don’t think two months of reduced shipping rates is really going to save the post office, but I guess it’s a start. Wait. No, I’m sticking with my first thought… it’s not going to save the post office. Reuters reports on the hemorrhaging:

Mail volume in the United States has been on the decline since 2006 and fell to 39.5 billion pieces during the most recent quarter, a 4.1 percent drop compared to a year earlier.
The Postal Service lost $3.2 billion in the first three months of 2012. The agency said better-targeted mailings and electronic alternatives eroded advertising mail volumes during the quarter.

Nice try Pops, but I prefer the high-water slacks pulled up over your navel that you’ve been wearing for the last 20 years.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.