Why You Shouldn't Invest in Forever Stamps

When the USPS introduced Forever Stamps -- First Class stamps that are valid forever, regardless of future rate increases -- my friends immediately had a clever idea: invest in them. Sitting around at a cocktail party, we talked it over -- judging from recent postal rate increases, it sure seemed like buying Forever Stamps and reselling them in the future (when surely the postal rates will involve selling your organs) would be a great investment opportunity. While we didn't bother to actually research it, I think we were all secretly thinking about leaving the party to go stock up on Forever Stamps.

Well, it turns out that Forever Stamps are guaranteed to be a bad investment idea, both because of inflation in the modern era and because of a pesky law that went into effect just before the stamps were announced. Slate's Explainer column did the research, even linking to the story of a fellow who recently bought $8,000 worth of Forever Stamps (that's 19,512 stamps). Anyway, The Explainer gives us some data to chew on:

Since 1971, postal rates have increased more slowly than the actual inflation rate, as measured by the U.S. Consumer Price Index. So, despite the numerous rate hikes over the last 36 years, stamps have actually been getting cheaper. The 20-cent stamp from 1981, for instance, would be equivalent to 45 cents in today's dollars—which makes today's rate 10 percent cheaper than it was 26 years ago. Should this historical pattern hold, you'd be paying more for today's forever stamps than you would for any stamp in the future, no matter how high the rate goes.

In fact, this pattern must hold—as a matter of law. (...)

Read the whole article and also check out Lifehacker's (retracted) "Save the new forever postage stamp" article. Also: this blog post is not intended to give investment advice (or non-advice), and is presented for trivia value only!

So...got any investment schemes that seemed like a great idea on the surface, but turned out not to be worth it?

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iStock
New York City's Famed Katz's Delicatessen Has Launched a Monthly Meat Subscription Service
iStock
iStock

Katz’s Delicatessen in New York City makes a legendary pastrami sandwich, with some even calling it the best the city has to offer. Now, you can whip up your own New York-style Reuben when you get the deli’s signature meat (and accoutrements) delivered right to your door.

As spotted by Condé Nast Traveler, the deli is launching a monthly meat subscription service with nationwide deliveries. For $150 a month or $1500 a year, on the second Thursday of each month subscribers will receive a package with enough food to feed a family of (at least) six. June’s “pastrami package,” for instance, comes with a pound of sliced juicy pastrami, a medium whole pastrami (weighing between 4.1 and 4.7 pounds), a pound of deli mustard, a quart of pickles, and a loaf of rye bread.

To top it off, one or two pieces of merchandise will be thrown in each month, so if you want a pair of Katz’s $16 camouflage-patterned “salami socks,” now’s your chance. (Katz's was founded in 1888, and the socks reference the deli’s World War II-era slogan, “Send a salami to your boy in the Army.”)

Each month features a different seasonal theme, including a griller package in July, a beach package in August, and a Halloween package in October, which comes with Jewish delicacies such as sliced tongue, kishka (stuffed intestine), chopped liver, and of course, more pastrami.

According to Katz’s, their meat-curing process takes 30 days, which is significantly slower than other commercial delis that use a 36-hour curing method. That's because no chemicals or additives are injected into the meat to cure it faster.

Ready to sign up? You can place your order here, but keep in mind that you’ll have to order in three-month increments if you’re not selecting the year-long deal.

[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]

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USPS
USPS Is Issuing Its First Scratch-and-Sniff Stamps This Summer
USPS
USPS

Summertime smells like sunscreen, barbecues, and—starting June 20, 2018—postage stamps. That's when the United States Postal Service debuts its first line of scratch-and-sniff stamps in Austin, Texas with perfumes meant to evoke "the sweet scent of summer."

The 10 stamps in the collection feature playful watercolor illustrations of popsicles by artist Margaret Berg. If the designs alone don't immediately transport you back to hot summer days spent chasing ice cream trucks, a few scratches and a whiff of the stamp should do the trick. If you're patient, you can also refrain from scratching and use them to mail a bit of summer nostalgia to your loved ones.

Since it was invented in the 1960s, scratch-and-sniff technology has been incorporated into photographs, posters, picture books, and countless kids' stickers.

The first-class mail "forever" stamps will be available in booklets of 20 for $10. You can preorder yours online before they're unveiled at the first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony at Austin's Thinkery children's museum next month.

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