Bloomberg has an interesting article today looking behind the scenes at stamp production at the U.S. Postal Service.
The USPS, which is on track to have lost $15 billion this year, made a bet on Simpsons stamps a couple of years ago, which turned out to be a misfire:
The money-losing U.S. Postal Service guessed that TV cartoon character Homer Simpson and his family were twice as popular as Elvis Presley when it came to sales of commemorative stamps.
As Homer would say, “D’oh!” In a move that wasted $1.2 million in printing costs, the service produced 1 billion of “The Simpsons” stamps and sold 318 million.
The Postal Service inspector general in a report singled out the overproduction of stamps marking the 20th anniversary of the cartoon’s run on News Corp. (NWS)’s Fox network as an example of failing to align stamp production with demand.
“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, said. “Unfortunately, even a small item can create larger problems."