View Full Version : How do international stamps work?
09-06-2001, 02:38 AM
How do international stamps work? I mean, I presume they work much the same as our own (you lick the back and affix them to a letter).
What I mean is, if you buy a stamp in, say, the UK and you post a letter to Australia, doesn’t all the money from the stamp go to the Royal Mail? If this is the case, who foots the bill for getting the letter to my Auzzie friend’s local mail distribution depot, let alone getting the letter to the guy’s house?
09-06-2001, 07:38 AM
The originating country gets the money. The country that recieves the mail delivers it on the theory that roughly the same amount of mail will be sent in the other direction. It doesn't work out that way in practice, and there have been some grumblings about changing the formula, but that's the way it currently stands.
09-06-2001, 08:00 AM
RealityChuck, that's the theory, but it's actually quite a bit more complex than that. I'll let Cecil (http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a3_381.html) explain.
You'll also find that international mail (non-express, that is), is treated as low-priority by the receiving country.
At the mail sorting centre where I work in Sydney:
Highest Priority=Time Mail. This is domestic mail with either a franking machine impression, or a good old fashioned stamp. The receiver can see the date it was posted, so the post office wants to look good.
Medium Priority=Bulk Mail. This is the stuff posted in bulk by businesses. It just says "postage paid" and has no date.
Lowest Priority=Ex-International Mail. The overseas originating postal system can be blamed for delays, and the delivering administration won't lose disgruntled paying customers.
Originally posted by TheLoadedDog
Lowest Priority=Ex-International Mail. The overseas originating postal system can be blamed for delays, and the delivering administration won't lose disgruntled paying customers. [/B]
Yeah, unless I'm on vacation in the UK and send something to my family in the U.S. then I'll blame the USPS. But truthfully, it seems to work very well.
09-07-2001, 10:00 AM
Let HIm speak: http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a3_381.html
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